Read Rumi's Major Works Online in English & Persian


Every venture one's life may replete
Mathnawi's purpose is Ego's great defeat.

Set afire, burning with cleansing heat,
on the anvil, Egos ply and beat.

My Mathnawi is the "Shop for Unity"
Anything you see except the One God 
Is just an "Idol of Multiplicity". 

This book, if you open, read, entreat
your life, a mendicant's, in the street.
~Rumi ~ Mathnawi or Masnavi.~ Book 6.



My poetry is like the bread of Egypt—
if one night passes
it will become stale.
Partake while it is still fresh,
before it dries out in the air.

My words rise in the warmth of the heart,
they fade in the cold of the world.
Like fish on dry land
they quiver for a moment, then die.

If you take in my words 
but do not digest them
you’ll have to color every truth
with your own imaginings.

O Man, you drink from an empty cup
while the precious wine gets poured in the gutter.
You drink from the well of your own delusion
while spitting out these sweet and ancient words.
If you eat stale bread thinking that it’s fresh,
all you’ll get is a stomachache.
~Rumi ~ Divan Shams Tabrizi ~ Ghazal/ Ode 981.



"What do I care about poetry? By Allah, I care nothing for poetry. There is nothing worse in my eyes. To me, it is like the cook who plunges his hand into tripe, cleaning it out for the sake of a guest’s appetite...I have studied many sciences and taken pains to offer fine, rare and precious things to the scholars and researchers, the clever ones and the deep thinkers who come to me. God has willed this. He gathered to me all those sciences, and assembled here all those pains, so I would become occupied with this work. What can I do? In my own country, and among my own people, there is nothing more shameful than poetry. If I had remained there, I would have lived in harmony with their temperament. I would have practiced what they love, such as giving lectures, composing books and preaching."
~Rumi ~ Fihi Ma Fihi or Discourses of Rumi.




"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 last disciple, Husamuddin Chelebi to whom Rumi had dedicated his magnum opus, Masnavi, as Husami Namah or the Book of Husam.

R
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 toward Perfection (God). Love, compassion, tolerance, respect for, openness to, acceptance of the other in their otherness; and interfaith dialogue are fundamentals of Rumi's thought and practice. 

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 Towheed – توحید - Ultimate mystical union of a Sufi mystic lover with Beloved (God) –  from Whom he or she has been cut off and become aloof – thus the lifelong longing and desire of the 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 and dogmatic arguments or perceptions of the senses. Rumi believes that creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, is the ultimate goal towards which a believer moves. 

The main theme and message of Rumi's thoughts and teachings is the Love of God and His creatures. The focus of Rumi's 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. Rumi 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. 

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.

The scholars who have studied Rumi admit that there was 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. It 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.

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 Sama 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 also contains 90 ghazals/odes and 19 rubaiyat/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 A.J. 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, Aflaki 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 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 had always 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 following:

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 he 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.


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

1216
Rumi’s family emigrate from Persia.

1219
Alaoddin Kay Qobad ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

1220
Death of Faridoddin Attar [the eminent 13th century Persian Sufi poet].

1221 
The Mongol army conquers Balkh [Rumi's birthplace in northern-Afghanistan]. 

1222
Rumi’s family settle temporarily in Karaman, Anatolia [central Turkey] .

1224

Rumi marries Gowhar Khatun.

1226
Birth of Soltan Valad [Rumi's favorite son and successor].

1229

Rumi’s family relocate to Konya [central Turkey].
1231
Death of Baha Valad [Rumi's father].

1232
Borhanoddin Termezi arrives in Konya [Rumi's first Sufi master].

1233 
Rumi begins his studies in Syria.

1235

Death of Ebn al-Farez in Egypt [the eminent 13th century Arab Sufi poet].
1237
Rumi returns to Konya as leader of Baha Valad’s school. Ghiyasoddin Kay Khosrow II ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

1240
Death of Ebn Arabi in Damascus [the eminent 13th century Arab-Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher].

1243
The Mongols extend their empire to Anatolia [central Turkey].

1244
Rumi meets Shams-e Tabriz in Konya for the first time.

1246
Shams leaves Konya [central Turkey].

1247
Shams returns to Konya [central Turkey].

1247-8
Shams disappears. Salahoddin the Goldsmith begins tenure as Rumi’s deputy. 

1258

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

1260
The Mongols are defeated in Syria by the Mamluks. 

1262
The Masnavi is started. 

1264
The Masnaviis resumed after a pause on account of the death of Hosamoddin’s wife [Rumi stopped composing the Masnavi for about two years].

1273

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.







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A Short Outline of Rumi's Life
by Emin Aydin

Abstract

"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
            | PDF | ENGLISH | 47 PAGES |


"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're either the Light of God
Or God Himself in human form.


 
Is this the reflection of my love for Shamsuddin,
Or the shining bright light emanating 

From the turned white 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."


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







Love is an endless sea, 
upon which the heavens are but a speck of foam. 
The revolving heavens are thus moved by waves of love.
If it wasn't for God’s Love, the earth would be frozen solid. 
How could lifeless soil turn into a plant without God's Love? 
How could plants sacrifice themselves as food
and become sentient beings with a spirit? 
How could that spirit think to sacrifice itself 
through self-denial for the sake of that Divine Breath 
whose lightest touch made Mary pregnant with her miracle-child? 
Without God’s Love, 
each of those things would be as solid and dense as ice; 
how could they ever flutter around like locusts
in their endless search for survival, meaning, and truth? 
Every speck is in love with that Perfection, 
and each of them is rushing ever higher toward it 
like a sapling reaching for the sun. 
Their haste betrays their real object, which is to say, 
“All Glory To God!” 
They're cleansing their bodies for the sake of the spirit within. 
Rumi - The Masnavi V: 3853–3859.



"The Masnavi is Rumi's greatest poetic work, composed during the last years of his life. Rumi began the Masnavi when he was between the ages of 54-57 and continued composing its verses until he died in 1273 (with the last story remaining incomplete). Masnavi is a compendium of Sufi stories, ethical and mystical teachings. Its full name is "Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî," which means "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning.
The Masnavi is a series of six books of poetry that each amount to about 25,000 verses or 50,000 lines. It is a spiritual writing that teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being in true love with God. The six books of the Masnavi can be divided into three groups of two because each pair is linked by a common theme:

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 addition to the reoccurring themes presented in each book, Rumi includes multiple points of view or voices that continually invite his readers to fall into “imaginative enchantment.” There are seven principal voices that Rumi uses in his writing:

The Authorial Voice – Each passage reflects the authority of the majestic Sufi teacher narrating the story. This voice generally appears when it addresses You, God, and you, of all humankind.
The Story-telling Voice – The primary story is occasionally interrupted by side stories that help clarify a point being made in the original statement. Rumi sometimes takes hundreds of lines to make a point because he is constantly interrupting himself.

The Analogical Voice – This voice interrupts the flow of the narration because it entertains an analogy which is used to explain a statement made in the previous verse. Rumi’s Masnavi is filled with analogies.


The Voice of Speech and Dialogue of Characters – Rumi conveys many of his stories through dialogue and speeches presented by his characters.


The Moral Reflection – Rumi supports his voice of morality by including quotations from the Quran and various hadith stories of events in the life of the Prophet Mohammed.


The Spiritual Discourse – The Spiritual Discourse resembles the Analogical Voice where Rumi always includes a moral reflection on the wisdom revealed.


Hiatus – Rumi occasionally questions the wisdom conveyed though the verses. “Sometimes Rumi says that he cannot say more because of the reader’s incapacity to understand.”

Book one of the Masnavi must be read in order to understand the other five volumes. It is a poetic art where Rumi layers his writing. For example, he begins a story, then moves on to a story within that story, and again moves to another within that one. Through this composition style, the poet’s personal voice comes through to his audience. The Masnavi has no framed plot. Its tone includes a variety of scenes. It includes popular stories from the local bazaar to fables and tales from Rumi’s time. 

Although there is no constant frame, style, or plot, Rumi generally follows a certain writing pattern that flows in the following order:

  1. PROBLEM OR THEME.
  2. COMPLICATION.
  3. RESOLUTION.



"Maulana Jalauddin Rumi is considered one of the most important Muslim teachers in history. But while Rumi has long been revered in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, in recent years, popularized versions of his poetry have made his name well known in America and Europe as well. This Western popularization emphasizes heartfelt themes of lover-Beloved mysticism and its spiritual joy, while sacrificing Rumi's profound Muslim piety as a dedicated follower of the Prophet Muhammad."






