The first English translation of Rumi's entire Divan-i Kebir contained in 22 volumes.
The Divan-i Kebir, or Divan-i Shams, is the anthology of Rumi's poems from the time he met Shams of Tebriz until the day he died in 1273. His poetry is recorded in 13th century Farsi, the language of the times in Anatolia (some Arabic, Turkish and Greek also appears). Although Shams disappeared from Rumi's life after only three years, the impact of this Saint and Master transformed Rumi's life into one of self-annihilation, spiritual longing and ecstasy, all clearly reflected in his poetry.
Rumi did not write down his poetry. Rather, he spontaneously recited poems day and night, and assigned people, called katib-i esrar [secret secretary], followed and recorded what he said. These more than 44,000 verses provide beautiful explanations of the secrets of life, Love, humanity, God, and more. They serve as historical sketches of 13th Century life in Konya, Anatolia. And, they take the reader into the spiritual journey Rumi took 800 years ago toward the enlightenment of Love.
Note: Volumes 2 and 9 are out-of-print and will not be available until next year. As a result, the original price of $500 for the set has been reduced to $425. With the exception of Volumes 2 and 9, each volume may be purchased separately for $24.95 each.
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Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi was a 13th Century mystic who lived in Anatolia, present day Turkey. He recited all the poems in the Divan (44,000+ verses), while assigned people around him recorded them. The Divan was originally written in 13th Century colloquial Farsi.
Translator Nevit O. Ergin began his spiritual life in 1955, embarking on the same path as Rumi, the Path of Annihilation, also called the Path of Liberation. His first exposure to Rumi's poetry was through the translations (from the Farsi to Turkish) of the Turkish scholar, Abdulbaki Golpinarli. Although Turkish by birth, Ergin lived in the United States from his mid-twenties until his passing at the age of 87 in 2015. His desire to read Rumi's Divan-i Kebir in English finally led to his undertaking the task of completing the English translation himself. He began (working from Golpinarli's Turkish translations) in 1990 and finished in 2003.
Ergin recognized the challenge of translating from Turkish into English a work that was originally recorded in ancient Farsi. According to the Russian linguist Roman Jakobson, ...Poetry by definition is untranslatable. Only creative transposition is possible.1 This is very true for Rumi's poems. For that reason, according to Ergin, I have tried to be idiomatic and communicative, faithful to meaning rather than translating word-by-word. I humbly ask for tolerance and understanding from readers regarding this gigantic task.
We in the West are blessed: Because of the depth and vision of his spiritual life, Ergin's translations capture the beauty and energy of Rumi's verses in all their glory.
1Jakobson. On Linguistic Aspects of Translation (1959), screen 19 of 22.Review:
"...indispensible to those who love Mevlana Jelaludin Rumi...It is a monument to the inspiration of Shems i-Tabrizi..." --Dr. Yannis Toussulis, Professor of Consciousness Studies and Intercultural Psychology, April 25, 2004
"...nothing short of a miracle. What you find is a depth, consistency, and integrity of spiritual vision that is unparalleled." --Will Johnson, Author, April 25, 2004
"Nevit has spent almost fifty years translating Rumi's Divan...a deeply surrendered heart, [he] has done a tremendous service." --Coleman Barks, Author, April 27, 2004
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