Rumi: Tales to Live By
By Kamla K. Kapur
Review by Sarita Mohile
The great Sufi mystic Rumi was born in Persia in the 13th century into a noble family. In his late thirties, he met Shams, a ragged, wandering mystic in his sixties, and the meeting was transformational for Rumi which plunged him into the wellspring of creativity. Later he penned down the wisdom he had gained over the years into a six-volume masterpiece known as the Mathnawi. It was written in Persian and the most reliable English translation was done in 1926 by Reynold A. Nicholson. Rumi’s growing global popularity 800 years later is evidence of his abiding relevance. Although Rumi is best known as a Persian poet, but he was also a master storyteller. His stories are a marvelous mix of excellent storytelling and spirituality engaging a drama of relationships between different conceivable entities. His stories present secular lives of humans and hold up a mirror giving a form to our inner selves.
“Rumi’s sketches of humanity show a new generation of spiritual seekers how to live through the trials and tribulations of life. A must read.”
Kamla K. Kapur has reimagined some stories out of labour of love rather being a scholar of his work. And this is the main reason why all the 12 stories included in the book are so fascinating. She has very painstakingly written them against the backdrop of modern times and issues. She has often stated that she has combined many of Rumi’s stories into one, adding names and endings when they were diffuse in the originals, in the process recreating them for the modern times. Rumi’s sketches of humanity show a new generation of spiritual seekers how to live through the trials and tribulations of life. Kapur has selected the relevant stories and enhanced her storytelling style with personal experiences from her own journey.
She has categorized the stories under four themes – Embrace Sufferings, Pray, and Surrender to the Cosmic Will.