Kabir Helminski is co-director with his wife Camille of the Threshold Society, a Sufi organization of the Mevlevi Order of dervishes founded by Rumi. He is the translator of numerous volumes of Rumi's poetry and has been one of the main forces behind Rumi becoming one of the most read poets around the world. Helminski is one of our Living Spiritual Teachers. Ahmad Rezwani is an Iranian Sufi and scholar. The translations in this uplifting collection are notable for their faithfulness to the Persian originals. They come from two sources: the Divan-e Shams, a collection of love poems or odes, and the six books of Rumi's Mathnawi, a spiritual masterpiece in metered, rhymed couplets.
In the introduction, Kabir Helminski notes that Rumi (1207 - 1273) stands in a circle of wisdom teachers that includes Plato, the author of Ecclesiastes, Lao-tzu, the author of the Gospel of Thomas, Meister Eckhart, Goethe, Walt Whitman, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is convinced that this Sufi poet is one of the master explorers and interpreters of love. A Muslim, Rumi was nurtured in the love of God by the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed. He experienced another kind of love in his spiritual friendship with Shams of Tabriz. Helminski wonders whether this relationship is not a model and gift to all humanity. He also states: "Rumi doesn't dismiss any kind of love; every form of love is a stepping-stone to a higher love, but only to the extent that we develop discernment." And then he concludes that the lessons of love are the most important ones in our lives.
The poems here are divided into seven thematic sections:
• Within This Human Condition
• The Truth Hidden within Existence
• Feminine and Divine
• The Path
Helminski and Rezwani share the insights of Rumi who in "You, Yourself, Are the Melody" tells us "Don't sell yourself short, you are priceless;" in "The True Kaaba" counsels "If you yearn for holy felicity, / shed your arrogance / and become a seeker of hearts;" in "Heaven and Earth Do Intelligent Work" reveals that men and women are put together "so they might perfect each other's work;" in "Expanding Friendship" observes "Money and real estate occupy the body, / but all the heart wants is expanding friendship; " in "You Are Joy and We Are Laughter" thanks God for filling "the world with Your radiance."
Elsewhere there are poems about joy, beauty, surrender of the ego, and transformation. As the heart is opened and softened, we grow in love and ripen and mature in the spiritual life.