Step-by-Step Toward Meeting God
In this presentation, Mostafa Rahbar recites important segments of a poem by Rumi in Persian and English along with his translation of these segments. He also sings these poems in Masnavi form. Mostafa explains:
I was born to parents with little formal education in a small town that is now the provincial capital of the province of Semnan. Although my father had finished only elementary school, he was a renowned artist and very well versed in Persian literature and music. In my childhood, he recited a lot of poetry to us, and having been a musician in his youth, he taught me the different “dastgahs” (modes of Persian music). In school, we had to memorize and recite many long poems, which I still remember. I fell in love with Persian poetry at a young age and started memorizing long ghazals by Hafez, Sa’di, Rumi and many other classical poets; knowing music, I started singing the poetry that I had memorized. I was particularly interested in Rumi and sang Masnavi, which is a stylized mode of singing Rumi’s poetry from his book of Masnavi. In third grade we had to memorize a very long poem entitled, “Moses and the Shepherd Boy,” a captivating story of the encounter of Moses and a shepherd boy. This is truly Rumi’s masterpiece about religious tolerance and the “meaning” of God.
Mostafa Rahbar was born in Semnan, Iran. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from the University of Tennessee, he worked as producer/director of educational documentary programs for National Iranian Radio and Television. While in Tehran, he translated several books and articles, into English or Farsi, on children and young adult literature for the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. Returning to the U.S., he earned his master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of Tennessee. He has been an instructor at the English Language Institute, University of Tennessee since 1980.