The Masnavi, Book Three
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‘Your soul each moment struggles hard with death –
Think of your faith as though it’s your last breath.
Your life is like a purse, and night and day
Are counters of gold coins you’ve put away’
Rumi is the greatest mystic poet to have written in Persian, and the Masnavi is his masterpiece. Divided into six books and consisting of some 26,000 verses, the poem was designed to convey a message of divine love and unity to the disciples of Rumi’s Sufi order, known today as the Whirling Dervishes. Like the earlier books, Book Three interweaves amusing stories with homilies to instruct pupils in mystical knowledge. It has a special focus on epistemology, illustrated with narratives
that involve the consumption of food.
This is the first ever verse translation of Book Three of the Masnavi. It follows the original by presenting Rumi’s most mature mystical teachings in simple and attractive rhyming couplets.
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