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Teachings of Rumi (The Masnavi): The Spiritual Couplets of Jalaludin Rumi Paperback – December 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Octagon Press, Limited (December 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863040675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863040672
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

".. created by Rumi for...conveying meanings which he himself conceded have no actual parallel in ordinary human experience." -- Idries Shah, The Sufis

"This book occupies a central place in Sufism--inexhaustibly useful and fascinating" -- Doris Lessing

From the Publisher

The uncanny relevance of the Masnavi to contemporary life has produced an intense interest in Rumi. Some 43 years in the writing, his masterwork is generally regarded as one of the world's greatest books, influencing Western writers from Chaucer to Hegel to the contemporary poet Robert Bly.

Idries Shah calls the Masnavi: "...a special art form, created by Rumi for the express purpose of conveying meanings which he himself concedes have no actual parallel in ordinary human experience." -- The Sufis by Idries Shah: Octagon Press, London, p. 117. Copyright © 1964, 1977 by Idries Shah.

Biological evolution, how basic psychological drives motivate human behavior, and the process of conditioning -- all are described some 700 years before being identified by Western science.

This one-volume abridgement is a direct translation from the original Persian.

Customer Reviews

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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Ogara on September 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
For quite a few years, this was the most accessible version of Rumi's Masnavi available on the market. The language is dated, almost Victorian, which may put off some readers who are burned out on works in the style of Fitzgerald's "Omar Khayyam." Also, it is an abridgement, and Whinfield will at times collapse large portions of the work into a half page.
On the whole, though, for the general reader the work doesn't suffer much from these two possible shortcomings. Rumi's unique, teasing genius comes through on almost every page, challenging the reader to look at everyday things from a different viewpoint. Whinfield's notes are sufficient without being intrusive.
I read this version several years ago, and as I find that Rumi is best appreciated in small portions, I still like to keep the book handy as bedside reading. Whatever your opinion on Rumi, whether skeptical or reverent, you will enjoy this book.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Netman1 on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a abridged translation of Jalaludin Rum's masterpiece "Masnavi i Ma'navi", which was written over a period of 43 years. The Masnavi is not only an important work in the corpus of Persian literature, but more significantly a classic in Sufism and in world religious thought.

As such it is a "must read" for anyone interested in better understanding why we are here and what our purpose in life is.

Rumi (1207-1273 CE) was born in Balkh in modern day Afghanistan. His family fled the Mongol invasion to Konya in Turkey, where he later founded the Mevlevi Sufi Order (commonly known in the West as the "whirling dervishes") as an outgrowth of his encounter with a wandering Sufi - Shams.

The Masnavi is collection of stories and poems dealing with the central issue of life. Readers familiar with mystic strands in other religions will find much resonance here - common threads, common themes and common conclusions which reinforce the view that man's different religions are construct of man rather than of the Divine.

EH Whinfield was born in England in 1835 and died in 1922. Educated at Rugby (an English "public" school -- a private school in US terminology), he received an MA from Magdalen College at Oxford (1859). He was also in the Bengali Civil Service (1859(?)-1879(?)) which no doubt gave him the opportunity and perhaps introduction to Rumi. Also a barrister -admitted to Middle Temple 1872.

He also translated several other important Sufi works, Khayyam's 'Rubaiyat', Shabistani's 'Gulshan i Raz', and Jami's 'Lawa'ih'.

It's not clear from this edition when the translation dates from (my guess is 1880's -1890s). The language is a bit dated, but still the power of Rumi's thought comes through.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Red Wings on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a birthday gift for a professor who has been nominated for the Pulitzer prize in literature. She liked it so much she is considering putting it on her book list for an upcoming college-level poetry class.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms Christian on January 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is for all of those who seek deeper understanding of the mysteries of our existence. I was thrilled to have found this title and will read it over and over.
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