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Wine of the Mystic

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

A spiritual Interpretation
By Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
Published by Self Realization Fellowship

Omar Khayyam, who lived in 11-12th century, is the great Persian poet and mystic who wrote the Rubaiyats. Edward FitzGerald translated his poems in 19th century, describing Omar Khayyam as a materialist interested in wine and pleasures. This did create a controversy as Omar Khayyam is widely considered as a Sufi mystic and spiritually advanced person.


Paramahansa Yogananda is the modern day Yogi, who wrote the very popular 'Autobiography of a Yogi'. The present book 'Wine of the Mystic' is his spiritual interpretation of the meaning of some of the Rubaiyats (also called quatrains) of Omar Khayyam. Yogananda says that there are two meanings to these poems, one inner and one outer and Omar Khayyam wrote the poems with his deep spiritual perception embedded in them.

The book 'Wine of the Mystic' has 75 quatrains interpreted by Yogananda. Each quatrain has the Persian original, English translation as given by Edward FitzGerald, Glossary, spiritual interpretation and practical application written by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.

Yogananda mentions that the language used by Omar Khayyam is metaphorical. The wine is the joy of the spirit and the love is the rapturous devotion to God. So the first part in the interpretation of each poem - Glossary contains the actual meaning of the word (which is the metaphor).

Consider the following example Quatrain XXXIV

Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd While you live
Drink!  for once dead you never shall return.

The above is the translation by FitzGerald.

In the Glassary, Paramahansa Yogananda explains that the earthen Bowl represents the physical body with its earthly consciousness, Lip to Lip it murmured = indicates the transcendental Spirit indicated to my inner wisdom (my lip), feel the divine bliss (Drink) now as once your soul is free, you don't have to (return again) be forced anymore by the law of cause and effect to reincarnate.

In the spiritual Interpretation, Paramahansa Yogananda explains the meaning from the Yoga point of view. To quote 'Drink unceasingly of Spirit in waking consciousness as well as in meditation and your soul shall be freed forever from enforced cycles of birth and death'.

Under the practical application section, Paramahansa Yogananda warns about impractical spirituality where we ignore the worldly duties. We need to apply the spiritual knowledge to the day to day situations, while seeing beauty and God in all situations and continue to work towards our greater goal, which is permanent happiness.

This is just to show the taste of his interpretation and immense spiritual knowledge flows in this book 'Wine of the Mystic' as Yogananda writes directly from his higher consciousness.

This book is published by Self Realization Fellowship, the organization founded by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. You may check the SRF site at http://www.yogananda-srf.org/

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Books by Paramahansa Yogananda

Related Pages

Review of Autobiography of a Yogi

Review of The Holy Science

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