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Cultivating a living wisdom for our time


Whilst researching for a research project on Spirituality, I came across a wonderful old book, “WISDOM OF THE EAST-THE PERSIAN MYSTICS: JALALU'D-DIN RUMI”

The book was written BY F. HADLAND DAVIS, and was published by JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, London, in 1912.

I am not scholar of Sufism, Rumi, Hafez, or indeed Persian mysticism, by any stretch of imagination. However, as an interested student of spirituality and mysticism, I have really enjoyed reading this book, and this is why I so much wish to share it with you.- Click here to read the book online

Now, I would also very much like to share with you another book. A book about Hafez, the 14th century Persian poet, whom like Rumi is the philosopher of love, a seeker of wisdom who became a poet of genius, a lover of truth, who has transcended the ages. I discover this book a few years ago. I have read it again and again: A truly inspirational book.

The book is called Spiritual Wisdom of Haféz: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love. It was written by HALEH POURAFZAL (1956–2002) who was the daughter of Abdol-Hossein Pourafzal, a lifelong student of Persian linguistics and direct descendant of the creator of the contemporary Farsi prose form. Haleh grew up tuned to the spirit of the great poet during her childhood in Tehran, where her father would perform daily recitations of Haféz’s poetry. She drew upon her father’s expertise in developing her own interpretations of the poet’s verse. From the moment Haleh introduced her husband, ROGER MONTGOMERY, to the poetry of Haféz, they shared a deep love and respect for his work. It was in the spirit of gaining a greater understanding of this great poet, sage, and philosopher that this book was born.

Spiritual Wisdom of Haféz: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love

“Haféz has no peer.” Goethe

“Haféz fears nothing. He sees too far; he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see or be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The unity of spirit and mind is the legacy of Haféz.Nietzsche

'For six hundred years the Persian poet Haféz has been read, recited, quoted, and loved by millions of people in his homeland and throughout the world. In Haféz: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love new contemporary translations by one of the leading scholars of Haféz connect this traditional spiritual and philosophical wisdom to a modern vision of the world. The book includes over thirty complete poems by Haféz, accompanied by commentary from the authors on the meanings and contexts of the poetry and philosophies of this spiritual teacher. Authors Haleh Pourafzal and Roger Montgomery show how the visionary poet Haféz--whose work inspired Goethe, Nietzsche, and Ralph Waldo Emerson--can serve as an ideal source of inner renewal in our often troubled world, as well as a bridge between the West and Middle East, two cultures in desperate need of mutual empathy.'

Spiritual Wisdom of Haféz: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love


*(A note from Kamran)

After reading the book, in late 2004 I wrote an email to Haleh Pourafzal, thanking her for this most wonderful book. I did not hear back for a while. Then, I had a reply, not from Haleh, but from her husband, Roger, telling me that Haleh had succumbed to cancer and had passed away in 2002. Roger and I kept our dialogue going. I then told Roger about our forthcoming GCGI Conference to be held in Nairobi and Kericho, Kenya in 2005. Roger told me about their fond memories of Kenya. He came to our conference, presented a paper on Hafez. It was one of the most beautiful moments for me, when we all remembered Haleh and her love of Hafez.