Authors try reconstructing Rumi

On the final day of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, two Rumi translators Carl Ernst and Farrukh Dhondy spoke in the session ‘Reconstructing Rumi’ and presented an inspiring session about the life, work and mysticism of one of the world’s greatest and most loved poets.

Seven hundred years after his death, Rumi’s work is the ‘bestselling poetry’ in America.
Carl Ernst believes that it is because the profound nature of Rumi’s vision “speaks directly” to people in modern cultures.

He said that Rumi had a “staggering output”,  including 3,000 lyrical poems, stories, and long poems that ‘broke the rules of the convention.’

In his lyrical poetry, he never signed his name. Rumi was a Muslim but his upbringing was interwoven with mystical philosophy and he was already steeped in religion and literature before he met his mentor Shams-i-Tabriziī.

He said there was no question that “an alchemy took place with Tabrizi”, but that “he was already ready.”

Farrukh Dhondy observed that he was like “dry tinder ready to catch flame,” and said the connection between the two men was “not an ordinary master-disciple relationship.
“They were somehow in a synergy with each other that was beyond other people’s comprehension.”

Farrukh Dhondy read from his translation of Masnavi, Rumi’s epic,  that he describes as “a masterwork,” which is a song of the human soul and its longing to return to the divine ground.

He said that Rumi needs to be reclaimed “as the Islamic mystic that he was,” emphasizing that Islam is not about Bin Laden and violence, but about the “actual mystical function, the spiritual function, at the heart of Sufi Islam,” and it was this that had inspired him to attempt his transliterations of Rumi’s work.

Chairman Sunil Kumar observed that one’s appreciation of Rumi is “pretty much endless” depending on one’s own state of spiritual awareness, “it is much like the search for the self and becoming aware of what he was actually trying to communicate”.

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