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Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings...

In the mid-thirteenth century, in a dusty marketplace in Konya, Turkey, a city where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist travelers mingled, Jelaluddin Rumi, a popular philosopher and scholar, met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish.  Their meeting forever altered the course of Rumi's life and influenced the mystical evolution of the planet.  The bond they formed was everlasting—a powerful transcendent friendship that would flow through Rumi as some of the world's best-loved ecstatic poetry.

Rumi's passionate, playful poems find and celebrate sacred life in everyday existence.  They speak across all traditions, to all peoples, and today his relevance and popularity continue to grow.  In The Illuminated Rumi, Coleman Barks, widely regarded as the world's premier translator of Rumi's writings, presents some of his most brilliant work, including many new translations.  To complement Rumi's universal vision, Michael Green has worked the ancient art of illumination into a new, visually stunning form that joins typography, original art, old masters, photographs, and prints with sacred images from around the world.

The Illuminated Rumi is a truly groundbreaking collaboration that interweaves word and image: a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi's teachings.  Coleman Barks's wise and witty commentary, together with Michael Green's art, makes this a classic guide to the life of the soul for a whole new generation of seekers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767900027
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 10/28/1997
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 211,972
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Coleman Barks has published twelve books of Rumi's poetry, including the bestselling The Essential Rumi.  Barks lives in Athens, Georgia, and is a professor at the University of Georgia.

Michael Green is a critically acclaimed artist and illustrator whose books include Zen and the Art of the Macintosh, Unicornis, The Book of the Dragontooth, and The I-Ching Records.  He lives in Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley.

Read an Excerpt

The meeting of Jelaluddin Rumi and Shams of Tabriz was a grand event in the mystical evolution of the planet.  With their friendship, categories of teacher and student, lover and beloved, master and disciple, dissolved.

Jelaluddin Rumi was born in the remote town of Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan.  He lived most of his life in Konya, Turkey, which in the 13th century was a meeting point for many cultures at the Western edge of the Silk Road, a place where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and even Buddhist travelers mingled.

Rumi, at the age of thirty-seven, had become an accomplished doctor of theology, the center of his own divinity school.  He was a venusian lover of the beautiful and the good, a scholar, and artist.

Shams was a wandering dervish monk, rough-hewn and sinewy.  A street bodhisattva who mingled with laborers and camel drivers, he had no school.  People spontaneously gathered around him, though he was given to slipping out side doors and leaving town when it happened.  He did not want followers or fame; he only wanted to find one person vast enough in spirit to be his companion.

He met Rumi in Konya.

As Rumi was riding a donkey through the marketplace, surrounded by a knot of disciples, a stranger with piercing eyes stepped from a doorway and seized his bridle.  The stranger challenged him:

"Who is greater, Muhammad or Bestami?"

Bestami was a legendary Sufi master given to ecstatic merging with God, then crying out with mystical candor that he and the Godhead were one!  Muhammad was the founder of their tradition, the anointed one, but his greatness resided in his stature as messenger of God.  So who was greater?

Rumi gave the approved answer, "Muhammad."

"But Bestami said, 'I am the Glory!'  Muhammad said, 'I cannot praise you enough!"

As Rumi was about to reply, he realized that this was no seminary debate about the mysteries.  In a dusty marketplace in south central Anatolia, he had come face to face with the Mystery.

Learn about your inner self from those who know such things,
but don't repeat verbatim what they say.
Zuleikha let everything be the name of Joseph, from celery seed to aloeswood.  She loved him so much she concealed his name in many different phrases, the inner meanings known only to her.  When she said, The wax is softening near the fire, she meant, My love is wanting me.

Or if she said, Look, the moon is up, or The willow has new leaves,
or The branches are trembling, or The coriander seeds have caught fire, or The roses are opening,
or The king is in a good mood today, or Isn't that lucky?
Or The furniture needs dusting, or
The water-carrier is here, or It's almost daylight, or
These vegetables are perfect, or The bread needs more salt,
or The clouds seem to be moving against the wind,
or My head hurts, or My headache's better,
anything she praises, it's Joseph's touch she means,
any complaint, it's his being away.

When she's hungry, it's for him.  Thirsty, his name is a sherbet.
Cold, he's a fur.  This is what the Friend can do when one is in such love.  Sensual people use the holy names
  often, but they don't work for them.
The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God,
Zuleikha felt in the name of Joseph.

When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that is to breathe the name hu, empty of self and filled with love.  As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it.
The saffron spice of connecting, laughter.
The onion smell of separation, crying.
Others have many things and people they love.
This is not the way of Friend and friend.

I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.

To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.

I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.

I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark off a stone, a flickering in metal.

Both candle and moth crazy around it.

Rose and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being,
the circling galaxy,

the evolutionary intelligence,
the lift and the falling away.

