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Why Does the West Show an Interest in Mevlana

Why Does the West Show an Interest in Mevlana

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Published by ibrahim
We know that Mevlana Muhammed Jelaluddin Rumi is a widely read poet in the West. His translated works are bestsellers in European and other Western countries.
We know that Mevlana Muhammed Jelaluddin Rumi is a widely read poet in the West. His translated works are bestsellers in European and other Western countries.

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Published by: ibrahim on Feb 22, 2009
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01/30/2013

 
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Why does the West show an interest in Mevlana?
by
 
İBRAHİM ÖZDEMİR*
 
We know that Mevlana Muhammed Jelaluddin Rumi is a widely read poet in the West. Histranslated works are bestsellers in European and other Western countries.
 
His poetry is recorded in electronic media, including tapes and CDs. Famous pop starslike Madonna recite from his poems in their songs and albums in an effort to pay tributeto his ideas and system of thought as well as to reach out to his followers. Mostinterestingly, those who show interest in his works include people from different religionsand ethnicities.Until recently, however, only academics knew him. But today he has become a strongsource of inspiration in American literature. His most important aspect is his ability toembrace all and transmit his message to everyone without hurting anyone. And for thisreason Mevlana may not be treated as an ordinary Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Jewishmonk. He has fulfilled the requirements of his potential and become a perfect man. Suchpeople transcend their local cultures and boundaries; they reach out to the entirehumanity. This is the reason why his poems are recited in churches, synagogues and artcenters of New York. It seems that he is the Mevlana (guide) of the entire humanity.So why do people show interest in Mevlana? What do they find in his works? What couldMevlana, who lived in Konya in the 13th century, possibly give the globalizing world andmodern man?These questions are asked by many people; answers to such questions will matter for anumber of reasons. They provide important clues to those who would like to appeal toWestern readers. Muslims living in Europe may also benefit from these answers. Mostimportantly, there should be lessons that we, the people who live on the soil whereMevlana spent his life, could draw.Shahram Shiva is one of those who wonder why Americans show interest in Mevlana andhis works. He admired Mevlana when he first heard his poems and subsequentlytranslated many of them into English. He also recites Mevlana's works in stand-upprograms and various meetings; he has released tapes and CDs. He held a workshop onwhy people read Mevlana and asked participants to state why they show interest in hisworks. The responses were recorded and subsequently reviewed carefully.After the review, Shiva classified the data into 12 categories. He listed 12 reasons for
 
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why people show interest in Mevlana.
1. Mevlana was not an intellectual
 Religion is a field of senses and emotions; participants noted that Mevlana spoke to theirhearts, emotions, senses, internal world and their self rather than their minds.
2. Different levels of meaning
 Participants referred to different levels of meaning in Mevlana's works; they exploreddifferent dimensions in his poems just like different layers surrounding a rose. They getmore acquainted with his depth as they read him more. As a result of this endeavor, theybecame more encouraged to take a deeper journey into his thoughts.
3. Unity
 Unity, harmony and integrity in Mevlana's works appealed to the participants.
4. Friend
 The majority of the participant saw Mevlana as a friend while reading his works.
5. Personal contact and relationship
 Reading Mevlana is a personal process and experience. It is an existentialist experience;his admirers joined the endeavor to explore the meaning of themselves and the cosmos.They strived as his colleagues and companions.
6. Mercy and peace
 Readers of Mevlana have experienced that they found peace and mercy when readinghim.
7. Desire and yearning
 Participants were attracted to the desire, yearning and love in Mevlana's works; theywanted to experience the same feeling by reading the Mesnevi.
8. Love
 Some participants admitted that they fell in love with Mevlana.
9. Bridge between religions
 The participants held that Mevlana is a bridge between Muslims living in Europeancountries and non-Muslims. Many Muslims were welcomed in the US because of Mevlana.A number of Westerners who read and fell in love with Mevlana improved their ties withMuslims in their country. Mevlana got different groups closer. He contributed a great dealto their attempt to coexist and live together in a multicultural environment.
10. Those who do not like poetry
 Some participants note that they actually do not like poetry but stress that they love

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