But Fitzgerald absolutely misunderstood him: he took him literally. If Omar Khayyam talks about wine and women, Fitzgerald took it literally. And in a way, he misrepresented Omar Khayyam, but he helped thousands of people to enjoy the beautiful poetry.
Fitzgerald is a poet, so he managed the original Omar Khayyam in a better, more poetic way. Reading the original you are not impressed by the poetry, it is negligible. It is just a substitute for prose – a little better than prose, but not the heights of poetry. That was not the purpose at all. But Fitzgerald, out of misunderstanding, has created great poetry. He was a great poet himself.
And then the misunderstanding of the Sufi symbols created a strange phenomenon. The saki – the woman who pours the wine into your cup – is God in Sufi language. And the wine that is poured is spiritual experience – it is intoxicating; hence it has a similarity to wine.
These poets have never conceived of God as man – always as a beautiful woman; and their whole approach is to be lovers of that woman. When you think of God as father, things become more flat – and what kind of relationship can you have with a father?
In millions of houses the sons and fathers don’t see eye to eye. They don’t talk to each other unless it becomes absolutely urgent. The father is always afraid that if he says something, the son is going to argue against it. The father is aware of the gap – he knows the son will not understand what he is saying; it is better to keep quiet.
And the son is also aware that the communication is broken. So only when he needs money or something that the father can give him, does he come to the father; otherwise they avoid each other. They try not to come in contact in the house. When the father is out, the son will come in; when the father comes in, the son will escape. It is better, because otherwise there is an ugly argument which leaves a very sour taste behind.
There is a book by Turgenev, Fathers And Sons, which is all about this whole generation gap that nobody understands. Fathers have their own world, sons have their own world.
To call God “the father” does not ring a bell in your heart. That’s why Sufis are absolutely against calling God a father. They are less against calling God a mother, because between the mother and the son there is still no generation gap, there is some understanding.
The understanding has some psychological reasons: the son always wanted to be a lover to his own mother. And that can show you why he feels so against the father. From the very childhood the father has been taking his beloved – the mother – from him. The father is the enemy.