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Omar Khayyam’s quatrain that saved lives

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On May 18, 1048, Omar Khayyam was born: mathematician, philosopher, poet and creator of the most accurate calendar.

Omar Khayyam's quatrain that saved lives
Omar Khayyam’s quatrain that saved lives

Khayyam’s legacy is great: he built a classification and deduced the solution of cubic equations, created the Iranian calendar, which is solar, and is still used as the official calendar in Iran and Afghanistan. And, of course, he went down in the history of world poetry as the author of the famous rubai.

Two people looked through one window. One saw rain and mud.
The other is green ligature foliage, spring and blue sky.
Two people looked through one window.

The glory of a poet and a sage came to Khayyam after his death. During his lifetime, he was known as a scientist. He wrote aphorisms all his life, carefully keeping them in a notebook, but he could not take the compositions out into the big world.

The wind of life is sometimes fierce.
In general, however, life is good.
And it’s not scary when black bread,
Scary when a black soul …

Matter of chance

A notebook with the poet’s poems accidentally fell into the hands of the English poet Edward Fitzgerald, he translated the rubyes into Latin, and later into English. The translation was free and the general public liked it, so the readers had two idols at once  Fitzgerald and Khayyam. Capacious philosophical speculations about love, life, time, conscience, spiritual purity have become, as they say today, a bestseller. Ten centuries have passed  but they do not lose their relevance and everything also touches the soul.

Whoever is beaten with life will achieve more.

A pood of salt who ate higher values ​​honey.

Whoever shed tears laughs sincerely.

Who died, he knows that he lives!

It is difficult to say how great Khayyam’s poetic heritage is. More than 5,000 rubayats are credited to the poet, but there is a possibility that the real number is ten times lower: literary scholars and historians agree on an average of 500 poems. Khayyam could have had many imitators and followers who feared persecution for freethinking, treacherous lyrics, or even blasphemy.

We are a source of fun – and a mine of sorrow.

We are a repository of filth – and a pure spring.

A person, as if in a mirror, the world has many faces.

He is insignificant – and he is immensely great!

Mysterious East

Rubai is a genre of lyric poetry in the Middle and Near East. In form, this is a quatrain with different variations of rhyme, the peculiarity of the stanza is that one of the lines (most often the third) remains non-rhymed. Rubai is most often translated into European languages ​​with iambic pentameter.

Do not do evil – it will return like a boomerang,

Don’t spit in the well – you will drink water,

Do not insult someone below the rank

And suddenly you have to ask for something.

Do not betray your friends, you cannot replace them,

And do not lose your loved ones – you will not return,

Don’t lie to yourself – you will check with time

That you betray yourself with this lie.

A distinctive feature of the rubai is the brevity and simplicity of the form, which embodies deep philosophical content. For its simplicity, Khayyam’s poems are considered to be a call to hedonism, living in one day and the glorification of momentary pleasures. However, do not forget that oriental poetry is full of symbols and allegories, the author himself wrote: “I hid my truth behind seven seals and forty locks so that the evil herd of people would not use this truth in the name of evil.” One way or another, Khayyam’s work is permeated with the desire to know the truth and approach the divine.

“Hell and heaven are in heaven,” say the bigots.
Having looked into myself, I was convinced of the lie:
Hell and heaven are not circles in the palace of the universe,
Hell and heaven are two halves of the soul.

Poetry That Saved Lives

American Earl Haney suffered from an incurable disease. He realized that he was going to die, and decided to spend the rest of his life traveling around the world. This thought was prompted by Omar Khayyam’s rubai:

Take from life everything that you can take, Until you go down to where low, small Your house will be, and without wine, without songs, As dust, in dust you will lie.

Haney got a taste of it and followed the advice literally: he took a ticket on a cruise ship, drank to the fullest, did not deny himself food, admired the views from the deck, had fun with fellow travelers, danced until he dropped and sang. When he returned home, the doctors said that he was completely healthy. Dale Carnegie loves to retell this story to show how important a positive attitude and lightness are in any business, and how important it is never to despair.


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