The enlightened call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.

— Krishna in The Gita

The mind is everything. What you think you become.
— Buddha

Thursday, 22 July 2010

In praise of Rumi

The day I've died, my pall is moving on -
But do not think my heart is still on earth!
Don't weep and pity me: "Oh woe, how awful!"
You fall in devil's snare - woe, that is awful!
Don't cry "Woe, parted!" at my burial -
For me this is the time of joyful meeting!
Don't say "Farewell!" when I'm put in the grave -
A curtain I tis for eternal bliss. _ Rumi

While cleaning out my office drawers the other day I came across an old write-up of mine on Rumi, a personal favourite. I had written it on the occasion of his 800th birth anniversary three years ago. Anybody has read him?
To the uninitiated he’s the best-selling poet in the US, apparently more popular than Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson!! He’s the one who founded the order of the whirling dervish, which is considered a mystical order, despite their song and dance routine, a no-no in Islam.
Jellaluddin Rumi was a 13th century Persian sufi poet, but he was actually a preacher, a Moulânâ to the Persian-speaking communities of Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of India and Pakistan.
Although Rumi had found a captivated audience in the West since many years, thanks to the translation of his poetry by Prof Coleman Barks, his relevance has grown manifold post Sept.11.

It’s because despite being a preacher of Islam, he speaks of universal love. In his own words: "I am not a Jew nor a Christian, not a Zoroastrian nor a Moslem." Writing prolifically in an era savaged by battles and conflict, he spoke of nothing but love in his poetry:
The outcome of my life is no more than these three lines:
I was a raw material;
I was cooked and became mature;
I was burned in love.

He was born in Afghanistan and was a traditional Muslim cleric until he met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish. Shams is said to challenge Rumi's religious perspective. One account says: On an autumn day, Rumi was sitting by a pool along with his disciples and books. Shams, whom Rumi didn’t know till then, came along, interrupted his discourse, and pointing to the books asked: “What are these?” Rumi replied: “This is some knowledge you wouldn’t understand.” Shams threw all the books into the pool and said: “And this is some knowledge you wouldn’t understand.”

A knowledge-proud theologian was challenged by a mystic. Soon, Shams became Rumi’s mentor. The love in Rumi’s poems essentially speaks of his love for God. To him the entire universe is suffused with the spirit of God.
Those who are interested in reading him I recommend Deepak Chopra’s The Love poems of Rumi.


  1. Heard of Rumi, haven't read his work though. Love Kahlil Gibran's work...have you read any?

  2. Yes, I've read Kahlil Gibran. They are both mystic poets and have much in common. But I've read Rumi more extensively.

  3. Yet to read Rumi.Seems interesting. Tried to search for the lyrics in Hindi script, didn't find any.

  4. Hi Lama, I don't think you'd find Rumi's poems in Hindi. He wrote in Persian originally. But you'll find English translation on the Net.

  5. Hi Neena,
    I love all Persian poets. It was good to read one again through your blog. Kahlil Gibran is my favourite too.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I'm not an expert on this subject. Nevertheless, it is good to learn/read new things. :)

  7. Neena
    First time hearing about Rumi. hanks for sharing.

  8. Havent read works of Rumi ... something new for me!

  9. Nice read.Thanks for sharing.Deepak chopra's writing might be a good start to read about Rumi,is it?

  10. Hi Neena:)

    I have not heard of Rumi.But I greatly appreciate the word love because this is the basis of Christianity. Jesus preached his message based on love and HE was crucified.

    Our Ten Commandments can be summarized in just two lines. Love your God, your Creator,above all things and love your neighbor as your self.

    We believe that God created this beautiful earth out love and we human beings should live in eternal bliss for ever. But HE was very annoyed when our first parents disobeyed HIS command and they were punished. But God never gave up on human beings. He sent several prophets to bring back human beings back to HIM but they continued to live in sin. Finally, GOD made the supreme sacrifice of sending HIS only Son to save mankind. It is said-AND GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO SAVE MANKIND.

    Sorry, I am not trying to preach Christianity but when spoke about LOVE and Rumi, these thoughts automatically came to my mind.

    As far as I am concerned this post of yours is very interesting and I learned something new.

    Best wishes:)

  11. Hi Mr Joseph, thanks for your wise comment. In fact all the religions and philosophies of the world emphasize on love because that's teh essence of craetion, It's us, teh human beings, who've failed to appreciate that.

  12. Interesting post-haven't read
    any of Rumi's works so far.
    May be I will now-sufficiently
    inspired by your post, thanks :)

  13. same here never heard of Rumi thanks for sharing maybe i shall pick it up to read and see how it goes..

    I use to love reading but as life moves on , times have become busy so many things to do but i have to make time i guess .. so hopefully ur post has inspired me enough to read :) thanks

  14. havent read Dr Brian Weiss neither Rumi...
    but the lines up there reminded me of lines by Emily Dickinson 'Because I Could Not Stop for Death by'

  15. Hi Neena,
    Just passing by, whats up?

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.