Rumi: Poet of the Heart

Synopsis: In 1244, Jelaluddin Rumi, a Sufi scholar in Konya, Turkey, met an itinerant dervish, Shams of Tabriz. A powerful friendship ensued. When Shams died, the grieving Rumi gripped a pole in his garden, and turning round it, began reciting imagistic poetry about inner life and love of God. Rumi founded the Mevlevi Sufi order, the whirling dervishes. Lovers of Rumi's poems comment on their power and meaning, including religious historian Huston Smith, writer Simone Fattal, poet Robery Bly, and Coleman Barks, who reworks literal translations of Rumi into poetic English. Musicians accompany Barks and Bly as they recite their versions of several of Rumi's ecstatic poems.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Haydn Reiss
  1 win.
58 min


[Debra Winger] In the town of

Konya, in central Turkey...

in the middle of the 13th century...

a prominent religious scholar named

Jalal ad-Din Rumi...

was suddenly separated from his teacher

and spiritual friend.

In his grief he took hold of a column

and began turning.

Verses of poetry began pouring out of him.

Remarkable poetry.

His students wrote the words down.

700 years later, Rumi's poetry is being

discovered in the west.

He is in fact the best selling poet

in America.

RUMI, POET OF THE HEAR "Come to the orchard in Spring."

"There is light and wine, and sweethearts

in the pomegranate flowers."

"If you do not come, these do not matter."

"If you do come, these do not matter."


Rumi was born September 30th, 1207 near

Balkh, Afghanistan...

which was then part of the Persian Empire.

When Rumi was still a child...

his family was forced to flee the oncoming

armies of Genghis Khan.

After years of travel, they settled

in Konya Turkey...

an important stop on the silk road and a

meeting point of many cultures.

Islamic, Judeo/Christian, Hindu

and Buddhist.

Rumi's father became the head of a

Sufi learning community.

The Sufis are an ancient

spiritual order.

And according to many Sufis...

the essential truths of Sufism exist

in all religions.

The Sufis are a remarkable band...

in the history of religion.

They are the mystics of Islam.

And as the mystics of Islam, the Sufis...

we can connect with because, they're

talking about these...

wonderful, sublime truths...

which have a way of piercing...

directly into the human heart,

wherever it is.

The Sufi's used to walk,

you know, down several roads...

visiting with the Christians, visiting

with Islam...

visiting in all of the great religions, really.

I mean that's part of the nature of

this kind of fluid imagination.

It crosses boundaries. It penetrates and

it even slips by.

It works by way of humor, it works by

way of stunning imagery.

It works in many different ways. As if to...

keep bringing people to some

deep, human well.

[Debra Winger] Upon his father's


Rumi became the head of the

learning community.

His life seems to have been a fairly

normal one for a religious scholar...

Teaching, meditating, helping the


Until the late fall of 1244 when he

met the stranger.

A wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz.

Rumi's genius was triggered...

by an actual human being.

An encounter with this mysterious

figure, Shams of Tabriz.

He was an intense fierce mountain meditator.

Those kind of people. Like Thoreau

magnified five times.

The connection between

Shams and Rumi is...

one of the great stories of... learning.

And what we nowadays call mentoring.

But it's almost of an order beyond

what people mean...

when they mean to learn from someone.

Because it means to almost, what seemed

to happen was a sudden, knowing...

One can see here in Shams

an older man...

who is outside the orthodox

spiritual community.

Who comes in and helps a younger man

who is...

deeply embedded in that orthodox

spiritual community.

And then there's a kind of explosion.

What Rumi says, is

that he was raw...

then he got cooked, and then he

was burned.

And that means when his heart...

melted through his love for Shams,


his new experience enabled him...

to understand what he was talking

about before.

And he took Rumi's

book knowledge and says...

he said now you have to live what

you've been reading about.

Pushed all his books into the fountain.

That's one story of how they met.

And Rumi and he went off into this

practice called conversation, "sobhet"

Which they disappeared evidently for

weeks at a time.

In this conversation between the

personal and the deep self.

This is the poem "I'm Not Saying This Right"

Which of course might mean that I

might not say the poem right.

So, I'm not saying this right.

"You bind me, and I tear away in a rage..."

"to open out into air, a round

brightness, a candle point..."

"all reason, all love."

"This confusing joy, is your doing, this

hangover, your tender thorn."

"You turn to look, I turn.

I'm not saying this right."

"I am a jailed crazy who ties up spirit-women.

No, I'm Solomon."

"What goes come back. What goes comes

back. Come back."

"We never left each other."

A disbeliever hides all disbelief,

but I will say his secret now.

"More and more awake, getting up at night..."

"spinning and falling in love with Shams,

falling with love for Shams."

"spinning and spinning, falling in love

with Shams..."

"falling with love for Shams, falling,

with love for shams."

And so Rumi became a poet then,

became a real poet.

Became infused. The whole spirit came

into him.

And um...

so it's one of the great love affairs,

of the world.

The one between Shams and Rumi.

And they loved each other, not sexually

but they loved each other in the heart.

Why does it impress people so much?

Because it's a love...

that is beyond gender, beyond age,

beyond sex, beyond species.

It is the essence of love.

The two oceans met each other.

And the force of love of god.

Because the earth has many oceans.

All the time they meet, and...

once happened two will meet...

in the land of Konya, Turkey,

700 years ago.

[Coleman Barks] "When you feel your

lips becoming infinite and sweet..."

"like a moon in a sky..."

"when you feel that spaciousness inside..."

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