“Monday Musings” for Monday October 1, 20122
Volume II. Number 35/86
Rumi-nation on Rumi’s Birthday
I feel conflicted. We have too many not only good things, but holy things happening this week, each of which requires not only a “musings” but a long essay. Today, Monday October 1, is the birth of Rumi. Three days later, October 6, is the birth of the Opera.
First a few words about the opera:
Opera is an Italian word. It means work. In the late 16th Century, a group of Florentine scholars decided to get together every week and study the music and writings of the ancient Greek. They called themselves the Florentine Camarata. It was very much like our modern day book clubs. Except that these people were very serious about their work. The culmination of these studies and discussions was Jacobo Peri’s composition of Orpheo which was performed at 8:00 PM, October 6, 1600, at Pitti Palace in Florence. Of course, in 1607, Claudio Monteverdi gave us his version of Orpheo. It marks the beginning of Opera. We have enjoyed 412 years of opera as result of the intense work of this group. We will have more about Opera later.
Today is truly a holy day. October 1 is the birthday of Mowlana Jalal-ad-Din Mohammad Balki Masnavi Mowlavi Rumi’s (1207-1273) the most read, the most revered, the most quoted of all poets and Sufis. His massive collected work has been translated into more than 300 languages including dialects of India. His poetry speaks to you as a friend, as a confident, as a loving father and counselor who truly understands. Rumi’s poetry implicates. It posits the reader approached, the reader misplaced, the reader endangered, the reader compelled, the reader addressed, puzzled and teased. The reader stunned by the beauty, the density, and the sacred precision of his word.
In this space, in the past, we have spoken of Rumi. As a child I used to look forward to a newspaper that carried a column discussing, elaborating, and analyzing Rumi’s poetry. Well, several faithful readers wrote to tell us that they are anxious to read more about Rumi, and will look for more of Rumi in “Monday Musings”. They want to read Rumi and satiate their longing for mysticism and transcendence of this most honored and honorable 13th century Persian poet and Sufi. Mowlana Jalal-ad-Din Mohammad Balki Masnavi Mowlavi Rumi’s first word in his massive collected work is “listen.” Yes, the word listen. Listening is the essence of love. Listening is so important that another Persian great poet and philosopher, Mosleh-e-Din Saadi (1210-1290) said, “We are given two ears and one tongue, so that we may listen twice as much as we may say…”
Below, I am listing a couple of Rumi’s Ghazals by some of my favorite translators. Do not be a prey to charlatans who pose as authorities on Rumi and speak not a word of Farsi.
*The writer is a Distinguished Life Fellow American Psychiatric Association, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. He is the Founding Editor and Editor in chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012)
Even though you're not equipped, keep searching: equipment isn't necessary on the way to the Lord. Whoever you see engaged in search, become her friend and cast your head in front of her, for choosing to be a neighbor of seekers, you become one yourself; protected by conquerors, you will yourself learn to conquer. If an ant seeks the rank of Solomon, don't smile contemptuously upon its quest. Everything you possess of skill, and wealth and handicraft, wasn't it first merely a thought and a quest?
“Sufi’s Love” The Greek art is the Sufi way. They don't study books of philosophical thought. They make their loving clearer and clearer. No wantings, no anger. In that purity they receive and reflect the images of every moment, from here, from the stars, from the void. They take them in as though they were seeing with the Lighted Clarity that sees them.