Study on Khayyam unveiled in Tehran

March 5, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- “Wine and Wineglass”, a book reflecting the latest study on Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam, was introduced during a ceremony at Tehran’s Warsaw Hall on Monday.

The book has been published by Bokhara, a Persian literary magazine.
Author, Ali Dehbashi, scholars, Gholam-Hossein Dinani and Baha’eddin Khorramshahi, painter and art critic, Aidin Aghdashlu, and Carlo Cereti, professor of the Iranian studies at the Sapienza University of Rome and cultural counselor at the Italian Embassy in Iran, attended the ceremony.
The most amazing part of the ceremony was Khorramshahi’s speech on Khayyam’s perception of “wine”, which is repeatedly referred to in the Rubaiyat of Khayyam.
“If Khayyam’s reference to wine and his conceptions of it, and his admiration for drunkenness in his poetry are taken in their true meanings, we should deem it as an image of an irresponsible derelict, wino and hedonistic person from the cognitive, mathematician Khayyam, who is said was a disciple of Avicenna,” Khorramshahi said.
“There are also many references to wine and minstrels and descriptions of bars and taverns in the poems of Hafez; but, the wine, from which great poets admire and create many profound concepts and themes, is not actually grape wine. It is abstract wine, an aesthetic and artistic wine,” he added.
Khorramshahi referred to a preface written by Mohammad-Ali Forughi as one of the most reliable versions of the Rubaiyat of Khayyam, in which its quatrains have been gathered by him, and said, “The people who think Khayyam was a drunkard and roguish man are wrong and their perspectives are superficial.”
“Some contemporary religious and literary luminaries have respected Khayyam, calling him ‘imam’ and ‘hujjat-ul-haq’ (sign of honesty) in their works. None of the luminaries accused him of drunkenness and wickedness.
“We know pious luminaries like Haj Mulla Hadi Sabzevari (1797–1873) and Allameh Seyyed Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei (1892-1981), who strictly abstained from wine, hedonism and minstrels, but their poems -- like works of Hafez and Khayyam – there are many references to the wine and minstrels.”
Khorramshahi also pointed to “In Search of Omar Khayyam”, a survey carried out by Khayyam expert Ali Dashti, and said, Dashti has also denied accusation of drunkenness.
“Dashti has posed the question that if Hafez and Khayyam were not drunkards and hedonists, then why are their poetries full of words like wine and minstrel.
“He then answered that these artist thinkers or thinker artists were not debauched and they also did not want to pretend to piousness. In fact, they were followers of the ‘art for art’s sake’ idea. They deemed a great position for literature rather than to use it for inartistic or even moral purposes. Otherwise, how could they compose such nice and profound verses?”
In “Wine and Wineglass” the author, Dehbashi, made remarks on Khayyam’s death to confirm Khorramshahi’s speech.
According to Khayyam’s son-in-law, Muhammad Baghdadi, Khayyam was busy teaching the metaphysics of Avicenna’s Al-Shifa (“The Book of Healing”) when he died, Dehbashi said.
“He asked Baghdadi to gather his followers to make his will. He began to hold salat after they gathered … he then put his face on the earth and said, ‘Oh God, surely, I knew you as much as my ability allowed, then forgive me, that my cognizance of You in the only means causes Your mercifulness.’ Afterward he passed away,” Dehbashi added.
Italian scholar, Cereti, made a comparison of various translations of the Rubaiyat of Khayyam in the European languages and recited some Khayyam’s quatrains in the Italian language for the audience at the end of the ceremony