Preface to the Rubailer (to be published in Turkey in 2016)
For the one who is frustrated with the dead ends of faith and the mind (reason), there is hope from Mevlana. No one but Mevlana articulates the deep silence of Absence so well. Mevlana is a great mountain with humanity at its feet and nothingness at its peak. To climb this mountain, Fenâ [Self annihilation] is required. With careful reading, this Rubailer [collection] of rubais [quatrains] by Mevlana provides a road map for climbing the mountain.
This is why I and many others do not consider the poetics of these rubais–beautiful as they are–to be their most important attribute. Above all, we consider them to be sacred texts. Mevlana recited them almost 800 years ago, and in them, he gives answers to questions that have only recently been asked. Limiting these questions and his answers to the intellectual level would be a great injustice to him. He is the King of Nothingness, as he describes:
They appraised my head, my turban and my robe.
They didn’t even give me a penny.
Haven’t you heard my name in this Universe?
I am Nothing, Nothing, Nothing.
To Mevlana, the world is a magnificent lie: Ïn fact, we are not here; those are our shadows.”This lie is created by our human perception, which is generated by our Self. The Self is the curse of humanity and the cause of all problems, individually and nationally. Human perception creates two institutions based on the Self: faith and mind (reason). The Self perpetuates our human addiction to being and becoming. Unless we get rid of the Self, we look at each other as either predator or prey.
Above this folly, Mevlana asks, “How do you build mud houses on top of water?
In counterbalance, Mevlana’s most common theme in all of his poetry is Love, the kind of Love that can only be reached by total annihilation of the Self. There are many, many rubais that focus on this kind of Love, and they deserve the most careful of readings.
Death will knock on everyone’s door sooner or later. Mevlana explains that dying before ones chronological death–annihilating the Self and reaching Love–is the only way to immortality.
Closing one’s eyes and ears to our human condition is not only pure ignorance, but also dangerous. Mevlana is the last chance for humanity before calamity comes.
Nevit Oguz Ergin
San Mateo, CA, USA