Are you already singing the Autumn blues? How about melancholy? Melancholy is – according to the Swedish Karin Johannison – the classical example of psychic suffering. Aristotle was already wondering why all prominent people were melancholics. Johannison has studied the history of melancholy and has shown its shapes in different cultures. She has also studied related concepts like depression. Here is a list she has produced connected to acedia (in my own translation):
Lack of perseverance (inconsummatio)
Being uncurbed (dissolutio)
Being untended (incuria)
Lack of dedication (indevotio)
Fatigue (taedium vitae).
The Kashf-ul-Asrar (Unveiling of Mysteries) is a book which has been attributed to Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti. This is of relevance to the present subject:
“The life of a human being knows four seasons, just like the world has four seasons:
– Summer is the time that you are a child
– The years you are a young person is the harvest of spring
– The time that goes by in a passive way is autumn
– Old age is like the harvest of autumn”.
It is remarkable that winter is not mentioned. This is however also the case in a somewhat different version, which tells this about our subject: “The age of decline which is like the beginning of autumn and old age which is like autumn”.
Mawlana Rumi in his Kolliyaat-e-shams-e-tabrizi also appears to skip winter in between autumn and spring:
The garden of the soul has yellowed like autumn from regret at separation.
When will Your spring arrive to make it flourish?
Shaykh Iraqi states about autumn (paa’iz): “It is said to be the station of abatement” or: Maqaam-e-khomud raa guyand. The word khomud means abating; going out (of a flame or fire).
This is another definition of autumn. It “symbolizes the station of complete manifestation of the effects of the realm of sovereignty (maqaam-e-kamaal-e-zohur-e-‘aasaar-e-‘aalam-e-molk) and the conditions governing that manifestation”.
This definition has been derived from the Persian translation of the Russian book Sufism and the Proper Manners in Sufism by Bertels. Words, words, too much words… so it is possible that they may give you the autumn blues.