Saturday, February 14, 2009

Unfold your own myth

Our friend Karen from Tennessee lately has been celebrating the life and wisdom of Jalalud'din Rumi, a Muslim poet of 13th century Afghanistan whose work is still popular throughout the world. He celebrates story, love and the mystical center in each of us:  “A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself. That’s how I hold your voice.”

Here is Karen's biographical sketch of Rumi, followed by a short poem by rumi. Have a good Saturday:

Jalalud'din Rumi is one of the world’s most revered mystical poets. During his lifetime he produced a prolific range of inspiring and devotional poetry which encapsulates the Sufi's experience of union with the divine. These timeless classics have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, as Rumi has become one of our most popular poets. Although Rumi was a Sufi and a great scholar of the Qu’ran his appeal reaches across religious and social divisions. Even during his lifetime he was noted for his cosmopolitan outlook. His funeral, which lasted 40 days, was attended by Muslims, Jews, Persians, Christians and Greeks.

Rumi was born in 1207, in what is now know as Afghanistan . It was a period of remarkable social and political turbulence. The 13th Century was the era of the crusades, and the area where Rumi lived was under constant threat of Mongol invasion. The great upheavals Rumi faced during his life is said to have influenced much of his poetry.

The most important turning point in Rumi’s life was when he met the wandering dervish Sham al- Din. This meeting and their close mystical relationship was instrumental in awakening Rumi’s latent spirituality and intense devotion. It was at this point Rumi abandoned his academic career and began to write his mystical poetry.

Love is a frequent subject of Rumi's poems, descriptions of seeming romantic love is an illusion to the all encompassing pure, divine love. Metaphors such as this are common to other Sufi poets such as Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, and Attar.

Unfold Your Own Myth
By Rumi

But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking towards Shams [the sun]. You legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,

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