What is and what isn't.  You who know Jelaluddin, you the one in all, say who I am.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Rumi has, to the recent amazement of many people in the Western culture as well as the Islamic culture, been able to speak directly to contemporary readers.  One of the greatest pieces of good luck that has happened recently in American poetry is Coleman Barks's agreement to translate poem after poem of Rumi.  Rumi, like Kabir, is able to contain and continue intricate theological arguments and at the same time speak directly from the heart or to the heart.  Coleman's exquisite sensitivity to the flavor and turns of ordinary American speech has produced marvelous lines, full of flavor and Sufi humor, as well as the intimacy that is carried inside American speech at its best."
—Robert Bly

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The Illuminated Rumi 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Rumi¿s poetry but not in this edition. Here the illustrations, artwork, and style of the presentation take away from the beauty of Rumi¿s words; the feel is over-the-top new-age and you can do far better.
RRHowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The calligraphy in this book, and the illustrations are magnificent. The amount of Rumi's poetry that is covered is minimal, and this may be a disapointment to some.
drj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book contains translations of the thought-provoking poetry of Rumi.
Padme0729 More than 1 year ago
I have wanted this book for months....each page contains wisdom that pierces the heart. beautiful artwork that elevates the soul. If you want a book of quiet beauty and deep strength of faith...this is the book for you. It is a blessing that I live a few miles from the Shrine of Bawa.It is a place of peace for me and to see his picture in this book brings me such joy. Sending blessings to all who created this book. All Love, Padme A'Tea
sunmonk More than 1 year ago
The purchase of this book is for a gift to an artist of great skill. When I saw this book I could only think of her because I was privy to her work in pastels water color and the like. The art here is so force full in delivering the message the idea the perception of the grandeur the magnificence of The Only Reality. I cannot read persian and I am learning arabic so the translation is impecable in the fact that the idea was conveyed to mind spirit. I learned about healing though Rumi was not a doctor I learned about true humanity though Rumi and Shams were wanderers nomads who were not bought or sold on material things. I gathered that their lofty spirits as the kind who saw all religions as one. It was identified clearly that there is but one religion. Yes and expressed so simply. The only real religion is love. Love for your fellow human being what you love for yourself. These ideas were expressed through art and words of the magnitude of pure clarity that i believe enlightenment permeated through this book for the comentator Coleman Barks and the illustrator Micheal Green. I strongly believe that a book like this will be read for more generations to come as many people will desire to know more about Islam about Christianity even Buddhism. I believe when our perception as human beings is elevated like these men we may have a chance to construct a better world and reap better circumstances in our daily undertakings. Yes the Prophet Muhammad Mustafah peace be upon him is hidden and aparent here in this work. The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) personality of trustworthy honorable qualities pervades every letter. The seal of the Prophets message is seen here and the Spirit of Allah is felt in many instances and traces in this well composed book. This book conveyed a true and living spiritual ecstacy that one can experience while they live. You do not have to die to go to heaven you can have that while you live by surrendering your will to do the will of Allah the only Reality. I enjoyed this book greatly and I will still give it as a gift to the person I purchased it for. I must buy her yet another and give it out of love for the True Love The One Love. Thus it must be multiplied manifold to others.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
funny how so many people are critical at all that flowering imagery. how can you get so grumpy over substantial rumi text and ecstatic art? anyways, if you have a deep soul that even scares you regarding the fathoms below yet explored, your eyes will be eating this stuff up...and your soul will digest it accordingly as you dream. time for supper! please enjoy the feast. and if no wine is spilled, it's not yet begun this book is an incredible wine stain on the stodgy academics and imam's of the world
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coleman Barks has a way with words, which for the past few decades he¿s put to use casting the poems of 13th-century mystic Jalaluddin Rumi into contemporary language. Though considered one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen, Rumi was relatively unknown in the West until a recent surge in popularity due in no small part to Barks¿s efforts. THE ILLUMINATED RUMI presents readers with a pretty package indeed: deep thoughts, stirred emotions and illustrations galore. Yet while this would do most poets proud, it¿s doubtful Rumi would feel that way about his treatment at Barks¿s hands, if only because Barks speaks not a word of Persian, the language in which Rumi wrote. Barks freely admits he relied entirely on academic translations to concoct his popularized renderings. This would be less of a handicap were Rumi merely trying to entertain or to convey feelings, moods and subjective impressions. But as Barks himself points out, Rumi was a Sufi; and Sufis maintain that, far from being the emotional outpourings appearance might suggest, their poems are actually precise and carefully constructed technical instruments designed to have very specific effects on the reader under the right circumstances. These effects, which depend heavily upon the language in which the poems were written (not to mention the specific audience they were written for, which is another matter entirely), are easily blunted by translation and other forms of tampering. Barks ¿ in translating translations ¿ would seem to be carrying this tampering a step further, despite his good intentions. The result, however aesthetically pleasing and emotionally evocative, is unlikely to be what Rumi had in mind ¿ any more than the miming of a surgeon¿s hand-movements, however gracefully executed, is likely to heal the sick. Those interested in Rumi¿s still-relevant message would do better to read THE SUFIS by Idries Shah, THE LIFE & WORK OF JALALUDDIN RUMI by Afzal Iqbal, or E.H. Whinfield¿s TEACHINGS OF RUMI.