  • Full Text of Rumi's Masnavi - Nicholson
  • Masnavi of Rumi - Nicholson (Vol 1 & 2)
  • Masnavi of Rumi - Nicholson (Vol 3 & 4)
  • Masnavi of Rumi - Nicholson (Vol 5 & 6)


  • The Masnavi of Rumi - Full Text
  • Teachings of Rumi - Masnavi - Full Text
  • The Masnavi I Ma'navi - Full Text
  • The Spiritual Couplets of Rumi - Masnavi


  • The Mathnawi - Book One
  • The Mathnawi - Book Two
  • The Mathnawi - Book Three
  • The Mathnawi- Book Four
  • The Mathnawi - Book Five
  • The Mathnawi - Book Six
  • The Mathnawi of Rumi - All 6 Books

  • The Masnavi and The Acts of the Adepts

  • Full List of 440 Stories in the Masnavi
  • About Rumi's Magnum Opus, Masnavi
  • What Rumi Said About the Masnavi
  • First 18 Verses of Masnavi (Song of the Reed)
  • The Crisis of Identity in Rumi's Tale of the Reed
  • 17 Tales from Rumi's Masnavi
  • 2 Selected Allegories from Rumi's Masnavi
  • 2 Tales from Masnavi & explanations by Rumi
  • Rumi’s Fables from the Masnavi
  • Rumi: The Ocean of the Masnavi
  • Incarnation or Divine Transmigration in Masnavi
  • Sufīsm, Fatalism and Evil in Rumi's Masnavi
  • The Used Literary Offering on Rumi's Masnavi
  • Children Characters in Rumi’s Masnavi 
  • Structure & Meaning in the Prefaces of Masnavi- Books I-III
  • The Synoptic View of Book Two of Rumi's Masnavi
  • Structure of Book One of Masnavi as a Whole 
  • From the Garden of Masnavi - 83 Pages
  • The Heart of Hearts of Rumi’s Masnavi - 494 Pages
  • Phallocentric Esotericism in a Tale from Rumi’s Masnavi
  • Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass & Rumi’s Masnavi
  • American Institute of Masnavi Studies
  • The Masnavi - in English 
  • The Masnavi - in Farsi or Persian
  • The Masnavi -in Urdu 
  • The Masnavi - in Sindhi
  • The Masnavi - in Arabic
  • The Masnavi - in Turkish
  • The Masnavi - in Spanish


  • The Masnavi - in French

  • "The eminent British-born Orientalist, Reynald Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945) was the first Western scholar to make a full translation of all six books of Rumi's Masnavi into English. It was published in three volumes (Books I and II, 1926; Books III and IV, 1930; Books V and VI, 1934). In addition to the three corresponding volumes of the Persian text, Nicholson also published two volumes (1937 & 1940) of valuable commentary on the Masnavi."

    "The Mathnawí is a very long poem: it contains almost as many verses as the Iliad and Odyssey together and about twice as many as the Divina Comedia; and these comparisons make it appear shorter than it actually is, since every verse of the Mathnawí has twenty-two syllables, whereas the hexameter may vary from thirteen to seventeen, and the terza rima, like the Spenserian stanza, admits only ten or eleven in each verse, so that the Mathnawí with 25,700 verses is in reality a far more extensive work than the Faerie Queene with 33,500." Reynold Alleyne Nicholson.
    Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945)

    "Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945) is unanimously regarded as the greatest Rumi scholar in the English language. He was a professor for many years at the Cambridge University in England. Nicholson dedicated his life to the study of Islamic mysticism and was able to study and translate major Sufi texts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. 
    His monumental achievement was his work on Rumi's Masnavi (published between 1925-1940). Nicholson 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 world-wide. Nicholson also produced two volumes which condensed his work on the Masnavi and which were aimed at the popular level: "Tales of Mystic Meaning" (1931) and "Rumi: Poet and Mystic" (1950)."



                    |PDF|ENGLISH|2635 PAGES|

    From Masnavi by Rumi, tr. by Nicholson

    Book I - Song of the Reed

    PROLOGUE


     1. Listen to this reed how it complains: 
    it is telling a tale of separations.
    2. Saying, "Ever since I was parted from the reed-bed, 
    man and woman have moaned in (unison with) my lament.
    3. I want a bosom torn by severance, 
    that I may unfold (to such a one) the pain of love-desire.
    4. Every one who is left far from his source
    wishes back the time when he was united with it.
    5. In every company I uttered my wailful notes,
    I consorted with the unhappy and with them that rejoice.
    6. Every one became my friend from his own opinion; 
    none sought out my secrets from within me.
    7. My secret is not far from my plaint, 
    but ear and eye lack the light (whereby it should be apprehended).
    8. Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body, 
    yet none is permitted to see the soul."
    9. This noise of the reed is fire, it is not wind:
    whoso hath not this fire, may he be naught!
    10. 'Tis the fire of Love that is in the reed, 
    'tis the fervour of Love that is in the wine.
    11. The reed is the comrade of every one who has been parted from 
    a friend: its strains pierced our hearts.
    12. Who ever saw a poison and antidote like the reed? 
    Who ever saw a sympathiser and a longing lover like the reed?
    13. The reed tells of the Way full of blood 
    and recounts stories of the passion of Majnún.
    14. Only to the senseless is this sense confided:
    the tongue hath no customer save the ear.
    15. In our woe the days (of life) have become untimely: 
    our days travel hand in hand with burning griefs.
    16. If our days are gone, let them go!-- 'tis no matter. 
    Do Thou remain, for none is holy as Thou art!
    17. Except the fish, everyone becomes sated with water; 
    whoever is without daily bread finds the day long.
    18. None that is raw understands the state of the ripe: 
    therefore my words must be brief. Farewell!
    19. O son, burst thy chains and be free! 
    How long wilt thou be a bondsman to silver and gold?
    20. If thou pour the sea into a pitcher, 
    how much will it hold? One day's store.
    21. The pitcher, the eye of the covetous, never becomes full: 
    the oyster-shell is not filled with pearls until it is contented.
    22. He (alone) whose garment is rent by a (mighty) love 
    is purged entirely of covetousness and defect.
    23. Hail, our sweet-thoughted Love-- 
    thou that art the physician of all our ills,
    24. The remedy of our pride and vainglory, 
    our Plato and our Galen!
    25. Through Love the earthly body soared to the skies: 
    the mountain began to dance and became nimble.
    26. Love inspired Mount Sinai, O lover, 
    (so that) Sinai (was made) drunken "and Moses fell in a swoon."
    27. Were I joined to the lip of one in accord with me, 
    I too, like the reed, would tell all that may be told;
    28. (But) whoever is parted from one who speaks his language 
    becomes dumb, though he have a hundred songs.
    29. When the rose is gone and the garden faded, 
    thou wilt hear no more the nightingale's story.
    30. The Beloved is all and the lover (but) a veil; 
    the Beloved is living and the lover a dead thing.
    31. When Love hath no care for him, 
    he is left as a bird without wings. Alas for him then!
    32. How should I have consciousness (of aught) before or behind 
    when the light of my Beloved is not before me and behind?
    33. Love wills that this Word should be shown forth: 
    if the mirror does not reflect, how is that?
    34. Dost thou know why the mirror (of thy soul) reflects nothing? 
    Because the rust is not cleared from its face.



    Masnavi Manavi -Spiritual Couplets of Rumi
    Abridged and Translated by E.H. Whinfield

    "In 1898, the eminent British Orientalist, E. H. Whinfield translated selections from all six books of Rumi's Masnavi (totalling about 3,500 verses, as an abridged translation of Jalaludin Rum's masterpiece "Masnavi i Ma'navi", which Whinfeld wrote over a period of 43 years). Edward Henry Whinfield (1836-1922) was a translator of Persian literature. He composed the first well-commented English translations of Hafez and Rumi, as well as a side-by-side translation of 500 quatrains of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in 1883. EH Whinfield was born in England in 1836 and died in 1922. Educated at Rugby, he received an MA from Magdalen College at Oxford (1859). He also translated several other important Persian Sufi works, Omar Khayyam's 'Rubaiyat', Shabistari's 'Gulshan i Raz', and Maulana Jami's 'Lawa'ih'."





