Divan-e Shams Tabrizi

Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi in English
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"Divan-e Shams is a masterpiece of wisdom and eloquence. It is often said that Rumi had attained the level of a "Perfect Master" and as such, he often dwelled in the spiritual realms that were rarely visited by others of this world. Rumi had attained spiritual heights that were attained by only a few before him or since...While the origins of Rumi’s poetry are distinctly Muslim and Sufi in nature, this hasn't stopped his poetry from being vastly widespread and influential. From German romanticism to American transcendentalism, Rumi’s influence has been broad and deep.

The French writer, Maurice Barres had once confessed: "When I experienced Rumi's poetry, which is vibrant with the tone of ecstasy and with melody, I realized the deficiencies of Shakespeare, Goethe and Victor Hugo.

The eminent British-born Orientalist and Rumi translator, A. J. Arberry had once stated: 
"In Rumi we encounter one of the world’s greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, Rumi stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic Mysticism."

The greatest Rumi scholar and translator, R. A. Nicholson, who was the first British-born Orientalist to translate the entire Masnavi into English, characterized Rumi and his works as: "The Masnavi is a majestic river, calm and deep, meandering through many a rich and varied landscape to the immeasurable ocean; the Divan is a foaming torrent that leaps and plunges in the ethereal solitude of the hills. Rumi is the greatest mystic poet of any age."

Sir William Jones, an 18th century British scholar of the Persian language, had proclaimed that: "I know of no writer to whom Rumi can justly be compared, except Chaucer or Shakespeare...so extraordinary a book as the Masnavi was never, perhaps, composed by Man. It abounds with beauties, and blemishes, equally great; with gross obscenity, and pure ethics; with exquisite strains of poetry, and flat puerility; with wit, and pleasantry, mixed jests; with ridicule on all established religions, and a vein of sublime piety...Rumi's Masnavi reflects a much more ecumenical spirit and a far broader and deeper religious sensibility than Dante's Divine Comedy."

"The name Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Order, a leading mystical brotherhood of Islam. Rumi was born in Balkh [a historic city in northern modern Afghanistan near Mazar-e Sharif, back then the eastern frontiers of the great Persian Empire], in 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians. Escaping the Mongol invasion and destruction, Rumi and his family traveled extensively in the Muslim lands, performed pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia, then part of Seljuk Empire. When his father Bahauddin Walad passed away, Rumi succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious sciences. Rumi 24 years old, was an already accomplished scholar in religious and positive sciences.

Rumi was introduced into the mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz. His love and his bereavement for the death of Shams found their expression in a surge of music, dance and lyric poems, `Divan-e Shams Tabrizi'. Rumi is the author of six volume didactic epic work, the `Masnavi', called as the 'Quran in Persian' by Jami [the eminent 15th century Persian Sufi poet], and Discourses, `Fihi Ma Fihi', written to introduce his disciples into metaphysics.

If there is any general idea underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute love of God. The Mevlevi rites, Sema [Sufi Dance of Whirling Dervishes] symbolize the divine love and mystical ecstasy; they aim at union with the Divine. The music and the dance are designed to induce a meditative state on the love of God. Mevlevi music contains some of the most core elements of Eastern classical music and it serves mainly as accompaniment for poems of Rumi and other Sufi poets. The dervishes turn timelessly and effortlessly. They whirl, turning round on their own axis and moving also in orbit. The right hand is turned up towards heaven to receive God's overflowing mercy which passes through the heart and is transmitted to earth with the down-turned left hand. While one foot remains firmly on the ground, the other crosses it and propels the dancer round. The rising and falling of the right foot is kept constant by the inner rhythmic repetition of the name of "Allah-Al-lah, Al-lah..."

The Sema ceremony can be seen as a great crescendo in three stages: knowing God, seeing God and uniting with God...Rumi's influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam cannot be overrated.

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi died on December 17, 1273 A.D. Men of five faiths followed his bier. That night was named Shab-e Arus [literally Wedding Night or Rumi's Night of Union with God). Ever since, the Mevlevi Sufi Dervishes have kept that date as a festival.

It is very gratifying to note that at the death of Rumi, his mourners were of all creeds. A Christian was asked why he wept over a Muslim grave, and he replied: "We esteem him as the Moses, the David, the Jesus of our time; and we are his disciples, his adherents." This was indeed a splendid and worthy tribute to the memory of so great a man." 

Excerpts from Rumi's World: The Life and Works of the Great Sufi Poet by the eminent German-born scholar of Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003).

1207 C.E.

Rumi is born in Balkh, north-eastern Persia [northern-Afghanistan].

1216 C.E.

Rumi’s family emigrate from Persia.

1219 C.E.

Alaoddin Kay Qobad ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

1220 C.E.

Death of Fariduddin Attar [the eminent 13th century Persian Sufi poet].

1221 C.E. 

The Mongol army conquers Balkh [Rumi's birthplace in northern-Afghanistan]. 

1222 C.E.

Rumi’s family settle temporarily in Karaman, Anatolia [central Turkey] .

1224 C.E.

Rumi marries Gowhar Khatun.

1226 C.E

Birth of Sultan Walad [Rumi's favorite son and successor].

1229 C.E.

Rumi’s family relocate to Konya [central Turkey].

1231 C.E.

Death of Baha Walad [Rumi's father].

1232 C.E.

Borhanuddin Termezi arrives in Konya [Rumi's first Sufi master].

1233 C.E.

Rumi begins his studies in Syria.

1235 C.E.

Death of Ibn al-Farez in Egypt [the eminent 13th century Arab Sufi poet].

1237 C.E

Rumi returns to Konya as leader of Baha Walad’s school. Ghiyasoddin Kay Khosrow II ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

1240 C.E.

Death of Ibn Arabi in Damascus [the eminent 13th century Arab-Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher].

1243 C.E.

The Mongols extend their empire to Anatolia [central Turkey].

1244 C.E.

Rumi meets Shams-e Tabriz in Konya for the first time.

1246 C.E.

Shams leaves Konya [central Turkey].

1247 C.E.

Shams returns to Konya [central Turkey].

1248 C.E.

Shams disappears. Salahuddin the Goldsmith begins tenure as Rumi’s deputy. 

1258 C.E.

Death of Salahuddin. Hosamuddin Chalabi begins tenure as Rumi’s deputy. The Mongols conquer Baghdad, the Abbasid capital.

1260 C.E.

The Mongols are defeated in Syria by the Mamluks [ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 until 1517, when their dynasty was extinguished by the Ottomans]. 

1262 C.E.

The Masnavi is started. 

1264 C.E.

The Masnavi is resumed after a pause on account of the death of Hosamuddin’s wife [Rumi stopped composing the Masnavi for about two years].

1273 C.E. 

17 December - Death of Rumi in Konya [central Turkey where his magnificent Shrine- The Green Dome - now stands].

RUMI CHRONOLOGY above is courtesy of The Masnavi - Book One by the Afghan-born Rumi scholar and translator, Professor Jawid Mojadeddi (Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Religion at Rutgers University).

In parentheses [ ] information above are my insertions.

A Short Outline of Rumi's Life
by Emin Aydin


"Rumi’s teaching of peace and tolerance has appealed to men and women of all sects and creeds, and continues to draw followers from all parts of the Muslim and non-Muslim world. As both a teacher and a mystic, his doctrine advocates tolerance, reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love, looking with the same eye on Muslims, Jews, Christians and others alike. Today, this message of love, peace and friendship finds strong resonation in people’s hearts...Jelaleddin Rumi was one of the great spiritual masters and poetic geniuses of mankind, and the Mevlevi Sufi order was founded to follow his teachings."

Read Entire Paper Below:
A Short Outline of Rumi's Life
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    "Rumi’s poetry is divided into various categories: the quatrains (rubayat) and odes (ghazal) of the Divan, and the six books of the Masnavi. The prose works are divided into The Discourses, The Letters, and The Seven Sermons. 

    Rumi's works were recorded, collected and compiled during his lifetime and after his death, by his son, friends and students; particularly his much-loved and loyal last disciple, Husamuddin Chelebi to whom Rumi had dedicated his magnum opus, Masnavi, as Husami Namah or The Book of Husam.

    umi’s poetry and prose writings have a spiritual content that is the universal language of the human soul. They speak of the spiritual journey of Man’s ascent through the mind and soul towards the Perfection (God). Love, tolerance, humanity, compassion, respect, openness, acceptance of the other in his or her otherness, and interfaith dialogues are fundamentals of Rumi's thoughts and practices. 

    The general theme of Rumi's thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of the Sufi concept of Tawheed–توحید the ultimate mystical union of a Sufi mystic lover with the Beloved (God)–  from Whom he or she has been cut off and become aloof– thus the lifelong longing and desire of a Sufi seeker to annihilate Self and become One with the One and Only (God). 

    It is often said that the teachings of Rumi are ecumenical in nature. For Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not limited to logical arguments or perceptions of the senses. For Rumi. creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, was the goal towards which everything moved. 

    The main theme and message of Rumi's thoughts and teachings is the love of God and His creatures. The focus of his philosophy is humanity and his objective is to achieve and to help others reach the state of perfect human being. Rumi founded the Mevlevi Sufi mystic order, commonly known as the "Whirling Dervishes" and created the Sema rite, a ritualistic sacred dance to symbolically seek the divine truth and maturity. Rumi's message and teachings continue to inspire people from all religions and cultures today and show us how to live together in peace and harmony. 

    The world of Rumi is not exclusive, but is rather the highest state of a human being - namely, a fully evolved human. He offends no one and includes everyone, as a perfect human being who is in search of love, truth and the unity of the human soul. Rumi's very broad appeal, highly advanced thinking, humanism and open heart and mind may derive from his genuinely cosmopolitan character, as during his lifetime he enjoyed exceptionally good relations with people of diverse social, cultural and religious backgrounds. Rumi was familiar with the core message of all of them and therefore was appreciated by believers of many religions. 

    There was perhaps no more beautiful tribute to Rumi's universality than his funeral, a 40-day marathon of grieving attended by distraught and weeping Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians who mourned in such a manner that one would have believed that Rumi belonged to each one of them."

    Masnavi Manavi - 
    مثنوی معنوی -

    Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meanings 

    "The Masnavi, or Rhymed Couplets, is Rumi’s last and most famous work. It consists of six lengthy books of poetry (each containing several thousand lines of text), set up in a teaching-style format designed to convey important spiritual lessons. It's the only one of Rumi’s works that he deliberately composed in chronological order for a single purpose. Rumi's Masnavi consists of a collection of around 25,000 rhyming couplets and 440 mystical/spiritual stories divided into 6 books.

    The Masnavi contains thousands of rhyming couplets (a type of poetry called, in Arabic, Mathnawî) with stories, ethical teachings, and deeply spiritual Sufi teachings. The Masnavi weaves fables, scenes from everyday life, Quranic revelations and exegesis, and metaphysics into a vast and intricate tapestry. The Masnavi is deeply permeated with Quranic meanings and references, which is why it has been so famous and well-loved for so many centuries all across the Muslim world. 

    The Masnavi is set up in the classic style of a Sufi teaching manual. It conveys its message almost entirely through stories of varying length. The material which makes up the Masnavi is divisible into two different categories: theoretical discussion of the principal themes of Sufi mystical life and doctrine, and stories of fables intended to illustrate those themes as they arise. Like many such collections that came before it, Rumi's Masnavi contains within its tales references to the Quran, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Muslim history, famous saints and sinners, poetic allusions, and tales of animals and fantastic events.

    The six books of the Masnavi can be divided into three groups of two because each pair is linked by a common theme. Book one of the Masnavi must be read in order to understand the other five volumes:

    Books 1 and 2: They “are principally concerned with the nafs, the lower carnal self or Ego, and its self-deception and evil tendencies.”

    Books 3 and 4: These books share the principal themes of Reason and Knowledge. These two themes are personified by Rumi in the Biblical and Quranic figure of the Prophet Moses.

    Books 5 and 6: These last two books are joined by the universal ideal that Man must deny his/her physical earthly existence to understand God’s existence.

    In the Masnavi, Rumi deals with many of the major questions of Islamic theology, addressing himself not primarily to learned scholars, but to ordinary people, using lively and accessible arguments to capture their attention. The aim is to explain the very roots of spirituality and the meaning of religion as understood by those who tread the mystical path, and thus to provide a guide for the thinking person to resolve everyday moral and metaphysical quandries as a true Sufi might. Rumi does not approach his theology in any systematic fashion; rather, the Masnavi is composed of parables nested within stories, interrupted by funny anecdotes or bawdy jokes, designed to reel in his audience. Rumi puts these dramatic vignettes to good purpose, drawing from them theological conclusions, pointing them with morals that illustrate his spiritual and mystical perceptions, and admonishing his readers to deeper understanding and higher aspiration. 

    The eminent 15th century Persian Sufi poet, Jami called Rumi's Masnavi 'The Quran in Persian Language'. Rumi's Masnavi is unanimously considered as one of the greatest works of mystical poetry and religious literature."

    In the prologue to the Masnavi, Rumi writes:

    "This is the Book of the Masnavi, which is the roots of the roots of the roots of the Way in respect of unveiling the mysteries of attainment and of certainty; and which is the greatest science of God and the clearest way of God and the most manifest evidence of God...

    The likeness of the light thereof is as a niche in which is a candle shining with radiance brighter than the dawn. It is the heart’s Paradise, having fountains and boughs, one of them a fountain called Salsabil among the travelers on this Path; and in the view of the possessors of stations and graces, and it is best as a station and most excellent as a resting-place. There the righteous eat and drink, and there the free are gladdened and rejoiced; and like the Nile of Egypt it is a drink to them that endure patiently, but a grief to the people of Pharaoh and the unbelievers, even as God has said, He lets many be misled thereby and He lets many be guided thereby. It is the cure for breasts, and the purge of sorrows, and the expounder of the Quran, and the abundance of gifts, and the cleansing dispositions; by the hands of noble righteous scribes who forbid None shall touch it except the purified. Falsehood does not approach it either from before or behind, since God observes it and watches over it, and He is the best guardian and He is the most merciful of them that show mercy. And it has other titles of honor which God has bestowed upon it."

    Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir - 

    دیوان شمس تبریزی یا دیوان کبیر - 

    Rumi's Great Collection of Lyrical Love Poems Dedicated to His Mystical Lover and Sufi Master, Shams of Tabriz 

    "Rumi's second best known work is the Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir, totaling some 35000 couplets, which is a collection of poems describing the mystical states and expounding various points of Sufi doctrine. While the Masnavi tends towards a didactic approach, the Divan is rather a collection of ecstatic utterances. It is well known that most of the ghazals/odes of the Divan were composed spontaneously by Rumi during the Sema or "Mystical dance." This dance, which later came to be known as the "Dance of the Whirling Dervishes," is an auxiliary means of spiritual concentration employed by the Mevlevi Sufi Order, a means which, it is said, was originated by Rumi himself. 

    Besides approximately 35000 Persian couplets and 2000 Persian quatrains, the Divan contains 90 ghazals/odes and 19 quatrains in Arabic, a couple of dozen or so couplets in Turkish (mainly macaronic poems of mixed Persian and Turkish) and 14 couplets in Greek (all of them in three macaronic poems of Greek-Persian). The Divan is the inspiration of Rumi’s middle-aged years. It began with his meeting Shams of Tabriz, becoming his disciple and spiritual friend, the stress of Shams’ first disappearance, and the crisis of Shams’ final disappearance. It is believed that Rumi continued to compose poems for the Divan long after this final crisis– during the composition of the Masnavi. 

    The Divan is filled with ecstatic verses in which Rumi expresses his mystical love for Shams as a symbol of his love for God. Shams of Tabriz was the man who transformed Rumi from a learned religious teacher into a devotee of music, dance, poetry, and founder of the Whirling Dervishes. Shams stayed with Rumi for less than two years when upset by the hostility of Rumi's disciples, spearheaded by Rumi's own son, Alauddin, one day Shams left unannounced. After the final disappearance of Sham of Tabriz, Rumi was consumed by an extended period of soul-searching. He continued to compose poems and odes to assuage his wounded heart, and this ever-growing body of work formed the basis of his book, Divan, which he dedicated to the memory of Sham of Tabriz. These beautiful and emotional poems spoke of a platonic form of love between a student and his lost master. Rumi roamed the city at nights and danced spontaneously around uttering verses in ecstasy and lamenting the separation from his master, while his students recording the muse. This valuable wealth of mystic poetry, over 50,000 verses, are preserved in the form of what is known as Divan-e Shams Tabrizi --Rumi uses Shams as nom de plume in the poems as a glowing tribute to his mystical lover and Sufi master, Shams of Tabriz.

    In the ghazal/ode 1720 from his Divan-e Shams, Rumi writes:

    We come spinning out of nothingness, 
    Scattering stars like the dust.
    The stars form a circle, 
    And in the center we dance.
    Shams of Tabriz, 
    This love of yours thirsts for my blood.
    I head straight to it, 
    Blade and shroud in hand!

    Fihi Ma Fihi - 
    فیه ما فیه -

    Discourses of Rumi 

    "It contains a collection of 71 talks and lectures given by Rumi at various occasions - some formal and others informal - to his disciples. Fihi Ma Fihi is a record of those 71 spiritual discussions that often followed music and dance, the reciting of sacred poems and phrases, and the now famous Whirling Dance of Sufi Dervishes that Rumi originated to bring spiritual awakening to the masses. Like Masnavi, it was written during the last few years of Rumi’s life. Fihi Ma Fihi or The Discourses was compiled from the notes of his various disciples, so Rumi did not author the work directly. An English translation from the Persian was first published by A.J. Arberry as Discourses of Rumi (1972), and a translation of the second book by Wheeler Thackston as Sign of the Unseen (1994). 

    In the preface to Arberry’s translation of “Fihi Ma Fihi”, Doug Marman writes:

    ‘It’ refers to God. Therefore God is what God is. This is the same as the Muslim saying, ‘There is no god but GOD.’ In other words, Rumi asks, ‘What more is there to say?’ All the words here, all the stories and explanations are saying nothing more than this. There is no more to reality than reality. God is. Reality is. It is what it is. Explanations cannot explain it. Words cannot reveal it. “Fihi Ma Fihi” refers to the “Immanent” aspect of the Cosmic Consciousness. Immanence, derived from the Latin in manere – “to remain within” – refers to the divine essence permeating the whole Cosmos and forming the basis of existence and life. Without this essence there is no existence and there is no life. The life giving essence is at the core of each entity from elementary particles to the entire Cosmos and from viruses to human beings. This essence is also known as the Soul. Unit Souls and the Cosmic Soul seem different but they are reflections of that nameless indescribable ocean of love and bliss. Rumi experiences this infinite ocean, he is unable to explain it and unable to describe it. He simply says “It is what It IS.”

    Majalis-e Saba - مجالس سبعه -

    Seven Sermons of Rumi

    "It contains a collection of Seven Rumi Sermons or Lectures given in seven different assemblies. The Sermons themselves give a commentary on the deeper meaning of Quran and Hadith. The Sermons also include quotations from poems of Sanai, Attar, and other Persian Sufi poets, including Rumi himself. As his hagiographer, Aflakī relates, after Shams Tabrizi, Rumi gave sermons at the request of notables, especially his second deputy, Salah al-Din Zarkub. Throughout his life, Rumi gave many sermons in the mosques of Konya and many addresses and speeches to gatherings of his students, followers, and others. On seven of these more auspicious occasions, either Rumi’s son, Sultan Walad, or his last deputy, Husamuddin Chelebi, recorded what the Master said. These seven recorded sermons, together, are known as the Majalis-i Saba’, which translates as the Seven Sermons. Each of these seven speeches centers upon an important saying, or hadith, of Prophet Muhammad and is expounded upon with a wide variety of anecdotes, examples, and persuasive arguments. In tone, these speeches are more businesslike and less like the poetry that characterizes Rumi’s other works. 

