Self-alienation, Boundary Situations and Death in the Mystical Mathnawi



According to Mathnawi (the mystical Mathnawi), self-alienation (or loss of one’s nerve) sets in as soon as one’s self-consciousness begins to wane as Mathnawi defines a human being with respect to his/her consciousness. The basis of a man’s perception of the immediate world, values and behaviour lies in his self-conception (the way he imagines himself); consequently, if his self-conception is flawed and not in conformity with his real self his values, perceptions, affections will be flawed as well. The morbid behavioural disorders such as egotism, vanity, fame-seeking and wishful desires emanate from incorrect self-conception. In Rumi’s account, this fall and metamorphosis of man may be termed as a boundary situation which might unravel the strata of his inner beings and draw his attention to real self. In addition to these situations, meditation upon death or confronting the theme of death in one’s mind too can produce such worrisome image of man so that he comes to realize his real self and the core values therein.