|Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
Afghanistan & Turkey (1207 - 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi
Poems by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
Books - Links
How about just a few interesting details about Rumi:
Rumi was born in Balkh, in what is today Afghanistan. While he was still a child his family moved all the way to Konya in Asia Minor (Turkey). They moved to flee from Mongol invaders who were beginning to sweep into Central Asia. Konya, far to the west of the invaded territories, became one of the major destinations for expatriates to settle, turning the city into a cosmopolitan center of culture, education, and spirituality. (These lands were part of the Persian Empire, so, while he lived most of his life in what is today called Turkey, culturally he was Persian.)
In fact, Rumi wasn't the only famous Sufi teacher living in Konya at the time. The best known spiritual figure in Konya at the time was not Rumi, but the son-in-law of the greatly respected Sufi philosopher ibn 'Arabi. The wonderful Sufi poet Fakhruddin Iraqi also lived in Konya at the same time as Rumi.
"Rumi" was not his proper name; it was more of a nickname. Rumi means literally "The Roman." Why the Roman? Asia Minor (Turkey) was referred to as the land of the Rum, the Romans. The Byzantine Empire, which had only recently been pushed back to a small area of control around Constantinople, was still thought of as the old Eastern Roman Empire. Rumi was nicknamed the Roman because he lived in what was once the Eastern Roman Empire. ...But not everyone calls him Rumi. In Afghanistan, where he was born, they call him Balkhi, "the man from Balkh," to emphasize his birth in Afghanistan.
Rumi's father was himself a respected religious authority and spiritual teacher. Rumi was raised and educated to follow in his father's footsteps. And, in fact, Rumi inherited his father's religious school. But this was all along very traditional lines. Rumi was already a man with religious position when he first started to experience transcendent states of spiritual ecstasy. This created a radical upheaval, not only in himself, but also within his rather formal spiritual community as everyone tried to adjust to their leader's transformation.
One more note about Rumi's father: It was only after his death that some of the father's private writings were discovered, revealing that he himself was also a profound mystic, though he had kept this part of himself private, apparently even from his son Rumi.
Many of Rumi's poems make reference to the sun. This always has layered meaning for Rumi since he was deeply devoted to his spiritual teacher Shams of Tabriz... as the name Shams means "the sun." The sun for Rumi becomes the radiance of God shining through his beloved teacher.
The spiritual bond between Rumi and Shams was profound, but the two individuals were very different. Rumi was a member of the educated elite within the urban expatriate community, while Shams was a poor wandering mystic who rarely stayed in one place long. Shams would often disappear unexpectedly, then return months later. Many of Rumi's family and students were jealous of Shams, resenting the closeness he shared with their master. Finally, Shams disappeared, never to return. Some believe that he was actually kidnapped and murdered, possibly by Rumi's own sons! Or he may have simply followed his dervish nature and journeyed on, never to return to Konya.
You've heard of "whirling dervishes," right? Not all Sufis practice that spinning meditative dance. That is specific to the Mevlana Sufis, founded by -- yes, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. The story is told that Rumi would circle around a column, while ecstatically reciting his poetry. The spinning is a meditation on many levels. It teaches stillness and centeredness in the midst of movement. One hand is kept raised to receive from heaven, the other hand is kept lowered to the earth, thus the individual becomes a bridge joining heaven and earth.
Poems by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
- Ah, what was there in that light-giving candle that it set fire to the heart, and snatched the heart away?
- At night we fall into each other with such grace
- Body of earth, don't talk of earth
- By the God who was in pre-eternity living and moving and omnipotent, everlasting
- During the day I was singing with you
- God is "what is nearer to you than your neck-vein,"
- How long will you say, "I will conquer the whole world
- I drink streamwater and the air
- I lost my world, my fame, my mind
- I regard not the outside and the words
- I smile like a flower not only with my lips
- I'm neither beautiful nor ugly
- If a blow comes to you from Heaven
- If continually you keep your hope
- Inner Wakefulness
- Keep on knocking
- Like This
- look at love
- Love is Here
- No end to the journey
- No One Here but Him
- Now comes the final merging
- On Love
- On the Night of Creation I was awake
- Only Breath
- Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
- Reason, leave now! You'll not find wisdom here!
- Sacrifice your intellect in love for the Friend
- Secret Language
- Secretly we spoke
- Seeking the Source
- Seizing my life in your hands, you thrashed me clean
- Shall I tell you our secret?
- Suddenly, in the sky at dawn, a moon appeared
- That moon which the sky never saw
- The Absolute works with nothing
- The beauty of the heart
- The glow of the light of daybreak is in your emerald vault, the goblet of the blood of twilight is your blood-measuring bowl
- The grapes of my body can only become wine
- The minute I heard my first love story
- The minute I'm disappointed, I feel encouraged
- The real work belongs to someone who desires God
- The Sun Must Come
- The Thirsty
- There is some kiss we want
- This love sacrifices all souls, however wise, however "awakened"
- This moment
- Today I'm out wandering, turning my skull
- Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
- We are the mirror as well as the face in it
- What can I do, Muslims? I do not know myself
- What I want is to see your face
- Whoever finds love
- With Us
- You have fallen in love my dear heart
- You only need smell the wine
- Zero Circle
- A World with No Boundaries (Ghazal 363)
- You are closer to me than myself (Ghazal 2798)
Rumi On Fire
Translated sections of the Divan-e-Shams and the Mathnavi, a timeline of Rumi's life, and links.
Dar Al Masnavi
Scholarly translations of Rumi's Masnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan collections on-line with commentary.
Jalaladdin Rumi: Poet of Universal Love
Biography of Rumi by Paul Nagy
Life of Rumi
Brief biography with several poem selections.
Poetry by Rumi, biography, bibliography, discussion forum, daily poem.
Rumi Network, by Shahram Shiva
Several verses by Rumi translated by Shahram Shiva, along with information about Rumi, a discussion forum, and more.
Speaking of Faith: Unheard Cuts, Poetry of Rumi
The text of several Rumi poems, with audio clips of the poems being read in the original Persian.
Rumi Poetry Club
A very nice, easy-to-navigate site with information about Rumi, an excellent list of resources and publications on Rumi, some poetry selections and more.