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MP3 Ramananda - Secret Language

An intoxicating mix of dance grooves, soft yielding mantra like songs and readings from the mystic master poet, Jelaluddin Rumi.

8 MP3 Songs
WORLD: World Fusion, NEW AGE: Meditation

About Ramananda

Ramananda has sung with the likes of Deva Premal, Miten and Maniko bringing to their music his rich voice and harmonies. He recently teamed up with Grammy award winner Kit Walker to produce the new Rumi CD Secret Language.

"My first moment with Rumi was like being penetrated by stillness. So soft, so touching, I had to sing the words I had just read.

All these songs happened in moments like that. The words to these songs are still working within me. In the space between concept and insight, something happens,
a spark".

About Rumi

Barely known in the West as recently as 15 years ago, Rumi is now one of the most widely read poets in America. His is an exciting new literary and philosophical force. One reason for Rumi''s popularity is that "Rumi is able to verbalize the highly personal and often confusing world of personal/spiritual growth and mysticism in a very forward and direct fashion. He does not offend anyone, and he includes everyone. The world of Rumi is neither exclusively the world of a Sufi, nor the world of a Hindu, nor a Jew, nor a Christian; it is the highest state of a human being--a fully evolved human. A complete human is not bound by cultural limitations; he touches every one of us. Today Rumi''s poems can be heard in churches, synagogues, Zen monasteries, as well as in the downtown New York art/performance/music scene." says Shahram Shiva, a noted Iranian translator of Rumi.
Rumi''s work has been translated into many of the world''s languages including Russian, German, French, Italian and Spanish, and is appearing in a growing number of formats including concerts, workshops, readings, dance performances and other artistic creations - and now this CD.

Rumi''s Life

- a combination of historical fact and romantic legend
Jelaluddin Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan, a part of the Persian Empire, on September 30, 1207.

Rumi''s father, Bahauddin Walad, besides being a theologian and jurist, was a mystic. After the family fled the Mongol invasion of Afghanistan - to Konya in Turkey - he became the sheik of the dervish learning community there until his death.

At his father''s death, the title of Sheik passed to his son, and Rumi, already renowned as a scholar, artist, and theologian while still in his twenties, assumed his father''s duties and responsibilities to the community. This was a period of maturing and growing when many questions were asked by the young seeker as he yearned to understand the deeper meaning of his life.

Besides studying with his father''s students, who taught him about his father''s inner life, Rumi also studied the mystics Sanai and Attar.

Until 1244, Rumi led a typically normal life for a religious scholar of that era. It was in the late Fall of that year that he met the man who was to change his life forever. This was a wandering dervish named Shams of Tabriz. Shams had traveled throughout the Middle East looking for someone who could "endure his company".

In one version of the meeting, Rumi was riding his donkey through the marketplace, when a man stepped in front of him and shouted, "Who is greater - Muhammad or Bestami?" In the exchange that followed Rumi became so overwhelmed by the presence before him that he fainted and fell from his donkey.

As the relationship matured between Shams and Rumi, they became inseparable, spending months together beyond human needs, relating together in mystical conversation - called "sobhet". During this period Rumi''s disciples were all but forgotten by their teacher. They became deeply displeased and extremely jealous. Shams sensed trouble from this quarter, and felt that he needed to disappear from time to time - for his own safety and Rumi''s too. It is reported that during one of these disappearances, Rumi''s poetry writing and mystic whirling began.

After things would cool down, Shams would reappear and the episodes of being lost in each other''s company would resume. On one of these reappearances, Shams and Rumi fell at each other''s feet upon seeing each other. This was a telling moment in their relationship - remembering that the first time they met; Rumi fell in a faint at Shams feet. This time they bowed down to each other. What had begun as a master/disciple relationship had dissolved into pure loving friendship.

One winter night Shams, who was living with Rumi and his household, answered a knock at the back door. Shams disappeared, never to be seen again.

