“It doesn’t matter that you’ve broken your vow a thousand times.
Still come, and yet again, come.”
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi
I believe, most of you have heard of the lines above and their author Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the poet and Sufi who lived in the 13th century in the city of Konya in Turkey. In Turkish, we call him Mevlana, which means “grand master” in Persian. In the English world, he is widely known solely by the name Rumi.
Mevlana was born in September 30, 1207 in the city of Balkh, in today’s Afghanistan. He was the son of one the great thinkers of the region, Bahattin Veled. And he was a descendant of line of Islamic jurists, theologians and mystics. He was trained first by his father, and afterward many sufi scholars. When they decide to leave the region, either due to the impending Mogol onslought or a disagreement with the Persian Sultan, they travelled to many cities in Persia, the Arap lands and Anatolia. Finally they settled in Konya, which was the capital of the Anatolian Selchuk Empire, in 1228.
After leaving Balkh, Mevlana had the opportunity to work with many dervishes and sufis, such as Ferideddin-i Attar, Muhyiddin-i Arabi. His father, Bahattin Veled, had taught and lectured before coming to Konya and afterwards in various religious schools called medrese. After his father passed away, Mevlana, after receiving further training, also started teaching. He had read depthly in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek and Hebrew.
Later on, in 1244 he met Shemseddin Tebrizi, who was a mystic dervish, and was greatly influenced by his philosophy as well and had a very close friendship with him. It is believed that his view about “love transcending the mind, and that of the science of love being the ultimate knowledge” matured after their studying together. Scholars today liken that friendship to that between Socrates and Plato. After Tebrizi’s death, he worked with other scholars, such as Chelebi Husamettin. For the last twelve years of his life, he wrote one long continuous poem, The Mesnevi, sixty-four thousand lines of poetry divided into six books.
Rumi influenced his period greatly through his philosophical approach to God, love and the universe. He died on December 17, 1273. His tomb is Konya.
For those interested, there are many book available on Rumi in English, Turkish and many other languages. Mine can only be a brief introduction, since his work and influence can hardly be even introduced in a few paragraphs. “Love is all” was his approach to life and God. For him, love was the paramount component of mystic theology. According to Mevlana, love gives the mystic access to all time and space.: “I am a drop that is both a drop and the vast sea.” He believed in the deathlessness of the loving souls, and became a figure of humanitarian enlightenment, of the belief in God’s beauty and the human being as a reflection of that reality. He used music, poetry and sema, which is the mystic whirling of the dervishes, to transcend life and connect with God.
Every year on December 17, the anniversary of Mevlana’s death is celebrated, in Konya and around the world, as the night of his union with the divine. Because Mevlana believed that death was just a union with God, and in such a belief a death could only be a celebration.
His words are timeless. For example, even today, Rumi is the best selling poet in the United States. After over 700 years, his poems still speak to the human soul, of the human soul, as clearly as they did then.
Let’s share with love. Wish you the best, Z.
* * *
Love is the way messengers
from the mystery tell us things.
Love is the mother. We are her children.
She shines inside us, visible-invisible,
as we lose trust or feel it start to grow again.
* * *
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.
* * *
God only knows, I don’t,
what keeps me laughing.
The stem of a flower
moves when the air moves.
I reach for a piece of wood. It turns into a lute.
I do some meanness. It turns out helpful.
I say one must not travel during the holy month.
Then I start out, and wonderful things happen.
In complete control, pretending control,
with dignified authority, we are charlattans.
Or maybe just a goat’s-hair brush in a painter’s hand.
We have no idea what we are.
* * *
In this Ocean, there is no death,
No despair, no sadness or anxiety.
This Ocean is love, boundless love:
This is the Ocean of kindness and generosity.
* * *
This We Have Now
This we have now
is not imagination.
This is not grief,
Or joy, not a judging state,
Or an elation, or a sadness.
Those come and go.
This is the presence
It’s dawn Husam,
here in the splendor of coral,
inside the Friend, in the simple truth
of what Hallaj said.
What else could human beings want?
When grapes turn to wine,
they’re wanting this.
When the night sky pours by,
it’s really a crowd of beggars,
and they all want some of this.
This we are now
created the body, cell by cell,
like bees building a honeycomb.
The human body and the universe
grew from this, not this
from the universe and the human body.
Affirmation of the Week:
“I am grateful for being alive today. It is my joy and pleasure to live another wonderful day.”
By Louise L. Hay The Author of You Can Heal Your Life.
“The Essential Rumi” By Coleman Barks
The Mesnevi and many other books on Mevlana are readily available in Turkish.