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The Ball and Polo Stick: or The Book of Ecstacy (Used)
by Thackston, Wheeler M
Publisher: Mazda Publications
Book ID: 9781568590905, 1568590903
A Parallel Persian-English Text. Edited and Translated with an Introduction.
Little is known of the poet ‘Arifi of Herat (d. 1449), but his book The Ball and Polo Stick has been popular since its composition in A.H. 842 (A.D. 1438-39) at the height of Timurid power. The underlying theme of this work is self-sacrificing love, a conceptualization that was derived from the Sufi ideal of love. This love not only by definition is unrequited but also demands the ultimate death of the lover. In terms of mystical speculative philosophy, the “death” of the lover is the annihilation of selfhood and self-awareness i.e., the total absorption of the lover’s own consciousness of self into that of the beloved. On the purely mystical level, this represents the annihilation of the individuated soul, the lover, into the godhead, the beloved. When translated into human terms, the hapless lover would have to die in ecstasy at the feet of his beloved. This was the conceptualization of love that was taken up and glorified by Persian poetry.
The Ball and Polo Stick is the third volume in Intellectual Traditions, a series aimed to provide scholars and students of Iranian heritage with new source materials on philosophy, mysticism, ‘irfan, intellectual history, and literature.
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