This disappearance caused in Rumi what may be called a spiritual implosion, an event in which, in the absence of the beloved, the lover falls "into himself" and disappears into his own emptiness. It is from this oceanic emptiness that the drop that was Rumi became the ocean - and his poetry a reflection within it.

An excerpt from one of his poems perfectly expresses this state:

"Why should I seek? I am the same as he.
His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself."

The union became complete. Rumi fell into the ocean that was Shams. Out of that experience came a huge wave of poetry that Rumi called, The Works of Shams of Tabriz.

Rumi and Shams had merged, and in time Rumi found another companion. The story goes like this...

One day in Konya, after Sham''s had disappeared, Rumi was walking down a merchant street through a market. Suddenly he heard a goldsmith tapping his jeweler''s hammer upon an small anvil.

The rhythmic sound of that tapping sent Rumi into an ecstasy, where he spontaneously began to whirl - the ecstatic whirling of the Sufi dervish. Legend says that he continued to whirl for forty-eight hours without stopping. From then onwards the goldsmith named Saladin Zarkub became Rumi''s companion and the "Friend" to whom Rumi addressed his poems during that period. After Saladin''s death, Husan Chelebi, Rumi''s longtime scribe, became the "Friend" and the one who wrote down The Mathnawi, Rumi''s vast and mysterious masterwork. In the 12 years before his death, Rumi dictated the six volumes to Husam. He died on December 17, 1273.

It is said that the leaders of all the religious groups attended and perticipated in Rumi''s funeral. The Christians of the time compared Rumi Jesus. The Jews, to Moses. And to the followers of Islam, Rumi was revered almost as was Mohammed

Notes from the Songwriter

I love to sing, and I love to share that with others. I especially enjoy involving the people who are there with me. Over the years of singing like this, the songs I write have taken on that character also. Nearly all of the songs on this CD are invitations for the listener to join in. The more the audience gets involved and participates, the richer the music becomes. My goal is to move people in such a way that after a song is finished, there is no need to applaud (for whom?). With this approach, it is very easy for silence to be felt in the room - and I invite that after every song for as long as the silence remains alive. After that, it''s time for the next song.

Singing has become for me a doorway to silence - a doorway to meditation. I started experiencing the poetry of Rumi years ago. But it wasn''t until a few years ago that I really began to appreciate the power and genius of Rumi''s poetry, and the remarkable way that he presents his ideas. One idea is presented, and then another. They are each interesting in themselves, but, when experienced together, they cause a great "pause" within me.

Each one of the songs "happened". I didn''t write them - I simply started singing them out of the pause that they caused in me.

The poet Rilke once said that the most important thing about music is the gaps between the notes.

One night, a friend of mine who was singing in the group that had gathered that night suggested I record the songs. She said there were many lovers of Rumi and they could benefit from the silence and peace that happened from experiencing and singing these songs.

When she suggested it, I felt a very clear "yes" inside. And, ever since the songs started happening, I have felt a deep affinity with Rumi.

I felt "counseled" by Rumi all along. "What would you have me do here?" I often asked. Sometimes the answer came out rock and roll, sometimes there was only silence. The quality of the silence wasn''t a withdrawal, but a feeling of support to allow me to just let what whatever wanted to come out, come out. That support was always there; even when I got sidetracked. I often felt like I was getting whacked as a reminder to stay in the moment - to let the moment itself decide what was to happen next. It was a delightful combination of discipline and joy.

In creating this album I wanted to create a journey into silence. I also wanted to find ways for the music to support the poetry; to let Rumi come off the page and dance and sing. I wanted to engage the listener and introduce Rumi and his ideas in such a way that, with every song, the listener could go deeper into the intelligence, insight, and mastery of a person who had come to dissolve himself into life.

Rumi seems to understand it all - from the simplest question of a child to the most complex understanding of how life moves from one form of intelligence to the next. To read him is to become one of his students. These are the same words that Rumi spoke to his most trusted and intimate students. These poems are a front row seat in his classroom.

