A RICHLY-ILLUSTRATED MYSTICAL CLASSIC . NEW IN PAPERBACK. The Conference of the Birdsis a twelfth-century Sufi allegorical poem. The story of the quest for a king undertaken by the birds of the world, it also describes the Sufi (or mystical Islamic) path to enlightenment. Though hugely popular and influential in the Islamic world, the poem is still relatively unfamiliar in the West. In this edition, the poet Raficq Abdulla has reinterpreted key extracts to make the wisdom of Sufism accessible to the contemporary reader. Combining amusing anecdotes and satire with passages of great mystical beauty, the poem uses the birds journey to describe the stages of spiritual experience. This edition is richly illustrated with illuminations from Persian manuscripts.
the conference of the birds
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The Conference of the Birds is one of the great works of world literature. In Farid ud-Din Attar's masterpiece, the nature of the spiritual path is examined through the allegory of thirty brave birds that go in search of their king through the peaks of exultation and valleys of despair that represent the stages of the seeker as he travels toward enlightenment. Attar was the predecessor of the great Persian Sufi poet Jalalludin Rumi, who borrowed Attar's technique of weaving wisdom within entertaining and amusing tales.
This is a classic sufi text written by the Persian poet Farid Ud-Din Attar. In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, as they have none. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird roughly equivalent to the western phoenix. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reach the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection. It is the Sufi doctrine that God is not external or separate from the universe, rather is the totality of existence. The thirty birds seeking the Simorgh realise that Simorgh is nothing more than their transcendent totality.
“These lofty words are an antidote for anyone sickened by extremism's poison.” Considered by Rumi to be “the master” of Sufi mystic poetry, Attar is best known for this epic poem, a magnificent allegorical tale about the soul’s search for meaning. He recounts the perilous journey of the world’s birds to the faraway peaks of Mount Qaf in search of the mysterious Simorgh, their king. Attar’s beguiling anecdotes and humor intermingle the sublime with the mundane, the spiritual with the worldly, while his poem models the soul’s escape from the mind’s rational embrace. Sholeh Wolpé re-creates for modern readers the beauty and timeless wisdom of the original Persian, in contemporary English verse and poetic prose.
First written in the 12th century, Conference of the Birds is an allegory of extreme measures for extreme times -- the story of birds seeking a king is the story of all of us seeking God. Like the birds, we may be excited for the journey, until we realize that we must give up our fears and hollow desires, that our journey will be long and hard. Like the duck, we may not wish to leave the water. Like the nightingale, we may want to stay close to our roses. Direct and to the point, Masani's translation, made in the early part of the 19th century, is particularly apropos for our early 21st century times -- both are periods of intense spiritual seeking.
An allegorical poem about the search of the world's birds for the perfect king illustrates the mystical beliefs of sufism
Peter Sis's deeply felt adaptation tells the story of a flock of birds who fly through seven valleys - quest, love, understanding, friendship, unity, amazement and death - to discover which one of them should be crowned king."
Farid-ud din Affar occupies a prominent place in the roll of distinguished Persian Poets. His most famous work, the manti-ul-Tayr, or the colloquy of birds is an allegorical poem in which this gated Sufi describes the quest of the Birds (symbolizing the seekers) to reach the Simurg (the Lord of Creation) This abridged edition of the above is a translation of the poem is the one of the first works published to the common English reader. It was a very illumination introduction on Persian Mysticism which is full of anecdotes of famous Sufis such as Hallaj Byazid, Rumi and Jami. The translation of the poem is in four parts: (1) The parliament of the birds, (II) On, to the city of god, (III) Through the seven valleys, (IV) the reception at the royal count. The book and with a short memoir on the poet, Farid-ud-din Affar.
Award-winning translator Sholeh Wolpé recaptures the beauty and lyricism of one of Persian literature's most celebrated masterpieces.