This is a humble attempt of an English translation of the late distinguished Turkish Scholar Abdulbaki Golpinarli's (d.1982) seven volumes of the Divan-i Kebir of Mevlana Celaleddin.
According to Golpinarli, his translation of the Divan was based on the following sources:
1. Two volumes of theDivan which were compiled between July 2, 1367 and October 13, 1368 by Hasan ibni Osman-al Mavlavi. This Divan has 290 pages, and the volume dimensions are 0.325 x 0.47 meters. It is registered at the Mevlana Museum in Konya as No. 68 and No. 69.
2. The Divan registered at the Library of the University of Istanbul, No. 334, which was compiled in the 15th century.
3. The Divan owned by Golpinarli, prepared in 1691 in Baghdad. Later, this Divan was donated to the Mevlana Museum in Konya.
4. Eight volumes of Kulliyat-i Shems yaDivan Kebir prepared by Bedi-uz-Zaman Furuzan-fer, prepared in 1965 (1345 S.H.).
There are many other versions of the Divan-iKebir, but these are the most dependable ones.
Mevlana did not write, but rather recited the poems. Most of them were recorded by assigned people called Secretaries of Secret (Katibal esrar).
The Divan's language is 13th century colloquial Farsi. However, there are numerous gazels, or poems, written in Arabic and Greek. In addition, there are Turkish words and phrases spread throughout the Divan's pages.
There are 21 meters in the Divan. The first volume has 12,493 verses; the second has 4,052; the third has 4,526; the fourth has 4,180; the fifth has 6,684; the sixth has 4,002; and the seventh has 8,892. All together, the Divan has 44,829 verses.
We are starting with the first meter, Bahr-i Recez. In the original Divan-i Kebir, the meters were compiled according to their ending rhyme scheme and the last alphabet letter of their rhyme, not in chronological order. This first meter has the rhyme scheme Mustef'ilun Mustef'ilun Mustef'ilun Mustef'ilun.
I am grateful to the Ministry of Culture of Turkey and, in particular, the Minister of Culture Ercan Karakas, for their support and encouragement which have enabled me to bring the first meter of this gigantic work to reality.
I am also indebted to Mrs. Terry Peart for the years she has spent not only reading my handwriting, but understanding, typing and editing it.
I would like to thank our Editor, Ms. Millicent Alexander, our Art Director, Ms. Susan Archibald, our Publisher, Mr. David Hiatt of Current, and Ms. Laura Sjoberg, Mr. Ali Mahabady and Dr. Erdogin Erol, as well as the many others, too numerous to name here, for their help and encouragement.
It is with great excitement and humility that I bring this treasure, in its entirety for the first time, to the English-speaking world.
Nevit Oguz Ergin