    Abridged and Translated by Whinfield

    From the Masnavi of Rumi, tr. by Whinfield -

    Book I - Song of the Reed

    PROLOGUE

    HEARKEN to the reed-flute, how it complains,
    Lamenting its banishment from its home:
    "Ever since they tore me from my osier bed,
    My plaintive notes have moved men and women to tears.
    I burst my breast, striving to give vent to sighs,
    And to express the pangs of my yearning for my home.
    He who abides far away from his home
    Is ever longing for the day ho shall return.
    My wailing is heard in every throng,
    In concert with them that rejoice and them that weep.
    Each interprets my notes in harmony with his own feelings,
    But not one fathoms the secrets of my heart.
    My secrets are not alien from my plaintive notes,
    Yet they are not manifest to the sensual eye and ear.
    Body is not veiled from soul, neither soul from body,
    Yet no man hath ever seen a soul."
    This plaint of the flute is fire, not mere air.
    Let him who lacks this fire be accounted dead!
    'Tis the fire of love that inspires the flute,l
    'Tis the ferment of love that possesses the wine.
    The flute is the confidant of all unhappy lovers;
    Yea, its strains lay bare my inmost secrets.
    Who hath seen a poison and an antidote like the flute?
    Who hath seen a sympathetic consoler like the flute?
    The flute tells the tale of love's bloodstained path,
    It recounts the story of Majnun's love toils.
    None is privy to these feelings save one distracted,
    As ear inclines to the whispers of the tongue.
    Through grief my days are as labor and sorrow,
    My days move on, hand in hand with anguish.
    Yet,, though my days vanish thus, 'tis no matter,
    Do thou abide, O Incomparable Pure One! 2
    But all who are not fishes are soon tired of water;
    And they who lack daily bread find the day very long;
    So the "Raw" comprehend not the state of the "Ripe;" 3
    Therefore it behoves me to shorten my discourse.
    Arise, O son! burst thy bonds and be free!
    How long wilt thou be captive to silver and gold?
    Though thou pour the ocean into thy pitcher,
    It can hold no more than one day's store.
    The pitcher of the desire of the covetous never fills,
    The oyster-shell fills not with pearls till it is content;
    Only he whose garment is rent by the violence of love
    Is wholly pure from covetousness and sin.
    Hail to thee, then, O LOVE, sweet madness!
    Thou who healest all our infirmities!
    Who art the physician of our pride and self-conceit!
    Who art our Plato and our Galen!
    Love exalts our earthly bodies to heaven,
    And makes the very hills to dance with joy!
    O Iover, 'twas love that gave life to Mount Sinai, 4
    When "it quaked, and Moses fell down in a swoon."
    Did my Beloved only touch me with his lips,
    I too, like the flute, would burst out in melody.
    But he who is parted from them that speak his tongue,
    Though he possess a hundred voices, is perforce dumb.
    When the rose has faded and the garden is withered,
    The song of the nightingale is no longer to be heard.
    The BELOVED is all in all, the lover only veils Him; 5
    The BELOVED is all that lives, the lover a dead thing.
    When the lover feels no longer LOVE's quickening,
    He becomes like a bird who has lost its wings. Alas!
    How can I retain my senses about me,
    When the BELOVED shows not the light of His countenance?
    LOVE desires that this secret should be revealed,
    For if a mirror reflects not, of what use is it?
    Knowest thou why thy mirror reflects not?
    Because the rust has not been scoured from its face.
    If it were purified from all rust and defilement,
    It would reflect the shining of the SUN Of GOD.6
    O friends, ye have now heard this tale,
    Which sets forth the very essence of my case.

    *NOTES:
    1. Love signifies the strong attraction that draws all creatures back to reunion with their Creator. 
    2. Self-annihilation leads to eternal life in God the universal Noumenon, by whom all phenomena subsist. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 400. 
    3. "Raw" and "Ripe" are terms for "Men of externals" and "Men of heart" or Mystics. 
    4. Alluding to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. Koran vii. 139. 
    5. All phenomenal existences (man included) are but "veils" obscuring the face of the Divine Noumenon, the only real existence, and the moment His sustaining presence is withdrawn they at once relapse into their original nothingness. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 165. 
    6. So Bernard of Clairvaux. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 435.


    Translated by James W. Redhouse (1881)


    "In 1881, the British Orientalist, James W. Redhouse made a rhymed translation of Masnavi's Book I. The Acts of the Adepts, which forms the first part of this book, is also notable. It is an abridged translation of the Menaqibul Arifin, by Rumi's hagiographer, Aflaki. This was one of the first English translations of a major portion of Rumi's Masnavi, his largest work. This translation is of the first book (of six) of the Masnavi; this was as far as Redhouse apparently got with his translation. Later, in 1898, E.H. Whinfield released an abridged translation of the first six books. The first complete translation of the Masnavi was by R.A. Nicholson, published in London from 1925-40. A.J. Arberry also published several translations of Rumi in the mid-20th century. James William Redhouse (30 December 1811- 4 January 1892) also authored the original and authoritative Ottoman - English dictionary. He was commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for his dictionary. His work was later used as the basis for many Turkish - English dictionaries."


    By James W. Redhouse (1881)
    Excerpts from The Mesnavi and the Acts of Adepts by Redhouse:

    This is the book of the Rhymed Couplets (Mathnawī, Mesnevī). It contains the roots of the roots of the roots of the (one true) Religion (of Islām); and treats of the discovery of the mysteries of reunion and sure knowledge. It is the Grand Jurisprudence of God, the most glorious Law of the Deity, the most manifest Evidence of the Divine Being. The refulgence thereof "is like that of a lantern in which is a lamp" that scatters beams more bright than the morn. It is the paradise of the heart, with springs and foliage. One of those springs is "the fount named Salsabīl" by the brethren of this religious order (of mystical devotees known as the Mevlevī or Dancing Dervishes); but, by saints and the miraculously endowed, it is called "the Good Station" and "the Best Resting-place." 
    The just shall eat and drink therein, and the righteous shall rejoice and be glad thereof. Like the Egyptian Nile, it is a beverage for the patient, but a delusion to the people of Pharaoh and to blasphemers; even as God, whose name be glorified, hath said: "He misleads therewith many, and He guides therewith many; but He misleads not therewith (any), save the wicked." 

    Book I - Plaint of The Reed-Flute

    PROEM

    From reed-flute hear what tale it tells;
    What plaint it makes of absence’ ills:
    "From jungle-bed since me they tore,
    Men's, women's, eyes have wept right sore.
    My breast I tear and rend in twain,
    To give, through sighs, vent to my pain.
    Who's from his home snatched far away,
    Longs to return some future day.
    I sob and sigh in each retreat,
    Be’t joy or grief for which men meet. 
    They fancy they can read my heart;
    Grief's secrets I to none impart.
    My throes and moans form but one chain,
    Men's eyes and ears catch not their train.
    Though soul and body be as one,
    Sight of his soul hath no man won.
    A flame's the flute's wail; not a breath,
    That flame who feels not, doom him death.
    The flame of love, ’tis, prompts the flute,
    Wine's ferment, love; its tongue not mute.
    The absent lover's flute's no toy;
    Its trills proclaim his grief, his joy.
    Or bane, or cure, the flute is still;
    Content, complaining, as you will.
    It tells its tale of burning grief;
    Recounts how love is mad, in brief.
    The lover lover's pangs best knows;
    As ear receives tongue's plaint of woes.
    Through grief, his day is but a dawn;
    Each day of sorrow, torment's pawn.
    My days are waste; take thou no heed,
    Thou still are left; my joy, indeed.
    Whole seas a fish will never drown;
    A poor man's day seems all one frown.
    What boot from counsel to a fool?
    Waste not thy words; thy wrath let cool.
    Cast off lust's bonds; stand free from all.
    Slave not for pelf; be not greed's thrall.
    Pour rivers into one small gill,
    It can but hold its little fill.
    The eye's a vase that's ne’er content;
    The oyster's filled ere pearl is sent. 
    The heart that's bleeding from love's dart,
    From vice of greed is kept apart.
    Then hie thee, love, a welcome guest;—
    Physician thou to soothe my breast.
    Thou cure of pride and shame in me;
    Old Galen's skill was nought to thee
    Through love, this earthly frame ascends
    To heaven; a hill, to skip pretends.
    In trance of love, Mount Sinai shakes,
    At God's descent; 'and Moses quakes.' 
    Found I the friend on whom I dote,
    I'd emulate flute's dulcet note.
    But from my love, while torn away,
    Unmeaning words alone I say.
    The spring is o’er; the rose is gone;
    The song of Philomel is done.
    His love was all; himself, a note.
    His love, alive; himself, dead mote. 
    Who feels not love's all-quick’ning flame,
    Is like the bird whose wing is lame.
    Can I be quiet, easy, glad,
    When my delight's away? No! Sad.
    Love bids my plaint all bonds to burst.
    My heart would break, with silence curst.
    A mirror best portrays when bright;
    Begrimed with rust, its gleam grows slight.
    Then wipe such foul alloy away;
    Bright shall it, so, reflect each ray." 
    Thou’st heard what tale the flute can tell;
    Such is my case; sung all too well.

    The Mesnevi of Mevlana Rumi

    By James W. Redhouse 1881


    "The Masnavi by Jalalu'd-din Rumi, translated for the first time from the Persian into prose, with a Commentary, by Charles Edward Wilson, London: 1910. Between 1883 and 1888, Persian was taught at Cambridge for the Board of Indian Civil Service Studies by C. E. Wilson (1848-1938), who had studied under Jules Mohl and Nicolas de Khanikoff and later went on to be professor of Persian at University College, London, from 1903 to 1917. Wilson was a translator of Rumi and Jami as well as Nezami's Haft Paykar (Haft Paikar, 2 vols., London, 1924)."