    Here is a brief summary of the contents of each of the Seven Sermons of Rumi. They appear as well-organized speeches in all respects:

    Sermon 1: Believers should follow the example and way of Prophet Muhammad. Untold rewards will accrue to the benefit of those who adhere to the Prophet’s way in uncertain times. 

    Sermon 2: Whoever preserves himself/herself from falling into sinful ways and who avoids arrogance, one of the worst sins, will gain spiritual richness from God. Real wealth is a contented heart. Followers of the Truth avoid greed, arrogance, and revenge, and they advance their knowledge through education. 

    Sermon 3: Pure and sincere faith will propel a person toward honest worship of God. Prayers should be performed in a humble frame of mind, and God’s help should be sought in all affairs. 

    Sermon 4: God loves those who are pure at heart. God favors those who are humble and who love Him rather than the material world. God loves those who repent to Him if they ever commit a sin. God accepts the repentance of the sincere and erases their sins. 

    Sermon 5: The only way a person can be saved from the pitfalls of the world is through religious knowledge. Those who know nothing of religion are like an empty scarecrow. Those who acquire religious knowledge are like doctors who heal others. Knowledge is the weapon a believer uses against sin. 

    Sermon 6: The world is like a trap that captures any who cling too closely to it. Those who focus themselves only upon the world of the present pass through life unaware of the bigger picture. They are heedless and do not perform the tasks that God would have them do. They can only expect destruction in the next life. 

    Sermon 7: The only way a person can understand his/her soul and how his/her motivations work is through knowledge and reason. When a person uses his/her mind to delve deeply within self, he/she can finally begin the journey towards becoming a true lover of God."

    Maktubat - 
    مکتوبات -

    Letters of Rumi

    "It contains a collection of 150 of Rumi's Persian Letters to his family members, friends, and men of state and of influence. The Letters testify that Rumi kept very busy helping family members and administering a community of disciples that had grown up around them. Islamic civilization was a society that placed a high value on preserving written records. In Rumi’s time, it had already been a well-established practice to collect the letters of scholars together and publish them in book form. Thus, Rumi’s students saved many of his letters and collated about 150 of them in a book. This collection of letters is called the Maktubat, or Letters. In keeping with Rumi’s religious and philosophical nature, all of these letters are liberally sprinkled with references from the Quran, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, anecdotes, quotes from famous writers, and poems. Rumi’s Letters, which were written to rulers, friends, students, and others, fall into three basic categories that can be summarized as follows:

    Letters of Advice: These were most often addressed to government officials to exhort them to remain righteous and to do good deeds in the conduct of their duties. Sometimes Rumi also wrote letters of this sort to friends and relatives.

    Letters of Recommendation: Like any well-respected professor,  Rumi wrote letters of recommendation to help people get jobs or receive grants from the government.

    Letters of Religious Rulings: Rumi received many requests for religious guidance and rulings on a wide variety of topics."

    Rumi's Masnavi and Divan are his Poetic works, while Discourses, Sermons, and Letters are his Prose collections. Rumi's Sermons and Letters are not yet fully translated into English.

      Most of the eBooks and Rumi related Articles listed in this post are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you currently don't have Adobe Reader to open your PDF-format files, please click above icon or links to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader

      Just as a memory refresher, all Rumi e-Books and Articles listed here are solely for educational purposes.

      "The sublime humanism of Rumi fired the imagination of mankind long before the West discovered the dignity of Man. Dante was a young boy at the time of Rumi's death. The great humanist of the West, Petrarch came a full century after him; and Erasmus followed him two and a half centuries later. 

      Sir William Jones, an eighteenth-century British scholar of the Persian language, proclaimed that “I know of no writer to whom Rumi can justly be compared, except Chaucer or Shakespeare...so extraordinary a book as the Masnavi was never, perhaps, composed by Man. It abounds with beauties, and blemishes, equally great; with gross obscenity, and pure ethics; with exquisite strains of poetry, and flat puerility; with wit, and pleasantry, mixed jests; with ridicule on all established religions, and a vein of sublime piety...the Masnavi reflects a much more ecumenical spirit and a far broader and deeper religious sensibility than Dante's Divine Comedy.” 

      Hegel considered Rumi as one of the greatest poets and thinkers in world history. In the early twentieth century, Edward Granville Browne declared Rumi “without doubt is the most eminent Sufi poet whom Persia has produced,” adding that “his mystical Masnavi deserves to rank among the greatest poems of all time.”

      The twentieth century German poet Hans Meinke saw in Rumi 'the only hope for the dark times we are living in.' The French writer Maurice Barres once confessed, 'When I experienced Rumi's poetry, which is vibrant with the tone of ecstasy and with melody, I realized the deficiencies of Shakespeare, Goethe and Victor Hugo.' 

      In contemporary England, Professor R. A. Nicholson translated the Masnavi into English and characterized Rumi and his works as 'the Masnavi is a majestic river, calm and deep, meandering through many a rich and varied landscape to the immeasurable ocean; the Divan is a foaming torrent that leaps and plunges in the ethereal solitude of the hills. Rumi is the greatest mystic poet of any age.' 

      The eminent 20th century British Orientalist and translator of Rumi's works, Professor A. J. Arberry stated, “In Rumi we encounter one of the world’s greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, Rumi stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic Mysticism.”

      Most interpreters have sought to expound the Masnavi in terms of the pantheistic system associated with Ibn al-Arabi, but this is doing grave injustice to Rumi. He is essentially a poet and a mystic, not a philosopher and logician...The nature of Rumi's experience is essentially religious. By religious experience is not meant an experience induced by the observance of a, code of taboos and laws, but an experience which owes its being to love; and by love Rumi means 'a cosmic feeling, a spirit of oneness with the Universe.' 'Love,' says Rumi, 'is the remedy of our pride and self-conceit the physician of all our infirmities. Only he whose garment is rent by love becomes entirely unselfish.'...

      In Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Rumi is honored as a saint, a sage, and a seer."

      Excerpts from The Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi by the eminent 20th century India-born scholar of Rumi, Afzal Iqbal (1923-1994). Late Prof. Iqbal's monumental book is A MUST READ if you're interested in leaning more about Rumi's life, works, and profound Sufi teachings. Read Entire e-Book Online Below:

      "Rumi is perhaps the only example in world literature of a devoted prose writer who suddenly burst forth into poetry during middle age to become a truly great mystical poet for all time. This book, a long-overdue reckoning of his life and work, begins with a description and examination of the living conditions in 13th-century Persia. Building on this context, Afzal Iqbal [the eminent 20th century India-born scholar of Rumi] proceeds to fully analyze the formative period of Rumi's life leading up to 1261--when he began the monumental work of writing the Mathnawi. Toward the end of the book, Iqbal more generally investigates Rumi's thought and includes translations of those portions of the Mathnawi that have been hitherto unavailable in English. Combining an unparalleled familiarity with the source material, a total and critical understanding of the subject, and a powerful and readable prose style, this is an extraordinary study of a truly remarkable poet and mystic."

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      "Rumi entitled his collection of odes Divan-I Shams-i-Tabriz, the Mathnawi he calls Husami Namah- the Book of Husam. Shams was the hero of the Divan, Husamuddin is invoked as the inspiring genius of the Mathnawi. Rumi took nearly twelve years to dictate 25.700 verses to Husamuddin. The modern reader demands a summary which he can dispose of in an hour. This is not possible. Even the best of summaries would do serious damage to the work. We could only attempt an outline, often using the words and employing the idiom of the author....Rumi is aware of the massive contribution he is making. In the prose introduction of Book IV, without being unduly immodest he says, 'it is the grandest of gifts and the most precious of prizes; . . . It is a light to our friends and a treasure for our (spiritual) descendants.' He is now a poet with a purpose. He asks,

      Does any painter paint a beautiful picture for the sake of the picture itself?
      Does any potter make a pot in haste for the sake of the pot itself and not in hope of the water?
      Does any bowl-maker make a finished ~owl for the sake of the bowl itself and not for the sake of the food?
      Does any calligrapher write artistically for the sake of writing itself and not for the sake of the reading?
      [Masnavi IV, 2881, 2884, 2885, 2886.] 

      In the last volume of the Mathnawi, referring to his critics, Rumi complains that the 'sour people are making us distressed, but what is to be done? The message must be delivered. 'Does a caravan ever turn back from a journey on account of the noise and clamour of the dogs?, ‘If you are thirsting for the spiritual Ocean,' says Rumi, 'make a breach in the island of the Mathnawi. Make such a great breach that at every moment you will see the Mathnawi to be only spiritual...

      ‘I saw my Lord;
      I do not worship a Lord whom I have not seen!’

      Rumi says: So long as you are under the dominion of your senses and discursive reason, it makes no difference whether you regard God as transcendent or immanent, since you cannot possibly attain to true knowledge of either aspect of His nature. The appearance of plurality arises from the animal soul, the vehicle of sense-perception. The 'human spirit' is the spirit which God breathed into Adam, and that is the spirit of the Perfect Man. Essentially it is single and indivisible, hence the Prophets and saints, having been entirely purged of sensual affections, are one in spirit, though they may be distinguished from each other by particular characteristics.

      'The world of creation is endowed with (diverse) quarters and directions, (but) know that the world of the (Divine) Command and Attributes is without (beyond) direction. . . . No created being is unconnected with Him: the connection . . . is indescribable, 'because in the spirit there is no separating and uniting, while (our) thought cannot think except [in terms] of separating and uniting. Intellect is unable completely to comprehend this reality for it is in bondage to its own limitation of thinking in categories it has coined for itself. That is why the Prophet enjoined: 'Do not seek to investigate the Essence of God.'

      In the Proem of Book V of Masnavi, Rumi says to God:

      Thy dignity hath transcended intellectual apprehension: in describing thee the intellect has become an idle fool.
      (Yet), although this intellect is too weak to declare (what thou art), one must weakly make a movement (attempt) in that (direction).
      Know that when the whole of a thing is unattainable the whole of it is not (therefore to be) relinquished.
      If you cannot drink (all) the flood-rain of the clouds, (yet) how can you give up water-drinking?
      If thou wilt not communicate the mystery, (at least) refresh (our) apprehensions with the, husk thereof.

      The man who has seen the vision is alone unique and original; and he cannot give expression to his vision for there are nor words to describe the experience which is impossible to communicate. When the Prophet left Gabriel behind and ascended the highest summit open to man the Qur’an only says that ‘Then He revealed to His servant that which He revealed.’ What he saw is not explained; it cannot be explained and it cannot be described. A stage arrives when silence becomes the height of eloquence! And yet we cannot remain content with knowledge borrowed from others. We must strive to experience for ourselves that unique indescribable vision. Our bane is that we see with borrowed light and color and we think it is our own. Rumi asks God ‘what fault did that orchard commit, that it has been stripped of the beautiful robes and has been plunged into the dreary destruction of autumn?' The reply comes:

      ‘The crime is that he put on a borrowed adornment and pretended that these robes were his own property.
      We take them back, in order that he may know for sure that the stack is Ours and the fair ones are (only) gleaners;
      That he may know that those robes were a loan: ‘twas a ray from the Sun of Being. . . .
      Thou art content with knowledge learned (from others): thou hast lit thine eye at another lamp.
      He takes away his lamp, that thou mayst know thou art a borrower, not a giver.’ 
      [Masnavi Book V, 979-93.]..."

      Excerpts from Afzal Iqbal's The Impact of Rumi on Islamic Culture

      Read the entire eBook Online Below:

                           | PDF| ENGLISH| 128 PAGES|

      "This work attempts to present Rumi to the English-speaking world and to shed light on his life as seen from within the Islamic mystical tradition. The knowledge presented in this work comes from Sefik Can, a great expert of Rumi and who used to be the highest authority, Sertariq, of the Mevlevi Sufi order in Turkey until he passed away on January 24, 2005... According to Rumi, beauty takes us from ourselves, frees us from the prison of the body, and brings us closer to another realm, to God. Thus we find God within the impact of the fine arts on sensitive people." 

      Read Entire eBook Below - courtesy of Rumi Forum

      "Ever since Rumi's death, his family kept complete records of their family. These records show that Celebi family is one of the oldest families in the world. Rumi's family tree spans more than eight centuries and includes 26 generations. The oldest recorded member of Rumi's family is his great-grandfather, Ahmad Khatibi who lived in 12th century AD."

      "The Mawlawiyah Order - طریقه مولویه (known as Mevlevi, or Mevleviye in Turkey) - one of the most well-known of the Sufi Orders - was founded in 1273 by Rumi's followers after his death, particularly his last deputy, Husamuddin Chelebi, and his son and successor, Sultan Walad in Konya, central Turkey from where they gradually spread throughout the Ottoman Empire. Today, the Mawlawīyah or Mevlevi Sufi Order can be found in many Turkish communities throughout the world, but the most active and famous places for their activity are still Konya and Istanbul in Turkey. The first successor in the leadership of Mevlevi Sufi Order was Rumi's last deputy, Husamuddin Chalabi, after whose death in 1284 Rumi's younger and only surviving son, Sultan Walad (died 1312), was installed as grand master of the Sufi Order. The leadership of the Order has been kept within Rumi's family in Konya uninterruptedly since then.

      The Mevlevi Sufis, also known as Whirling Dervishes of Rumi, believe in performing their Zikr (Remembrance of God) in the form of Sema Sufi Whirling Dance. Dervish is a common term for an initiate of the Sufi path; the whirling is part of the formal Sema ceremony and the participants are properly known as Semazen or Whirlers. Rumi developed a form of combined mobile meditation, symbolism, and teaching which became the basis of the Mevlevi Dervishes, popularly called the Whirling Dervishes and also the Mawlawi Dervishes in the Muslim world. The participants enact the turning of the planets around the sun, a symbol of man linked to the center which is God, source of life, but it is also an internalized turning of the body toward the soul, likewise source of life. Rumi tried to map out a system in which sound, motion and one-pointed concentration of thought would lead to an end to the personal self and union with the Higher Self.

      During the time of Rumi (as attested in the Manaqib ul-Arefīn by Rumi's hagiographer, Aflakī), his followers used to gather for musical and "turning" practices. Rumi himself was a notable musician who played the robab (stringed-lute), although his favorite instrument was the ney or reed flute. The music accompanying the Sema ceremony consists of settings of poems from the Rumi's Masnavi and Divan, or of Rumi's son and successor, Sultan Walad's poems. The Mawlawiyah was a well-established Sufi Order in the Ottoman Empire, and many of the members of the Order served in various official positions of the Caliphate. The center for the Mawlawiyyah was in Konya, central Turkey. There is also a Mevlevi monastery in Istanbul near the Galata Tower in which the Sema ceremony is performed and accessible to people of all faiths and backgrounds."

      Do you know what Sema,
      the Sufi Dance of Whirling Dervishes is?

      Sema is letting go completely of your existence
      and tasting eternity in non-existence.

      Sema is hearing the affirmation sound of
      separating from Self, and reaching God.

      Sema is seeing and knowing Lord, our Friend;
      and hearing, through the Divine Veils,
      the Secrets of God.

      Sema is struggling hard with your carnal soul, 

      your own ego,
      and throwing it to the ground like a half-slain beast.

      Sema is opening the heart like Shams of Tabriz,
      and clearly seeing the Divine Light within.

      The Mevlevi Religious Sema Ceremony - Whirling Dervishes

      "We live in a world of illusion bound by fear. To awaken the soul is to enlighten the mind. There is one eternal, simple truth: I AM. And because that is so, everything is because I AM. I AM God the Creator, everything else I am not, although I can be if I so choose. To illuminate the mind is to confront fear, to confront fear is to examine our limitations and boundaries. To open the mind is to invite the courageous soul into those places where once resided fear and worry. As the soul awakens from the slumber induced by being human, we are created, re-created anew...I AM is the spark of a God, all knowing, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and invincible. I AM always with God, in God, as God, of God." ~Shams Tabrizi

      "Shams Tabrizi (1184-1247) was a mysterious Persian mystic, credited as the spiritual master of Rumi, and is referenced with great reverence in Rumi’s poetic collection, in particular Divan-e Shams Tabrizi (The Works of Shams of Tabriz). A wandering Sufi mystic born in Tabriz, Iran, Shams became Rumi’s beloved companion in Konya, Turkey. Rumi had been a sober Muslim scholar, teaching Islamic Law and Theology to a small circle of students, but the coming of Shams turned him into a devotee of music, dance, and poetry. After Shams' final disappearance, Rumi attributed more and more of his own poetry to Shams as a sign of love for his departed friend and master. In Rumi's poetry, Shams becomes a symbol of God's Love for mankind; Shams was a sun ("Shams" means "Sun" in Arabic) shining the Light of God on Rumi." 

      Selections from Discourses of Shams 1- English

      Selections from Discourses of Shams 2- English

      Selections from Discourses of Shams 3- English

      "Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi (Discourse of Shams Tabrizi) is a Persian prose book written by Shams of Tabriz [Rumi's Spiritual Master]. The Maqalat seems to have been written during the later years of Shams, as he speaks of himself as an old man. Overall, it bears a mystical interpretation of Islam and contains spiritual advice. Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi is one of the two or three most important prose texts providing us with context for the ideas expressed in the Masnavi and Divan of Jalaluddin Rumi. The following excerpts from the Maqalat provide us some insight into the profound Sufi thoughts of Shams of Tabriz:

      Blessing is excess, so to speak, an excess of everything. Don't be content with being a faqih (religious scholar), say I want more – more than being a Sufi (a mystic), more than being a mystic – more than each thing that comes before you.

      Man has two qualities: One is (his) need. Through this quality, he hopes and he has his eyes on reaching the goal. The other quality is being without a need. What hope can you have from being without need? What is the utmost end of a need? Finding what has no needs! What is the ultimate end of seeking? Finding what is sought. What is the ultimate end of the sought? Finding the seeker! Find a true seeker."

      Rumi's Sun: The Teachings of Shams of Tabriz

      "Rumi’s Sun collects many lessons and discourses from Shams of Tabriz, the Sufi mystic and spiritual master who was the catalyst for Rumi’s awakening. His teachings and insights inspired much of Rumi’s poetry and are still celebrated today by all Sufi. Translated by two noted students of Sufi [Camille Helminski and Refik Algan], Shams’ timeless teachings are presented here in their traditional order. Through the book, readers discover the teachings that made Rumi dance and gain access into Sufi traditions and the power of mystical love.
      Rumi's son, Sultan walad wrote, "After meeting Shams, my father danced all day and sang all night. He had been a scholar; now he became a poet. He had been an ascetic, now he became drunk with Love." Shams of Tabriz was, indeed, Rumi's Sun, the one who caused him to radiate Divine Love. After almost 800 years, that light is spreading more than ever to encompass the whole of the world."

      "Who is talking to HU!” tells the amazing story of the master Shams of Tabrizi (1184-1247) who as the “Ya-Man-HU’ or Godman of his age, about 800 years ago developed a fascinating relationship with the highly regarded theologian and a professor of Islamic Law, Jalal al-din Rumi (1207-1273), in order to teach the ways of a unique, ancient, but long forgotten spiritual path at a difficult time and in a hostile and intolerant environment." 

