A rich introduction to the work of Rumi by the foremost scholar on the great mystical poet, featuring leading literary translations of his verse by Coleman Barks, Robert Bly, Andrew Harvey, Kabir Helminski, Camille Helminski, Daniel Liebert, and Peter Lamborn Wilson.
Rumi's poems are beloved for their touching perceptions of humanity and the Divine. To display the major themes of Rumi's work, each of the eighteen chapters in this anthology are arranged topically, such as "The Inner Work," "The Ego Animal," "Passion for God," "Praise," and "Purity," uncovering a deep and timeless understanding of Sufism and mysticism. Also included is a biography of Rumi by Andrew Harvey and an introductory essay by Kabir Helminski on the art of translating Rumi's work into English.
"The Spiritual Surgeon"
Can the water of a polluted stream
Wash away the dirt?
Can human knowledge sweep away
The ignorance of the sensual self?
How does a sword fashion its own hilt?
Go, entrust your wound to a surgeon,
For flies will gather around the wound
Until it can’t be seen.
These are your selfish thoughts
And all you dream of owning.
The wound is your own dark hole.
Mathnawi I, 3221–3224
(translated by Kabir Helminski and Camille Helminski)
Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273) was not only a poet, mystic, and the founder of a Sufi order, he was a man of profound insight into the nature of human existence and possibly the greatest mystical poet of any age.
Kabir Helminski is the author of Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self, as well as the translator of numerous books of Sufi literature and especially Rumi. He is the codirector, with his wife, Camille Helminski, of the Threshold Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing the knowledge and practice of Sufism. As the publisher of Threshold Books for some twenty years, he was largely responsible for making Rumi the most widely read poet of our time. As a producer and writer of Sufi music, he has gained recognition for numerous recordings, including his own Garden within the Flames. He is a representative of the Mevlevi tradition founded by Jalaluddin Rumi.