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Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,there is a field. I'll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grass,the world is too full to talk about.Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other"doesn't make any sense.-- Rumi (tr. Coleman Barks)Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi (Rumi) was born in 1207 in Balkh (now in Afghanistan but then in a part of the Persian empire known as Khorasan). His mother was a relative of the king and his father a court advisor on jurisprudence. When he was 21 he was noticed by the mystic, Shams al-Din Mohammad (Shams-i-Tabrīzī), known as "the Bird" because of his inability to stay in one place for long (His nickname was the Bird. The Bird, because he couldn't stay in one place for too long (and because he was reputedly able to be in two distant cities at the same time). Shams was in search of a "grand master student" but decided Rumi was not yet ready. In 1244, after settling in the town of Konya (in what is now Turkey) he encountered Shams again, in his 60s, who supported himself as an itinerant basket weaver and girdle merchant. Shams saw Rumi reading next to a large stack of books and asked him what he was doing. Rumi answered, "Something you cannot understand," and Shams threw the books into a nearby pool. Rumi recovered the books but found that they were all dry. When he asked Shams to explain, he was told, "This is what you cannot understand." (In another version, the books caught on fire.) Rumi felt a window open at the top of his head and saw smoke rise to heaven. He cried out, fell to the ground, and lost consciousness for an hour. When he awoke, he took Shams’s hand, and they walked together to Rumi’s school together. Then Shams taught Rumi in seclusion for 40 days, moved into his household, and about two years later married Rumi's 13-year-old stepdaughter Keemia (alchemy); when she died a few months later, Rumi's youngest son killed Shams.(Other accounts claim that Shams was assassinated for blasphemy, or that he simply moved to Khoy. But the association led Rumi to compose almost 70,000 verses of poetry, much of which he attributed to Shams, which were collected in two books, "Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi" and "Massnavi." Shams was often referred to as a sun ("Shams" means "Sun" in Arabic) that illuminated the right path.
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