Begun in 1262 AD, Masnavi-ye Ma 'navi, or 'spiritual couplets', is thought to be the longest single-authored 'mystical? poem ever written. As the spiritual masterpiece of the Persian Sufi tradition, it teaches how to progress to the ultimate goal of the Sufi path - union with God. Jalaloddin Rumi was a poet and a mystic, but he was first a teacher; in these verses he draws the reader into the complexities of human love and separation and explains the path to divine love through the elimination of self-regard and worldly desires. Drawing on diverse sources from bawdy tales and fables to stories of the prophet Mohammed, these verses are brief in expression yet copious in meaning.