Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rumi - A Sufi Saint - Part 1

Thirteenth Century - a time of brilliant mystical awareness, when the lives of the three of the world's great lovers of God's presence in humanity and in existence itself overlapped : Francis of Assisi(1182-1226), Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-73) and Meister Eckhart(1206-1328). They were all magnificently surrendered souls and wonderful creators with language.

Rumi was born near the city of Balkh(Afghanistan) on September 30, 1207. He was a descendent of a long line of Islamic jurist, theologians and mystics. It is said that when a teacher and a poet Fariduddin Attar saw the teenage Rumi with his father, he said " Here comes the sea, followed by an ocean"

Rumi's family settled in konya after escaping the approaching Moghul army, where in he resumed the role as the head of dervish learning community after his father expired. Rumi assumed the position, directing the study of theology, poetry, music and other subjects and practices related to growth of soul. Rumi gained a wide reputation as a devout scholar and his school numbered over 10000 students.

Rumi's life took a turn in October 1244 with the meeting of Shams of Tabriz. It was to become the central and turning point of his life. Shams was a fierce God-man. Sufi stories tell of his wandering in search of a friend, someone who would endure the rigors and depth of his presence. Shams would alternate between periods of ecstatic soul trance and days of physical labor as a mason. Shams had one continous internal question " Is there no friend for me ?"
Finally a voice came " What will u give ?"
"My head"
"Your friend is Jelaluddin of Konya"

There are several version of their meeting - one says Rumi was teaching by a fountain in a small square, reading from his father's spirtual diary Ma'arif. Shams cut through the crowd and pushed that book and others off the ledge into the water.

"Who are u and what are u doing" Rumi asked
"You must now live what you have been reading about"
Rumi turned to the volumes on the bottom " We can retrieve them" said Shams " They will be dry as they were"
Shams lifted one of them out to show him. Dry.

"Leave them" said Rumi

With that relinquishment Rumi's deep life began and the poetry. He said " What I had thought of before as God I met today in a human". His time as a theological scholar ended too. He and Shams spent months together in retreat. Their mystical conversation(sohbet) and mysterious Friendship unfolded......

----- More to come folks - -----------

From the book " The Soul of Rumi" by Coleman Barks. Rumi is one of the most read poets in America.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ram.C said...

Your collections on the personalities are interesting to read...

14 September, 2005 15:25  
Blogger Aatma said...

Thanks Ram. The next one will complete the story about Rumi and then I will write about fannah

14 September, 2005 16:56  
Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

I've never heard about Rumi and the history.! Thanks Aatma for this enlightenment.! I look forward to reading more.!

You said ' He went to Konya to escape the Moghuls'...any idea where that city is today?

15 September, 2005 08:13  
Blogger Aatma said...

Konya is in central Turkey - Narayanan Sir.

15 September, 2005 12:20  
Blogger Jeevan said...

First time to your blog and first time hearing about Rumi Story. Good History. Thanks a lot for comment on my blog.

16 September, 2005 03:14  
Blogger Aatma said...

Welcome to my blog, Jeevan, and thanks for your comments

16 September, 2005 11:44  

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