Thursday, 11 January 2018

Whispers Of The Beloved by Rumi

Whispers Of The Beloved by Rumi
Originally written in the 1200s. English translation by Maryam Mafi and Azimi Melita Kolin published by Thorsons in April 2000.

W for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A breathtaking new collection of translations of poems by Rumi, one of the world’s most loved mystical teachers. Beautifully illustrated with Persian calligraphy, this is an ideal ebook for every MBS reader.

Jalal-uddin Rumi was born in what is now Afghanistan in 1207. His poetry has inspired generations of spiritual seekers, both from his own Sufi school and well beyond. His poems speak to the seeker and the lover in all of us.

In recent years, interest in Rumi has skyrocketed, with perrfomances, CDs by Deepak Chopra, and filmed versions of his life all in the work. In these beautiful, simple new translations – 100 in all – his timeless appeal is obvious.

This short book contains a hundred Rumi quatrains newly translated into English by Maryam Mafi and Azimi Melita Kolin and prefaced with an introduction to the poet's life. It is not so much a book to be read through, I thought, as one to be saved and savoured, dipped into for inspiration or reassurance as the need arises.

I have seen Rumi extensively quoted and referenced before, especially when reading Arabic and Persian novels, but I hadn't actually read a collection of his work before so wasn't sure what to expect. The four line poems themselves are deceptively simple statements which I felt could be taken at face value and satisfy. They also however can be pondered to reveal deeper meanings many of which are religious or spiritual in nature but also seemed intensely personal which surprised me. Other than a brief glossary at the back of the book, the quatrains themselves are left to stand alone which they do of course, but I did often find myself wanting some explanation in order to fully understand what Rumi was saying. Perhaps an assisted study guide would have been a better introduction for a complete Rumi novice?

That said, I am sure I will turn to this collection again and it is a book I would appreciate more as a physical copy than as an ebook. The historical significance of Rumi calls out for paper rather than pixels! Love and the longing for love are the strongest themes in this collection and personal strengths are also important. The following quatrains were those which appealed most deeply to me:

Peaceful is the one who's not concerned with having more or less.
Unbound by name or fame he is free from sorrow from the world and mostly from himself.

To be or not to be is not my dilemma.
To break away from both worlds is not bravery.
To be unaware of the wonders that exist in me, that is real madness.

It's good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today new seeds are growing.

Etsy Find!

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Istanbul, Turkey

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  1. Lovely review :) I have never read Rumi, but I've heard a lot about him. Maybe one day, although I don't read a lot of poetry. Really interesting to be reading something that was written 800 years ago though, huh!

    1. I love discovering so historic writing, especially when it is still so relevant to today. People really haven't changed that much over the centuries!

  2. Similarly to you, I have seen his work referenced and quoted, but have never read a translated collection myself. I am so glad you could enjoy his works, and the real historical element of them too. And how it relates to the present day as well. I can't wait to read some of his work for myself too.

    1. I found it very worthwhile, but would recommend treating yourself to a nice physical book edition rather than an ebook. I felt the words needed a certain reverence