The English translation of Rumi’s metrical poems (Ghazals) come from different sources. Since he did not write, but recited these poems, at different times, places and occasions, people recorded them. Some people were specifically assigned for that job, and followed him everywhere (a few are mentioned in the Divan).
We don't know if he read or corrected the poems later, but a discrepancy between two recordings resulted in two different versions of the same poem. Contrary to the Mesnevi, which he dictated (except for the first 18 verses) to Husameddin in the later years in his life; Ghazals started to appear to him immediately after meeting Shams, and they continued until just before his death.
After his death, in 1273, these poems were getting lost in the hands of people, and other’s poems where being attributed to him. A few attempts were made to gather them as a Divan, but they were either inaccurate or incomplete.
The most comprehensive and reliable Divan was compiled by Osman bin Hasan on October 2, 1368, for the reading of someone named Hace Emir Sati. After his death, his son devoted the Divan to the Konya Mevlevi convent on May 16, 1409. It has stayed there all this time. Presently it is displayed in a showcase in the central hall, registered under Number 63 and 64.
(We would like to correct a misinformation here: this Divan has never been stolen, it’s recovery by the government and subsequent return is all fiction.)
This hand written Divan measures at 0.352x0.470 cm and each page has four columns and 32 lines.
There are 23 meters, each is called “Bahir” (Sea) and has its own rhyme scheme.
Poems are collected by their meter and sorted by the last alphabet of the rhyme. Since it is not in chronological order, sometime his last poems take place in the beginning, and vice versa.
The late Abulbaki Golpinarli, a great Turkish scholar whom I had the privilege of knowing and being greatly indebted to, translated the entire Divan into Turkish in 7 volumes. They were published between 1956 and 1974.
My English translation comes from this 7 volumes Divan.
At almost the same time, another great Persian scholar, Ustad Bediuzzaman Furuzanfer, also published the "Divan-i Kebir" in Farsi. Both knew and respected each other’s knowledge and integrity.
It is fair to assume that prof. Furuzanfer used this Divan (in Konya) as a source. But at least, the languages of the old Divan and his version are different. The language of the original Divan is 13th century Khorozan Farsi, spoken in Anatolia. This Divan has a mixture of Arabic, Turkish, and Greek words and poems.
We have now digitalized the two volumes of the Divan onto one CD, in it’s own original language. I am inviting anyone, scholar or not, to get involved in translating the Divan into English, so we can compare the concordance of our Turkish translation. Certainly this will give more accuracy, life and color to the poems.
This 700 year old treasure is too valuable to humanity to keep in the dark.
1. Nevit Ergin, "Diwan Kebir Translation (Introduction)" - http://hojja-nusreddin.livejournal.com/1552272.html
2. Dr. Ibrahim Gamard "About the Divan Meters" - http://hojja-nusreddin.livejournal.com/2943450.html
Meter 1: http://www.semazen.net/eng/show_text.php?id=260
Meter 2: http://www.semazen.net/eng/show_text.php?id=261
Meter 3: http://www.semazen.net/eng/show_text.php?id=262
http://www.haznevi.net/english/icerikoku.aspx?KID=9295&BID=112&title=DİWAN-İ KABİR METER-III
Meter 4: http://www.semazen.net/eng/show_text.php?id=263
http://www.haznevi.net/english/icerikoku.aspx?KID=9296&BID=112&title=DİWAN-İ KABİR METER-IV
Meter 7: http://www.semazen.net/eng/show_text.php?id=264
http://www.haznevi.net/english/icerikoku.aspx?KID=9297&BID=112&title=DIWAN-I KABIR METER-VII
24 - Meters Mixed and Rare:
25 - Meter remainders: