Coleman Barks talks about Rumi and Shams. (Onethroughlove.org video excerpts)
The ecstatic poems of…(Jelaluddin Rumi)…a Persian poet and Sufi master born 807 years ago in 1207, have sold millions of copies in recent years, making him the most popular poet in the US. Globally, his fans are legion…. Rumi incorporated poetry, music and dance into religious practice. –BBC, Jane Ciabattari, 21 October 2014
“Coleman Barks is a pioneer and renowned scholar on Rumi, the great Sufi. In his elegant and exquisite way, Coleman has made Rumi as popular as Shakespeare to the world and continues to inspire us with Rumi’s ecstatic poetry.” –Deepak Chopra
“In the modern West, [Jelaluddin] Rumi has become the best known Persian poet. Some Persian speakers may consider him the greatest poet of their language, but not if they are asked to stress the verbal perfections of the verses rather than the meaning that the words convey. Rumi’s success in the West has to do with the fact that his message transcends the limitation of language. He has something important to say, and he says it in a way that is not completely bound up with the intricacies and beauty of the Persian language and the culture which that language conveys, nor even with poetry (he is also the author of prose works, including his Discourses, available in a good English translation by A.J. Arberry). One does not have to appreciate poetry to realize that Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual teachers who ever lived.” —Professor William C. Chittick State University of New York, Stony Brook, 21 June 1992
At The Center of The Performance Are The Literary Works of Jelaluddin Rumi.
Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi mystical poet (1207-1273), was born in Balkh (now part of Afghanistan) a city along the eastern edge of the Persian Empire. When the Mongols invaded, Rumi and his family fled west to the city of Konya, Turkey. Here Rumi lived the last thirty years of his life.
Rumi spoke poetry extemporaneously. A student would then write it down. Rumi said that it was not he who was speaking the poetry but rather his beloved teacher, Shams of Tabriz, who spoke through him.
“It is good to remember, in a time of such potentially violent religiosity, what true Friendship feels like and sounds like. The high good humor, the expansive inclusiveness, the kindness, the sharp hurt of the longing for God. Rumi must have many different kinds of translators in every language, and he does. It is one of the great delights of my life to have some part in the remembering, the re-kindling, the waking-up, that comes through Rumi’s poetry.” —Coleman Barks
“When Rumi died in 1273, members of all religions, not just Muslims, came to the funeral. Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists. When asked why they said, “He deepens us no matter where we are.” People all over the world, for the last 750 years, have felt the same thing when reading his words, in translation or in the original. Rumi’s poetry opens the heart, and when that happens, we are taken beyond our differences. We enter into a Friendship that is beyond religion. It is a depth and a joy and a longing that Rumi and Shams Tabriz remind us of.” —Coleman Barks
“Rumi’s greatness has to do with the fact that he brings out what he calls “the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion,” or the most essential message of Islam, which is the most essential message of traditional religion everywhere: Human beings were born for unlimited freedom and infinite bliss, and their birthright is within their grasp. But in order to reach it, they must surrender to love. What makes Rumi’s expression of this message different from other expressions is his extraordinary directness and uncanny ability to employ images drawn from everyday life.” —Professor William C. Chittick State University of New York, Stony Brook, 21 June 1992