    Translated by C. E. Wilson 1910

    Quick tips on how to read Vol 1: Click above link / Cancel download / Change PTIFF to TXT / Use right arrow to browse through pages.

    Courtesy of West Bengal Library


    The Masnavi of Rumi - Vol 2
    The Masnavi of Rumi - Vol 3



    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..."





    Franklin Lewis is associate professor of Persian in the department of near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is also the incoming Deputy Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. His current interests include works in Persian languages and literature, medieval Islamic mysticism, Arabic literature, Sufism, translation studies and Iranian religion. He has also published extensively in the field of Baha'i Studies. 


    Professor Lewis did his graduate work in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His dissertation work was on the life and works of the 12th century mystical poet Sana'i, and the establishment of the ghazal genre in Persian literature, winning the Foundation of Iranian Studies best dissertation prize for that year. After graduation from the University of Chicago in 1995, Prof. Lewis taught Persian at Emory University, where he attained the ranks of Associate Professor of Persian and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies. Dr. Lewis is also the founder of Adabiyat, an international discussion forum on the literatures of the Islamic World (including Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu, in addition to Persian literature).His books include Rumi: Swallowing the Sun and Rumi - Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalâl al-Din Rumi


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

    A MUST READ...The Quintessential Book On Rumi

    The following MUST READ Articles by Prof. Franklin Lewis were first published in The Guardian 

    "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?" -Professor Franklin Lewis.

    Rumi's influence has long been felt throughout the Muslim world. Will his recent success in the West prove as long lasting?

    For Rumi, the reality accessible to our senses often obscures the true meaning that lies beneath..

    Can learning lead to God? For Rumi, knowledge is always partial. The Sufi way, however, can provide a taste of true reality..

    Sharia and the external observance of religious rules are only the beginning for the seeker after truth..

    For Rumi, love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries and the animating force of creation..

    In Rumi's theology of love, the 'death' of the baser self is the only way to achieve union with the divine..

    For Rumi, God's grace allows us to be judged on our intentions, and to recognize our common dependence on him..

    Rumi's teaching transcends the petty human squabbles that keep us divided. His words are a path to the divine..


    Phallocentric Esotericism in a Tale from Rumi’s Masnavi

    "The Masnavi Ma‘navi, the Mystical Epic of the great thirteenth century Persian mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273), contains explicit sexual images and bawdy tales that seem to have posed a problem for readers, commentators, and interpreters alike. When these “pornographic” tales are not completely overlooked, scholars view them as lacking mystical significance and as disrupting the mystical flow of the text. This paper is an assessment of Rumi’s modes of communicating esoteric secrets in a virtually unexplored bawdy tale in the Masnavi, the Tale of the Prankster who Donned the Veil and Sat among the Women during a Religious Gathering (5:3325 –3350). I will begin with a survey of the established readings of the Masnavi in which the presence of the bawdy tales has been noted. In order to situate Rumi’s bawdy tales in their historical context, a discussion of the instances and purposes of bawdy material in medieval Persian literature will follow."


    Graphic Eroticism in Rumi's Poetry

    "We have the greatest respect and admiration for Professor Nicholson who devoted a lifetime to the translation of the Mathnawi into English. He has chosen, however, to render some 133 out of 25,700 couplets into Latin. His reason he explains in his Introduction to Volume II of the Mathnawi (translation of Books I and II). Rumi, he thinks, 'is too outspoken for our taste' on certain' topics 'and many pages' of the Mathnawi 'are disfigured by anecdotes worthy of an Apuleius or Petronius but scarcely fit to be translated.’ Form a total of about 4000 verses (4855 to be exact) the translator takes exception to nine odd couplets which in his view are not fit to be translated into English.
    The Maidservant and the Ass is by far the most provocative story in the Mathnawi, were one to accept the yard-stick applied so far by the translator. He uses the blue pencil even in the prose heading of the story which begins with the following verses rendered into Latin [Vol. Vi, p.82.]..."

    Read Entire Chapter Below:
    LATIN TRANSLATION OF MATHNAWI

    by Prof. Afzal Iqbal, excerpt from his monumental work on Rumi: The Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi


    Read Prof. Iqbal's monumental book on Rumi online:

    Children Characters in Rumi’s Masnavi
    by Maryam Jalali

    Abstract

    In this paper we focus on the stories of Masnavi in which the children have the main role. The aim is to consider children’s attitudes as the elements of the story. The subjects we are going to work on are as follows: To consider carefully the apparent, spiritual, mental and environmental connections, to identify the static and dynamic character, and the protagonist and antagonist of mentioned children. Rumi has selected child character in 26 stories in Masnavi. All children are described based on gender, name, age and social class. The characters in Masnavi can be divided in two groups as human (men, women, and children) and non-human (God, angels, fairies, animals and etc.) characters.  

    READ ENTIRE PAPER BELOW:


    "Rumi Mevlevi is the activity of the American Institute of Masnavi Studies (AIMS) on the Internet. The Institute is affiliated with the International Hazrat-i Mevlânâ Foundation, in Istanbul, Turkey. The president of the Foundation is the hereditary and actual world leader of the Mevlevi order--the 33rd Chelebi Efendi, Faruk Hemdem Chelebi, the 22nd generation great-grandson of Mevlânâ Jalâluddîn Rûmî."













    "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."




    Selected Poems from Rumi's Divan-e Shams in English and Farsi 

    Click on each link below to read a Poem by Rumi in English and Persian or Farsi simultaneously:



    Divan-e Shams in English

    Translated by Dr. Nevit Ergin

    "Dr. Nevit Ergin, a Turkish-born surgeon, is the original translator of Rumi’s 44,829 verses of the Divan-i Kebir into English. He has been a student of Sufism and the poetry of Rumi since 1955. Nevit spent 35 years translating the divan (or anthology) from the Turkish version prepared by Golpinarli, one of the most important Turkish scholars and an admirer of Rumi. He is the author of Tales of a Modern Sufi and coauthor, with Will Johnson, of The Forbidden Rumi and The Rubais of Rumi."



    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 in English

    Translated by R. A. Nicholson

    Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi in English

    Selected Poems from Divani Shamsi Tabriz
    Edited and Translated by R. A. Nicholson
    First published in 1898

    This is Love: to fly heavenward, 
    To rend, every instant, a hundred veils. 
    The first moment, to renounce life ; 
    The last step, to fare without feet. 
    To regard this world as invisible, 
    Not to see what appears to one's self. 
    'O heart,' I said, c may it bless thee 
    To have entered the circle of lovers, 
    To look beyond the range of the eye, 
    To penetrate the windings of the bosom! 
    Whence did this breath come to thee, O my soul, 
    Whence this throbbing, O my heart? 
    O bird, speak the language of birds : 
    I call understand thy hidden meaning.' 
    The soul answered: 'I was in the (divine) Factory 
    While the house of water and clay was a-baking. 
    I was flying away from the (material) workshop 
    While the workshop was being created. 
    When I could resist no more, they dragged me 
    To mould me into shape like a ball.' 

    Ghazal/Ode # 35 from Divan Shams -trans. by R.A. Nicholson


    The man of God is drunken without wine, 
    The man of God is full without meat. 
    The man of God is distraught and bewildered, 
    The man of God has no food or sleep. 
    The man of God is a king 'neath darvish-cloak, 
    The man of God is a treasure in a ruin. 
    The man of God is not of air and earth, 
    The man of God is not of fire and water. 
    The man of God is a boundless sea, 
    The man of God rains pearls without a cloud. 
    The man of God hath hundred moons and skies, 
    The man of God hath hundred suns. 
    The man of God is made wise by the Truth, 
    The man of God is not learned from book. 
    The man of God is beyond infidelity and religion, 
    To the man of God right and wrong are alike. 
    The man of God has ridden away from Not-being, 
    The man of God is gloriously attended. 
    The man of God is concealed, Shamsi Din ; 
    The man of God do thou seek and find! 

    Ghazal/Ode # 8 from Divan Shams -trans. by R.A. Nicholson


    Happy the moment when we are seated in the palace, thou and I, 
    With two forms and with two figures but with one soul, thou and I. 
    The colors of the grove and the voice of the birds will bestow immortality 
    At the time when we come into the garden, thou and I. 
    The stars of heaven will come to gaze upon us ; 
    We shall show them the moon itself, thou and I. 
    Thou and I, individuals no more, shall be mingled in ecstasy , 
    Joyful, and secure from foolish babble, thou and I. 
    All the bright-plumed birds of heaven will devour their hearts with envy 
    In the place where we shall laugh in such a fashion, thou and I. 
    This is the greatest wonder, that thou and I, sitting here in the same nook, 
    Are at this moment both in 'Iraq and Khorasan, thou and I. 