The songs are an invitation to dance with him. Rumi loved to dance, sing, and be surrounded by music. I often have felt Rumi''s joy in those special moments when my friends and I have become lost in the magic and majesty of his poetry as we sang these songs.


Ramananda makes Rumi sing. Maybe these two seekers share a common heart - the heart all seekers know. These songs honor Rumi''s courage and they capture the awareness and humor that enliven anyone helplessly in love. These songs are very much alive!

-- Paritosho -- Deva Music, Munich, Germany

"Rumi, how sweet the sound, a word that is on everybody''s lips these days - Rumi, the Persian master of longing. How delightful it is to hear such beautiful poetry from this great mystic named Rumi now put to song! it adds another dimension to words of such depth that one closes the eyes in reverence or opens the heart and voice in song and laughter. This CD, with the sensuous yet powerful voice of Ramananda and his group of talented musicians, transports one into that world of Rumi. Rumi''s world is a whirl of ecstasy and this recording will take you there - over and over again."

-- Scott F., Hilo, HI

I have been playing the Rumi CD over and over at home and singing the songs while I am driving or working. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this gorgeous Rumi CD! It is a work of art.

-- Aile S., Asheville NC

In this remarkable project, Ramananda (Craig Rice) brings to melodic life Coleman Barks'' translations of the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi. Adding to his own warm and clear voice, Ramananda draws on the notable talents of a group of artist/friends including co-producer Kit Walker on keyboards, and Manose on bansuri flute, to illuminate in a beautiful song cycle the heart of Rumi''s passionate call to awaken.

-- Lee S., East-West Bookstore, Cupertino, CA

Each time, listening to Secret Language, I experience a love affair in my heart- Ramananda''s love for Rumi and his love of life. The music flows through him like a hollow bamboo and I feel Rumi and Love herenow.

-- Tom F., Portland, OR

The Poems

These are the poems which have been set to music for the CD, "Secret Language". As you read, you might begin to wonder how much of Rumi''s life experience can be discovered within these lines...

Who makes these changes?

Who makes these changes?
I shoot to the right the arrow lands left
ride after a deer and find myself
chased by a hog
I plot to get what I want and end up in jail
dig pits to trap others and I fall in
I should be suspicious of what I want

Secret language

Every part of you has a secret language
your hands and your feet
say what you''ve done
and every need brings in what''s needed
pain bears its cure like a child

Whoever finds love

Whoever finds love beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises
What is the soul
What is the soul I cannot stop asking
if I could taste one sip of an answer
I could break out of this prison for drunks
I didn''t come here of my own accord
and I can''t leave that way
whoever brought me here
will have to take me home

No end to the journey

No end, no end to the journey
no end, no end never
how can the heart in love ever stop opening
if you love me, you won''t just die once
in every moment you will die into me
to be reborn
Into this new love die

your way begins on the other side
become the sky
take an axe to the prison wall,
walk out like someone
suddenly born into color
do it now

Drop being sad

Don''t ask questions about longing
look in my face
soul drunk, body ruined
these two sit helpless in a wrecked wagon
neither knows how to fix it
and my heart, I''d say it was more like a donkey
sunk in a mud hole struggling and miring deeper
But, listen to me for one moment
drop being sad hear
blessings dropping their blossoms
around you

Keep on knocking

Keep on knocking
''til the joy inside
opens a window
look to see who''s there

Inner wakefulness

This place is a dream
only a sleeper considers it real
then death comes like dawn
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief
A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived
and he dreams he''s living in another town
in the dream he doesn''t remember
the town he''s sleeping in his bed in
he believes the reality of the dream town
the world is that kind of sleep
Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences
and though we seem to be sleeping
there is an inner wakefulness,
that directs the dream
and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are

Review of Secret Language New Rumi CD by Ramananda
(Viha Magazine August 2004)

What happens when you mix Rumi, Osho, Coleman Barks and Ramananda?
The result is a secret language that mystics and all of our cells know. It comes out in song in a new CD entitled, Secret Language: Rumi A Celebration in Song .

