The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Iranian Mystic Baba Tahir

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Baba Tahir (ca. 1000-1060 AD) of Hamadan (Hemedan, Ekbatan in Median era) is one of the very first poets in the East to write rubaiyats. Little is known of the circumstances of Baba Tahir’s birth and death. Baba Tahir’s rusticity and mastery of both Kurdish (Lekí dialect), Persian (and Arabic) have rendered his works unusually dear to the common people of both nations. His particular poetic meter is perhaps a legacy of the pre-Islamic poetic tradition of southeastern and central Kurdistan, or the celebrated “Pehlewíyat/Fehlewíyat,” or more specific the “Ewranet” style of balladry. Many Yarisan (Yaristan) religious works and Jilwa, the holy hymns of the Yezidi prophet Shaykh Adi, are also in this Pehlewíyat style of verse. Baba Tahir himself has now ascended to a high station in the indigenous Kurdish religion of Yarisanism as one of the avatars of the Universal Spirit.

Baba Tahir Oryan’s mysticism, philosophy, and sentiments are captured in quatrains of simple and uniform metre. He was considered by his contemporaries as one of the most eminent, erudite mystics and sentimentalists of his time.

Here is the translation of an excerpt from one of Baba Tahir’s Poems;


Her ún baxí ki wa resh ser bider bí
	Mudamesh baxeban xùnín jiger bí
	
Bibayed kendenesh ez bíx u ez bin
	Eger barish heme le'l u guher bí

When Trees to grow beyond their boundaries dare,
They Cause the Gardeners much anxious care;
Down to their very roots they must be pruned,
Though Pearls and Rubies be the Fruits they bear.

Translated by Elizabeth Curtis Benton,
“THE LAMENT OF BABA TAHIR”

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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