Masnavi is a spiritual or romantic couplet that always seeks God, Love, or in many cases the combination of the two. It can be as long as several thousand couplets but generally is much shorter.
In Masnavi each couplet has usually eleven syllables with the same perfect meter throughout the poem. Each couplet ends with same rhyme (aa, bb, cc…), but the spiritual story of God/ Love or didactic poetry must be in the background.
The most important aspect of this form of poetry is in its deep mystical meaning and its didactic style.
A Masnavi is a Persian a type of poetry, originating from the Arabic word Mathnawi, written in rhyming units and which follow a pattern of eleven or sporadically ten syllables without any length limits.
Masnavi is involved with cultures like Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Urdu. Some of these Masnavi have a particular religious connotation in Sufism.
Persian Masnavi are so strict with some symbols which are 11 and irregularly 10, the first ever Persian masnavi was written in the (4th\10th) century
Arabic masnavi is also known as muzdawidj. It is a rhyme scheme within the ending words of two lines with a specific meter. It is similar to the other three cultic masnavi only difference is this Arabic masnavi follow an aaa/bbb/ccc pattern while others follow aa/bb/cc.
Turkish masnavi began developing in 8th/14th century and was done by Turkish authors who were very creative at first. It is a strong drive, but their scheme and characterized by three types, heroic religion, and romantic
Urdu masnavi are categorized into three early, middle and late. Early masnavi began in the 11th/17th century they were in influenced by literature and Persian masnavi. Middle masnavi became popular in the 12th century while late masnavi came into existence in the 13th/ 19thcentury.
Masnavi Poem Example
Poem by Pashang Salehi
In a dark night that was darker than my pain,
nothing was there for me except to complain.
I hid myself within emptiness of bed,
nothing was there except, loneliness instead.
I heard a sound that was not like any sound.
Joyously called my name, sought me, and then found.
He told me to get up, wake up, look at dawn,
the darkness of the night soon will be all gone.
The voice told me that morning dawn full of light,
has a power to wash darkness from its night.
The voice asked me that what happened to my youth,
that I’m old and grey with forgotten truth.
I asked him that who are you and what are you?
I don't know you, didn’t see you passing through.
Who are you that suddenly came to my room?
Aren’t you God, and I am, meeting my doom?
I called your name many times when I was young.
I prayed your name day and night with broken tongue.
Now you’re calling my name at this day and age,
not worth talking to you, anger, creates rage.
I am too old and I had too many sins,
Living is only game that nobody wins.
Go and bother another soul beside me,
I am tired of you, you shall never be.
The voice told me that I am out of my mind,
and I have been beguiled, as though I am blind.
He told me that he was with me the whole time.
He let me to fly, in this paradigm.
He told me that he is the end of a start.
He is the love that cries from an aching heart.
He told me that he is water in a spring,
he is that nightingale who so blithely sing.
He told me that he is bottom and he’s up.
He is grape and he is wine in the same cup.
He told me that he gave feathers for a flight.
He made it so the sun shall set within night.
I asked him that if I see him with my eyes,
I will be like the moon light up the night skies.
He told me to wake up, open up my eyes,
and see what is to see, blessing in disguise.
I did open my eyes saw a glowing bright,
like a drifting shadow in ocean of light.
I saw my son saying wake up! Wake up! Dad,
What is matter with you, are you going mad?