Rumi stories can blow your mind, melt your heart and make you stand in awe. True literature is in fact the one that can be understandable, engaging, and fascinating even after the passing of time. This is exactly what Rumi stories are. Their everlasting quality and engaging atmosphere have an effect on your soul and mind.
The same quality was the reason behind Paolo Coelho’s novels. He got inspired by Rumi’s philosophy and perspective, which led him to write The Alchemist. By reading the Alchemist and Rumi’s poems you can find a similar pattern of spirituality that is rooted in Sufism. Let’s see where this spirituality comes from.
Jalalu’din Rumi, The God of Poetry
When you do things from your soul
you feel a river moving in you, a joy
Poetry is not just writing rhythmic verses, poets especially great poets such as Rumi are highly spiritual and inspired human beings who had a connection with greater power. So, their skill in poetry was not something acquired, it was in their soul and blood. However, the sparks of poetry got stronger once Rumi met the most influential person in his life, Shams.
Shams was a very known Sufi, who used to travel and share his spiritual beliefs with others by having meditational sessions with them for days. On one of his trips, he encountered Rumi and built a relationship. The relationship between Shams and Rumi, AKA Molana is a mystery. Some people believe that there is a romantic relationship between these two, but some others consider their love totally platonic and something above human nature.
Rumi and Shams, the Disciple and Rector
Once Rumi meets Shams, he gets enchanted by his amazing eloquence and becomes a true follower. Rumi’s passion for spirituality leads him to learn Sama which is a form of meditation and dance in Sufism. Some stories mention that Rumi was doing Sama when Shams leaves because of the way people treated him. Rumi, who was a powerful and famous person among the royal family, shows his disappointment for people who made Shams leave, so those people send someone to bring Shams back. He comes back, but gets hurt again and leaves the city. When Rumi notices that Shams has left him once again, he goes to look for Shams himself. He cannot find him and gets so frustrated that goes to a phase and meditates through Sama from morning till night. Then, he writes exceptional poems about love, humanity and spirituality that become popular.
Now that we have a background of Rumi’s life, let’s get into some amazing stories that are originally written in verses in Persian.
Story One: Where Is The Best City?
Rumi narrates a story of two lovers who are sitting and talking to one another. The girl asks her love that you have visited many different cities and traveled everywhere. Which city is the most beautiful, gorgeous, and blissed one?
The guy looks at her and says: The city in which my love lives.
Then he continues that: Even the smallest place like the tiny hole in a needle is as vast as a field if my love, who is like a queen, lives there. Even a dark deep pit becomes heaven if my beautiful Joseph lives there.
At this point, Rumi uses the prophet Josep’s story, who was known for his beauty and was pushed into a pit by his brothers.
Story Two: Finding the Elephant in the Dark
This story starts with a group of Indians who bring an elephant to their hometown for the very first time. No one has seen an elephant before, and they are really excited to see what it looks like, but the elephant is in a dark room. So people entered the room and touched the elephant, and came out. The one who touched the elephant’s ear thought it looked like a fan. The other who touched the elephant truck was thinking about a pipe-shaped animal. These people got into a fight after talking about how they had seen the elephant. They were all right and wrong. Each of them had their own reality of the elephant’s shape because of the imperfect evidence. However, if someone had lit a candle in the room and let people see what the elephant actually looked like, all these disagreements would disappear. So, Rumi says:
Each of us touches one place
and understands the whole, that way.
The palm and the fingers feeling in the dark
are how the senses explore the reality of the elephant.
If each of us held a candle there,
and if we went in together, we could see it.
Story Three: Finding the Tree of Eternal Life
Once upon a time, there was a wise old man who talked about a tree, which makes you live forever if you eat its fruit. This news got around fast. The moment that the king heard about this tree, he couldn’t stop thinking about finding the tree and eating its fruit. So, he orders someone to look for the tree and find it any way he can, but he fails to do so.
The obsession for finding the tree makes people mock the young man who was looking for it. He meets an old man when he is totally depressed and miserable getting back to the king’s palace. He stays in the old man’s home while getting back and starts a conversation with this man who looks very wise. After mentioning his story and the tree, the man looks at him and says: You fool! The tree is not real, and that wise man was talking about the tree of God’s knowledge. You’ll find blessings and eternal life if you try to know God.
By talking about getting to know God, Rumi is trying to mention the power of getting closer to a superpower that makes you get detached from the material world and become eternal.
Now that you have read about Rumi stories, if you are interested in Persian literature and poetry, you should read about modern Persian poets as well.