Born nearly 800 years ago, the Persian poet Jelaludin Rumi has straddled the boundaries of space, time and religions to appeal to universal masses. Born in 1207, Rumi still looms large in consciousness of global audience, the expase of which stretches from Asia to America. The immense relevance of Rumi can be gauged from the fact that he is the mostly widely read poet in USA and his writings are used in form of guiding philosophical theological thoughts in USA. The most favored muse for Sufism in India was the inspiration for birth of secularism in India. Emperor Akbar, the great Indian king was named Jelaludin after him and Akbar’s Din-I-illahi was inspired by his poetry.
Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan and his family fled to Konya, Turkey to escape Chenghis Khan’s invading army. Belonging to a long line of Islamic theologians and poets, he grew up in the same tradition and founded “Melevi Order of Dervishes” or Sufism’s Whirling Dervishes.
Rumi was uniquely capable of transcending outward appearances and conjuring up the mystical inward reality. Yet he was entirely realistic and modest about the limitations of his words. There are very few such writers in this world. The words of Chinese Taoist Lao Tzu describes best the effect Rumi has –“what is there more soft and yielding than water? Yet what is there that water cannot move?”
The epitaph of Rumi reads –“when we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, But find it in the hearts of men.” Rumi born in 12 AD, can still be found in hearts of many.
Rumi, Rubai 247
“Wherever I lay down my head, There he alone is worshipped;
I humbly kneel before his face, Fulfilling and transcending space.
The nightingale, the garden fair, The idol and the mystic air—
These are but symbols, nothing more, Him only seek I, and alone.”