UNESCO has declared 2007 to be the year of Rumi. This year was 800th anniversary of the birth of Mawlana Jalal-ud-Din Balkhi-Rumi (1207-1273), one of the greatest poets, philosophers and scholars of the Islamic civilization.
Rumi was a Sufi saint who was born in Afghanistan, lived in Turkey (most of his life) and wrote in Persian (Farsi). The people of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey consider him to be their own poet. There is always discussions among these groups as to what nationality was he really from? Amongst his numerous disciples were Arabs, Armenians and Greeks. Rumi belongs to the whole world because his words did not have national boundary. He addressed humanity as a whole: “I do not distinguish between the relative and the stranger.”
It's so inspiring to see, 800 years after he was born, Rumi is so popular in the Western world, specially here in America. But it's too sad to see, the region that he was from, has forgotten the spirit of Rumi and has become the center of a lot of turmoil. It's hard to believe that Rumi's Afghanistan can be controlled by Talibans, or Rumi's Iran can have a cruel and inhumane regime like Iranian regime. Too bad the wisdom of Rumi is dead among these groups, but it's inspiring to see others are celebrating his soul, his words and his love of Creator after 800 years.
Rumi's poems are about the highest state of a human being, and he believed a complete human is not bound by cultural limitations. Rumi had this to say about ideal man of God:
He is drunk without wine,
He is full without roast meat.
He is all confused, distraught,
He needs neither food nor sleep.
He is a king in a dervish frock,
He is a treasure in the dust.
He is not of air nor earth,
He is not of water, nor fire.
He is a boundless sea,
He rains pearls without cloud…
Let's hope that the Rumi's birth region will wake up someday and they will follow Rumi's wisdom and spirit and make him proud!
H/T to dear Serendip