"I am you. No religion. I am you, not Muslim, Christian, or Jew; not Zorastian, Zen, Buddhist or Hindu I am you, not any religion that you may know Not any cult, creed or convictions to name a few. Not from the East or the West, not from the Water or the Earth, Nor from this world or the next. Not from Adam, Eve, or any story that you may perceive. My place is placeless, my trace is traceless, I live in the world of oneness. I am you, together in the vacuum or space, in every particle of your breath together in a world of total unity, harmony, and sincerity. I am you. I am the breath of eternal love inside of you. The breath that sounds like who, the spirit that resides in you. I am you. Not Muslim, Christian or Jew, not Zorastian, Zen, Buddhist or Hindu." - Rumi (Translation by D. Khani)
I have always been inspired by the poet Rumi. I am deeply moved by his universal message of unity and the yearning he injects into his poetry. I found out about "Rumi Night" from my friend Yelena and was excited to be able to attend this monthly event, as I had been looking for opportunities to learn more about Rumi's poetry.
The event was held at the Flame International Restaurant, in an upstairs hall called the “Flame International Cultural Center.” It was a lovely, intimate setting, and not a fan of crowds, I found it the perfect venue for a poetry reading.
The evening started out with a beautiful performance by cellist Georgy Gusev, who improvised with percussionist Jamie Papish. For me, the highlight of the evening was seeing for the first time my friend Yelena, a dancer and yoga teacher, whirl to the music played by Georgy and Jamie.
Yelena’s whirling dance was passionate, intense, beautiful and graceful all at once. So much meaning and emotion were expressed in her movements. I was not only happy and proud but intrigued to see a woman whirl because whirling is usually done by males. Personally, I have always preferred male dancers and masculine movements, but Yelena’s unique style of whirling completely won me over. Needless to say, I became a huge fan of Yelena that night.
After the music and dance portion of the show, Mahmoud Vahedian, a passionate Rumi scholar and poet, and Dariush "Danny" Khani recited and discussed selected poems by Rumi in both Farsi and English. It was so gratifying to be able to attend an event like this as it is invaluable to hear the poems in its original Farsi from a native speaker and to learn from those who have studied the poetry so extensively.
“I Am You – No Religion,” my favorite poem of all, particularly moved me. With a stunning translation by Danny Khani, the poem moved me to tears as it captured not only my calling and life's purpose but also my hopes and my dreams.
Before leaving, I made sure to get autographed copies of both Georgy and Danny’s albums. I’m excited to hear more of Danny’s translations of Rumi's poems as well as look forward to listening to more of Georgy's beautiful music. All in all, the event was a brilliant success and for me an experience I will forever hold dear.