    Ghazal/Ode # 38 from Divan Shams- trans. by R.A. Nicholson



    Translated by Arberry as Mystical Poems of Rumi



    Translated by A. J. 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”."



    "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. He re-translated (from Nicholson's translation) many of the stories in the Masnavi in two volumes. He made the stories easier to follow, by eliminating tangential sections (part of Rumi's teaching method of introducing associated material, commentary, sub-stories, etc.-- because his aim is to teach, not tell uninterrupted stories). The translations are very accurate, adopt many of Nicholson's translation words and phrases, but are often just as "Victorian-sounding" as is Nicholson's translation done decades before."


    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 MasnaviArberry's selection of most accessible tales from Rumi's Manavi.
    The Rubaiyat of Jalal Al-Din Rumi

    Selected Rumi translations by A.J. Arberry, 1949


    Thou shalt not see me here, 
    Master, with slumbering eyes,
    Nor in another year shalt view me otherwise.
    Momently as I lie look upon me, O night;
    Me thou shalt ne'er descry save in the dawning light.


    Within thy soul a soul doth dwell:
    Go, seek it well!
    Within thy mountain is mine:
    Get it for thine.
    The Sufi seek as he doth go,
    If thou canst so;
    Search not for him thy self apart,
    but search thy heart.


    Soul of the world! The soul,
    The world - these things do not endure;
    Only the ancient love and pure,
    Idol and saki, this abideth whole.
    About the shrine of naught
    The lover if he will process,
    Go, find him in his nothingness;
    Not in the infinite skies may he be sought.



    Time bringeth swift to end
    The rout men keep;
    Death's wolf is nigh to rend
    These silly sheep.

    See, how in pride they go
    With lifted head,
    Till Fate with a sudden blow
    Smiteth them dead.



    Thou who lovest, life a crow,
    Winter's chill and winter's snow,
    Ever exiled from the vale's
    Roses red, and nightingales:

    Take this moment to thy heart!
    When the moment shall depart,
    Long thou 'lt seek it as it flies
    With a hundred lamps and eyes.



    The heavenly rider passed;
    The dust rose in the air;
    He sped; but the dust he cast
    Yet hangeth there.

    Straight forward thy vision be,
    And gaze not left or night;
    His dust is here, and he
    In the Infinite.



    Who was he that said
    The immortal spirit is dead,
    Or how dared he say
    Hope's sun hath passed away?

    An enemy of the sun,
    Standing his roof upon,
    Bound up both his eyes
    And cried: 'Lo, the sun dies!'



    'Who lifteth up the spirit,
    Say, who is he?'
    'Who gave in the beginning
    This life to me.

    Who hoodeth, life a falcon's,
    Awhile mine eyes,
    But presently shall loose me
    To hunt my prize.'



    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.



    Flowers every night
    Blossom in the sky;
    Peace in the Infinite;
    At peace am I.

    Sighs a hundredfold
    From my heart arise;
    My heart, dark and cold,
    Flames with my sighs.



    He that is my souls' repose
    Round my heart encircling goes,
    Round my heart and soul of bliss
    He encircling is.

    Laughing from my earthy bed
    Like a tree I lift my head,
    For the Fount of Living mirth
    Washes round my earth.



    The breeze of the morn
    Scatters musk in its train,
    Fragrance borne
    From my fair love's lane.

    Ere the world wastes,
    Sleep no more: arise!
    The caravan hastes,
    The sweet scent dies.



    If life be gone, fresh life to you
    God offereth,
    A life eternal to renew
    This life of death.

    The Fount of Immorality
    In Love is found;
    The come, and in this boundless sea
    Of Love be drowned.



    Happy was I
    In the pearl's heart to lie;
    Till, lashed by life's hurricane,
    Life a tossed wave I ran.

    The secret of the sea
    I uttered thunderously;
    Like a spent cloud on the shore
    I slept, and stirred no more.



    He set the world aflame,
    And laid me on the same;
    A hundred tongues of fire
    Lapped round my pyre.

    And when the blazing tide
    Engulfed me, and I sighed,
    Upon my mouth in haste
    His hand He placed.



    Though every way I try
    His whim to satisfy,
    His every answering word
    Is a pointed sword.

    See how the blood drips
    From His finger-tips;
    Why does He find it good
    To wash in my blood?



    Remembering Thy lip,
    The ruby red I kiss;
    Having not that to sip,
    My lips press this.

    Not to Thy far sky
    Reaches my stretched hand,
    Wherefore kneeling, I
    Embrace the land.



    I sought a soul in the sea
    And found a coral there;
    Beneath the foam for me
    An ocean was all laid bare.

    Into my heart's night
    Along a narrow way
    I groped; and lo! the light,
    An infinite land of day.



    Rumi's Song of Reed 
    Translation by A.J. Arberry

    The lament of the reed-flute is a symbol of the soul's sorrow at
    being parted from the Divine Beloved
    1. Listen to this reed, how it makes complaint,
    telling a tale of separation:
    2. "Ever since I was cut off from my reed-bed,
    men and women all have lamented my bewailing.
    3. I want a breast torn asunder by severance,
    so that I may fully declare the agony of yearning.
    4. Every one who is sundered far from his origin
    longs to recapture the time when he was united with it.
    5. In every company I have poured forth my lament,
    I have consorted alike with the miserable and the happy:
    6. Each became my friend out of his own surmise,
    none sought to discover the secrets in my heart.
    7. My secret indeed is not remote from my lament,
    but eye and ear lack the light to perceive it.
    8. Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body,
    yet to no man is leave given to see the soul."
    9. This cry of the reed is fire, it is not wind;
    whoever possesses not this fire, let him be naught!
    10. It is the fire of love that has set the reed aflame;
    it is the surge of love that bubbles in the wine.
    11. The reed is the true companion of everyone parted from a
    friend:  its melodies have rent the veils shrouding our hearts.
    12. Whoever saw poison and antidote in one the like of the
    reed? Whoever saw sympathizer and yearner in one the like of
    the reed?
    13. The reed tells the history of the blood-bespattered way,
    it tells the stories of Majnun's hopeless passion.
    14. Only the senseless is intimate with the mysteries of this Sense;
    only the heedful ear can buy what the tongue retails.
    15. Untimely the days have grown in our tribulation;
    burning sorrows have travelled along with all our days;
    16. Yet if our days have all departed, bid them be gone--
    it matters not; only do Thou abide, O Thou incomparably holy!
    17. Whoever is not a fish is soon satiated with His water;
    he who lacks his daily bread, for him the day is very long.
    18. None that is inexperienced comprehends the state of the ripe,
    wherefore my words must be short; and now, farewell!

    Translated by A. J. Arberry. From "Tales from the Masnavi," 
    (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1961).





    Transliteration and Translation of Rumi’s Quatrains

    Courtesy of outstanding site on Rumi: Khamush

    "The transliteration and translation of Rumi’s quatrains offered in this site is an attempt in order to provide an opportunity for those who are interested in practicing Persian with Rumi. There is a transliteration of the original Ruba’iyat (quatrains) provided for each poem, in order to make the pronunciation easier for the unfamiliar western readers of Persian Classical poetry. It is also necessary to mention that due to the rough, classical English language used by Professor Arberry translating the quatrains, a detail translation for the key words, phrases and expressions is provided to facilitate the understanding of each Quatrain.

    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”, London, Emery Walker, LTD. Arberry’s selection relies upon the Isfahan edition of quatrains edited by Muhammad Baqir Ulfat, who comprises 1994 Ruba’iyat upon the Istanbul print with a manuscript of the Diwan preserved in the Nimatullahi monastery at Isfahan. It is necessary to mention that in Isfahan edition, the poems arranged in double alphabetical order, i.e. first by rhyme and then by the first word of each poem within the rhyme-group. Ulfat’s edition known also as Isfahan manuscript is an inferior work of the well-known Persian scholar “Badi’ al-Zaman Furozanfar” consists of 1983 Ruba’iyat, which currently considered as the most authentic and reliable edition of Rumi’s Diwan. However, both Ulfat and Furozanfar include all the quatrains, which were in the earlier manuscripts, and modern scholars believe some of them were falsely attributed to Rumi and composed by the earlier poets.

    The readers should note that since the base of translation in this site is Arberry’s work, therefore the Persian transliteration and the numbers referred to the quatrains are from Isfahan edition, which in some part differ from Furozanfar edition."

     Ruba'ie # 167   









    Mystical Poems of Rumi

    Translated by A. J. Arberry


    Translated by A. J. Arberry

    "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."




