This master piece is by a Bengali writer Rabisankar Bal. I found his writing style quite different from others in the way he describes stories from the past. At first it is difficult to understand the concept of book but once you get it, you will be amazed by the beauty of it. This book has a story within a story, within a story and all in a very charismatic way of writing. Story is about the life of Rumi and his love for Shams who made Rumi what he is to us now. A very well researched novel and well written, and definitely not leaves readers to bore. In fact, the stories are quite interesting to read especially if someone is interested in the poetry of Rumi and his message of spiritualty. So this is a very through and poetic novel. The main theme of this book is selfless love and union with the ultimate beloved God. You become so touched and mystified while reading this.
The story started when Ibn Battuta was sharing his travel stories to the readers and yes he is the one to narrate the whole stories in this novel. When he was on his way from Tangiers to China, he reached a place called Konya in Turkey where this legendary dervish Rumi was born and lived. This was also the place where the famous “whirling dance” was originated. While Ibn Battuta stayed there, he came to know about different stories about the life of Rumi and his spiritual guide Shams and he was very intrigued to know after a half a century of Rumi’s death why he has such a huge number of people respecting his life and why his poetry is still evergreen. He explored the city more and met a person call Al Mustasimi who was working on the manuscript of Rumi. While he worked on one of the copies of manuscript, he enlightened about Rumi’s life to Ibn Battuta and promised to give the copy to spread it wherever he goes. Then comes the life story of Maulana Rumi and of course his story is incomplete without Shamsuddin Tabrizi (Shams). Shams was considered as a lunatic or mad divine soul at that time since a person not known to spirituality would not understand him. But Rumi knew he was destined to meet Shams and then we explore their relationship and Rumi’s journey from being a Maulana to a whirling dervish.
Rumi and Shams were quite the talk of town in their times because of their platonic relationship and Shams taught him not to be bothered by what people say about him. When Shams left, Rumi felt a void in his life which seemed to be growing bigger with time but the distress was over when they reunited. This made Rumi whirl with rapture and was the most astonishing part of story. Shams proved to be his spiritual mentor, a friend and lover. He taught him that this life is our separation with our love, God and death will unite us to Him. Then the stories of Rumi’s famous disciples Hussam and Sultan Wahad and their terms with Rumi are shared in the novel. Then it explained how Shams groomed Rumi, how the Masnavi, Rumi’s greatest work, came into existence. Battuta also met a young man whose name was one of the 99 names of Allah and he was not aware of that and Battuta asked him to recite Namaz in a middle voice for him. Then he tells the man that the middle path is the one best to adopt in life and is loved by God.
So before digging into Rumi’s poetry, one should read this book as it is a very well researched version of his life along with other books like “The Forty Rules of Love” or “Rumi’s daughter”. Writer used a very bold description of the relationship between Rumi and Shams and made sure you live the era and experience it with your full imagination. He encapsulate layers and layers of knowledge about spirituality narrated by Rumi or Ibn Battuta himself. It is one of those books which will force you to read between the lines and try to find hidden meaning in each story. This novel demands patience to read it but once completed, it’ll be worth it. I would recommend everyone to read it, the messages in it are for everyone to lead a meaningful life.
My favorite quote from this book was “The day our childhood leaves us is the day we will die.“
Let me know yours ❤