      "The Sun had a special significance for Rumi because it alluded to his master, Shams—the one who awakened the truth within Rumi. Rumi’s use of the terms “Shams,” “Shams-e Tabriz” (Shams of Tabriz), and “Shamsuddin” refers not only to his master but also to the many aspects of the Beloved, embodied in Shams: “Shams” symbolizes the power of grace, the power that awakens the truth within us; “Shams” symbolizes the inner sunrise, the inner light of  consciousness, one’s own soul and its awakening. Rumi writes:

      Shams of Tabriz:
      You are either the Light of God
      Or God Himself in human form.

      Is this the reflection of my love for Shamsuddin,
      Or bright light emanating from the hand of Moses?
      Is Shams of Tabriz simply my hallucination,
      Or he equals two hundred miracles of Jesus?

      O my soul, where can I find rest
      but in the shimmering love of his heart?
      Where can I see the pure light of the Sun
      but in the eyes of my own Shams of Tabriz?

      From Tabriz shone the Sun of Truth, 
      and I said to him: 
      Your light is at once joined with all things and apart from all. 
      The sun of the face of Shams, glory to the horizons,
      never shone upon anything perishable
      but he made it eternal.
      From the sun, the pride of Tabriz, 
      behold these miracles, for every tree gains beauty
      by the light of the sun.

      "By all accounts, Rumi lived a grand and illustrious life-he was a respected teacher, a master of Sufi lore, the head of a university in the Anatolian capital city of Konya (in present-day Turkey ). At the age of thirty-four he claimed hundreds of disciples, the king being one of them. And what is so remarkable and unforgettable about Rumi's life is that in one moment all this changed-the moment he met a wandering darvish named Shams-e Tabriz.

      There are several accounts of this historic meeting. One version says that during a lecture of Rumi's, Shams came in and dumped all of Rumi's books--One handwritten by his own father-into a pool of water. Rumi thought the books were destroyed, but Shams retrieved them, volume by volume, intact. Another version says that at a wave of Shams' hand, Rumi's books were engulfed in flames and burned to ashes. Shams then put his hand in the ashes and pulled out the books. (A story much like the first.) A third account says that Rumi was riding on a mule through a square in the center of Konya. A crowd of eager students walked by his feet. Suddenly a strange figure dressed in black fur approached Rumi, grabbed hold of his mule's bridle, and said: "O scholar of infinite knowledge, who was greater, Muhammad or Bayazid of Bestam?" This seemed like an absurd question since, in all of Islam, Muhammad was held supreme among all the prophets. Rumi replied, "How can you ask such a question?-No one can compare with Muhammad." "O then," Shams asked, "why did Muhammad say, 'We have not known Thee, O God, as thou should be known,' whereas Bayazid said, 'Glory unto me! I know the full glory of God'?"

      With this one simple question--and with the piercing gaze of Shams' eyes-Rumi's entire view of reality changed. The question was merely an excuse. Shams' imparting of an inner awakening is what shattered Rumi's world. The truths and assumptions upon which Rumi based his whole life crumbled. This same story is told symbolically in the first two accounts, whereby Rumi's books-representing all his acquired intellectual knowledge, including the knowledge given to him by his father-are destroyed, and then miraculously retrieved or "resurrected" by Shams. The books coming from the ashes, created anew by Shams, represent the replacing of Rumi's book-learned knowledge (and his lofty regard for such knowledge) with divine knowledge and the direct experience of God.

      According to an embellished version of this third account, after Shams' question, Rumi entered a mystical state of ego annihilation that the Sufis call fana. When he regained consciousness, he looked at Shams with utter amazement, realizing that this was no ordinary darvish, but the Beloved himself in human form.

      From that moment on, Rumi's life was never again the same. He took Shams to live in his home and the two men were inseparable; they spent hours a day together, sometimes isolating themselves for long periods to pray and fast in divine communion with God. About this meeting, Rumi's son Sultan Walad wrote: "After meeting Shams, my father danced all day and sang all night. He had been a scholar--he became a poet. He had been an ascetic-he became drunk with love. 

      Rumi was totally lost in this newfound love that his master revealed, and all his great attainments were blossoming through that love. Every day was a miracle, a new birth for Rumi's soul. He had found the Beloved, he had finally been shown the glory of his own soul. Then, suddenly, eighteen months after Shams entered Rumi's life, he was gone. He returned some time later, for brief period, and then he was gone again forever. Some accounts say that Shams left in the middle of the night and that Rumi wandered in search of him for two years. (Perhaps a symbolic and romantic portrayal of the lover in search of his missing Beloved.) Other accounts report that Shams was murdered by Rumi's jealous disciples (symbolizing how one's desires and lower tendencies can destroy the thing held most dear).

      Without Shams, Rumi found himself in a state of utter and incurable despair; and his whole life thereafter became one of longing and divine remembrance. Rumi's emptiness was that of a person who has just lost a husband or a wife, or a dear friend. Rumi's story shows us that the longing and emptiness we feel for a lost loved one is only a reflection, a hologram, of the longing we feel for God; it is the longing we feel to become whole again, the longing to return to the root from which we were cut. (Rumi uses the metaphor of a reed cut from a reed bed and then made into a flute-which becomes a symbol of a human separated from its source, the Beloved. And as the reed flute wails all day, telling about its separation from the reed bed, so Rumi wails all day telling about being separated from his Beloved.)

      It was Shams' disappearance, however, that ignited the fire of longing within Rumi; and it was this very longing that brought him the glorious union with the Beloved. Years later Rumi wrote: "It is the burn of the heart that I want. It is this burning which is everything-more precious than a worldly empire-because it calls God secretly in the night."

      Excerpts from Jonathan Star's outstanding book Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved

       Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved 


      You are my Sufi master and my desire
      You are my pain and my medication
      I'd be blaspheming for saying this:
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      O my truth-bestowing truth

      I've reached the Ultimate Truth (God) through you.
      I give thanks and praises to you
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      Just a fleeting glance of yours

      And I'll be checkmated twice!
      You are the king of my both worlds
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      I'll annihilate my Self right before your eyes

      Until there is nothing left of me.
      That's how I show my love and respect for you
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      The roaring echoes of my homesickness cries

      Travel from the gates of Roum in Anatolia
      All the way to Balkh in eastern Persia.
      My origin never forgets its native roots
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      Jesus raised the dead to life

      But sacrificed his own life.
      You are the ever-eternal one
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      Come over O clouds and shower some rain

      Over the East and the West of this world.
      I'll blow the Resurrection Trumpet
      To announce you're the coming Messiah
      You are my Shams, You are my God.

      You are my Mosque, You are my Synagogue

      You are my Heaven, You are my Hell
      You are my Companion, You are my Life
      You are my Shams, You are my God.
      ~Rumi - from Divan-e Shams ~ My Translation ~

      پير من و مراد من درد من و دواي من
      فاش بگفتم اين سخن شمس من و خداي من
      از تو به حق رسيده‌ام اي حق حقگزار من
      شکر تو را ستاده‌ام شمس من و خداي من
      مات شوم ز عشق تو زانکه شه دو عالمي
      تا تو مرا نظر کني شمس من وخداي من
      محو شوم به پيش تو تا که اثر نماندم
      شرط ادب چنين بود شمس من و خداي من
      نغرۀ های و هوی من ازدر روم  تا به بلخ
      اصل کجا خطا کند شمس من و خدای من
      عیسی مرده زنده کرد دید فنای خویشتن
      زنده جاودان تویی شمس من و خدای من
      ابر بيا و آب زن مشرق و مغرب جهان
      صور بدم که مي‌رسد شمس من و خداي من
      کعبه‌ي من کنشت من دوزخ من بهشت من
      مونس روزگار من شمس من و خداي من
      مولانا در فراق شمس

      "By Allah, seeing your face is a blessing!...Happy the one who finds Maulana [Rumi]! Who am I? One who found him. Happy am I! By Allah, I am deficient in knowing Maulana. There is no hypocrisy or politesse or interpretation in these words; I am deficient in knowing him! Every day I realize something about his state and his deeds which I didn't know yesterday. I discover Maulana better, so I do not later grow confused.

      Maulana has two ways of talking: one public and one heartfelt. As for the public one, the souls of all the saints and their collective spirit long to have found Maulana and sat with him. And as for the heartfelt one, devoid of hypocrisy, the spirit of the prophets long for it: "If only we had been in his time and been his companions and heard his words!" So don't you miss out now. Don't look to the first, but to this other thing, to which the spirit of the prophets looks with longing and regret.

      I first came to Maulana with the understanding that I would not be his Shaykh (Sufi Master). God has not yet brought into being on this earth one who could be Maulana's Shaykh; he would not be a mortal. But nor am I one to be a disciple. It's no longer in me. Now I come for friendship, relief. It must be such that I do not need to dissimulate. Most of the prophets have dissimulated. Dissimulation is expressing something contrary to what is in your heart. In my presence, as he listens to me, Maulana considers himself - I am ashamed to even say it - like a two-year-old child or like a new convert to Islam who knows nothing about it. Amazing submissiveness!

      Regarding me and Maulana, the intended aim of the world's existence is the encounter of two friends of God, when they face each other only for the sake of God, far distant from lust and craving. The purpose is not for bread, soup with bread crumbs, butcher, or the butcher's business. It is such a moment as this, when I am tranquil in the presence of Maulana. Beyond these outward spiritual leaders who are famous among the people and mentioned from the pulpits and in assemblies, there are the hidden saints, more complete than the famous ones. And beyond them, there is the sought one that some of the hidden saints find. Maulana thinks that I am he, but that's not how I see it. The story of the sought one cannot be found in any book, nor in the explanations of religion, nor in the sacred treatises - all those are explanations for the path of the seeker. We've only heard about the sought ones - nothing more has been said. In the whole world, words belong only to the seeker. The sought one has no mark in this world. Every mark is the mark of the seeker.

      Which arrow is it that strikes you? 
      These words.

      Which quiver do these arrows come from?
      From the world of the Real.

      Whose bow do they fly from?

      These arrows will take you to the world of the Real. They are in the quiver there, but I can't shoot them. The arrows I shoot all go back into the quiver from where they come. There may be one fault in a man that conceals a thousand qualities, or one excellence that conceals a thousand faults. The little indicates much. Being the companion of the folk of this world is fire. There must be an Abraham if the fire is not going to burn. I have no business with the common folk of the world; I have not come for their sake. Those people who are guides for the world unto God, I put my finger on their pulses."

      Excerpts from 'Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabriziمقالات شمس تبریزی', literally 'Shams Tabrizi's Discourses' - translated to English by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Professor William C. Chittick as Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i Tabrizi

      Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i Tabrizi

      "William Chittick’s masterful translation of the Maqalat of Shamsi Tabrizi moves Rumi’s beloved mentor from the shadows into the light, and restores Shams to the central position of prominence that he so richly deserves. This work immediately joins the indispensable short list of scholarly works on Rumi and his community. Highly recommended for all scholars and students of Sufism, Islamic Philosophy, Persian literature, and of course for all the legions of Rumi fans." ~Prof. Annemarie Schimmel.

      Who is an Anatolian Turk?
      Who is a Persian Balkhi?*
      Who is a Black Zangi?*
      Who is a White Rumi?
      Where did I come from?
      Where did all this poetry come from?
      Yet somehow, these poems are breathed into me
      and all this poetry is simply pouring out of me...
      Rumi - from Divan-e Shams - My Translation

      *Balkhi = From Balkh - a historic city in northern Afghanistan where Jalaluddin Muhammad was originally born.

      *Zangi = From Zanzibar - The ancient Farsi name for the entire East African Coast. Zangi in Farsi or Persian also means a Black Person.

      ترکی کی بلخی کی زنگی کی رومی کی

      من از کجا شعر ازکجا لیکن بمن در می دمد
      مولانا جلال الدین بلخی رومی

      "Diwan (Persian دیوان), also transliterated as Deewan or Divan, is a Persian word used also into Arabic (Arabic: الدیوان) and Turkish, and was borrowed also at an earlier date into Armenian. It derives from the Persian dibir, 'writer, scribe', and diwan or divān originally designated a list or register. The term derived from Pahlavi referring to a collection of poems by a single author; it may be a 'selected works', or the whole body of work of a Persian, Urdu or Ottoman Turkish poet. Thus Diwan-e Mir, and so on. The introduction of the term is attributed to Rudaki. It is also worth mentioning that the most famous work with this word as its title is the collection of poetry called Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi by Rumi, named so because of Rumi's love and dedication to Shams Tabrizi. The term divan was used in titles of poetic works in French, beginning in 1697, but was a rare and didactic usage, though one that was revived by its famous appearance in Goethe's West-Östlicher Divan (Poems of West and East), a work published in 1819 that reflected the poet's abiding interest in Middle Eastern and specifically Persian literature. This word has also been applied in a similar way to collections of Hebrew poetry and to poetry of al-Andalus."

      "Divan-e Shams is a masterpiece of wisdom and eloquence. It is often said that Rumi had attained the level of a "Perfect Master" and as such, he often dwelled in the spiritual realms that were rarely visited by others of this world. He attained heights that were attained by only a few before him or since.

      In Divan-e Shams, he has used many images from the mundane world. Images such as the wine and the wine bearer, the pearl and the ocean, the sun and the moon, the night and day, the caravan, pilgrimage and many more. However, he has always expressed spiritual wisdom of the highest level through this imagery.

      While many other poets have a mystical vision and then try to express it in a graspable language, Rumi has never attempted to bring his visions to the level of the mundane. He has always expected, nay, demanded the reader to reach higher and higher in his or her own spiritual understanding, and then perhaps be able to appreciate what Rumi was saying. Perhaps this is why there are many layers to his poetry… not so much because of his writing, but because of our understanding. As we transcend in our understanding, we grasp more and more of what he conveyed to us.

      Yet there is more. While many of the translations of Rumi’s poetry have tried to convey the immense wisdom contained therein, often they overlook the musical and artistic beauty that they contain. Particularly in Divan-e Shams, Rumi has created such level of beauty through the use and mastery of musical rhythm and rhyme, that the reader not only can appreciate its wisdom, but also reach levels of ecstasy and mystical energy that is seldom found in other poems or any translations of his poetry.

      The mastery of rhyme and rhythm is such that he often creates a new vocabulary, using the same old words, yet creating new feelings that are associated with them. Furthermore, often he has such mastery of play on words and puns, or at other times he uses the same word with a different accent or vowel twice or even thrice in the same verse, with a different meaning each time. One cannot help but marvel at the linguistic mastery he displays.

      In any case, the end result is the same… the experience of artistic beauty, musical genius, rhythm and ecstatic energy, all in conjunction with the mental understanding of the wisdom conveyed. This is as close as one can get to the mystical experience itself, without actually being there with Rumi. In other words, His presence pervades his poetry, and one cannot help but be touched by such powerful and loving presence.

      In translation from Farsi to English, it is inevitable that much of the intricacies are lost. However, the present translations have attempted to retain some of the rhythm and rhyme as well as the imagery and the core message of each poem, though often in feeble ways, only to attempt to present a glimpse of his mastery.

      The translations are far from creating the ecstasy that Rumi creates and communicates, but it is hoped that they will point the reader in the same direction. And perhaps by using his or her imagination, the reader can have a glimpse of how Rumi would provide glimpses of ecstasy and mystical experience. And hopefully this will pave the way for the reader to connect with Rumi’s all and ever-pervasive presence, and with time, be touched by that spirit." ~Courtesy of Rumi on Fire

      Click on each link below to read a Poem from Rumi's Divan in English and Farsi or Persian simultaneously ~ 

                       | PDF| ENGLISH | 800 PAGES |

      Translated by Nevit O. Ergin

      The complete English translation of Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Dîvân-i Kebîr (22 Volume Set), translated by Dr. Nevit O. Ergin, is now available for purchase, through Society for Understanding Mevlana

      Divan-e Shams (22 Vol. Set - English Translation)

      Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi
       | PDF| ENGLISH | 350 PAGES |

      Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi
      | PDF| ENGLISH | 350 PAGES |

      Translated by R. A. Nicholson 

      Courtesy of West Bengal Library

      50 Selected Poems from Divan

      Translated by R. A. Nicholson

      8 Selected Ghazals/Odes from Divan

      Translated by R. A. Nicholson

      Translated by A.J. Arberry as Mystical Poems of Rumi

      359 Quatrains from Rumi's Divan

      Translated by A.J. Arberry as The Ruba'iyat of Jalal Al-Din Rumi

      Courtesy of Poetry Chaikhana & Poem Hunter

      This poetry, 
      I never know what I'm going to say. 
      I don't plan it. 
      When I'm outside the saying of it, 
      I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
      Do you think I know what I’m doing,
      That for a moment, or even half a moment,
      I know what verses will come from my mouth?
      I am no more than a pen in a writer’s hand,
      No more than a ball smacked around by a polo stick!
      ~Rumi ~ Translated by Coleman Barks

      "What have I to do with poetry? By Allah, I care nothing for poetry, and there is nothing worse in my eyes than that. It has become incumbent upon me, as when a man plunges his hands into tripe and washes it out for the sake of a guest's appetite, because the guest's appetite is for tripe. I have studied many sciences and taken much pain, so that I may be able to offer fine and rare and precious things to the scholars and researchers, the clever ones and the deep thinkers who come to me. God most High Himself willed this. He gathered here all those sciences, and assembled here all those pains, so that I might be occupied with this work. What can I do? In my own country and among my own people there is no occupation more shameful than poetry. If I had remained in my own country, I would have lived in harmony with their temperament and would have practiced what they desired, such as lecturing and composing books, preaching and admonishing, observing abstinence and doing all the outward acts.."

      "This spirituality that Rumi represents has obviously touched a very deep nerve in the American psyche. "

      "Rumi, the 13th century [Afghan-born] Muslim mystic, is now America’s bestselling poet. Amazon lists more than a hundred books of his poetry, and Hollywood stars like Madonna and Martin Sheen have made a CD of his writings. In a country where Pulitzer Prize-winning poets often struggle to sell 10,000 books, Coleman Barks' translations of Rumi have sold more than a quarter of a million copies. Recordings of Rumi poems have made it to Billboard's Top 20 list. And a pantheon of Hollywood stars have recorded a collection of Rumi's love poems - these translated by holistic-health guru Deepak Chopra...Put it all together and you've got a Rumi revival that's made the 13th-century Persian wordsmith the top-selling poet in America today.

      In America, Rumi is a teacher of universal spiritual love that crosses religions. Rumi was truly focused on the inner experience, and his writings about the spiritual journey have resonated with people from all walks of life. Rumi is also able to "evoke ecstasy from the plan facts of nature and everyday life" - and in our fast-paced world, that's something we can all appreciate."

      Excerpts from Persian Poet Top Seller In America

      "An Americanized Rumi who speaks to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people and builds bridges of understanding between the Muslim World and the West is, after all, better than an Academized Rumi who speaks to no one."

      "..The Western world has for decades been culling through the most alluring and exotic blooms of Eastern poetry and philosophy in search of a "spirituality" completely unencumbered by the spiky thorns of "religion." From the Zen masters embraced by the Beats of the '50s, to the Hindu holy men momentarily adopted by the Beatles in the '60s, to that quintessentially enigmatic Chinese mystic Lao Tzu whose Tao Te Ching has been Americanized by even more translators in the past few years than Rumi's work has the message most ardently sought by the West from these Eastern visionaries is ever the same: the divine is bigger than every vessel that seeks to hold it. But what too often gets ignored is the fact that the poets and mystics making this claim were always speaking from within such vessels themselves: complex cultural worlds to which they remained deeply attached and indebted no matter how free their words, cleaned up and tweaked by modern translators, might make them seem. The New Age dream of finding a guiding ancient voice free of all orthodoxies, dogmas and cultural conditionings has remained just that.

