The name Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for Love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the great spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mawlawi Sufi order, a leading mystical brotherhood of Islam.Rumi was born on September 30, 1207 in Balkh in what is now known as Afghanistan. It was a period of remarkable social and political turbulence. The 13th Century was the era of the crusades; also the area where Rumi lived was under constant threat of Mongol invasion. The great upheavals Rumi faced during his life is said to have influenced much of his poetry.
Rumi met many of the great Sufi poets. For example, as a young boy he met the Sufi Master, Attar. Attar is said to have commented about Rumi. “There goes a river dragging an ocean behind it.”
He was introduced into the mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shamsuddin of Tabriz. His love and his bereavement for the death of Shams found their expression in a surge of music, dance and lyric poems, `Divani Shamsi Tabrizi'. Rumi is the author of six volume didactic epic work, the `Mathnawi', called as the 'Koran in Persian' by Jami, and discourses, `Fihi ma Fihi', written to introduce his disciples into metaphysics.
If there is any general idea underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute love of God. His influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam cannot be overrated.
Rumi was himself a great mystic. His outpourings of poetry were a reflection of his own inner consciousness. Ironically Rumi said that no words could adequately explain the experience of mystical union. Yet his words are inspiring signposts which point towards the divine.
In his poetry Rumi frequently uses imagery which may be unexpected. For example although Islam forbids alcohol, he often describes the sensation of being ‘drunk and intoxicated with ecstasy for his beloved.” Here drunk implies the bliss of the divine consciousness. Love is a frequent subject of Rumi’s poems, descriptions of seeming romantic love is an illusion to the all encompassing pure, divine love. Metaphors such as this are common to other Sufi poets such as Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, and Attar.
Rumi’s poetry is so widely appreciated because it has the capacity to uplift our own consciousness. Reading the words of Rumi can awaken in ourselves, our own spiritual self.