    Courtesy of Poetry Chaikhana & Poem Hunter




    "The “Fihi Ma Fihi” or “It is what it is” is a prose work of Rumi written in Farsi (Persian). It consists of 71 Discourses. Like Masnavi, it was written during the last few years of Rumi’s life. The eminent 20th century British Orientalist and Director of the Oriental Languages Department at Cambridge University, Professor A.J. Arberry was the first Western scholar to translate Rumi’s Fihi Ma Fihi into English as "The Discourses of Rumi". 

    This book’s gnomic title translates as ‘In It What Is In It’. Fihi Ma Fihi is a collection of prose lectures that Rumi gave to his followers, and Arberry’s translation was published in 1961 under the title of Rumi’s Discourses. Whereas Rumi's Divan is an emotional and ecstatic experience, Fihi Ma Fihi is more of an intellectual, spiritual, and thoughtful one. "

    In the preface to A.J. Arberry’s translation of “Fihi Ma Fihi”, Doug Marman says that:

    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”..."





    "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 amongst 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.."
    Excerpts from Rumi's Discourse # 69

    Between Man and God there are just two veils, and all other veils manifest out of these: they are health, and wealth. The Man who is well in body says, 'Where is God? I do not know, and I do not see.' As soon as pain afflicts him, he begins to say, 'O God! O God!' communing and conversing with God. So you see that health was his veil, and Go was hidden under that pain. As much as a man has wealth and resources, he procures the means to gratifying his desires, and is preoccupied night and day with that. The moment indigence, appears, his spirit is weakened and he goes round about God.

    Drunkenness and empty-handedness brought Thee to me;
    I am the slave of Thy drunkenness and indigency!

    God Most High granted to Pharaoh four hundred years of life and rule and kinship and enjoyment. All that was a veil which kept him far from the presence of God. He experienced to a single day of disagreeableness and pain, lest he should remember God. God said 'Go on being preoccupied with your own desire, and do not remember me. Goodnight!'

    King Solomon grew weary of his reign,
    But Job was never sated of his pain.


    Excerpts from Rumi's Discourse # 6

    If you find fault in your brother or sister, the fault you see in them is within yourself. The true Sufi is like a mirror where you see your own image, for “The believer is a mirror of their fellow believers.” 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. Just as you shy away from your brother or sister, so you should excuse them for shying away from you. The pain you feel comes from those faults, and they see the same faults. 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... 

    In God’s presence two I’s cannot exist. You cannot know your self and God’s Self; either die before God, or God will die before you so that duality will not remain. But as for God’s dying, that is both impossible and inconceivable, for God is the Living, the Immortal. So gracious is He that if it were at all possible He would die for your sake. Since that is not possible, then you must die so that God can reveal Itself to you, and duality can vanish. Tie two birds together, and despite their familiarity and the fact that their two wings have been changed to four, they will not fly. That is because duality exists. But let one bird give up its life and the other—even though tied to the first—will fly, because duality has vanished. 



    Excerpts from Rumi's Discourse # 44

    The Eternal Quest for Love

    Wherever you are and in whatever condition you may be, work hard to always be a lover (of God), and a passionate one at that. Once you’ve taken ownership of Love, you’ll always be a lover, even if you be in the grave, at the resurrection or in Paradise forever.
      When you've planted wheat, wheat will surely grow. Wheat will be in the storeroom and wheat will be baked in the oven. Majnun wanted to write a letter to Layla. He picked up a pen and wrote these lines:


    Your name is on my tongue,
    Your image is in my sight,
    Thoughts of you linger in my heart:
    So to whom shall I write?
    Your image dwells within my sight, your name never leaves my tongue, your remembrance dwells deep with my soul, so to whom shall I write a letter, given that you already occupy all those places. The pen broke and the page was torn in half.

    There are many people who have hearts filled with words like this, yet they cannot express them aloud, even though they’re lovers in constant search for this. That’s not to be unexpected, and it in no way is an impediment to love. As a matter of fact, the most impor­tant matter is the heart and an unceasing passion for Love. Even as a baby is in love with milk, gaining nourishment and strength thereby, still the baby cannot describe or explain what milk is, or offer this simple utterance, saying, “I feel great from drinking milk, and I feel miserable and malnourished when I’m away from it.” In spite of all this, the baby wants that milk with its very heart and soul. On the other hand, a grown adult, who can describe milk and all its qualities a thousand ways, gains no similar pleasure when he drinks it. "



    Excerpts from Rumi's Discourse # 50

    These sciences and arts are like measuring the ocean with a cup. To find the pearl calls for a different kind of approach. Many a man there is, adorned with every skill, wealthy and handsome to boot; yet this vital quality is not in him. Many a man there is who is outwardly a wreck, who has neither good looks nor elegance of speech nor eloquence, yet there is in him that vital element which is immortal. It is by that element that man is ennobled and honored, and by means of that he is superior to all other creatures. Leopards and crocodiles, lions and the rest of creatures, all have their peculiar skills and accomplishments; but that vital element which will survive for ever is not in them. If a man discovers that element, he has attained the secret of his own pre-excellence; if not, he remains without portion of that pre-excellence. All these arts and accomplishments are like setting jewels on the back of a mirror. The face of the mirror is destitute of them. The face of the mirror must be crystal clear. He who has an ugly face is eager for the back of the mirror, for the face of the mirror tells out every dark secret. He who has a handsome face seeks the face of the mirror with all his soul, for the face of the mirror displays his own comeliness.

    Everyone likes a mirror, and is in love with the mirror of his attributes and attainments, while not knowing the true nature of his face. He supposes the veil to be a face, and the mirror of the veil to be the mirror of his face. As for you, uncover your face, so that you may find Him to be the mirror of your face, and that you may know for sure that He is a mirror. In the same way you discover your image in the mirror; yet your image is not in the mirror, only when you look in the mirror you see yourself.


    A friend of Joseph of Egypt came to him from a far journey. Joseph asked, 'What present have you brought for me?' The friend replied, 'What is there that you do not possess and of which you are in need? But inasmuch as nothing 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 most High does not possess and of which He is in need? It is necessary to bring before God most High a heart mirror-bright, so that He may see His own face in it. 'God looks not at your form, nor at your deeds, but at your heart.'




    Translated by W.M. Thackston, Jr

    "Mostly we know Rumi from the numinous and increasingly numerous translations of his verses, which bring the 13th-century Sufi's heady teachings to a secular age. Here, however, we have something very different and most welcome: his discourses, lectures, conversations and ruminations on a variety of topics. These 71 prose pieces are an unexpected treat for the Western ear used to his ecstatic poetry. Rumi's talks are filled with the intuitive ``leaps'' characteristic of his poetry. But, more importantly, these texts offer Rumi's thinking on subjects he and his students found important, subjects the modern reader will find fascinating. Thackston has also provided us with one of the most useful and important introductions to the work of Rumi yet published. A book that any student of Rumi or of Sufism in general will find essential."



    Excerpts from Signs of the Unseen - Discourses of Rumi

    Self-Reflection

    Someone said, "We are imperfect."

    The very fact that someone thinks this and reproaches himself, saying, "Alas, what am I about? Why do I act like this?" is a proof of God's love and favor. "Love persists as long as reproach persists," because one rebukes those one loves, not strangers. Now there are different kinds of reproof. To suffer pain while aware of it is a proof of God's love and favor. One the other hand, when a type of reproof is inflicted and the reproved does not experience pain, there is no proof of love (as when one beats a carpet to get the dust out), and such is not called rebuke by the intelligent. If, on the other hand, one rebukes one's child or beloved, a proof of love does arise in such a case. Therefore, so long as you experience pain and regret within yourself, it is proof of God's love and favor.

    In whatever state man may be, his mysterion is concerned with God, and his external preoccupations in no way hinder that inner concern. In whatever state a pregnant woman may be — war or peace, eating or sleeping — the baby is growing, is being strengthened, and is receiving sensations in her womb without her being aware of it. Mankind likewise is “pregnant” with that mysterion. But man undertook {the faith}: verily he was unjust to himself, and foolish {33:72}, but God does not leave him in his injustice and foolishness. If out of man’s apparent burden come companionship, sympathy, and a thousand acquaintances, then consider what marvelous friendships and acquaintances will issue out of the mysterion to which man gives birth after death. The mysterionis necessary in order for man to flourish. It is like the root of a tree although it is hidden from view, its effects are apparent on the branches. Even if one or two branches break off, when the root is strong the tree will continue to grow. If, however, the root suffers damage neither branch nor leaf will survive...


    When God made Adam of clay and water, "He kneaded the clay of Adam for forty days." He completed Adam's shell and left it for a period of time on the earth. Iblis [Satan] came down and went into Adam's shell. Going through and inspecting every vein, he saw that it was full of blood and humors. Adam said, "Ugh! It is a wonder if this be not the very Iblis [Satan] who, at the foot of God's Throne, I saw would appear. If that Iblis [Satan] exists, this must be he."