      Jalaluddin Rumi was, among many other things, a lover of irony, of the odd and absurd juxtapositions that life creates. So it may be that Rumi would have savored the fact that Madonna set translations of his 13th century verses praising Allah to music on Deepak Chopra's 1998 CD, A Gift of Love; that Donna Karan has used recitations of his poetry as a background to her fashion shows; that Oliver Stone wants to make a film of his life; and that even though he hailed from Balkh, a town near Mazar-i-Sharif situated in what is today Afghanistan, his verse has only become more popular with American readers since September 11, when Harper Collins published The Soul of Rumi, 400 pages of poetry translated by Coleman Barks...previous Rumi best seller, The Essential Rumi, published by HarperCollins in 1995 with more than 250,000 copies in print, it is easily the most successful poetry book published in the West in the past decade...

      The man most responsible for Rumi's popularity in the West today is Coleman Barks, a poet and retired professor of English at the University of Georgia. Humble and soft-spoken, Barks acknowledges that his translations are often far from exact renditions of the Farsi of Rumi's day which in any case he doesn't speak. To create them, he has used literal translations provided by others. Barks' emphasis on poetic essence over linguistic exactitude owes a strong debt to earlier poet-translators like Robert Bly, Kenneth Rexroth and Ezra Pound who championed a style of direct, aggressively unacademic translation. Following their example, Barks was able to create an American Rumi: one who speaks across the centuries with a voice as direct and imperative as a tug on the shirt...The God Rumi speaks of in his poems or at least in Barks' translations of them is one who seemingly has little interest in the intricacies of orthodoxy and doctrine. "Rumi keeps breaking the mosque and the minaret and the school," Barks told National Public Radio last year. "He says when those are torn down, then dervishes can begin their community. So he wants us all to break out of our conditioning, be it national or be it religious or be it gender based...

      If Rumi himself were somehow zapped, robes and all, into the present day and given a look at the vast spiritual Starbucks where he is the most popular flavor of the moment, what would he make of it all? "

      Excerpts from Rumi Rules! Muslim Mystic is U.S.'s Bestselling Poet

      "The excellent Rumi is now a favorite in America, and if we believe Coleman Barks, Rumi’s grand translator, today more Americans read Rumi than Shakespeare. What lies behind this passionate love of Americans for Rumi?"

      "Toward the end of Candid, Voltaire writes in 1758 about a dervish saint who lived in Turkey without citing his name. In the novel, Candid approaches and asks the dervish: “Master…we have come to ask a favor. Will you kindly tell us why such a strange animal as man was ever made?
      “When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt, do you suppose he worries whether the ship’s mice are comfortable or not.” The dervish answered.

      This dervish was Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, also known as Mavlana-i-Balkhi, the greatest metaphysical thinker and Sufi poet of all times...As the labyrinth of suffering and injustice and fever of war is raging in our world today, the West looks upon the East for inspiration as Voltaire did in his turbulent age. For our age, Rumi’s poetry offers the remedy for the apocalyptic hysteresis of our time. It is the prime reason why Rumi is becoming increasingly popular in the West. The medieval poet is loved and read in the West and he still is a bestseller in the US. His ideas and poetic legacy still haunt universities, pubs, spiritual industries, valentine day, theater, opera, ballet, film etc...

      Rumi and Idris Shah himself were among the great inspirers for the Western esotericism, New Age in the 1960s. Rumi’s spiritual doctrine of God as an apex of a pyramid with numerous paths leading to it was adapted by the New Agers. This led within the movement the notion of unity and harmony between all religions of the world. With the help of a spiritual master, one can get access to such a high consciousness and a cosmic energy beyond human physical faculties...

      The universal message of Rumi is a hopeful alternative to the ignorance and lack of spirituality in modern times. Rumi's writings of the thirteenth century advocate an understanding that there is something beyond religion and scholarly learning that can open our eyes to the reality beyond this existence; for Rumi we must climb a spiritual ladder of love. Furthermore, Rumi envisioned a universal faith, embodying all religions, because he understood that the cause of every religious conflict is ignorance. Rumi implies that religiosity consists in something other than outward religions. Real belief is apparent only on the inside of a person, which is not visible. Therefore, Rumi makes it clear that the religion of love involves loving the eternal and invisible source of existence."  

      Excepts from Rumi, Islam and America


      "Rumi is thus seen, not just as an icon of Islamic civilization (or of Afghan, Iranian, Tajik or Turkish national heritage), but of global culture. And, indeed, the popular following he enjoys in North America as a symbol of ecumenical spirituality is evident in bookstores, poetry slams, church sermons and on the internet. Some claim that Rumi is the bestselling poet in the United States, achieving great commercial success at the hands of authors who "translate" despite not speaking the original language.

      Since another Persian poet, Omar Khayyam (d. 1121), once had societies dedicated to him in every corner of the Anglophone world, but is relatively little read today, we may well ask whether Rumi's recent fame in the West represents just another passing fad. But might he have something profound to say about, not only the paradigm of new age thought and spirituality, but also the mystical traditions of the other established religions?"

      Excerpts from Rumi: World Figure or New Age Fad? by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Professor Franklin Lewis. 

      Franklin Lewis is associate professor of Persian in the department of near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. The following eight articles on Rumi by the outstanding contemporary American scholar of Rumi, Professor Franklin Lewis are A MUST READ, if you're interested in leaning more about Rumi's life, works, and profound Sufi teachings:

      Excerpts from Prof. Franklin Lewis' outstanding lecture, The Icon and the Man: In Quest of the Historical Rumi:

      WHO IS RUMI?

      What identities did this Rumi hold? Most of us do belong to different professional, communal, intellectual, family, and social circles – and as such have simultaneous multiple overlapping identities. We are not one thing alone, and to understand any utterance we make, or anything we write, it helps to know the context of our comment, and the discourse in which we intend it to participate.

      Rumi was of course, Muslim, but what does that mean? Not just a Muslim, but a Sunni Muslim (which is to say he was not Shi’i, though like most Shi’is and Sunnis, he did hold ‛Ali in especial reverence). He was trained in and followed the Hanafi school of law (i.e., he was not Mâliki, Shâfi’i or Hanbali, though he often was influenced by or admired others who did follow those other schools). He was a member of the ulema, the class of religious scholars (meaning he was not a farmer, not an artisan, and though he held the ear of several important people of state, and received state patronage, he did not work for the government). More specifically, he was trained, like his father, as a popular preacher (vā`eẓ). He has furthermore been identified as a ṣufi, in his case meaning someone who shares a mystical technique or approach to the reading of, and living out, the Qur’an and Islamic teachings. Sufism is a catch-all term that means different things and must itself be unpackaged. It was associated in Rumi’s case with ascetic practices – the term probably comes from the wearing of coarse wool cloaks (ṣuf) – and Rumi certainly did engage in extended fasting and other spiritual / physical disciplines as part of his quest for God. However, it more broadly came to mean that, in addition to following the path of behavior established in the Shari`a or Islamic law, one would also follow another word for “path” – the ṭariqa, a mode of insight and experiencing God that goes beyond the acquisition of religious and legal knowledge. It might in some contexts refer to wandering mendicant dervishes, who shaved their heads and eyebrows and beard and practiced reliance on god, or begging. It might designate a community of disciples who train with a particular master, spending time in his company (soḥbat) for many years learning his behavior and his teachings, and following specific rules. It might denote a person who is engaged in a contemplative gnostic quest to apprehend the Godhead – ‛erfân. And it was most certainly associated in this latter sense with Rumi after his time with Shams.

      Ethnically Rumi was most probably Persian, though he himself does not make an issue of it. He wrote primarily in Persian, which was obviously his mother tongue, though he also wrote a good deal of poetry and prose in Arabic, and he even composed a little bit of verse with lines in Turkish or in demotic Greek. Though he would not have seen himself in terms of modern day nationalities or citizens of particular nation-states, this has not stopped various countries claiming him as their own, as I earlier alluded. How did Rumi identify himself? Well, we might try to understand that from the following lines of his Masnavi (1:1205-7):

      A language shared brings kinship and a bond 
      But talk with folk of unlike mind’s a chain:

      Often Turk and Hindu can communicate 

      Whereas two Turks may meet and feel estranged 
      The lingo the like-minded share is best! 
      Better a common heart than common tongue!

      As part of this question of identity, there is even the question of what to call him. In the West we now refer to him as “Rumi,” meaning in Persian, from “Rome” or Byzantium, that is Anatolia, though this might also be said of thousands of other people of the pre-modern era. His given name was Moḥammad, his title was Jalâl al-Din (“the Majesty of the Faith”), his followers called him “Mowlavi” (an Arabic term used also in Persian, and later in Urdu, meaning “my master”) or Mowlânâ, meaning “our master.” In Turkish this is pronounced as Mevlana, the name by which he is generally known in Turkey, while Rumi is a name that is peculiar to him in the modern West."

      Read and Watch Entire Lecture Below:

      The Icon and the Man: In Quest of the Historical Rumi

      Prof. Franklin Lewis' Major Works on Rumi are:

      MUST READ...The Quintessential Book on Rumi

      Rumi: Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi

      "An astounding work of scholarship by Prof. Lewis, which brings Rumi, his father, his son, Shams i Tabriz, and the entire world of medieval Konya to life in this monumental biography of Rumi and the Mevlevi Sufi Order he founded. Setting a benchmark in Rumi studies, this award-winning work examines the background, the legacy, and the continuing significance of this thirteenth-century mystic, who is today the best-selling poet in the United States. Franklin D. Lewis has drawn on a vast array of sources, from writings of the poet himself to the latest scholarly literature, to produce this detailed survey of Rumi's life and work. In addition to offering fresh perspectives on the philosophical and spiritual context in which Rumi was writing, and providing in-depth analysis of his teachings, Lewis pays particular attention to why Rumi continues to enjoy such a huge following in the West. Also featured in this ground-breaking study are new translations of over fifty of Rumi's poems, and never before seen prose, together with extensive commentaries and a full annotated bibliography of works by and about Rumi."

      "It will simply not do to extract quotations out of context and present Rumi as prophet of the presumptions of an unchurched and syncretic spirituality. While Rumi does indeed demonstrate a tolerant and inclusive understanding of religion, he also, we must remember, trained as a preacher, like his father before him, and as a scholar of Islamic law. Rumi did not come to his theology of tolerance and inclusive spirituality by turning away from traditional Islam or organized religion, but through an immersion in it; his spiritual yearning stemmed from a radical desire to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad and actualize his potential as a perfect Muslim...To understand Rumi one must obviously understand something of the beliefs and assumptions he held as a Muslim. Rumi's beliefs derived from the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic theology and the works of Sunni mystics like Sana i, Attar, and his own father, Baha al-Din Valad." 

      Excerpts from Prof. Franklin Lewis' monumental work, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi

      Rumi: Swallowing the Sun

      "Timeless and eternal, distilled from the deepest spirit, the poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi is loved the world over. In this beautifully presented volume of new translations, Franklin D. Lewis draws from the great breadth of his work, in all its varied aspects and voices. Working directly from the original Persian, Lewis brings to this translation not only the latest scholarship in Persian and English, but a deftness and lightness of touch that allows for a profound sensitivity to Rumi's mystical and philosophical background. Complete with a detailed introduction and notes, this is a perceptive, insightful, and deeply moving collection that will prove inspirational to both keen followers of Rumi's work and readers discovering the great poet for the first time."

      Rumi - Ghazal/Ode # 1855 from Divan-e Shams - Translated from Farsi or Persian by the eminent American-born scholar of Rumi, Prof. Franklin Lewis:

      How could I know melancholia

      Would make me so crazy,
      Make of my heart a hell
      Of my two eyes raging rivers?
      How could I know a torrent would
      Snatch me out of nowhere away,
      Toss me like a ship upon a sea of blood
      That waves would crack that ship’s ribs board by board,
      Tear with endless pitch and yaw each plank
      That a leviathan would read its head,
      Gulp down the ocean’s water,
      That such an endless ocean could dry up like a desert,
      That the sea-quenching serpent could then split that desert
      Could jerk me of a sudden, like Korah, with the hand of wrath,
      Deep into a pit?
      When these transmutations came about
      Nod desert, not sea remained in sight
      How should I know how it all happened
      Since how is drowned in the Howless?
      What a multiplicity of how could I knows!
      But I don’t know
      For to counter
      The sea rushing in my mouth
      I swallowed a froth of opium.

      Here is Rumi's original Ghazal/Ode #1855 in Farsi or Persian from his Divan-e Shams:

      چه دانستم که این سودا مرا زین سان کند مجنون
      دلم را دوزخی سازد دو چشمم را کند جیحون
      چه دانستم که سیلابی مرا ناگاه برباید
      چو کشتی ام دراندازد میان قلزم پرخون
      زند موجی بر آن کشتی که تخته تخته بشکافد
      که هر تخته فروریزد ز گردش‌های گوناگون
      نهنگی هم برآرد سر خورد آن آب دریا را
      چنان دریای بی‌پایان شود بی‌آب چون هامون
      شکافد نیز آن هامون نهنگ بحرفرسا را
      کشد در قعر ناگاهان به دست قهر چون قارون
      چو این تبدیل‌ها آمد نه هامون ماند و نه دریا
      چه دانم من دگر چون شد که چون غرق است در بی‌چون
      چه دانم‌های بسیار است لیکن من نمی‌دانم
      که خوردم از دهان بندی در آن دریا کفی افیون

      مولانا- غزل شمارهٔ ۱۸۵۵ از دیوان شمس تبریزی

      "William C. Chittick is a professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Professor Chittick is one the world’s leading translators and interpreters of the mystical poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi. He is also recognized for his translation and interpretation of the writings of the great 13th century Andalusian Sufi theorist and poet, Ibn Arabi."

      Prof. Chittick is the author of following Books on Rumi & Sufism:

      The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi

      "The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of Man in the cosmos, the need for religion, Man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" realities. William Chittick translates into English for the first time certain aspects of Rumi's work. He selects and rearranges Rumi's poetry and prose in order to leave aside unnecessary complications characteristic of other English translations and to present Rumi's ideas in an orderly fashion, yet in his own words."

      Excerpts from The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Prof. William C. Chittick

      "Although Rumi has become one of America’s favorite poets, very little is known about the underlying metaphysical foundation which illuminates his language. Rumi is not a great poet in spite of Islam, He’s a great poet because of Islam. It’s because he lived his religion fully that he became this great expositor on beauty and love. Rumi has come to embody a kind of free-for-all American spirituality that has as much to do with Walt Whitman as Muhammad. Rumi’s work has become so universal that it can mean anything; readers use the poems for recreational self-discovery, finding in the lines whatever they wish.

      In the modern West, Jalaluddin Rumi has become the best known Persian poet. Some Persian speakers may consider him the greatest poet of their language, but not if they are asked to stress the verbal perfections of the verses rather than the meaning that the words convey. Rumi's success in the West has to do with the fact that his message transcends the limitation of language. He has something important to say, and he says it in a way that is not completely bound up with the intricacies and beauty of the Persian language and the culture which that language conveys, nor even with poetry (he is also the author of prose works, including his Discourses, available in a good English translation by A.J. Arberry). One does not have to appreciate poetry to realize that Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual teachers who ever lived.

      Rumi's greatness has to do with the fact that he brings out what he calls "the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion," or the most essential message of Islam, which is the most essential message of traditional religion everywhere: Human beings were born for unlimited freedom and infinite bliss, and their birthright is within their grasp. But in order to reach it, they must surrender to love. What makes Rumi's expression of this message different from other expressions is his extraordinary directness and uncanny ability to employ images drawn from everyday life.

      Beauty, Rumi knows, is a profound need of the human soul, because God is beautiful and the source of all beauty, and God is the soul's only real need...For Rumi, separation from Shams was the outward sign of separation from God, which is only half the story. As much as Rumi complains of separation, he celebrates the joys of union. Shams, he lets us know, never really left him, nor was Rumi ever truly separate from God.

      Shams Tabrizi is but a pretext-

      I display the beauty of God's gentleness, I !" 

      The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi

      "In clear and accessible language, The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi is an introduction to the spiritual perspective illuminating Rumi's magical poetry. In this beautifully illustrated work, William C. Chittick, a leading scholar of Sufism and Rumi, opens doors that give us access to the inner sanctum of Rumi's thought."

      Excerpts from The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Prof. William C. Chittick:

      "Rumi is justly celebrated as one of the great poets of human history. When I started reading him as an undergraduate 45 years ago, I did not know Persian and relied on the work of R. A. Nicholson, who produced the first critical edition of Rumi's 25,000-verse Mathnawi along with a complete English translation and two volumes of commentary (eight volumes in all). At that time Rumi was practically unknown outside the field of Middle East studies, so his popularity in the West is a recent phenomenon. In the Persianate world (which extends from the Balkans through Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent), he has been a cultural icon for centuries. Although he is now far better known in the West than he was 40 years ago, the understanding of what he is actually talking about seems to have decreased. It was not easy to plow through Nicholson, but one did learn a great deal about the religious and philosophical content of Rumi's teachings. Having breezed through one of the popular selections, one comes out feeling good.

      Everyone recognizes that Rumi was a poet of love. This means that most people see him as an oddity in Islamic history. When we situate him in his own historical context, however, we see that he spoke for the mainstream. What made him stand out was that he got to the heart of the matter more quickly and much more enticingly than most authors. He makes his agenda explicit in the introduction to the Mathnawi: He is explaining "the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion," that is, the Islamic religion founded by the Koran and Muhammad...

      Rumi gave a great variety of names to the human participation in God's love -- hunger, thirst, need, desire, craving, passion, fire, burning. Like many others, he identified love with the "poverty" mentioned in the Koranic verse, "O people, you are the poor toward God, and God is the rich, the praiseworthy" (35:15). Love is that empty spot in our hearts that we can never fill, because it craves the infinite riches of the Hidden Treasure.

      Once upon a time, Rumi says, we were fish swimming in the ocean, unaware of the water and ourselves. The ocean wanted to be recognized, so it threw us up on dry land. We flip after this, we flop after that, pursuing an ever more elusive happiness. Is the ocean tormenting us? Well, yes. It put us here. But, the more we burn, the more intensely we will love the ocean's beauty when it calls us back."

      "The earliest introductions of Sufism to America took place in the early 1900’s through scholars, writers, and artists who often accessed information on Sufism through the Orientalist movement. Examples of Western figures who were influenced by Sufism include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rene Guenon, Reynold Nicholson, and Samuel Lewis. These individuals helped to introduce concepts of Sufism to larger audiences through their writings, discussions and other methods of influence. Emerson, for example, was influenced by Persian Sufi poetry such as that of the poet Saadi, and this influence was then reflected in Emerson’s own poetry and essays. Rene Guenon incorporated information about Sufism into his traditionalist philosophy, and Nicholson offered Western readers some of the great Sufi works for the first time in the English language, especially the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi

      The first major Sufi figure in the United States was Hazrat Inayat Khan, a musician from India. He blended aspects of Sufism and Islam with other spiritual, musical and religious concepts and practices. He did not actually consider his group a Sufi group and preached a Universalist spiritual movement. Hazrat believed destiny had called him to speed the “Universal Message of the Time” which maintained that Sufism was not essentially tied to historical Islam, but rather consisted of timeless, universal teaching related to peace, harmony, and the essential unity of all human beings. Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Sufi Order in America, called ‘The Sufi Order in the West’ was founded in 1910."

