Jalal-e-din Rumi (Mevlana) (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273) is one of the world’s most beloved mystical poets. He was a well known and respected Quran scholar living in Konya before he met the traveling Sufi dervish Shams of Tebriz. Rumi saw in Shams a divine presence. He experienced a spiritual awaking after that destined meeting of souls. Rumi abandoned his academic career and began to write his mystical poetry which flowed from his heart experiencing intense devotional love. Rumi said that no words could adequately explain the experience of mystical union but he tried. He produced a prolific range of poetry.
He was born in Afghanistan. His family left Afghanistan when he was 5 years old. They settled in Konya after living in Baghdad, Mecca, Damascus and Malatya. Konya was the seat of the Seljuk Empire in the 13’th century. He lived in an era of turbulence. It was the era of the crusades. In his lifetime Konya was under constant threat of Mongol invasion. The great upheavals Rumi faced during his life is said to have influenced much of his poetry.
Rumi composed his poetry in Farsi (Persian). He is beloved by all because his spiritual teachings are universal. The themes of his poetry are universal. His shrine in Konya is visited by millions every year from all over the world. Rumi belongs to humanity.
His spiritual philosophy was based on the concept of “Unity of Being” which is the common theme in Sufi metaphysics.
“The original words of Rumi are so deep, so perfect, so touching, that when one man repeats them hundreds and thousands of people are moved to tears. They cannot help penetrating the heart. This shows how much Rumi himself was moved to have been able to pour out such living words.”- Hazrat Inayat Khan
Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a path for reaching God. His followers started the practice of “whirling dance” or “sama”. His teachings became the base for the order of the Mevlevi which his son Sultan Veled organized. In the Mevlevi tradition, samā represents a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes, and nations.
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It does not matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a hundered times.
Come, yet again, come, come. – Rumi
I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.
I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there.
I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.
With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only ‘anqa’s habitation.
Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.
Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range.
I fared then to the scene of the Prophet’s experience of a great divine manifestation only a “two bow-lengths’ distance from him” but God was not there even in that exalted court.
Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else. -Rumi