Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Rumi Mean?

Rumi was a Persian Sunni Muslim poet, scholar and Sufi mystic whose spiritual writings have transcended national, religious and cultural boundaries. He wrote mostly in Persian and his works are still widely read today. Translations of his work are very popular in the modern yoga community for their truth-seeking themes and spiritual eminence.

Rumi was born in 1207 in either Wakhsh, a village on the Vakhsh River in present-day Tajikistan; or in the city of Balkh, where his parents were from, in present-day Afghanistan. His early influences were his father and the Persian poets, Attar and Sana. Later, he met the the dervish, Shams-e-Tabrizi, a pivotal meeting that transformed Rumi into an ascetic. Rumi spent the last years of his life in Konya in Turkey where he died in 1273. He left a significant legacy of poetry, prose and spiritual teachings.


Yogapedia Explains Rumi

Rumi’s writings favor a theme of tawhid, or union with the Divine, which he longs to attain. This is evident in his famous poem, "Masnavi," which is regarded as one of the greatest poems ever written in the Persian language. In this poem he also describes the universal message of love, and the experience of struggling with isolation and distance from a loving union with God.

Rumi saw music, poetry and dance as paths to reach God. He believed that music in particular helped seekers to focus so intensely on the Divine that their soul could be both destroyed and resurrected. His ideas inspired and encouraged the ritualized practice of whirling dervishes, as well as sama, a practice of listening to music performing a sacred and symbolic dance.

Rumi’s teachings have provided an introduction to the philosophy and practice of Sufism to many Westerners, but he also wrote about personal and spiritual development in a way that transcends the sectarian, and includes everyone.

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