      Excerpts from  A Short History of Sufism and Sufi Communities in America

      Read Inayat Khan's Major Sufi Works

      "The poetry of Jelal-ud-Din Rumi has made the greatest impression upon humanity. The original words of Rumi are so deep, so perfect, so touching, that when one repeats them hundreds and thousands of people are moved to tears. They cannot help penetrating the heart. This shows how much Rumi himself was moved to have been able to pour out such living words... [after meeting Shams of Tabriz], Rumi experienced a wonderful upliftment, a great joy and exaltation. In order to make this exaltation complete, Rumi began to write verses, and the singers used to sing them; and when Rumi heard these beautiful verses sung by the singers with their rabab, the Persian musical instrument, he experienced the stage known to Yogis as Samadhi, which in Persian is called Wajad..."

      Excerpts from The Sufi Teachings of Inayat Khan

      "While one considers the place of Rumi in the European intellectual context, the inquest cannot be complete without mulling over his role in shaping Western thought and theology. This is where the mystical dimensions of Rumi have the most far reaching impact. The cosmology of Rumi's work is perhaps one of the most diverse in the entire literary history. It is only thus that it has appealed to the most assorted set of individuals in the East and West alike. The mystical chants of Rumi reached their zenith when they influenced the thought of two of the most prominent thinkers in modern history, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and Karl Marx (1818-1883).

      A number of Orientalists can be credited with introducing Rumi to Europe. The role that the German speaking Orientalists played in introducing Maulana in the Western consciousness is eminent.

      Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856), who in Annemarie Schimmel's words was the "indefatigable translator of Persian, Turkish and Arabic literature." Purgstall, who was an Austrian diplomat, started publishing a journal of Oriental Studies in 1809 named Fundgruben des Orients, in which some translations from Rumi were published. In 1835, a Turkish commentary of the Masnavi written by Ismail Rüsuhi Ankaravi was accompanied by the first thorough review of the Masnavi done by Purgstall. The analysis of the "great poem" that Purgstall did here was outstanding in conveying the spirit of Masnavi. The study of Purgstall was well founded, as he was able to differentiate the mystical dimensions of Rumi's poetry from those of Hafez and Khayyam, which many later readers in England failed to do. One of the most important contributions of Purgstall was his classical book on the history of Persian literature, Geschichte der schonen Redekunste Persiens, published in Vienna in 1818. Purgstall dedicated many pages of his book to Rumi. This classical work presented the European audience with seventy passages from the Masnavi and Divan-e Shams. Although the translations of Purgstall were dry and lacked much needed beauty and eloquence, their importance in introducing Rumi to the West is undeniable. Purgstall's fascination with Rumi was unending. He wrote, "Rumi not only transcends the sun and the moon but also time and space, creation, the assembly of Alast, and the Judgment Day and reaches infinity, and from there he attains the Absolute Being that is Everlasting and Ever-present and represents the ultimate servant, the infinite love and lover."

      Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) - The contributions of Rückert are the most eminent among all other nineteenth century Orientalists. In the years to follow, he was to stir up many a lover of Rumi in the West. Rückert was the first one to introduce the ghazal form in German poetry... in the book that he produced in 1819, called Ghaselen, was a collection of exquisite poems that reflected the true spirit of Maulana's work. Ghaselen played a crucial role in introducing Rumi to the likes of Platen and Hegel. This collection contained forty four ghazals of Rumi, translated in the most affable manner. In this work, Rückert spoke about the essence of love, longing, and unity, using the symbols of Rumi. His cadence and his elegance were such that this collection can be considered one of the best introductions to Maulana Rumi's poetic genius even today. Ghaselen was followed by a second collection of Rückert's ghazals in Maulana's style published in 1836...

      When works on Sufi doctrines and translations from parts of Masnavi started appearing in the West in the nineteenth century, a view started developing among the Western orientalists. and philosophers that Rumi had taught a kind of pantheism. The British scholar Graham dwelt upon this issue in one of his publications in 1819. Followed by Graham, an influential nineteenth century theologian, F.A.D. Tholuck published a short introduction to Islamic mysticism in Latin in the year 1821. This work contained several quotations from the Masnavi, whereby Tholuck characterized Rumi as a proponent of pantheism. He quoted Rumi as a defender of the theory wherein the world is considered to be a prison for our souls...
      Although historically not as important as Rückert, an Austrian Orientalist, Rosenzweig-Schwannau (1791-1865) was also very attracted to Rumi's ghazals. Schwannau published 75 poems from the Divan of Rumi, along with his notes and German translation in 1838. Rückert however, as already mentioned, was the true champion of Rumi. Among those inspired by his work was the poet August Graf von Platen (1796-1835). After having met Rückert in 1820, Platen published his own collection of Ghaselen. Most of his ghazals, which numbered over 150, were written between 1821 and 1823. These ghazals of Platen were published in four separate collections namely Ghaselen (1821,) Ghaselen, Zweite Sammlung (1821), Spiegel des Hafis (1822), and Neue Ghaselen (1823). The second volume, containing 36 ghazals, was dedicated to Friedrich Rückert. This collection largely focused on mystical themes and the implications of the Oriental love motifs. The mysticism portrayed by these ghazals was directly influenced by Rückert's translations of Rumi's poetry. Hence Rumi played a significant role in inspiring a new German verse-form, the German ghazal...It was Rückert's translations that familiarized Hegel with Rumi. While Rumi had disturbed Tholuck on one hand, he inspired Hegel on the other. It is argued that Rumi also influenced the development of Hegel's dialectics. While according Rumi great importance in his writings, Hegel addressed him as the "excellent Jalaluddin Rumi" in his Encyclopaedie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse (1827). Hegel mentioned Rumi at several places in his lectures and extensively in the section on the philosophy of mind in his Encyclopaedia. While discussing divine love and oriental poetry in the section "Mohammadanische Poesie" of his lectures on fine art, Hegel mentioned Rumi and praised the beautiful translations done by Rückert. In the same set of lectures, Hegel mentioned Rumi again while discussing the aesthetics of the oriental epic, Aesthetik des orientalischen Epos...

      In his Encyclopaedia, in the section on Absolute Mind, Hegel wrote about the relation between philosophy and religion. In this section, the main discussion focuses on pantheism, and Hegel talks about the Bhagawat-Gita and the Vedas, comparing the idolatry of a Hindu to the "everything is God, and God everything" of a pantheist. In the midst of this discussion, Hegel brings in Rumi and says that, "If we want to see the consciousness of the One—not as with the Hindus split between the featureless unity of abstract thought, on one hand, and on the other, the long-winded weary story of its particular detail, but—in its finest purity and sublimity, we must consult the Mohammedans. If, e.g., in the excellent Jelaleddin-Rumi in particular, we find the unity of the soul with the One set forth, and that unity described as love, this spiritual unity is an exaltation above the finite and vulgar, a transfiguration of the natural and the spiritual, in which the externalism and transitoriness of immediate nature, and of empirical secular spirit, is discarded and absorbed..."

      Hegel's fascination with Rumi is unmistakable. Hegel goes on to say that he cannot refrain from giving a few examples from Rumi in order to give a more lucid impression of his ideas. With words of praise for the skill of Rückert, from whom he took the translations of Rumi, Hegel mentioned 21 verses of Rumi in his Encyclopaedia...

      These ideas on the nature of Mysticism inspired Karl Marx, who later gave a theory to uncover the mysticism of capital and capital accumulation in the capitalist social system. Hence, the mysticism of Rumi led to the development of Marx's theory on commodity fetishism. Capital, Volume I was the first of the three volumes in Karl Marx's monumental work, Das Kapital. Section 4 of the first chapter, titled "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof," is where Marx explained what he saw as the "mystical" character of commodities. Marx wrote, "A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties...For Marx, the fetishism of commodities originated in the peculiar social character of the labor that produced them. His conception of their nature derived itself from Hegel's definition of "mystical," and this definition, in turn, was Hegel's reflection on Rumi's poetry. It is indeed remarkable how far reaching the influence of Rumi can be, from inspiring a new genre of poetry to theories in political-economy."

      "Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, or R. A. Nicholson (1868 – 1945), was an eminent British Orientalist and scholar of both Islamic Literature and Islamic Mysticism, Sufism. Nicholson is unanimously regarded as the greatest scholar and translator of Rumi in the English language. A professor for many years at the Cambridge University in England, he dedicated his life to the study of Islamic Mysticism and was able to study and translate major Sufi texts in Arabic, Farsi or Persian, and Ottoman Turkish.

      Nicholson's monumental achievement was his work on Rumi's Masnavi (done in eight volumes, published between 1925-1940). He produced the first critical Persian edition of Rumi's Masnavi, the first full translation of it into English, and the first commentary on the entire work in English. This work has been highly influential in the field of Rumi studies worldwide. Nicholson also produced two volumes which condensed his work on the Masnavi which were aimed at the popular level: Tales of Mystic Meaning (1931) and Rumi: Poet and Mystic (1950). In addition, Nicholson published the first information about Rumi's Discourses (Fihi-Ma-Fihi) in the English language (in a 1924 article in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)."

      Divani Shamsi Tabriz - Nicholson

      "The Divani Shamsi Tabriz is a masterpiece of Persian literature and a classic work in the history of Sufiism. With his Masnavi it is one of the key writings of the renowned Persian mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). Professor Nicholson's English translation of selected poems from the Divan of Rumi was first published in 1898, and is often credited as being the best-known version in a European language. It is suitable for scholars and students of Persian literature and for all those interested in the mystical literature of Islam. The Persian text is printed with facing English translations, and there are copious notes, a lengthy introduction, appendices and indices."

                     |PDF | English | 2635 Pages |

      "Rumi’s poetry and prose were composed in Persian, translations of his work into European languages first began appearing in the late eighteenth century. French and German renderings led the way, with English translations not appearing until the end of the nineteenth century. Of the earlier English translators, it is Reynold A. Nicholson whose work continues to be of immense value. Nicholson became an outstanding linguist and scholar, specialising in Arabic, Persian, and Islamic Studies, and lecturing at Cambridge University. With publication beginning in 1925, Nicholson was the first Western scholar to translate Rumi’s entire Masnavi into English (accompanied by a commentary). He also translated many of the odes from Rumi's Divan-e Shams.  

      Şefik Can, a Mevlevi Shaykh (Sufi Master) and scholar from Turkey offers this affectionate picture of Nicholson’s dedication to Rumi:

      "Nicholson was not only a great Orientalist and a renowned scholar but also a great lover of God. As related by his friends and students, he would shed tears during Masnavi lectures, becoming enraptured. In a room of his house decorated in oriental fashion, he would prepare the explanation of the Masnavi dressed in clothing wearing the long, round Mevlevi hat on his head. It is said that Nicholson completed this commentary in forty years." ~Fundamentals of Rumi’s Thought, Şefik Can.

                |PDF|English|192 Pages|

      "Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-73) was the greatest of the Persian mystical poets. In his extensive writings he explored the profound themes that had gradually evolved with the long succession of Sufi thinkers since the ninth century, such as the nature of truth, of beauty, and of our spiritual relationship with God. Professor R. A. Nicholson translated this inspiring collection of mystical poems shortly before his death. It contains delicately rhythmical versions of over a hundred short passages from Rumi's greatest works, together with brief yet illuminating explanatory notes. With this attractive and accessible translation, a wider readership can appreciate the range and depth of Rumi's intellect and imagination, and discover why it is so often said that in Rumi the Persian mystical genius found its supreme expression."

      The Mystics of Islam

      The Mystics of Islam (Introduction) 
                     |PDF | English | 87 Pages |

      "Arthur John Arberry or A. J. Arberry (1905-1969) was a British Orientalist, scholar, translator, editor, and author who wrote, translated, or edited about 90 books on Persian and Arab language subjects. He specialized in Sufi studies, but is also known for his excellent translation of the Koran. A. J. Arberry attended Cambridge University, where he studied Persian and Arabic with R. A. Nicholson, an experience which he considered the turning point of his life. After graduation, Arberry worked in Cairo as head of the classics department at Cairo University...Arberry is also notable for introducing Rumi's works to the West through his selective translations."

      A. J. Arberry's major Rumi Translations are:
      • Mystical Poems of Rumi - Arberry's translations of 400 Rumi Ghazals/Odes from Divan-e Shams.
      • Discourses of Rumi - Arberry's translation of Fihi Ma Fihi, the major Prose work of Rumi.
      • The Rubaiyat of Jalal al-Din Rumi – Arberry's translations of 359 Quatrains by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams. 
      • Tales from the Masnavi – Arberry's selection of Tales from Rumi's Masnavi based on Nicholson's literal translation of Masnavi.

                   |PDF | English | 97 Pages |

      As salt resolved in the ocean
      I was swallowed in God's Sea,
      Past faith, past unbelieving,
      Past doubt, past certainty.
      Suddenly in my bosom
      A star shone clear and bright;
      All the suns of heaven
      Vanished in that star's light.
      A quatrain/rubai by Rumi - trans. by Arberry.

      "At the end of Rumi's Dîvân (collected works of poetry) are nearly two thousand quatrains [rubâ`iyât]. A. J. Arberry wrote (in 1950) that, "maybe about 1,600 are authentic." The quatrains make up about 4% of the total verses in the Dîvân. They consist of four half-lines, and their brevity (which challenges the poet to be concise, condensed, terse, pithy, ingenious, witty, subtle) makes them ideal for aphorisms and maxims. The original translation is by Professor A.J.Arberry (1905-1969), who selected 359 finest and the most individual of the quatrains attributed to Rumi. Arberry’s book was published first in 1949 as “The Ruba’iyat of Jalal al-Din Rumi – Select translation into English verse”."

      The Rubaiyat or Quatrains of Rumi from Divan-e Shams - Translated by the eminent 20th century British Orientalist, Prof. Arthur John Arberry - along with their Farsi or Persian TransliterationsCourtesy of outstanding site on Rumi: Khamush

                   |PDF | English | 97 Pages |
        Mystical Poems of Rumi

        "Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–73), legendary Persian Muslim poet, theologian, and mystic, wrote poems acclaimed through the centuries for their powerful spiritual images and provocative content, which often described Rumi’s love for God in romantic or erotic terms. His vast body of work includes more than three thousand lyrics and odes. This volume includes four hundred poems selected by renowned Rumi scholar A. J. Arberry, who provides here one of the most comprehensive and adept English translations of this enigmatic genius. Mystical Poems is the definitive resource for anyone seeking an introduction to or an enriched understanding of one of the world’s greatest poets."

        Discourses of Rumi
         |PDF | English | 450 Pages |

        "Rumi's major Prose work, Fihi Ma Fihi was translated into English under the title "Discourses of Rumi" by A. J. Arberry in 1961 and consists of 71 Discourses."

        Excerpts from Fihi-Ma-Fihi  or Discourses of Rumi:

        "Everyone likes a mirror, and is in love with reflections of their own attributes and attainments, but friends you misses the true nature of the face. You think this bodily veil is a face, and the mirror of this veil is the mirror of your face. Uncover your face, so you can know for sure the mirror of your true self...

        The true Sufi is like a mirror where you see your own image, for “The believer is a mirror of their fellow believers.”... a mirror shows no image of itself. Any image it reflects is the image of another...The seeker of truth is a mirror for their neighbors. But those who cannot feel the sting of truth are not mirrors to anyone but themselves...

        If you find fault in your brother or sister, the fault you see in them is within yourself. Get rid of those faults in yourself, because what bothers you in them bothers you in yourself. An elephant was led to a well to drink. Seeing itself in the water, it shied away. It thought it was shying away from another elephant. It did not realize it was shying away from its own self. All evil qualities—oppression, hatred, envy, greed, mercilessness, pride—when they are within yourself, they bring no pain. When you see them in another, then you shy away and feel the pain. We feel no disgust at our own scab and abscess. We will dip our infected hand into our food and lick our fingers without turning in the least bit squeamish. But if we see a tiny abscess or half a scratch on another’s hand, we shy away from that person’s food and have no stomach for it whatsoever. Evil qualities are just like scabs and abscesses; when they are within us they cause no pain, but when we see them even to a small degree in another, then we feel pain and disgust. Within our being all sciences were originally joined as one, so that our spirit displayed all hidden things, like clear water shows everything within it—pebbles, broken shards and the like—and reflects the sky above from its surface like a mirror. This is Soul’s true nature, without treatment or training. But once Soul has mingled with the earth and its earthly elements, this clarity leaves it and is forgotten. So God sends forth the prophets and saints, like a great translucent ocean that accepts all waters, and yet no matter how dark or dirty are the rivers that pour into it, that ocean remains pure. Then Soul remembers. When it sees its reflection in that unsullied water, it knows for sure that in the beginning it too was pure, and these shadows and colors are mere accidents...

        A friend of Joseph returned from a far journey. Joseph asked, “What present have you brought me?” The friend replied, “What is there you do not possess? What could you need? Since no one exists more handsome than you, I have brought a mirror so that every moment you may gaze in it upon your own face.” What is there that God does not possess? What does He need? Therefore, bring before God a heart, crystal clear, so that He may see His own perfection. “God looks not at your form, nor at your deeds, but at your heart.

        Discourses of Rumi - Fihi-Ma-Fihi
                       |PDF | English | 450 Pages |

        Discourses of Rumi - Fihi-Ma-Fihi
                       |PDF | English | 450 Pages |

        Fihi Ma Fihi in English
         |PDF | English | 450 Pages |

        Tales from the Masnavi

        "In the English-speaking world, The Masnavi of Jalaluddin Rumi by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson was the first major work on the Masnavi. Nicholson's student, A.J. Arberry, translated its stories in lucid prose as Tales from the Masnavi."

        Excerpts from Introduction of Tales from the Masnavi by Arberry:

        "The use of the parable in religious teaching has of course a very long history, and Rumi broke no new ground when he decided to lighten the weight of his doctrinal exposition by introducing tales and fables to which he gave an allegorical twist. He was especially indebted, as he freely acknowledges in the course of his poem, to two earlier Persian poets, Sana'i of Ghazna and Farid al-Din 'Attar of Nishapur, Rumi's immediate models...

        The first mystics in Islam, or rather those of them who were disposed to propagate Sufi teachings in writing as well as by example, followed the lead set by the preachers. Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Muhasibi and al-Kharraz were competent Traditionalists and therefore sprinkled acts and sayings of the Prophet, and of his immediate disciples, through the pages of their times, furnished the next generation of Sufi writers with supplementary evidence, their own acts and words, to support the rapidly developing doctrine...

        Meanwhile the allegory, reminiscent of the 'myths' of Plato and the fables of Aesop, established itself as a dramatic alternative method of demonstration. It seems that here the philosophers were first in the field, notably Avicenna who himself has mystical interests; he would have been preceded by the Christian Hunain ibn Ishaq, translator of Greek philosophical texts, if we may accept as authentic the ascription to him of a version 'made from the Greek' of the romance of Salaman and Absal. Among Avicenna's compositions in this genre was the famous legend of Haiy ibn Yaqzan, afterwards elaborated by the Andalusian Ibn Tufail...

        Shibab al-Din al-Suhrawardi al-Maqtul, executed for heresy at Aleppo in 1191- only sixteen years before Rumi was born in distant Balkh-combining philosophy with mysticism wrote Sufi allegories in Persian prose, and was apparently the first author to do so; unless indeed we may apply the word allegory to describe the subtle meditations on mystical love composed by Ahmad al-Ghazali, who died in 1126.

