SHAFAQNA – Rumi is now one of the most widely read poets in America. He’s on par with Beethoven, Shakespeare and Mozart.
Rumi was born on the Eastern shores of the Persian Empire on September 30, 1207, in the city of Balkh in what is now Afghanistan and finally settled in the town of Konya, in what is now Turkey. Today three countries claim him as their national poet: Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. However none of these countries as they are today actually existed back then. Iran was called the Persian Empire, a monarchy, and it was quite larger than it is today. It included all of today’s Iran and Afghanistan also parts of Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Iraq. Turkey had not yet formed then and Afghanistan was part of the Khorasan Province in the old Persian Empire.
Rumi’s life story is full of intrigue and high drama mixed with intense creative outbursts. Rumi was a charming, wealthy nobleman, a genius theologian and a brilliant but sober scholar, who in his late thirties met a wandering and wild holy man by the name of Shams. In Rumi’s own words, after meeting Shams he was transformed from a bookish, sober scholar to an impassioned seeker of the truth and love.
Rumi and Shams stayed together for a short time, about 2 years in total, but the impact of their meeting left an everlasting impression on Rumi and his work. After Shams was murdered by Rumi’s youngest son, due to events that are explained further down in this page, Rumi fell into a deep state of grief and gradually out of that pain outpoured nearly 70,000 verses of poetry. These thousands of poems, which include about 2000 in quatrains, are collected in two epic books named, Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi and Massnavi (Mathnawi).
The Growing Phenomenon of Rumi
Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, has been called the greatest mystical poet of any age. During a period of 25 years, he composed over 70,000 verses of poetry. Poetry focusing on varied and diverse topics. His work covers deeply philosophical and mystical, with poems of fiery soulful expression to passionate love verses filled with yearning and desire.
He collection has an all embracing universality. A call from an independent soul yearning for true freedom from dogma and hypocrisy.
Rumi also writes about the abolishment of the established fear-based religious orders of the world. For Rumi fear-based religion is poison and his remedy is love-based doctrine–a life journey free of guilt, fear and shame.
Barely known in the West as recently as 15 years ago, Rumi is now one of the most widely read poets in America. His is an exciting new literary and philosophical force.
“Rumi deals with the human condition and that is always relevant,” says Shahram Shiva. “Rumi is able to verbalize the highly personal and often confusing world of personal growth and development in a very clear and direct fashion. He does not offend anyone, and he includes everyone. The world of Rumi is neither exclusively the world of a Sufi, nor the world of a Hindu, nor a Jew, nor a Christian; it is a state of an evolved human. A human who is not bound by cultural limitations; a one who touches every one of us. Today Rumi’s poems can be heard in churches, synagogues, Zen monasteries, as well as in the downtown New York art/performance/music scene.”
Rumi’s work has been translated into many of the world’s languages including Russian, German, French, Italian and Spanish, and is appearing in a growing number of genres including concerts, workshops, readings, paintings, dance performances and other artistic creations.
Poetry of Spirituality & Contemplation
Rumi’s poems appear so appealing in our times since the world is being consumed by regional wars on one hand, and the hectic lifestyle we’re living on another. Those who read them find consolation and spiritual longing since today’s world drains the people from their spirituality, forcing them to perceive life in matter of material profits and gains. But through reading Rumi’s poems, one comes to know that life is more than just living it, but appreciating the beauty God has created as a way for man to contemplate the creator’s mightiness.
But for Rumi, in order for one to see the world’s beauty, one got to be beautiful from inside first. For him, the beauty we see in the world is the mirror of our souls. Whoever holds peace within himself, will see beauty in every corner on earth, and whoever holds malignity and grudges within himself, will see nothing but evil in every place he sets his eyes on.
And like Dostoevsky’s perception of the human-self in his works, that all men carry within themselves a Napoleon that motivates them into committing wrong-doings, Rumi says “Moses and Pharaoh are both inside you. Discover them within” and only through our Moses conquering our Pharaoh, that we can see beauty in both ourselves and the world we live in.
Rumi’s most famous work is The Masnawi. A collection of poems written in Persian that contains around twenty-five thousand verses on how to reach spiritual perfection through absolute love for God. Many consider it the greatest literary work ever written in Persian along with Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh.
The impact of The Masnawi on the people was huge, and it only reflects how the people are in dire need of someone who constantly reminds them of the good potentials they carry within. For despair have clouded the people’s lives, but such despair mustn’t prevent them from seeing the world as it truly is. A miracle that God has created as a sign for those who can see!
“Come, come, whoever you are, come. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving, it doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, yet again, come, come.” – Rumi