The Essential Rumi | 52 Books in 52 Weeks | Book 7

By Monday, January 11, 2016 ,

Yes, I am still doing 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I did get side tracked a bit and I haven't posted a book review in over a month but that is because I picked up an impossible book - Lord of the Rings. I am not even half way through it yet. I have come to realize that its an amazing book but it will just take a lot of time, so I read snippets from it now and then.

This week I picked up a book I have always wanted to read but I never did - The Essential Rumi. It has an amazing set of poems written by the great poet, Rumi

Who was Rumi 

Rumi was a Persian poet born right when the 'Sufi' culture was taking off in that part of the world. You don't get to learn much about Rumi's life in the book until he meets Shams. Now, Shams they say was Rumi's spiritual guide. He helped Rumi understand the deeper meaning of life.

The connection between Rumi and Shams is shown with a very romantic touch and they were often called as lovers. Actually, Rumi refers to Shams as lover and he refers himself as the beloved. I was completely shocked to learn a 13th century poet was openly gay. I mean its not even legal in 21st centuary India.

So, I started researching more about this Shams guy. What made me more doubtful was how Shams disappeared suddenly one day (He was thought to be murdered by Rumi's son) and Rumi spent his whole life looking for him. But as I researched, I couldn't find anything concrete about it, just a lot and lot of assumptions.

Some say, there were just 'lovers of god' and some say that they were indeed gay. But if they were in a relationship together and Shams was killed because of it, how did Rumi survive? He died at the age of 65 due to natural causes.

I guess we will never know 

Rumi's poems 

Rumi has a way of transcending you to a different universe and make you think about the things you never thought before. His poetry on life is so profound. But what moved me were his words on love. Now, I am not a romantic and I definitely don't read romantic poems but Rumi's words were so moving, they left me spellbound.

"Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank moon's reflection.
Now I am a lion staring up totally
lost in love with the thing itself"

Rumi's love for moon is so evident throughout all his poems. He talks over and over about the glorious moon.

"For without you, I swear, the town
Has become like a prison to me
Distraction and the mountain
And the desert, is all I desire"

And of course, my favourite quote by Rumi that made me read this book -

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I will meet you there"

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