        Such in brief are the antecedents to Rumi's antecedents. When Sana'i began writing religious and mystical poetry in the early years of the twelfth century, he found the Persian language prepared for his task by Hujviri and Ansari. His greatest and most famous work, the Garden of Mystical Truth, completed in 1131 and dedicated to the Ghaznavid rule Bahram Shah, is best understood as an adaptation in verse of the by now traditional prose manual of Sufism. The first mystical epic in Persian, it is divided into ten chapters, each chapter being subdivided into sections with illustrative stories. It thus gives the superficial impression of a learned treatise in epic is shown by the lengthy exordia devoted to praising Allah, blessing his prophet, and flattering the reigning Sultan. Rumi in his Masnavi quotes or imitates the Garden of Sana'i on no fewer than nine occasions. It should be added that Sana'i, like Rumi after him, composed many odes and lyrics of a mystical character; unlike Rumi, he also wrote a number of shorter mystical epics including one, the Way of Worshipers, which opens as an allegory and only in its concluding passages, far too extended, turns into a panegyric.

        Farid al-Din 'Attar, whom Rumi met as a boy and whose long life ended in about 1230, improved and expanded greatly on the foundations, laid by Sana'i. Judged solely as a poet he was easily his superior; he also possessed a far more penetrating and creative mind, and few more exciting tasks await the student of Persian literature than the methodical exploration, as yet hardly begun, of his voluminous and highly original writings. His best known poem, paraphrased by Edward FizGerald as The Bird-Parliament, has been summarized by Professor H. Ritter, the leading western authority on 'Attar and a scholar of massive and most varied erudition, as a 'grandiose poetic elaboration of the Risalat al-Tyar of Muhammad or Ahmad Ghazali. The birds, led by the hoopoe, set out to seek Simurgh, whom they had elected as their king. All but thirty perish on the path on which they have to traverse seven dangerous valleys. The surviving thirty eventually recognize themselves as being the deity (si murgh - Simurgh), and then merge in the divine Simurgh.' It is not difficult to apprehend in this elaborate and beautiful allegory, surely among the greatest works of religious literature, the influence of the animal fables of Ibn al-Muqaffa'.

        In his Divine Poem, which has been edited by Professor Ritter and of which French and English translations are understood to be in preparation, 'Attar takes as the framework of his allegory a legend which might have been lifted bodily out of the Thousand and One Nights. 'A king asks his six sons what, of all things in the world, they wish for. They wish in turn for the daughter of the fairy king, the art of witchcraft, the magic cup of Djam, the water of life, Solomon's ring, and the elixir. The royal farther tries to draw them away from their worldly desires and to inspire them with higher aims.' The supporting narratives are, like those of the The Bird-Parliament, told with masterly skill and a great dramatic sense..."

        Tales from Masnavi - Introduction

        The renowned German-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Annemarie Schimmel (1922 - 2003) was also a specialist on Islamic Mysticism, Sufism. Professor Schimmel published 80 books and lectured at various universities including Harvard where she was Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture from 1970-1992. She was fluent in ten languages including Arabic, Farsi or Persian, Turkish, and Urdu.

        Prof. Annemarie Schimmel's major works on Rumi are:
        • Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaluddin Rumi.
        • I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi.
        • Look! This is Love: Poems of Rumi.
        • A Two Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry.
        • As Through a Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam.

        Badi al-Zaman Foruzanfar (1904 - 1970), the highly distinguished Iranian-born scholar of Persian Literature, is universally recognized as the greatest Persian Scholar of Rumi. Forouzanfar's critical edition of Rumi's Divan- e Shams Tabrizi (in 10 volumes) is the best edition available to date. The most accurate critical edition of Rumi's original Quatrains (Rubaiyat) was also published in 1963 by Foruzanfar. He is also credited with publishing the first critical edition of Rumi's Fihi Ma Fihi which was translated into English by the eminent British-born Orientalist, Professor A. J. Arberry as Discourses of Rumi.

        Prof. Foruzanfar's other major works on Rumi are:
        • A Treatise on Rumi's Life and Works.
        • A Summary of Rumi's Masnavi.
        • Tales from Masnavi.
        • The Masnavi Traditions.
        • An Account of the Sacred Masnavi.
        • The Sources of Masnavi's Stories and Allegories.
        • The Sufi Teachings of Baha Walad, Rumi's Father.
        Unfortunately, none of his above mentioned works are yet translated into English (I've taken the liberty to translate the above titles of Prof. Foruzanfar's works from Farsi into English.)

        The eminent Iranian-born scholar of Rumi, late Prof. Abdul Hossein Zarinkoob (1923 - 1999) is widely known and revered among Farsi-speakers for his profound researches and publications on Rumi and his works.

        Prof. Zarinkoob's major works on Rumi are:

        • Step by Step until Meeting God (about Life, Works, and Teachings of Rumi).
        • Shams of Tabriz: The Voice-Pipe of Rumi.
        • Love in Rumi's Masnavi.
        • Secret of the Reed (Critical and Comparative Analysis of Rumi's Masnavi).
        • Sea in a Jug (Critical and Comparative Analysis of Rumi's Masnavi).
        • Persian Sufism: Its Heritage and Spiritual Values.
        • Persian Sufi Literature and Its Humanitarian Values and Principles .
        • A Research on Persian Sufi Mysticism.
        • A Research on Sufi Mystics in Ancient Iran.
        Unfortunately, none of his above mentioned works are yet translated into English (I've taken the liberty to translate the above titles of Prof. Zarinkoob's works from Farsi into English.)

        Dr. Majid Naini Official Website

        One of the greatest contemporary Iranian-born scholars of Rumi, Prof. Majid Naini 

        My Rumi Translations

        پارسی گو گرچه تازی خوشتر است 
         عشق را خود صد زبان دیگر است

        Speak Farsi though Arabic sounds better.
        Love speaks a hundred different languages!
        Rumi - my translation

        Rumi Translations 1 - Franklin Lewis
        Rumi Translations 2 - Franklin Lewis


        The Masnavi of Rumi - E. H. Whinfield

         Coleman Barks - The Essential Rumi 

        One of my all time favorite books...it's truly a pleasure to read and the best Rumi translation in my humble opinion. Coleman Barks has truly grasped and captured Rumi's deep Sufi mystical teachings despite not speaking a word of Farsi or Persian. Imagine if Coleman Barks could speak Farsi...but as Rumi would say:

        No need for you to translate my poetry
        Love needs no translation!

        Coleman Barks' The Essential Rumi is undoubtedly the most popular and widely read Rumi translation book in America...to his credit, and despite not speaking a word of Farsi or Persian, Prof. Coleman Barks deserves our huge accolades and appreciations for single-handedly introducing and popularizing Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi "Rumi" here in America with his truly outstanding and groundbreaking first book on Maulana, The Essential Rumi which he published back in 1995. It's largely thanks to Coleman Barks that Rumi is a household name and an integral part of American popular culture these days. Prof. Barks has since published 26 Books On Rumi.

        "Coleman Barks has spread the fame of Rumi from California to New York Island and from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, even if Rumi has had to become a naturalized American in the process!

        Coleman Barks, 21st century poet, likes to point out that Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century poet, is both the bestselling poet in the United States and the one most often played on Afghan radio stations. Given the current situation, it's unlikely anyone will be able to confirm the latter. But it is fair to say that one thing currently binding these two warring nations is a poet born in a time when neither country existed.

        It would be a disappointment if there wasn't a story about how Barks became the country's most popular Rumi translator. Rumi lore is studded with stories marking beginnings and endings and revelations. Nothing gradual happens to mystics. Life-changing events are spontaneous and total. Insight flashes; Teresa de Avila falls into an ecstatic trance, a crash, an explosion and everything is different.

        The story of how Barks, Southern-born poet and University of Georgia English professor, became a Rumi scholar begins in 1977. On the night of May 2, Barks dreamed he was lying in a sleeping bag on the banks of the Tennessee River, near where he grew up. Suddenly a flash of light lit up the sky and, as Barks describes in the introduction to his new book, "The Soul of Rumi": "A ball of light rises from Williams Island and comes over to me -- revealing a man sitting cross legged with head bowed and eyes closed, a white shawl over the back of his head. He raises his head and opens his eyes. I love you he says. 'I love you too,' I answer."

        One year later Barks found the same figure in waking life: The man was a Sri Lankan Sufi saint named Bawa Muhaiyaddeen who would instruct Barks -- who did not and still does not speak Farsi, the Persian dialect in which Rumi originally wrote -- to pursue his translations...

        If you are not generally inclined to believe stories about prophetic dreams and other supernatural events, then you are also probably not a Rumi fan. Stories of the mystical and miraculous don't constitute all of Rumi's writings, but they're a part of it. For better or for worse, they've helped cement his stubborn association with the new age movement. But a suspension of belief, or at least the ability to appreciate the symbolism of a far-fetched story, gives life to Rumi poems.

        If life, not paper, is the path to the divine, Barks' translations may be closer to Rumi's ambitions than those produced by scholars of Farsi, the Persian dialect in which Rumi originally wrote. Barks deals very little with the original Farsi: He starts by comparing existing English translations, which he then rephrases into his own. Often this means giving up the rhyme and tempo of Rumi's original Farsi, but it allows Barks to bring the poetry a jauntiness and modernity. Rumi's jokes become funnier with Barks behind the wheel. Thus we get: "Someone born deaf has no more use for high notes than newborn babies for a fine merlot." It's a style Barks hinted at when he criticized a contemporary, Farsi-speaking Rumi translator who "uses words like 'unfathomable' a whole lot."

        I've broken through to longing
        Now, filled with a grief I have
        Felt before, but never like this.
        The center leads to love.
        Soul opens the creation core.
        Hold on to your particular pain.
        That too can take you to God.

        According to Rumi, not only does our "particular pain" take us to God, it is God. And in Barks' translations, there's nothing in the world, its worst and best, that isn't holy. Barks explains, "And if that's true then every kindness and every healing, as well as every disease and cruelty and every terrible sudden screaming is all God. It's all divine."

        Art is a place we often go looking for advice when we've run out of other options. And what's there, inevitably, isn't an answer but a reflection of the suffering we already feel. On this point, Rumi, reduced by grief to simple, unmiraculous reflection, does a pretty good job.

        The tomb
        Looks like a prison, but it's really

        Release into union. The human seed goes
        Down into the ground like a bucket into

        The well where Joseph is. It grows and
        Comes up full of some unimagined beauty.

        Your mouth closes here and immediately
        Opens with a shout of joy there.

        "It's a mysterious thing what the soul is," Barks says. "No one knows what the soul is. But I think it's the thing that makes symbols, makes stories, it's that overflow part of the human psyche that generates 'War and Peace.' There was no need for 'Twelfth Night,' or 'As You Like It,' it just flowed out of Shakespeare. Same way with Rumi's poetry; it was all spontaneous. It was part of the work that he was doing with the learning community, he spoke it. Didn't write it down. He spoke it and then a scribe took it down. And then Rumi would look at the pages and make alterations. But mainly you can say it is jazz, made up at the demands of the moment. It's as spontaneous as a day. And keeps on happening. So certain characteristics of the soul might be that it's generous in its ability to generate things, it's joyous, innately playful and grieving; it's very connected to grief."

        Excerpts from Rumi: No. 1 in Afghanistan and the USA

        Ghazal/Ode # 636 from Rumi's Divan-e Shams
        Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

        Inside this new love, die. 
        Your way begins on the other side. 
        Become the sky. 
        Take an axe to the prison wall. 
        Walk out like someone 
        suddenly born into color. 
        Do it now. 
        You're covered with thick cloud. 
        Slide out the side. Die, 
        and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign 
        that you have died. 
        Your old life was a frantic running 
        from silence. 
        The speechless full moon 
        comes out now.

        Here is Rumi's original Ghazal/Ode # 636 in Farsi:

        بمیرید بمیرید در این عشق بمیرید
        در این عشق چو مردید همه روح پذیرید
        بمیرید بمیرید و زین مرگ مترسید
        کز این خاک برآیید سماوات بگیرید
        بمیرید بمیرید و زین نفس ببرید
        که این نفس چو بندست و شما همچو اسیرید
        یکی تیشه بگیرید پی حفره زندان
        چو زندان بشکستید همه شاه و امیرید
        بمیرید بمیرید به پیش شه زیبا
        بر شاه چو مردید همه شاه و شهیرید
        بمیرید بمیرید و زین ابر برآیید
        چو زین ابر برآیید همه بدر منیرید
        خموشید خموشید خموشی دم مرگست
        هم از زندگیست اینک ز خاموش نفیرید

        مولانا - غزل شماره ۶۳۶ ازدیوان شمس تبریزی

        Here is my 'Literal/Word-by-Word' Translation of above Ghazal/Ode # 636 by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir:

        Go and die, go and die,
        In this love, go and die.
        Once you die in this love,
        You receive the holy spirit.

        Go and die, go and die,
        Don't fear death, go and die.
        Go and leave this dusty earth,
        Go fly up high into the sky.

        Go and die, go and die,
        Go cut loose from your own ego.
        Your selfish ego is the shackles
        Holding you forever captive.

        Go grab an ax,
        Go dig a huge hole 
        into the prison of your own being.
        Once you tear down 
        the walls of your inner prison,
        You become a prince or a king.

        Go and die, go and die
         In front of your Beautiful King [God].
        Once you die for your King,
        You become a royalty or a celebrity.

        Go and die, go and die,
        Go and rise up high 
        Above your own darkest clouds.
        Once you rise above your clouds,
        You become a brightly shining moon.

        Be silent, be silent,
        For silence is the breath of death.
        But silence is also the breath of life,
        So stop moaning and complaining about silence!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        To get a taste of how extraordinary Coleman Barks' Rumi translations are, and to what extent he has truly grasped Rumi's spiritual essence and Sufi mystical teachings, I highly recommend watching the following Video in which Barks reads his following Rumi translation...If you're a Farsi-speaker, it's Coleman Barks' English version of Maulana's Ghazal/Ode # 132 from his Divan-e Kabir or Divan-e Shams Tabrizi:

        مولانا - غزل ۱۳۲ از دیوان کبیر یا دیوان شمس تبریزی

        روزها فکر من این است و همه شب سخنم
        که چرا غافل از احوال دل خویشتنم
        از کجا آمده ام آمدنم بهر چه بود
        به کجا میروم آخر ننمایی وطنم
        مانده ام سخت عجب کز چه سبب ساخت مرا
        یا چه بوده است مراد وی از این ساختنم
        آنچه از عالم عِلوی است من آن می گویم
        رخت خود باز بر آنم که همانجا فکنم
        مرغ باغ ملکوتم نِیم از عالم خاک
        چند روزی قفسی ساخته اند از بدنم
        کیست آن گوش که او می شنود آوازم
        یا کدام است سخن می کند اندر دهنم
        کیست در دیده که از دیده برون می نگرد
        یا چه جان است نگویی که منش پیرهنم
        تا به تحقیق مرا منزل و ره ننمایی
        یک دم آرام نگیرم نفسی دم نزنم
        می وصلم بچشان تا در زندان ابد
        به یکی عربده مستانه به هم درشکنم
        من به خود نامدم اینجا که به خود باز روم
        آنکه آورد مرا باز برد تا وطنم
        تو مپندار که من شعر به خود می گویم
        تا که هشیارم و بیدار یکی دم نزنم
        شمس تبریزی اگر روی به من بنمایی 
        والله این قالب مردار زهم برشکنم

        Rumi - Ghazal/Ode # 132 from Divan-e Shams ~ Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi - Who Says Words With My Mouth?)

        All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
        Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
        I have no idea.
        My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
        and I intend to end up there.
        This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
        When I get back around to that place,
        I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
        I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
        The day is coming when I fly off,
        but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
        Who says words with my mouth?
        Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
        I cannot stop asking.
        If I could taste one sip of an answer,
        I could break out of this prison for drunks.
        I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
        Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
        This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
        I don't plan it.
        When I'm outside the saying of it,
        I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
        Shams Tabriz, if you would show your face to me again,
        I could flee the imposition of this life.

        Here is my 'Literal/Word-by-Word' Translation of above Ghazal/Ode # 132 by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir:

        Every single day I ponder over these questions
        and night after night I ask myself:
        Why am I so ignorant of what's really going on inside my heart?
        What am I doing here?
        Where have I come from?
        What is my reason for being here?
        Where do I go from here?

        Everything seems so strange around me these days
        and I keep asking myself:
        Why God created me in the first place?
        For what purpose?
        Why did God bring me here into this world?
        Why doesn't God let me get finally settled down 
        somewhere around here?

        I know for sure that my soul
        will ultimately ascend towards His Upper Realms,
        But I'd rather just let go of everything right now
        and fly up high into the sky at once.

        I'm a heavenly bird from His Gardens of Paradise,
        I'm not from this dusty earth.
        My body's being trapped inside this worldly cage
        for just two or three days.

        The happiest day of my life is when
        I finally fly away towards my Friend [GOD],
        flapping my wings faster than ever
        to quickly reach my Friend's Upper Realms.

        Who is hiding inside my ears listening to my own tunes?
        Who is hiding inside my mouth putting words into it?
        Who is hiding inside my eyes looking out into the unknown?
        What kind of soul is this totally naked soul of mine?

        Don't tell me God is also the shirt to my naked soul.

        I won't remain idle or take a brake even for an instant,
        until through my constant striving and searching
        You [GOD] finally show me my path and my destination.

        Give me a taste of Your Wine of Reunion 
        so I can smash the gates of this worldly prison 
        with my loud cries of God-intoxication.

        I didn't come here all by myself to leave on my own, 
        You have brought me here,
        so You need to take me back to where I originally come from.

        Don't think that I always express myself through poetry,
        When I'm wide awake and not God-intoxicated,
        I don't think about poetry even for an instant.

        Shams of Tabriz,
        If you'd turn around and show your face to me again,
        I swear to God that I'd shatter 
        my already dead and decomposed body
        into a thousand pieces for you.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        Rumi Poem: Who Says Words With My Mouth?

        A MUST WATCH

        "Coleman Barks has played a central role in making the Sufi mystic Rumi the most popular poet in the world. If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi's poetry is truly remarkable. No translator could do greater justice to the gorgeous simplicity of Rumi's poetry than Coleman Barks has done. Barks' exquisite renderings of the 13th-century Persian mystic's words into American free verse capture all the "inner searching, the delicacy, and simple groundedness" that characterize Rumi's poetry while remaining faithful to the images, tone, and spiritual message of the originals. 

        While Barks's stamp on this collection is clear, it in no way interferes with the poems themselves; Rumi's voice leaps off these pages with an ecstatic energy that leaves readers breathless. There are poems of love, rage, sadness, pleading, and longing; passionate outbursts about the torture of longing for his beloved and the sweet pleasure that comes from their union; amusing stories of sexual exploits or human weakness; and quiet truths about the beauty and variety of human emotion. More than anything, Rumi makes plain the unbridled joy that comes from living life fully, urging us always to put aside our fears and take the risk to do so. As he says:

        They way of love is not a subtle argument.
        The door there is devastation.
        Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.
        How do they learn it?
        They fall, and falling, they're given wings.

        Click here to Purchase Barks' Revised Edition of The Essential Rumi 

        "This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and more than 80 never-before-published poems. Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi more popular than ever. The Essential Rumi continues to be the bestselling of all Rumi books, and the definitive selection of his beautiful, mystical poetry."


        This being human is a guest house.
        Every morning a new arrival.
        A joy, a depression, a meanness,
        some momentary awareness comes
        As an unexpected visitor.

        Welcome and entertain them all!
        Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
        who violently sweep your house
        empty of its furniture,
        still treat each guest honorably.
        He may be clearing you out
        for some new delight.

