Poetry and Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Versions by Coleman Barks
These selections from the poetry of Rumi express the courage and intensity needed to overcome our ego-imprisonment. Much of Rumi’s poetry circles around the mystery of Surrender. Some of it expresses a longing and even a bewilderment, but there is also much that expresses the discipline, clarity, and integrity that true Surrender requires.
The Lion is that fierce intensity which recognizes no authority except the highest truth. Yet the lion is full of heart and devotion. As the translator, Coleman Barks, says: “I hear the Lion’s roar in Rumi, but he certainly didn’t stop with that thunderous No to what blocks the light, to easy answers and the need to belong. He moved on out into an enormous open, into the creative Yes of the Child, and beyond.”
Ali and Muhammad appear often in these poems and stories. Their leonine attentiveness to the quality of an action, to whether it comes from ego or from the wider Source, opens a new perspective on these figures.