    Peace be with you!"









    Majalis-e Saba or Seven Sermons is a small booklet with Rumi’s public and formal Sermons. The Seven Sermons of Rumi are not yet fully translated into English. The link below- courtesy of Darvish Blog- contains the only Sermon by Rumi (Sermon # 6) translated into English by Professor Franklin D. Lewis, from his monumental book on Maulana, 'Rumi, Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi'.


    Rumi's Sermon # 6
    Selections from Rumi's Seven Sermons


    Majalis-e Saba or Seven Sermons of Rumi



    "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 top student, 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 the 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 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 her soul and how her motivations work is through knowledge and reason. When a person uses her mind to delve deeply within herself, she can finally begin the journey toward becoming beloved of God. 


    The following is an excerpt from the first of these speeches: 


    The prosperity and wealth of a fine mansion is a chain upon the restless soul. Indeed, the soul is deceived by such golden chains, and thus, it can’t pass over the desert (of this world and into Heaven). It remains stuck in its oasis. Even though its oasis may seem like a paradise, in fact it’s a hell. Although it may seem like a rose in appearance, yet in fact it’s a poisonous snake. All you who are innocent! Beware of that rose-colored life, for that kind of rose is in hellfire. Indeed, it’s a hell in and of itself, and this becomes evident when a full discussion reveals it for what it truly is. "





    Here is another brief excerpt from one of Rumi's Seven Sermons:

    "Although I am weak, unprotected and helpless, I heard a voice, saying: "We have honored the sons of Adam...” (Holy Qur'an, 17/70). Now, I am neither weak nor unprotected nor helpless, and I have lots and lots of means and solutions. If I fill up my quiver with Your arrows, O Allah, I may even break the Mythic Mountain's back. I can only become sweet with You [God]; now my life, in fact, is bitter. If only You [God] and I could be closer to each other as good friends. Wealth is not worth so much when You [God] love me, for it is too threadbare to be prized. In fact, whatever there is on earth, all of them are nothing but perishable materials. Only You [God] is the Everlasting One." 



    Maktubat or Letters of Rumi

    Rumi's Letters are not yet fully translated into English

    "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 Qur’an, the sayings of 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 he 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.

    Here is example of an occasion that prompted Rumi to write a letter:

    Rumi had gotten his son, Sultan Walad, married off to Fatimah, the daughter of his good friend, Salahuddin Zarqubi. The newlyweds later had a fight, and there was a period of estrangement between them. Rumi wrote a letter to Fatimah in which he told her that he supported her side in the disagreement and that she was fully justified in her position. He then told her that he felt sorry for her sadness, and that he always had the utmost respect for her father, who had recently passed  away. Rumi wrote that he was so indebted to her father that, “Only the treasury of God Most High could repay him for the gratitude I feel.”

    Rumi then went on to say that he didn’t want her to hide any of her suffering, and that it would help him to convince his son to be reasonable and reconcile with her. He backed up his concern by saying that if his son didn’t relent of his anger, then he would give up his love for his own son, refrain from returning his greetings, and he wouldn’t allow his son to attend his funeral. He then wrote, “I wish that you never would have been made to suffer or feel sad. God, may He be glorified, will help you, and the servants of God will help you, too.” (The pair eventually reconciled.)

    Rumi included this poem in his letter:


    May the splendors of Salahuddin rise again, 
    and be poured into the eyes of the lovers. 
    May every soul that’s been purified and become even purer than that,
    be mingled with the dust of Salahuddin. "






    :برای مطالعه بیشتر درباره مولانا مراجعه فرمائید
     مولانا به فارسی








    Most of the eBooks and articles listed below are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you currently don't have the Adobe Reader to open and save your PDF files, please click on the above icon to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader. Just as a memory refresher, all of the eBooks & Articles listed below are solely for educational purposes.





    Excerpts from The Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi by the eminent India-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Afzal Iqbal (1923 -1994). Late Prof. Iqbal's monumental book is A MUST READ if you're interested in learning more about Rumi's life, works, and Sufi teachings.

    "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 the most eminent Sufi poet whom Persia has produced,” adding that “his mystical Masnavi deserves to rank amongst the great 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.' 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 late Prof. Afzal Iqbal's The Impact of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi on Islamic Culture 

    "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, Husam-ud-din is invoked as the inspiring genius of the Mathnawi. Rumi took nearly twelve years to dictate 25.700 verses to Husam-ud-din. 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?
    [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 connexion . . . 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, 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.’ [V, 979-93.]..."

    The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Rumi

    by Annemarie Schimmel

    "The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi [by German-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003] is a book on Rumi's life, his poetry, his thought, and his influence. Rumi's work forms one of the pillars of the Sufi orders, particularly the Mevlevi order, better known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. In this book Rumi emerges not only as a spiritual master, but also as a fully human being grounded firmly in the Koran and in classical Islamic mysticism. The light of the Divine Sun, in its Beauty and Majesty, manifested itself for Rumi through the person of Shams of Tabriz. Transformed by this light, consumed by this fire, Mowlana Rumi saw the world in a new light. Everywhere he perceived God's Grandeur and his Grace. The book also discusses the theological premises upon which Rumi's work rests, his attitude to the problems of free will and predestination, and his analysis of the mystical stages and stations. The book not only gives a very rich analysis of Rumi's language and poetical art, but also a picture of medieval Konya, whose features the mystical poet transforms and transfigures."


    "Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003), author of over 50 books and numerous scholarly articles, was the leading authority on Islamic mysticism and literature in the Persian tradition. She published translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Sindhi, and Pashto poetry, as well as critical studies of major Sufis like Rumi, and modern authors like Iqbal. Her first translations (to German) were of Rumi's Divan. Among some half a dozen books on Rumi, her most comprehensive (and frequently reprinted) is The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi. "


    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.



    "This book celebrates the extraordinary career of Persia's great mystical poet, Rumi (1207–1273), through the story of his life, along with an enlightening examination of his ecstatic verse. Rumi lived the quiet life of a religious teacher in Anatolia until the age of thirty-seven, when he came under the influence of a whirling dervish, Shams Tabriz, and was moved to a state of mystical ecstasy. One of the results of this ecstasy was a prodigious output of poems about the search for the lost Divine Beloved, whom Rumi identified with Shams. To symbolize this search, Rumi also invented the famous whirling dance of the Melevi dervishes, which are performed accompanied by the chanting of Rumi's poems. Professor Schimmel illuminates the symbolism and significance of Rumi's vast output and offers her own translations of some of his most famous poems."


    "Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), one of the world's most beloved poets, poured out thousands of verses expressing a wonderful, high-soaring love for God. Rendered in rhythmic language, the poems collected in this book echo the enraptured dances created by Rumi and made famous by the whirling dervishes."



    A Two-Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry


    "Annemarie Schimmel, one of the world's foremost authorities on Persian literature, provides a comprehensive introduction to the complicated and highly sophisticated system of rhetoric and imagery used by the poets of Iran, Ottoman Turkey, and Muslim India. She shows that these images have been used and refined over the centuries and reflect the changing conditions in the Muslim world.

    According to Schimmel, Persian poetry does not aim to be spontaneous in spirit or highly personal in form. Instead it is rooted in conventions and rules of prosody, rhymes, and verbal instrumentation. Ideally, every verse should be like a precious stone?perfectly formed and multifaceted?and convey the dynamic relationship between everyday reality and the transcendental. Persian poetry, Schimmel explains, is more similar to medieval European verse than Western poetry as it has been written since the Romantic period. The characteristic verse form is the ghazal?a set of rhyming couplets?which serves as a vehicle for shrouding in conventional tropes the poet's real intentions.


    Because Persian poetry is neither narrative nor dramatic in its overall form, its strength lies in an "architectonic" design; each precisely expressed image is carefully fitted into a pattern of linked figures of speech. Schimmel shows that at its heart Persian poetry transforms the world into a web of symbols embedded in Islamic culture."



     
    Mystical Dimensions of Islam

    "Mystical Dimensions of Islam presents, for the first time, a balanced historical treatment of the transnational phenomenon of Sufism—Islamic mysticism—from its beginnings through the nineteenth century. Through her sensitivity and deep understanding of the subject, Annemarie Schimmel, an eminent scholar of Eastern religions, draws the reader into the mood, the vision, the way of the Sufi in a manner that adds an essential ingredient to her analysis of the history of Sufism.

    After exploring the origins of the mystical movement in the meditations of orthodox Muslims on the Koran and the prophetic tradition, the author then discusses the development of its different stages, including classical voluntarism and post-classical theosophical mystical trends. Particular emphasis is placed on spiritual education, the different ways of leading the mystic toward the existential realization of the profound mystery of the profession of faith that "there is no deity but God." Sufi psychology and Sufi orders and fraternities are comprehensively explored.