        The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
        meet them at the door laughing,
        and invite them in.
        Be grateful for whoever comes,
        because each has been sent
        as a guide from beyond.
        Rumi - Trans.by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        There is a community of the spirit.
        Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street
        and being the noise.

        Drink all your passion and be a disgrace.
        Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
        Open your hands if you want to be held.

        Consider what you have been doing.
        Why do you stay
        with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?

        For the security of having food. Admit it.
        Here is a better arrangement.
        Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.

        Sit down in this circle.
        Quit acting like a wolf,
        and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.

        At night, your beloved wanders.
        Do not take painkillers.
        Tonight, no consolations.
        And do not eat.

        Close your mouth against food.
        Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

        You moan, 

        But she left me. 
        He left me.
        Twenty more will come.

        Be empty of worrying.
        Think of who created thought.

        Why do you stay in prison
        when the door is so wide open?

        Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
        Live in silence.

        Flow down and down
        in always widening rings of being.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
        Who finds us here circling, bewildered like atoms?
        Who comes to a spring thirsty
        and sees the moon reflected in it?

        Who like Jacob, blind with grief and age,
        smells the shirt of his lost son and can see again?
        Who lets a bucket down and brings up a flowing prophet?
        Or, like Moses, goes for fire and finds what burns inside the

        Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies
        and opens a door to the other world.
        Solomon cuts open a fish, and there is a gold ring.
        Omar storms in to kill the Prophet and leaves with blessings.
        Chase a deer and end up everywhere.
        An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop.
        Now there is a pearl.
        A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
        Suddenly he is wealthy.

        But do not be satisfied with stories,
        how things have gone with others.
        Unfold your own myth,
        without complicated explanations,
        so everyone will understand the passage,
        We have opened you.

        Start walking toward Shams, the teacher, the sun.
        Your legs will get heavy and tired.
        Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you have grown,

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        There are many guises for intelligence.
        One part of you is gliding in a high wind-stream,
        while your ore ordinary notions
        take little steps and peck at the ground.

        Conventional knowledge is death to our souls,
        and it is not really ours. It is laid on.
        Yet we keep saying we find ‘rest’ in these ‘beliefs’.

        We must become ignorant of what we have been taught
        and be instead bewildered.

        Run from what is profitable and comfortable.
        Distrust anyone who praises you.
        Give your investment money, and the interest
        on the capital, to those who are actually destitute.

        Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
        Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
        I have tried prudent planning long enough.
        From now on, I’ll be mad.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        If you want what visible reality
        can give, you’re and employee.
        If you want the unseen world,
        you’re not living your truth.

        Both wishes are foolish,
        but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
        that what you really want is
        love’s confusing joy.

        Gamble everything for love,
        if you’re a true human being.
        If not, leave this gathering.
        Half-heartedness doesn't reach into Majesty.

        You set out to find God, 

        but then you keep stopping for long periods
        at mean-spirited roadhouses.

        In a boat down a fast-running creek,
        it feels like trees on the bank are rushing by.

        What seems to be changing around us
        is rather the speed of our craft
        leaving this world.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        This place is a dream.

        Only a sleeper considers it real.
        Then death comes like dawn,
        and you wake up laughing
        at what you thought was your grief.

        But there's a difference with this dream.
        Everything cruel and unconscious
        done in the illusion of the present world,
        all that does not fade away at the death-waking.
        It stays, and it must be interpreted.

        All the mean laughing,
        all the quick, sexual wanting,
        those torn coats of Joseph,
        they change into powerful wolves
        that you must face.

        The retaliation that sometimes comes now,
        the swift, payback hit,
        is just a boy's game
        to what the other will be.
        You know about circumcision here.
        It's full castration there!

        And this groggy time we live,
        this is what it's like:
        A man goes to sleep in the town
        where he has always lived,
        and he dreams he's living in another town.
        In the dream, he doesn't remember
        the town he's sleeping in his bed in.
        He believes the reality of the dream town.

        The world is that kind of sleep.
        The dust of many crumbled cities
        settles over us like a forgetful doze,
        but we are older than those cities.
        We began as a mineral.
        We emerged into plant life
        and into the animal state, and then into being human,
        and always we have forgotten our former states,
        except in early spring when we slightly recall
        being green again.

        That's how a young person turns toward a teacher.
        That's how a baby leans toward the breast,
        without knowing the secret of its desire,
        yet turning instinctively.

        Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
        through this migration of intelligence,
        and though we seem to be sleeping,
        there is an inner wakefulness
        that directs the dream,
        and that will eventually startle us back
        to the truth of who we are.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        How does a part of the world leave the world?
        How does wetness leave water? 
        Don't try to put out fire by throwing on more fire! 
        Don't wash a wound with blood. 

        No matter how fast you run, your shadow keeps up.

        Sometimes it's in front!
        Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
        But that shadow has been serving you.

        What hurts you, blesses you.
        Darkness is your candle.
        Your boundaries are your quest.
        I could explain this,
        but it will break the glass cover on your heart, 
        and there's no fixing that.

        You must have shadow and light source both.
        Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
        When from that tree feathers and wings sprout on you,
        be quieter than a dove.
        Don't even open your mouth for even a coo.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Don’t worry about saving these songs!
        And if one of our instruments breaks,
        it doesn't matter.
        We have fallen into the place
        where everything is music.

        The strumming and the flute notes
        rise into the atmosphere,
        and even if the whole world’s harp
        should burn up, there will still be
        hidden instruments playing.

        So the candle flickers and goes out.
        We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
        This singing art is sea foam.
        The graceful movements come from a pearl
        somewhere on the ocean floor.

        Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
        of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
        They derive from a slow and powerful root
        that we can’t see.

        Stop the words now.
        Open the window in the center of your chest,
        and let the spirits fly in and out.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi) 


        Don't grieve.

        Anything you lose 
        comes round in another form. 
        The child weaned from mother's milk
        now drinks wine and honey mixed.

        God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
        from cell to cell. 

        As rainwater, down into flower bed.
        As roses, up from ground.
        Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
        now a cliff covered with vines,
        now a horse being saddled.
        It hides within these,
        till one day it cracks them open

        Part of the self leaves the body when we sleep
        and changes shape. You might say, "Last night
        I was a cypress tree, a small bed of tulips,
        a field of grapevines." Then the phantasm goes away.
        You're back in the room.
        I don't want to make any one fearful.
        Hear what's behind what I say.

        Tatatumtum tatum tatadum.
        There's the light gold of wheat in the sun
        and the gold of bread made from that wheat.
        I have neither. I'm only talking about them,

        as a town in the desert looks up
        at stars on a clear night.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Can you find another market like this?
        Where, with your one rose
        you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?
        Where, for one seed
        you get a whole wilderness?
        For one weak breath, a divine wind?

        You've been fearful
        of being absorbed in the ground,
        or drawn up by the air.
        Now, your water-bead lets go
        and drops into the ocean,
        where it came from.
        It no longer has the form it had,
        but it's still water.

        The essence is the same.
        This giving up is not a repenting.
        It's a deep honoring of yourself.

        When the ocean comes to you as a lover,
        marry at once, quickly, for God's sake!
        Don't postpone it!

        Existence has no better gift. 
        No amount of searching will find this. 
        A perfect falcon, for no reason 
        has landed on your shoulder,
        and become yours.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Thirst is angry with water. 
        Hunger bitter with bread. 

        The cave wants nothing to do with the sun. 
        This is dumb, the self-defeating way we've been. 

        A gold mine is calling us into its temple. 
        Instead, we bend and keep picking up rocks 
        from the ground. 

        Every thing has a shine like gold, 
        but we should turn to the source! 
        The origin is what we truly are. 

        I add a little vinegar to the honey I give. 
        The bite of scolding makes ecstasy more familiar. 
        But look, fish, you're already in the ocean: 
        just swimming there makes you friends with glory. 

        What are these grudges about? 

        You are Benjamin. 
        Joseph has put a gold cup in your grain sack 
        and accused you of being a thief. 

        Now he draws you aside 
        and says, you are my brother. 

        I am a prayer. You're the amen. 
        We move in eternal regions, 
        yet worry about property here. 

        This is the prayer of each: 
        You are the source of my life. 
        You separate essence from mud. 
        You honor my soul. You bring rivers 
        from the mountain springs. 
        You brighten my eyes. 

        The wine you offer takes me out of myself 
        into the self we share. 
        Doing that is religion.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
        as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
        from books and from what the teacher says,
        collecting information from the traditional sciences
        as well as from the new sciences.

        With such intelligence you rise in the world.
        You get ranked ahead or behind others
        in regard to your competence in retaining
        information. You stroll with this intelligence
        in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
        marks on your preserving tablets.

        There is another kind of tablet, one
        already completed and preserved inside you.
        A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
        in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
        does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
        and it doesn't move from outside to inside
        through conduits of plumbing-learning.

        This second knowing is a fountainhead
        from within you, moving out.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Time's knife slides from the sheath,
        as a fish from where it swims.

        Being closer and closer is the desire
        of the body. Don't wish for union!

        There's a closeness beyond that.

        Why would God want a second God?

        Fall in love in such a way that it frees you
        from any connecting.
        Love is the soul's light, the taste of morning,
        no me, no we, no claim of being.

        These words are the smoke the fire gives off
        as it absolves its defects, 
        as eyes in silence, tears, face. 
        Love cannot be said.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Forget your life. Say God is Great. Get up.
        You think you know what time it is. It’s time to pray.
        You've carved so many little figurines, too many.
        Don’t knock on any random door like a beggar.
        Reach your long hands out to another door, beyond where
        you go on the street, the street
        where everyone says, “How are you?”
        and no one says How aren't you?

        Tomorrow you’ll see what you've broken and torn tonight,
        thrashing in the dark. Inside you
        there’s an artist you don’t know about.
        He’s not interested in how things look different in moonlight.

        If you are here unfaithfully with us,
        you’re causing terrible damage.
        If you've opened your loving to God’s love,
        you’re helping people you don’t know
        and have never seen.

        Is what I say true? Say yes quickly,
        if you know, if you've known it
        from before the beginning of the universe.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        You are the only faithful student you have.
        All the others leave eventually.
        Have you been making yourself shallow
        with making other eminent?

        Just remember, when you’re in union,
        you don’t have to fear that you’ll be drained.

        The command comes to speak,
        and you feel the ocean moving through you.
        Then comes, Be silent,
        as when the rain stops,
        and the trees in the orchard
        begin to draw moisture
        up into themselves.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        The way is full of genuine sacrifice.
        The thickets blocking your path are anything 
        that keeps you from that, any fear that 

        you may be broken into bits like a glass bottle.

        This road demands courage and stamina, 

        yet it’s full of footprints!
        Who are these companions?
        They are rungs in your ladder. Use them!
        With company you quicken your ascent.
        You may be happy enough going along, 
        but with others you’ll get farther, and faster.

        Someone who goes cheerfully by himself 
        to the customs house to pay his traveler’s tax
        will go even more lightheartedly 
        when friends are with him.

        Every prophet sought out companions.
        A wall standing alone is useless, 
        but put three or four walls together, 
        and they’ll support a roof and 
        keep grain dry and safe.

        When ink joins with a pen, 

        then the blank paper can say something.
        Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat.
        If they weren't interlaced;
        the wind would blow them away.

        Like that, God paired up creatures, 
        and gave them friendship.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Notice how each particle moves.
        Notice how everyone has just arrived here
        from a journey.
        Notice how each wants a different food.
        Notice how the stars vanish as the sun comes up,
        and how all streams stream toward the ocean.
        Look at the chefs preparing special plates
        for everyone, according to what they need.
        Look at this cup that can hold the ocean.
        Look at those who see the face.
        Look through Shams’ eyes
        into the Water that is entirely jewels.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

        SAY, I AM YOU
        I am dust particles in sunlight.
        I am the round sun.
        To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
        To the sun, Keep moving.

        I am morning mist,
        and the breathing of evening.
        I am wind in the top of a grove,
        and surf on the cliff.

        Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
        I am also the coral reef they founder on.
        I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
        Silence, thought, and voice.

        The musical air coming through a flute,
        a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.
        Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
        Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

        I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
        the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away.

        What is, and what isn't.
        You who know, Jelaluddin,
        You the one in all, say who I am.
        Say I am you.
        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        On the night when you cross the street
        from your shop and your house
        to the cemetery
        you’ll hear me hailing you from inside
        the open grave, and you’ll realize
        how we've always been together.

        I am the clear consciousness-core
        of your being, the same in
        ecstasy as in self-hating fatigue.

        That night, when you escape your fear of snakebite
        and all irritations with the ants, you’ll hear
        my familiar voice, see the candle being lit,
        smell the incense, the surprise meal fixed
        by the lover inside all your other lovers.

        This heart-tumult is my signal
        to you igniting in the tomb.
        So don’t fuss with the shroud
        and the graveyard road dust.
        Those get ripped open and washed away
        in the music of our final meeting.

        And don’t look for me in human shape.
        I am inside your looking. No room
        for form with love this strong.

        Beat the drum and let the poets speak.
        This is the day of purification for those who
        are already mature and initiated into what love is.

        No need to wait until we die!
        There’s more to want here than money
        and being famous and bites of roasted meat.

        Now, what shall we call this new sort of gazing-house
        that has opened in our town where people sit
        quietly and pour out their glancing
        like light, like answering?

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


        Doing prayer and meditation at a particular time,
        fasting, and going on pilgrimage
        are outward statements of inner intention.

        Giving to charity and giving up jealousy
        are ways to say how it is inside us.
        Serving food and welcoming guests into your house
        are actions meant to mean, I feel so close to you.

        Any time you exert yourself by going somewhere,
        giving money, or taking time to pray,
        you are saying, There is a priceless jewel inside me.

        Fasting says, I have not eaten
        even what is permitted. I must want no connection
        to what is not. Giving to the poor says,
        I am distributing my own property.
        Certainly, I will not steal from others.

        There are, though, fowlers who throw out grain
        to snare birds, and cats who pretend to fast,
        fast-asleep, when they are really peeking
        through eye-slits to ambush prey.
        They give generosity a bad name.

        But despite all the crookedness,
        water comes from the star Arcturus
        to wash even the hypocrites.

        When our water here
        becomes saturated with pollution,
        it gets led back to the original water, the ocean.
        After a year of receiving starlight,
        the water returns, sweeping new robes along.

        Where have you been? In the ocean of purity.
        Now I'm ready for more cleaning work.
        Give me your demons. I'll take them to sea.

        If there were no impurity, what would water do?
        It shows its glory in how it washes a face,
        and in other qualities as well,
        the way it grows the grass
        and how it lifts a ship across to another port.

        Every medicinal ointment derives essence
        from water, as every pearl and every seed.
        A river is a shop of salves,
        food for the abandoned, movement
        for those who are stuck.

        When the river slows with the weight of silt
        and corruption, it grows sad and prays,
        Lord, what you gave me I gave others.
        Is there more? Can you give more?

        Clouds then draw up the river-water,
        and dissolve it in to the ocean.
        What this means is
        we often need to be refreshed.

        Mingling with surroundings, the soul falls ill.
        It calls out to the first caller-out, Bilal,
        revive us. Beat the drum that glides us along.

        As the body stands at prayer,
        the soul says, Peace, my friend,
        then leaves for a while.

        When it comes back, you don't have to do ablutions
        with sand anymore or guess which way
        to point the prayer rug.

        Water is the story of how we are helped.
        Hot baths prepare us to enter fire.
        Only salamanders can go directly in
        without an intermediary, salamanders and Abraham.
        The rest of us need guidance from water.

        Satisfaction comes from God,
        but to get there you need to eat bread.
        Beauty comes from the presence,
        but those of us in bodies
        must walk in a garden to feel it.

        When this body-medium goes, we will see directly
        the light that lives in the chest.
        The qualities of water show
        how we move inside grace.

        Rumi - by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

        The minute I heard my first love story,
        I started looking for you, 

        not knowing how blind that was.
        Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
        they're in each other all along.*

        * My all time favorite...bravo Coleman Barks! 

        Today, like every other day, 
        We wake up empty and frightened. 
        Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. 
        Take down a musical instrument.
        Let the beauty of what we love be what we do.
        There are hundreds of ways
        To kneel and kiss the ground.*

        * My all time favorite...bravo Coleman Barks! 

        In your light, I learn how to love.
        In your beauty, how to make poems.
        You dance inside my chest,
        where no one sees you,
        but sometimes I do,
        and that sight becomes this art.

        Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
        absentminded. Someone sober
        will worry about things going badly.
        Let the lover be.

        For years, copying other people,
        I tried to know myself.
        From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
        Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
        Then I walked outside.

        The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
        Don’t go back to sleep.
        You must ask for what you really want.
        Don’t go back to sleep.
        People are going back and forth across the doorsill
        where the two worlds touch.
        The door is round and open.
        Don’t go back to sleep.

        Don’t let your throat tighten
        with fear. Take sips of breath
        all day and night. Before death
        closes your mouth.

        Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
        Don't try to see through the distances.
        That's not for human beings. Move within,
        But don't move the way fear makes you move.

        There's no love in me without your being,
        no breath without that. I once thought
        I could give up this longing, then though again,
        But I couldn't continue being human.

        I have phrases and whole pages memorized,
        but nothing can be told of Love.
        You must wait until you and I are living together.
        In the conversation we'll have 
        then...be patient...then.

        Where is a foot worthy to walk a garden,
        or any eye that deserves to look at trees?
        Show me a man willing to be thrown in the fire.

        In the shambles of Love, they kill only the best
        None of the weak or deformed.
        Don’t run away from this dying.
        Whoever’s not killed for Love, is dead meat.


        Corrections of Popular Versions 

        A very interesting and painstakingly researched article by the Muslim-American scholar of Rumi, Ibrahim Gamard on blatant mistranslations by Rumi's hugely popular "Version-Makers". Mr. Gamard is the co-author of The Quatrains of Rumi: Rubaiyat-e Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi: Complete Translation with Persian Text in collaboration with the highly respected Afghan-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Rawan Farhadi. He's also the author of Rumi and Islam: Selections from His Stories, Poems, and Discourses.

        Mr. Ibrahim Gamard's outstanding website dedicated to Rumi and Masnavi studies is also A MUST VISIT:

        Dar Al-Masnavi

        "Many Americans love Rumi for his ecstatic spirituality about Divine Love, but they prefer that he not be a Muslim, or at least no more than minimally...a major reason why Rumi’s poetry is so popular in America is because it's presented in popularized versions, not faithful translations, in which Rumi is depicted as a mystic who is only slightly Islamic. Therefore, most Rumi books are marketed to satisfy the wish for maximum mysticism and minimal Islam. Americans have little interest or sympathy for political Islam, but by reading even the most popularized Rumi books, Americans are learning about many traditional Muslim values and wisdom teachings." - Ibrahim Gamard - Muslim-American Scholar of Rumi and Sufi Shaykh or Sufi Master of California-based Sufi Mevlevi Order.

        Coleman Barks and Rumi's Donkey

        Somewhat harsh criticism of Coleman Barks and his Rumi translations by the Iranian-born scholar, Majid Naficy (Fair or unfair criticisms, you be the judge).

        "..Coleman Barks not only "frees" Rumi from the historical limitations of his time but he also tries to disconnect Rumi from the Islamic society in which he lived and the Persian language in which he wrote his poetry. I have never heard or seen that Barks in his radio interviews and tv shows refers to cultural roots of Rumi, as if this poet has fallen from the sky and does not belong to any land or culture. The people of England consider Shakespeare a national treasures and the works of this author have increased the appreciation of English literature and culture worldwide. But unfortunately due to the non-literary and commercial goals of Coleman Barks, his popular version of Rumi has not created any interest within the American public in the land where Rumi was raised, the culture in which he had breathed and the language in which he wrote his poetry...