When Ramananda contacted me saying that he had been taken by some of Rumi''s poetry and found himself responding in song, I got interested. Soon we were corresponding and then I got to listen to these songs. Ramananda''s voice has grown deeper and rounder and even more relaxing than in Pune One when he used to lead Sufi dance and music group. He teamed up with a female vocalist from Sedona, Laurie Burke, for most of the tracks and they make magic together. Several of these songs came to Ramananda while serenading his wife Divyo as she cooked. The first one came through at a singing evening at his old friend Abhiyana''s house and was inspired by a quote of Rumi''s hanging on the wall.

Ramananda''s first contacts with Sufism were through Osho''s talks on Rumi and Kabir. Another contact began when Aneeta, who was personally trained by Pir Vilayat Khan, asked him to assist her in leading Sufi dance. Although Kabir was Ramananda''s first love, the muse of Rumi''s poetry found her way into his heart and the rest was more of a happening than anything planned. The journey led from Sedona to Marin where Vandan (Kit Walker) masterfully helped produce the CD as well as add his touch of keyboard and percussion to the tracks. By chance, Manose flew in from Nepal and played beautiful bansuri flute on some of the songs, Atmo happened to arrive from Europe and added a trumpet solo, and Maniko was available to sing on Keep on Knocking, the most rollicking, playful song on the album.

Most of the poetry was translated by Coleman Barks. Coleman was very open-handed in allowing Ramananda to use the translations and reminisced about when he went to Pune and asked Osho a question. Osho laid into him and figuratively shook him up, spun him around and saw if he could still walk afterward. Coleman said that he will always be grateful to Osho for having done that.

Between Ramananda and Coleman and all the musicians, they have made Rumi very accessible to us in the 21st century, while preserving the ''Huh?'' quality, one of puzzlement about the multi-layered meanings of the lyrics. This puzzlement of the mind allows Rumi''s words to penetrate to our deeper layers, fanning the fire of the inner search. Ramananda and I spoke for hours one day, often in a dharma battle over the meaning of the lyrics, providing a-ha moments as each of us glimpsed the insights of the other. It was a wondrous day here in Boulder; snowflakes were falling all day long like blessings dropping their blossoms around you, one of the lines in the songs.

The CD opens with Who Makes these Changes, a high energy piece that invites dancing. It also invites listening to the words. The lyrics on the CD progress from this first track which seems to come from before Rumi''s enlightenment to Drop Being Sad that is definitely a poem from a master who knows pain and at the same time can go beyond it. I played a couple of these songs at our meditation center and people responded in laughter and in wonder.

Some of my favorite songs are Whoever Finds Love with its refrain, Emptiness. It was perfect for satsang with lots of open space between the notes allowing everyone to sink into the spaces and into themselves. Another is Secret Language which I played for a group of non-sannyasin women, one of whom is recovering from breast cancer. The line, Every part of you has a secret language, your hands and your feet say what you''ve done...Pain bears its cure like a child , struck an experiential chord in her. Ramananda''s interpretation is that Rumi is talking about psychological pain, whereas people who have experienced intense physical pain find that Rumi may also be handing them a secret key to deal with their agony. What Is the Soul is a poignant one, the song of a seeker at the end of his tether. The music is like melodic raindrops caressing the being while the mind is in turmoil trying to figure out the meaning in the words.

Ramananda has given the world the gift of Rumi all over again through his creativity on this CD, including a beautiful cover painting of Rumi by the sea, and even in a musical, The Life of Rumi in Song, that he produced with an actor playing Rumi while Ramananda was on stage with his guitar singing songs from the CD accompanied by musicians and whirling Sufi dancers. To quote him from the review in Kudos, a Sedona newspaper, ''The entire project has happened more like a love affair might...I just loved what I was hearing in Rumi''s words and like a lover I just had to sing it.''

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