    Through an examination of mystical anthropology, which culminates in the veneration of the prophet and the saints, the questions of free will and predestination, of good and evil, are implied. The main burden of the text, however, is Sufism as reflected in Islamic poetry, and Professor Schimmel examines the various aspects of mystical poetry in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Sindhi, Panjabi, and Pashto. The author skillfully demonstrates how Sufi ideals permeated the whole fabric of Muslim life, providing the average Muslim—villager or intellectual—with the virtues of perfect trust in God and the loving surrender to God's will.


    Professor Schimmel's long acquaintance with Turkey, Iran, and the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent provides a unique emphasis to the study, and the author's personal knowledge of Sufi practice in these regions lends a contemporary relevance to her work."



    "From the beautiful odes of Jalaluddin Rumi to the whimsy of nonsense verse, this is a detailed and readable introduction to the development of Islamic mystical poetry. Annemarie Schimmel has drawn exhaustively on an enormous range of sources both ancient and modern to create this thorough survey of a unique body of literature. Travelling from continent to continent across the centuries, this fascinating story of Islamic poetry encompasses a wide spectrum of traditions and cultures, from Arabic religious verse to the ecstasies of the Persian Sufis and the popular folk poetry of India and Pakistan. Showing how the varying strands of the tradition unite to form one single message of all-embracing love, Schimmel also covers such specific topics as: • the challenges of interpreting verse that is both sensual and sacred • sacrifice and spiritual love • the role of the feminine in folk poetry An accessible introduction for the general reader, this insightful account also contains detailed notes and a full bibliography for scholars and students, and will serve as an indispensable companion to some of the most exquisite literature ever penned."

    The Persian Mystics: Jalaluddin Rumi

    by Frederick Hadland Davis

    "The Persian Mystics: Jalalu'd-din Rumi includes selections from some of Rumi's most famous works, the "Divani Shamsi Tabriz" and the "Masnavi," as well as passages on his life and work, and the origin and nature of Sufism. Though written from a Sufi perspective, Rumi's poems on spiritual growth - here collected and edited by F. Hadland Davis and first published in 1907 - cross all cultural and religious bounds, and can still be heard today in many secular and religious settings."

    Sufi Path of Love - Spiritual Teachings of Rumi

    by William C. Chittick

    "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."

    The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi

    by William C. Chittick

    "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."

    Mystical Poems of Rumi

    by A. J. Arberry

    "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."

    The Essential Rumi

    by Coleman Barks

    "A comprehensive collection of ecstatic poetry that delights with its energy and passion, The Essential Rumi [the best-selling Rumi book ever by Coleman Barks] brings the vibrant,living words of famed thirteenth-century Sufi mystic Jelaluddin Rumi to contemporary readers. 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 potrey is truly remarkable.

    No translator could do greater justice to the gorgeous simplicity of Rumi's poetry than Coleman Barks has done here. These 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. Barks's introductions to each of the 27 sections (described as "playful palimpsests spread over Rumi's imagination," and "meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories") are themselves wonderful achievements of a poetic imagination; searching explanations of unfamiliar concepts and funny stories provide colorful background and frame the selections as no dry historical exegesis could.

    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: "The 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."






    THE GUEST HOUSE

    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.

    From The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks



    TWO KINDS OF INTELLIGENCE

    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.

    From 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′."

    IGNORANCE

    I didn't know love would make me this
    crazy, with my eyes
    like the river Ceyhun
    carrying me in its rapids
    out to sea,where every bit
    of shattered boat
    sinks to the bottom.

    An alligator lifts its head and swallows
    the ocean, then the ocean
    floor becomes
    a desert covering
    the alligator in
    sand drifts.

    Changes do
    happen. I do not know how,
    or what remains of what
    has disappeared
    into the absolute.

    I hear so many stories
    and explanations, but I keep quiet,
    because I don’t know anything,
    and because something I swallowed
    in the ocean
    has made me completely content
    with ignorance.”

    From The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    By Coleman Barks



    THIS TORTURE

    Why should we tell you our love stories
    when you spill them together like blood in the dirt?
    Love is a pearl lost on the ocean floor,
    or a fire we can’t see,
    but how does saying that
    push us through the top of the head into
    the light above the head?
    Love is not
    an iron pot, so this boiling energy
    won’t help.
    Soul, heart, self.
    Beyond and within those
    is one saying,
    How long before I’m free of this torture!”

    From The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    By Coleman Barks



    by Coleman Barks

    "Coleman Barks has translated this splendid new volume of Rumi poems to celebrate the great mystic's 800th birthday. UNESCO has named 2007 the "Year of Rumi." Here you will find 90 poems, 83 of which have not been previously published."

    ONE SONG

    Every war and every conflict between human beings
    has happened because of some disagreement about names.

    It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
    because just beyond the arguing
    there is a long table of companionship
    set and waiting for us to sit down.

    What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
    many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
    All religions, all this singing, one song.
    The differences are just illusion and vanity.
    Sunlight looks a little different on this wall
    than it does on that wall
    and a lot different on this other one,
    but it is still one light.

    We have borrowed these clothes,
    these time-and-space personalities,
    from a light, and when we praise,
    we are pouring them back in.

    From Rumi: Bridge To The Soul
    By Coleman Barks



    SPLIT THE SACK

    Why does the soul not fly
    when it hears the call?
    Why does a fish, gasping on land,
    but near the water,
    not move back into the sea?
    What keeps us from joining the dance
    the dust particles do?

    Look at their subtle motions
    in sunlight.
    We are out of our cages
    with our wings spread,
    yet we do not lift off.
    We keep collecting rocks and broken bits
    of pottery like children
    pretending they are merchants.

    We should split the sack
    of this culture
    and stick our heads out.
    Look around.
    Leave your childhood.
    Reach your right hand up
    and take this book from the air.
    You do know right from left, don't you?

    A voice speaks to your clarity.
    Move into the moment of your death.
    Consider what you truly want.
    Now call out commands yourself.
    You are the king. Phrase your question,
    and expect the grace of an answer.

    From Rumi: Bridge To The Soul
    By Coleman Barks



    by Frederick Hadland Davis




    by Annemarie Schimmel


    by Afzal Iqbal


    by R. A. Nicholson
                    


    by A.J. Arberry

    The Essential Rumi

    by Coleman Barks


    by Coleman Barks


    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.






    by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson

    "Jalalu'l-Din Rumi was one of the greatest of the Persian mystical poets. In his writings he explored the profound themes of the nature of truth, of beauty, and of our spiritual relationship with God. Professor Nicholson translated this collection of mystical poems shortly before his death. It contains versions of over 100 short passages from Rumi's greatest works, together with brief explanatory notes."


    The Mystics of Islam

    The Mystics of Islam

    by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson

    "Nicholson's Mystics of Islam is long considered as one of the classic texts in the field, respected by both scholars and those interest ed in Islamic Mysticism - Sufism. Nicholson's Mystics of Islam was the first book in the West to offer a lucid and sympathetic picture of Islamic mysticism.

    Nicholson (1868-1945), who translated many important works of Sufism, notably the definitive version of Rumi's "Mathnawi," was among the leading English Islamic scholars of the 20th century. English Orientalist, lecturer in Persian and Sir Thomas Adams professor of Arabic at Cambridge University, Nicholson was a foremost scholar in the field of Islamic literature and mysticism. He was born at Keighley, Yorkshire in 1868. His "Literary of the Arabs" (1907) remains a standard work on the subject in English, while his many text editions and translations of Sufi writings, culminating in his eight-volume "Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddim Rumi," advanced the study of Muslim mystics to an eminent degree. He combined exact scholarship with notable literary gifts; some of his versions of Arabic and Persian poetry qualify him as a poet himself."





    by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson

    "The eminent 20th century British Orientalist, Reynald A. Nicholson's classic survey of the field of Islamic Mysticism. Intended as reading for students of Sufism, philosophy and literature, it also provides an introduction to the translations of both R.A. Nicholson and A.J. Arberry."





    Classical Persian Literature

    by A. J. Arberry

    "This single volume by A.J. Arberry provides an account of the first rebirth of a national literature in the national language, tracing the course of classical Persian literature's development and full maturity from the beginning of the 9th century to the end of the 15th century."


    by A. J. Arberry

    "This thought-provoking and amusing selection by Arberry, taken from Attar's Memorial of the Saints, is an enlightening introduction to the deeds, parables, and mirades of Muslim saints and mystics, and evokes the riches of the interior Sufi world."


    "The first concise but authentic account of history of Sufism to appear in any language, this work by Arberry remains among the best. Arberry offers insights into every aspect of Sufism, from interpretation of the Word of God and the life of the Prophet to the theorists of Sufism, the structure of Sufi theory and practice, and more."


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    Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!








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