        The essential problem of Coleman Barks lies in the fact that in his version he intentionally changes Rumi, perhaps for the better, but at the expense of distortion and misrepresentation. He approaches Rumi's poetry as sacred texts, which need to be dusted from the passage of times by a touched devotee and prepared for the Post Modern, New Age market in the West. In order to remodel and fix Rumi for the American market, Barks follows the path of a New-Age Sufi. He tries to disconnect the mystical concepts of Rumi from their historical and social backgrounds and modify them for our contemporary taste..."

        Read Entire Paper Below:
        Coleman Barks and Rumi's Donkey
                         |PDF | ENGLISH | 16 PAGES |

        hmmmm... I wonder if Mr. Gamard, Mr. Naficy, and all other 'Muslim Puritans' have ever come across or fully read the following Rumi verses on rejecting the pseudo-nationalistic tendencies and dogmatic approaches, or looking past the superficial aspects of a reality...and if so, do they really know what Maulana is actually trying to teach us?

        The "Secret Language" 
        Is a whole different language.
        Sharing the same feelings 
        Or being of one heart
        Is much better than 
        Speaking the same language!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        پس زبان محرمی خود دیگرست

        همد‌لی از همزبانی خوشتر است


        What is going on O Muslims
        For I don't know who I really am?

        I am neither a Christian nor a Jew,
        Neither a Muslim nor a Zoroastrian.
        I'm neither from the East nor from the West,
        Neither from the Land nor from the Sea.
        I'm neither from the Heaven nor from the Earth.

        My place is in the Place-less. 
        My trace is in the Trace-less.

        I am neither the body nor the soul,
        For I belong to the Soul of my Beloved (God). 

        I have already shed all my duality,
        I now see the two worlds as One.
        I search One. I invoke One. I know One. I call One.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        چه تدبیر ای مسلمانان که من خود را نمی دانم
        نه ترسا نه یهودم من نه گبرم نه مسلمانم
        نه شرقی ام نه غربی ام نه بری ام نه بحری ام
        نه از کان طبیعی ام نه از افلاک گردانم
        مکانم لامکان باشد نشانم بی نشان باشد
        نه تن باشد نه جان باشد که من از جان جانانم
        دویی از خود بیرون کردم یکی دیدم دو عالم را
        یکی جویم یکی گویم یکی دانم یکی خوانم

        منصوب به مولانا

        I am in love with Love
        Because Love is my only salvation.
        I am in love only with Love 
        Someone else is a Muslim!

        Your Lover certainly ain't a Muslim
        Because in the Religion of Love
        There's no such thing as Islam or Infidels!

        Religion of Love is different
        From all other Religions.
        For true Lovers of Love
        God is their only Faith and Creed.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        ما عاشق عشقیم که عشقست نجات
        ما عاشق عشقیم و مسلمان دگراست
        عاشق تو یقین دار که مسلمان نبود
        درمذهب عشق کفرو ایمان نبود
        مذهب عشق زمذهب ها جداست
        عاشقان را مذهب و ملت خداست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        Love is nothing but eternal divine blessings
        and the sheer abundance of good fortunes.
        Love is nothing but total openness of the heart
        and the righteous divine guidance.

        Get your Self annihilated in love.
        Crush your selfish Ego for love.
        There is no bigger mistake
        than still clinging on to your material existence.

        In the Religion of Love,
        there is no boring chapters-after-chapters
        frenzy readings of a holy book!

        In the Religion of Love,
        The holiest chapters are
        the sacred verses of love.

        In the Religion of Love,
        the holy verses recitation involves:
        joyous singing, ecstatic chanting, and
        love intoxication from start to finish!

        In the Religion of Love,
        once you're converted into a true lover of love,
        You - Yourself - are the holy verses and
        the reciter of those holy verses of love!

        If you see a so called lover acting all sour and bitter,
        be sure of this: he or she is neither a true lover
        nor a faithful follower of Religion of Love.

        Any lover who is not fully aware 
        of strict rules of Religion of Love,
        is a novice disciple barely starting to journey
        upon the long and arduous path of love.

        Don't go astray from the righteous path of love.
        Go on and faithfully fulfill all your love duties.
        No seeker of love can journey upon the path of love
        without first fulfilling all his or her love-required duties.

        We're all doubtful about everything till the end,
        but in the undoubted Religion of Love,
        there is no second-guessing or beginning or end.

        Lovers are already drowned in the sweet waters of love.
        So for the already sweetened lovers,
        it doesn't matter if more sugar is brought in
        from Egypt or wherever!

        Every living thing needs water to survive.
        Have you ever seen a lover surviving without water of love?

        Enough of these Religion of Love explanations.
        One thing should be perfectly clear by now:
        The water of love analogy above 
        is the irrefutable proof that we all need love to survive.

        Thus, there is no need for me to keep on preaching
        or to further torturing my fellow love-thirsty lovers!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        عشق جز دولت و عنايت نيست
        جز گشاد دل و هدايت نيست
        لايجوز و يجوز تا اجل ست
        علم عشاق را نهايت نيست
        عاشقان غرقه اند در شکراب
        از شکر مصر را شکايت نيست
        جان مخمور چون نگويد شکر
        باده اي را که حد و غايت نيست
        هر که را پرغم و ترش ديدي
        نيست عاشق و زان ولايت نيست
        گر نه هر غنچه پرده باغي ست
        غيرت و رشک را سرايت نيست
        مبتدي باشد اندر اين ره عشق
        آنک او واقف از بدايت نيست
        نيست شو نيست از خودي زيرا
        بتر از هستيت جنايت نيست
        هيچ راعي مشو رعيت شو
        راعيي جز سد رعايت نيست
        خواجه جز مستي تو در ره دين
        آيتي ز ابتدا و غايت نيست
        آيتي تو و طالب آيت
        به ز آيت طلب خود آيت نيست
        بي رهي ور نه در ره کوشش
        هيچ کوشنده بي جرايت نيست
        چونک مثقال ذره يره است
        ذره زله بي نکايت نيست
        ذره خير بي گشادي نيست
        چشم بگشا اگر عمايت نيست
        هر نباتي نشاني آب است
        چيست کان را از او جبايت نيست
        بس کن اين آب را نشاني هاست
        تشنه را حاجت وصايت نيست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        In the path of seeking
        wise and fools are the same.
        In the religion of love
        known and unknown are the same.

        For the lover already intoxicated

        by the wine of mystical union with Beloved -
        in his or her faith -
        Muslims' Kaaba and Hindus' Temple of Idols
        are the same.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکیست
        در شیوه عشق خویش و بیگانه یکیست
        آنرا که شراب وصل جانان دادند
        درمذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکیست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        Close your fault seeking eyes
        and open your spiritual ones.
        So you don't differentiate
        between a Mosque and a Temple of Idols.
        So you don't draw any distinction
        between this Believer or that Believer.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        بر بند دو چشم عیب بین را
        بگشای دو چشم غیب دان را
        تا مسجد و بتکده نماند
        تا نشناسی این و آن را
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        There is a whole other world out there
        beyond just Islam and Infidels.
        I'm very interested to get to know that place.
        When Sufi mystics reach that realm,
        they simply lay their head down.
        Because in that inclusive world,
        there is no room for Islam or Infidels.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        از کفر و زاسلام برون صحراییست
        ما را بمیان آنفضا، سوداییست
        عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد
        نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جاییست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        Out beyond the worlds of Islam and Infidels,
        there lies an egalitarian world where
        no one is better, worse, or
        more significant than the other.
        If you're interested in moving
        to that incredible place,
        you need to first leave you heart and soul
        as deposit with its Soul Master (God)!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        بیرون ز جهان کفر و ایمان جاییست

        کانجا نه مقام هر تر و رعناییست
        جان باید داد و دل بشکرانه ی جان
        آنرا که تمنای چنین مأواییست
          مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        He (God) lives deep inside
        the inner and outer parts of my heart,
        every part of my heart belongs to Him.
        He (God) dwells deep inside
        my body, 
        my veins, and my blood,

        every part of my body belongs to Him.
        How could there still be a place
        for Islam or Infidels inside my heart,
        if my entire being belongs to Him?
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        اندر دل من درون و بیرون همه اوست
        اندر تن من جان و رگ و خون همه اوست
        اینجای چگونه کفر و ایمان گنجد
        بیچون باشد وجود من چون همه اوست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        If the presence of my Beloved is felt
        inside the Hindus' Temple of Idols,
        then it'll be a sin for me
        making a pilgrimage to Muslims' Ka'aba
        and circle around it.*
        If the fragrance of my Beloved
        cannot be traced in Muslims' Ka'aba,
        then I'd rather look around
        for a Jewish Synagogue.
        For the sake of tracing
        the scent of my Beloved's mystical union,
        the Synagogue will be my Ka'aba
        from now on.
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        *By Ka'aba (House of Allah/God for Muslims), Rumi is referring to the Cube-shaped structure in Mecca, Saudi Arabia where Muslims make their annual Hajj-Pilgrimage. As part of Hajj-Pilgrimage rituals, a Pilgrim must circle seven times around the Ka'aba (the counter- clockwise circumambulation is known as Tawaf). Hence Rumi's mentioning of circling around the Kaaba in above verses.

        در بتکده تا خیال معشوهٔ ما است
        رفتن به طواف کعبه در عین خطا است
        گر کعبه از او بوی ندارد کنشت است
        با بوی وصال اوکنشت کعبهٔ ما است
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        Muslims, Christians, Jews,
        Zoroastrians and Idol Worshipers,
        We all journey in our own ways
        Towards the Mighty Sultan (God).
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        مومن و ترسا جهود و گبر و مغ
        جمله را سوی آن سلطان الغ
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        The sign of my Faith can only be traced
        Beyond Islam and Infidels.
        I run away from any Islamic Caste.
        I know nothing about Non-Muslims' Zonar Belt.*
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        از کفر و ز اسلام برون است نشانم 
        از فرقه گريزانم و زنار  ندانم
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        * Here is a brief explanation of Zonar Belt:  Throughout the Islamic History, non-Muslims who lived in Islamdom or under the Islamic Rule, were forced to wear either a Green Belt known as Zonar, a distinctive Green Shawl/Girdle, a Red Hat, a Thin Chain Necklace (particularly in Medieval India), or a Yellow Badge (similar to Christians' infamous Yellow Badge) in order to keep them segregated and distinguished from Muslims

        Rumi and virtually all major Persian Sufi poets have repeatedly condemned- throughout their poetic outpourings- the segregationist practices of Orthodox Muslims vis-a-vis their fellow non-Muslim compatriots. Hence Rumi's strong rejection of Islamic mark of shame, the infamous Green Belt known as Zonar, in above verses. 

        For more on Zonar and other distinctive badges and garments of non-Muslims, I highly recommend reading Milka Levy-Rubin's outstanding book, Non-Muslims in the Early Islamic Empire: From Surrender to Coexistence

        If you journey upon the Path without any vision,
        You'll end up committing many major errors.
        But if you rely solely on your sight,
        You'll end up shooting yourself in the eye!
        As for those Believers who're being turned away
        From a Muslim Mosque or a Christian Church,
        Do you have any idea
        Where their holy house of worship is actually at?!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

          بی دیده اگر راه روی عین خطاست
         بر دیده اگر تکیه زدی تیر بلاست
         در صومعه ومدرسه از راه مجاز 
        آنرا که نه جا است تو چه دانی که کجاست
         مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        :برای مطالعه بیشتر درباره مولانا مراجعه فرمائید

        Rumi Poetry Recitation in Farsi - Ghazal/Ode # 3015 from Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir in original Farsi or Persian by maestro Bahman Sharif...It's truly a joy to watch even if you don't speak Persian or Farsi...Click on play, sit back and just enjoy. Here is my quick translation of its first two verses:

        My love, my beautiful looking love,
        you are the beauty of all beauties
        in all your splendor.
        Sometimes you break the idols,
        and sometimes you worship the fire! 
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        عشق من ای خوبرو رونق خوبان به تو
        گاه شوی بت شکن گاه کنی آزری

        A MUST WATCH

        غزل ۳۰۱۵ از دیوان کبیر یا دیوان شمس تبریزی

        Most of the Rumi related E-books listed below are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you currently don't have Adobe Reader to open your PDF-format files, please click above icon or links to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader

        Just as a memory refresher, all Rumi eBooks and Articles listed here are solely for educational purposes.

        by Frederick Hadland Davis

        by Annemarie Schimmel

        by Afzal Iqbal

        by R. A. Nicholson

        by A.J. Arberry

        The Essential Rumi

        by Coleman Barks

        Rumi: The Book of Love

        by Coleman Barks

        "The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing is the definitive collection of America′s bestselling poet Rumi′s finest poems of love and lovers. In Coleman Barks′ delightful and wise renderings, these poems will open your heart and soul to the lover inside and out. Rumi is best known for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries of love of all kinds - erotic, divine, friendship - and Coleman Barks collects here the best of those poems, ranging from the ′wholeness′ one experiences with a true lover, to the grief of a lover′s loss, and all the states in between: from the madness of sudden love to the shifting of a romance to deep friendship - these poems cover all ′the magnificent regions of the heart'."

        Rumi: Bridge To The Soul

        by Coleman Barks

        Love Poems of Rumi

        by Deepak Chopra

        The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi

        by William C. Chittick

        by William C. Chittick

        by Andrew Harvey

        The Rumi Daybook

        by Kabir Helminski & Camille Helminski

        by Kabir Helminski & Camille Helminski

        by Kabir Helminski

        by Kabir Helminski

        Ma'arif-e Mathnawi (English)

        The commentary of the Mathnawi of Rumi by Maulana Hakim Akhtar.

        You will not become a Sufi
        by simply wearing a Sufi cloak made of wool.
        You cannot call yourself a Sufi master
        by simply being a talkative sweet-talker.

        A Sufi must first possess a pure heart.

        So you want to practice Sufism
        with all that hatred still in your heart?
        Give this Sufi a break, will ya!
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        صوفي نشوي بفوطه و پشمينه
        نه پيرشوي زصحبت ديرينه
        صوفي بايد كه صاف دارد سينه
        انصاف بده صوفي و آنهمه كينه
        مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        "The term "Sufi" derives from the Arabic word "Soof" (meaning "Wool") and was applied to Muslim ascetics and mystics because they wore garments made out of wool. Sufism represents a dimension of Islamic religious life that has frequently been viewed by Muslim theologians and mainstream Islam with suspicion. Though Sufism is generally understood by scholars and Sufis to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, today, however, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism is outside the sphere of Islam.

        The ecstatic state of Sufi mystics can sometimes produce extreme behaviors or statements that on occasion appear to border on the blasphemous. The Sufis can sometimes feel so close to God that they lose a sense of their own self identity and feel themselves to be completely absorbed into God. This in fact is the goal of the Sufi. Through following a series of devotional practices, which lead to higher levels of ecstatic state, Sufis aspire to realize a condition in which they are in direct communion with God. Ultimately the individual human personality or Self passes away and the Sufi feels his or her soul absorbed into God [this concept is known in Tasawuf or Sufism as Fanaa - فنا or Annihilation of Self, and Baqaa - بقا or Mystical Union with God]."

        "The Sufis never set out to found a new religion, a mazhab or denomination. They were content to live and work within the framework of the Muslim religion, using texts from the Quran much as Christian mystics have used the Bible to illustrate their tenets. Their aim was to purify and spiritualize Islam from within, to give it a deeper, mystical interpretation, and infuse into it a spirit of love and liberty. In the broader sense, therefore, in which the word religion is used in our time, their movement could well be called a religious one, one which did not aim at tying men down with a new set of rules but rather at setting them free from external rules and open to the movement of the spirit.. Perhaps we may say that if, in the past, Sufism's function was to spiritualize Islam, its purpose in the future will be rather to make possible a welding of religious thought between East and West, a vital, ecumenical commingling and understanding, which will prove ultimately to be, in the truest sense, on both sides, a return to origins, to the original unity.."
        Excerpts from The Persian Sufis by Cyprian Rice.

        Tasawwuf or Sufism - تصوف یا عرفان

        The mystical dimension of Islam or Islamic Mysticism. Tasawwuf or Sufism teaches the relationship between Man and God on the one hand, and Man and Man on the other, and the various mystical stages of Man's spiritual evolution in his or her journey towards God in quest of the everlasting mystical union.

        Sufi - صوفی

        Also known as seeker, dervish, fakir, qalandar, lover, or mystic; a Sufi is the one who embarks on a spiritual/mystical journey towards God by means of love and devotion. A Sufi believes that the only way to becoming perfect is by the purification of Self.

        4 Stages of Self-Purification in Sufism:

        Fanaa - فنا = Annihilation of Self.
        Baqaa - بقا = Mystical Union with God.

        1. Self becoming emptied (Fanaa - فنا).
        2. Self becoming illuminated (Fanaa - فنا).
        3. Self becoming adorned (Fanaa - فنا).
        4. Self-having-passed-away and in eternal union with God (Baqaa - بقا).

        Wahdat al-Wujud - وحدت الوجود -
        - Unity of Being - 

        Man and God finally becoming One. Wahdat al-Wujud is the final stage or station of a Sufi seeker's lifelong spiritual journey upon the spiritual/mystical path of Sufism.

        Murid - مرید

        A novice student of Sufism, or the one who follows a Sufi Master.

        Pir - Murshid or Shaykh - 

        ~ پیر- مرشد یا شیخ ~

        The Sufi Master, Spiritual Guide, or the Sufi Teacher of traditional Sufi teacher-student relationships. Pir-o-Murshid or a Spiritual Teacher's presence is an inspiration to the spiritual development, maturity, and illumination of a novice student of Sufism.

        Salik سالک

        A wanderer or seeker of knowledge of Sufism who may follow many different teachers, seeking personal goals and different states or levels of spirituality in his or her journey towards the ultimate mystical union with God.

        Suluk - سلوک

        The spiritual pathway of a salik or Sufi seeker's inner and outer mystical journey in his or her quest for the ultimate mystical union with God.

        Khanaqah/Zawiya/Tekke or Ribat -
         ~ خانقاه - زاویه - تکه یا رباط ~

        Meditation and prayer center for collective practice of Sufi spiritual disciplines. It's also the traditional lodging place for wandering Sufi dervishes and fakirs. Sufi Khanaqah is better known in English as Sufi Convent or Sufi Lodge.

        Zikr- Dhikr or Zeker - ذکر

        The Sufi practice of repetitious remembering of God. Zikr can be performed individually or collectively through recitation and silent meditation, or by the Sufi practices of chanting, dancing, and musical instruments playing rituals as a means of prayer and remembrance of God. The Sufi Zikr ceremony is based on the following Quranic Teaching: "Remember Me, and I shall remember you." Holy Quran 2: 152.

        The shining light of Zikr-
        Repeatedly Remembering God -
        Illuminates the moon in the Sky.

        Remembrance of God
        Brings a Sufi gone astray
        Back upon the Path of Truth.

        Make this Sufi mantra
        Part of your daily prayers:
        "LA ILAHA ILL-ALLAH" -
        "There is nothing but God. He, God Alone Exists."
        Rumi ~ My Translation

        از ذکر بسی نور فزاید مه را 
        درراه حقیقت آورد گمره را
        هرصبح و نماز و شام ورد خود ساز
        این گفتن لا اله الا الله را
        مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

        For more reading materials and resources on Sufis and Sufism, please visit my previous post:

        Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism