Here is a virtual movie of a reading of the 13 century Persian philosophical poem “This being human is a guest house”.The poem is read exquisitely by Canadian actor Dennis O’connor who kindly sent me this recording. I have employed the visual services of an unknown Bearded thoughtful looking Victorian gentleman as my visual reader of this ancient poem.
Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (مولانا جلال الدین محمد بلخى), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (جلالالدین محمد رومی), but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, (30 September 1207 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, theologian, and mystic. Rūmī is a descriptive name meaning “the Roman” since he lived most of his life in an area called Rūm because it was once ruled by the Byzantine Empire.
According to tradition, Rumi was born in Balkh, Khorasan (now in Afghanistan), the hometown of his father’s family. Scholars, however, argue that he was most likely born in Wakhsh, a small town located at the river Wakhsh in what is now Tajikistan. Wakhsh belonged to the larger province of Balkh, and in the year Rumi was born, his father was an appointed scholar there. Both these cities were at the time included in the Greater Persian cultural sphere of Khorasan, the easternmost province of historical Persia, and were part of the Khwarezmian Empire.
His birthplace and native language both indicate a Persian heritage. Due to quarrels between different dynasties in Khorasan, opposition to the Khwarizmid Shahs who were considered devious by Bahā ud-Dīn Walad (Rumi’s father) or fear of the impending Mongol cataclysm, his father decided to migrate westwards. Rumi’s family traveled west, first performing the Hajj and eventually settling in the Anatolian city Konya (capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, now located in Turkey). This was where he lived most of his life, and here he composed one of the crowning glories of Persian literature which profoundly affected the culture of the area.
He lived most of his life under the Sultanate of Rum, where he produced his works and died in 1273 CE. He was buried in Konya and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage. Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mawlawīyah Sufi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the samāʿ ceremony. Rumi’s works are written in the New Persian language. A Persian literary renaissance (in the 8th/9th century) started in regions of Sistan, Khorāsān and Transoxianaand by the 10th/11th century, it reinforced the Persian language as the preferred literary and cultural language in the Persian Islamic world. Although Rumi’s works were written in Persian, Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His original works are widely read in their original language across the Persian-speaking world. Translations of his works are very popular in other countries.
His poetry has influenced Persian literature as well as the literature of the Urdu, Bengali, Arabic and Turkish languages. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats; He has been described as the “most popular poet in America” in 2007 Kind Regards Jim Clark All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2009
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
A teaching story translated by Coleman Barks © by owner.
Dr. Miller reads Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi – The Guest House
This is a sneak peak at Dr. Miller’s Broad Street Bistro Show: A Celebration of Life – The Power of Music and Love