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Spiritual Verses

The First Book of the Masnavi-ye Ma'navi
By: ,
Contributor Role: 
By (author)
Contributor Sequence Number: 
2
Contributor name: 
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Penguin
 | 
September, 2006
ISBN:
9780140447910
Quantity: 
0
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Banyen's Description: 

I am the slave of that attractive lamp

from which your lamp received illumination.

Slave of that wave of oceanic light

which washes up a jewel such as this…

The longest single-authored “mystical” poem ever written (well over 50,000 lines—twice as many as Dante’s Divine Comedy and five times as many as Milton’s Paradise Lost), the Masnavi-ye Ma’navi, or “spiritual couplets,” is the masterpiece of the Persian Sufi tradition. Its author, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273), was a poet and mystic of the highest attainment, but he was first and foremost a spiritual teacher, and his Masnavi is a ladder to the spiritual world, leading the reader to the ultimate goal of the Sufi path—union with God. Alan Williams’s translation into blank verse beautifully conveys the poetry of the original Persian couplets, while his introduction discusses how the modern reader might approach Rumi’s writing.

He layers his writing. He begins a story and then quickly moves into telling another story within that story, and another one within that… The Masnavi is a didactic poem bound together by the poet’s own voice, which is itself composed of many voices moving between the high and low registers of its range, just as the nay, with which Rumi begins the work, ranges through its several octaves.

Alan Williams has translated the first book “as faithfully as possible, and at the same time into a poetic form, namely iambic-pentameter couplets of blank verse. I have tried to keep faith both with the Persian language and with the poetic integrity of the couplet form. This first book of the Manavi is the key to understanding the whole work.”

Publisher’s Description: 

The longest mystical poem ever written, the Masnavi (Spiritual Couplets) is the masterpiece of the Persian Sufi tradition. Its author, known as Rumi, was a poet and mystic, but first and foremost a spiritual teacher, and his Masnavi is a ladder to the spiritual world, leading readers to the ultimate goal of the Sufi path: union with God. Alan Williams's translation into blank verse beautifully conveys the poetry of the original Persian couplets. His introduction discusses how the modern reader might approach Rumi's writing.

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