1. Rumi & Masnavi: General Description
Maulana Jalal-ud-din Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273) was a 13th-century Muslim Sufi Mystic Poet, Jurist, theologian. Rumi's major work is the Masnavi Ma'anvi (Spiritual Couplets; مثنوی معنوی), a six-volume poem.
The Masnavi is a poetic collection of rambling anecdotes and stories derived from the Quran, Hadith sources, and everyday tales. The Masnavi is a series of six books of poetry that amount to about aprox. 27,000 verses or 54,000 lines. The title Masnavi-Ma'navi means "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning."
Rumi and Masnavi
The Masnavi of Jalal-ud-din Rumi is said to have been forty-three (43) years engaged in writing the Masnavi. Often whole nights were spent in its composition, Jalal reciting and his friend Hasam copying it down and sometimes singing portions of the verse in his beautiful voice. At the completion of the first book Hasam's wife died, and two years elapsed before the work was continued.
The Masnavi is full of profound mysteries, and is a most important book in the study of Sufiism mysteries which must, for the most part, be left to the discernment of the reader. Jalal himself has said that great Love is silent. It is in Silence that we shall come to understand the supreme Mystery of Love that has no comparison.
Rumi’s Masnavi is probably the longest mystical poem ever written by a single author from any religious tradition. Although the content of each book of the Masnavi is too rich and diverse to be neatly categorized, one can none the less observe a logic to the selection and order of the major stories. For instance, those of
Book One seem to be presented in the order of progression on the Sufi path as far as the climax represented by the final story about HazratAli (RA).
See details about Rumi at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi
Important Points to remember before reading Masnavi