Monday, 19 December 2011

Keep on knocking By Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273)

Keep on knocking

'til the joy inside
opens a window
look to see who's there

English version by Coleman Barks

Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan. While he was still a child his family moved all the way to Konya in Asia Minor (Turkey). They moved to flee from Mongol invaders who were beginning to sweep into Central Asia. Konya, far to the west of the invaded territories, became one of the major destinations for expatriates to settle, turning the city into a cosmopolitan center of culture, education, and spirituality.

"Rumi" was not his proper name; it was more of a nickname. Rumi means literally "The Roman." Why the Roman? Asia Minor (Turkey) was referred to as the land of the Rum, the Romans. The Byzantine Empire, which had only recently fallen, was still thought of as the old Eastern Roman Empire. Rumi was nicknamed the Roman because he lived in what was once the Eastern Roman Empire. ...But not everyone calls him Rumi. In Afghanistan, where he was born, they call him Balkhi, "the man from Balkh," to emphasize his birth in Afghanistan.

Rumi's father was himself a respected religious authority and spiritual teacher. Rumi was raised and educated to follow in his father's footsteps. And, in fact, Rumi inherited his father's religious school. But this was all along very traditional lines. Rumi was already a man with religious position when he first started to experience transcendent states of spiritual ecstasy. This created a radical upheaval, not only in himself, but also within his rather formal spiritual community as everyone tried to adjust to their leader's transformation.

One more note about Rumi's father: It was only after his death that some of the father's private writings were discovered, revealing that he himself was also a profound mystic, though he had kept this part of himself private, apparently even from his son Rumi.

Many of Rumi's poems make reference to the sun. This always has layered meaning for Rumi since he was deeply devoted to his spiritual teacher Shams of Tabriz... as the name Shams means "the sun." The sun for Rumi becomes the radiance of God shining through his beloved teacher.

The spiritual bond between Rumi and Shams was profound, but the two individuals were very different. Rumi was a member of the educated elite within the urban expatriate community, while Shams was a poor wandering mystic who rarely stayed in one place long. Shams would often disappear unexpectedly, then return months later. Many of Rumi's family and students were jealous of Shams, resenting the closeness he shared with their master. Finally, Shams disappeared, never to return. Many believe that he was actually kidnapped and murdered, possibly by Rumi's own sons!

You've heard of "whirling dervishes," right? Not all Sufis practice that spinning meditative dance. That is specific to the Mevlana Sufis, founded by -- yes, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. The story is told that Rumi would circle around a column, while ecstatically reciting his poetry. The spinning is a meditation on many levels. It teaches stillness and centeredness in the midst of movement. One hand is kept raised to receive from heaven, the other hand is kept lowered to the earth, thus the individual becomes a bridge joining heaven and earth.

  • 1 share

    • Rohan Peiris THe Sufi! Great........
      August 20 at 11:15pm ·  ·  1

    • Rohan Peiris THx man, i have a few books from Idries Shah. Like him too....
      August 20 at 11:19pm ·  ·  1

    • Jawaid Siddiq Yeah. He is good. I've read him too.
      August 20 at 11:30pm ·  ·  1

    • Henk Lütter Thank you Jawaid, for this info on Rumi, the dervishes, the wonderfull poem, the picture and ofcourse for tagging me :)
      August 20 at 11:42pm ·  ·  1

    • Wayne Ferguson Be sure to give Ivan Granger and Poetry Chaikhana credit for this, Jawaid! ♥
      August 20 at 11:44pm ·  ·  1

    • Jawaid Siddiq I've pasted the references onto the photo, Wayne.
      August 20 at 11:48pm · 

    • Wayne Ferguson Ah, yes--I'm sure he'll appreciate that, Jawaid--nice! If you don't mind a suggestion, I think he would also appreciate your using his domain name: Poetry-Chaikhana.Com
      (and maybe a link or personal attribution at the end of the commentary, as well). Beautiful work!

      August 20 at 11:57pm ·  ·  1

    • Dorje Vajra · Friends with Vincent Cole and 1 other
      thanks for the's wonderful...enjoy the weekend ))
      August 20 at 11:57pm · 

    • Jawaid Siddiq Yes I will Wayne, for sure.
      August 21 at 12:02am ·  ·  1

    • Metha Buysman · Friends with Noor Hussain and 9 others
      Thank you so much Jawaid,,, for this information about Rumi.....and the beautiful poem,,,,I am a great Lover of Rumi and admire him very much!! Beautiful picture too! have a great week-end!
      August 21 at 12:47am ·  ·  1

    • Jawaid Siddiq Have a peaceful weekend, Metha.
      August 21 at 12:52am ·  ·  1

    • Hirman Jot he walked the way to HIM
      August 21 at 2:16am · 

    • Kerry Guy WonderFul!!!!!! :)))))
      August 21 at 2:21am ·  ·  1

    • Shakti Maa · Friends with Ranjan Ravi and 1 other
      knock,knock- who's there? Roman was the name of my exhusband.hehe
      August 21 at 10:15am ·  ·  1

    • Hilde Ikke · Friends with Henk Lütter and 1 other
      beautiful poem,thank you dear friend, have a relaxed sunday ♥
      August 21 at 12:56pm ·  ·  1

    • Sufism Rumi Thank you dear brother for sharing this with us ♥ Wonderful ♥
      August 21 at 3:00pm ·  ·  1

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