Nevit Ergin

Nevit Oguz Ergin
Nevit Oguz Ergin

Nevit O. Ergin (1928-2015), devoted his life to the spiritual path of Itlak Yolu, the same path as Mevlana Jalaluddi Rumi, a path outside of Islamic Sufism, having affinities with Buddhism and the Shamanism of Central Asia from the time of Ghengis Khan.  The path emphasizes direct experience, acknowledging that everything else remains in the realm of opinion and gossip.

Ergin was a Turkish-born plastic surgeon who had five children, three boys and two girls.  He completed his medical studies in Canada and practiced plastic surgery in Michigan and Southern California.  Once retired, he moved to Northern California where he concentrated exclusively on his translations and writing.

Hasan Lutfi Shushud (1901-1988), a Saint and Master of Wisdom who lived in Turkey, introduced Ergin to Itlak Yolu and Rumi in 1955 and subsequently became his life-long friend.

Ergin is the only person to have translated into English Rumi’s entire Divan-i Kebir–44,000 verses in 22 volumes.  He also translated all 2,217 of Rumi’s rubais (quatrains) – the Rubailer of Rumi (to be made available soon).  His translations are not word-by-word, but rather reflect the essence of Rumi’s words.  He authored a book of short stories, Tales of a Modern Sufi. Another of his works, The Sufi Path of Annihilation, includes poetry of Rumi, sayings by Hasan Shushud, questions and answers about the Itlak path, as well as Ergin’s own stories.  Other works include Forbidden Rumi (with Will Johnson), Crazy as We Are, Rose Garden, Magnificent One, Glory of Absence, and Divine Wine.  His final book, completed just before his passing, is entitled Unknown Rumi.

He spent over 60 years of his life “trying to get rid of this earth before it gets rid of me.”  He died at the age of 87 in July 2015.


Poetry of Rumi a Unifying Force of Civilizations. Interview with Ergin first appeared in the March/April issue of SPAN, a magazine published by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. Anjum Naim is SPAN’s Urdu editor.


  1. Dr. Derek Lamar says:

    I am saddened but not surprised. I just sent him some email but hadn’t heard back for a few days and thought I would check out online. I checked my email just now… March 2013. Time flies. I cannot believe it. I asked him how he was doing and he said: “I am glad you still remember me . There only few left .Thank you . I am doing alright considering my age.”

    I met Nevit in 1986 when I was opening a Fourth Way school in Bakersfield, CA. Now I am moving to New Mexico to open some sort of Institute. We’ll see. I will miss him. We used to have gatherings and he would always say: “Good friends… good food…. good wine.” And he would laugh. LOL

    I probably still have some of his stories which he never published. I will have to gather them up after I move. The Teaching must go on whatever clothes it wears. The world is wretched and wonderful place right now. Good time for Teaching… good time for learning.

    Peace to Nevit and all who knew him.

  2. kym says:

    I called a friend of mine on Easter (exactly seven days ago) and said, “Do you realize it was eighteen years ago today we met Dr. Ergin in Tulsa? Shortly thereafter I began trying my hand at following the way of breathing and fasting. Once I emailed him to ask for his address. I had a gift I wanted to send him. He gave me his address and then corrected something I was doing wrong in my fasting. I have NO IDEA how he knew anything about my fasting. But he did. I had never told him anything whatsoever about my practice. I can only assume that either God or Emptiness itself told him.

    I’d have to be a poet as great as Rumi to put into words how much I admired him. Strange that such great and heroic souls can come and go in the world unknown to all but a few. I loved his stories, I thought his Rumi Translations were inspiring. HIs passing fills me with inexpressible sadness. It only shows that our own cannot be far away. I thank him for caring enough to share his way of practicing.

  3. Lara says:

    I met Dr. Ergin while researching my thesis on sufism in modern Turkey. My father and I had a wonderful evening sharing stories and laughs with Dr. Ergin – something I’ll never forget!

  4. Sadri Avsar, MD, MBA says:

    My first encounter with Dr. Ergin was when I could not complete my set of Divan-i Kebir since the book store that I used to purchase them from closed. I called the publisher and here he was on the other end of the phone. He immediately sent me the missing volumes.

    Years later I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ergin in person with my daughter and a close friend when she was doing her studies on Turkish republican history and sufism . He, the kind person that he was, invited us to his home in northern California. We had a lovely dinner but more importantly a long, wonderful conversation on his views. To this day we toast our wine “Cam cama degil, Can Can’a” (not glass to glass, but life to life; he toasted by flesh to flesh contact with the back of his hand).

    Dr. Ergin touched us in such a way that he will always be a part of our lives; with his soul, his thoughts and his work. He will definitely be not absent…

  5. Carlos says:

    Dr. Ergin was a friend and Colleague of my Father’s, They practiced medicine together both in Michigan and in Southern California. My father passed in July 2015 as well. Many fond memories of the amazing Dr. Ergin.

  6. Lucía Jarrín says:

    I hear about Dr. Egrin from Arthur Smith, my husband. He was Dr. Ergin’s student. I got aquianted wiht the tem Itla Yoluk and I would like to know about this more. I bow to Dr. Ergin’s wisdom and love. They reached me here through Arthur

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.