The new website, formerly known to members of the Dar-al-Masnavi discussion group (Google Groups) as the "Masnavi Project," has improved greatly during the past year and is available online as of June 1, 2015. At present, the website contains the full text of the Masnavi in Persian (Mahdî Âzâr Yazdî's edition), English (Nicholson's translation), and Turkish (Veled Chelebi's translation). All three texts are based on the earliest manuscript of the Masnavi (the "Konya Manuscript," completed in 1278, five years after Mawlana Rumi's death). There is full word-search capacity in all three languages and full verse number search capacity (using Nicholson's verse numbering) within each of the six books. The Contents menu includes lists of all the headings in the Masnavi (in Persian, English, and Turkish); the headings also serve as links to the headings on the main pages. A page "About masnavi.net" plus "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) is in the "More" menu. Readers are invited to submit any errors that they find in order to improve the accuracy of the website. The website has much potential for future development, such as adding other language translations, other Persian recitations, and perhaps commentary in English, Persian, and Turkish.
There are audio files in Persian for the entire Masnavi (except for 93 verses in Book 4) recorded in Iran by Hosayn Âhî (Books 1 and 6) and by Amîr Nûrî (Books 2, 3, 4, and 5). The Persian text is highlighted with the color yellow, which can be moved up or down by the up/down arrows on the keyboard. The next/previous pages can be accessed by the right/left arrows on the keyboard, as well as by the right/left arrows on the webpages. The complete Persian text can be displayed alone or together with either English or Turkish; also, the English translation alone and the Turkish translation alone may be displayed (see screen shots of the current website below).
The audio files are started and stopped, one verse at a time, by the space bar on the keyboard (or a black start button in the left margin for mobile devices). Continuous play is started and stopped by clicking on a circular start button in the left margin, and temporarily stopped and re-started by the space bar; it is also stopped completely by using the updown arrows to go to another verse (then pressing the space bar and waiting for the recitation of that verse to end), or clicking on a different verse. Another feature is that if a single text is chosen, pressing the Tab bar (or clicking on the plus button in the margin for mobile users) causes a drop box to appear and present the verse in another (pre-selected) language. An additional feature is memory: after closing the website and later returning to it, the last page of the site visited will reappear. To return to the "home oage" (the beginning verses of Masnavi, click on "Masnavi" in the upper left corner (there are actually five different "home pages.") At the present time, Google Chrome is the preferred browser for viewing the website, for all devices and operating systems. The website also works well on Firefox. It does not work well on Safari yet, but we hope it will in the near future.
In the case of Nicholson's translation, since he did not obtain a copy of the earliest manuscript until he had reached verse 2835 of Book 3, he published indexes of the corrections needed in order for his translation and Persian text to conform to the Konya Manuscript. A list of the English translation corrections (plus numerous corrections mentioned in Nicholson's Commentaries) has been compiled; once it has been implemented on the website, the masnavi.net text of Nicholson's translation will be the most accurate known, published either in book form or electronic form on the Internet. This will be supplemented by translations of words, phrases, and verses that Nicholson translated from Persian into Latin because he considered them to be too obscene to translate into English. These (translated from Persian into English by Ibrahim Gamard, with the help of other scholars) will be added in brackets after the Latin translations. Prior to this, only incomplete selections of the Latinized parts have been available in English--selections lacking the context of their place in Mawlana Rumi's wisdom-teaching stories.
Volunteers who read Persian (and who have basic computer skills) are needed. At first, it appeared that twenty to thirty volunteers would be needed to use a simple computer program to "chop" 114 mp3 audio files into more than 25,000 separate audio files. Fortunately, a way was found to automatize the process and now (as of 6/12/15) all of the audio files have been uploaded to the website. It is estimated that 3% (about 1,600) of these files are a bit short or long and need to be separately "chopped"" to the correct length. Complete step-by-step instructions will be made available to volunteers (the instructions also include helpful YouTube videos for each of the major steps).
Basically, the audio program displays the Masnavi verses visually as a wave form. The Start button is pushed, the Pause button is pushed quickly after hearing the end of the second rhyme of the verse, the cursor is used to select/highlight the section of the wave form to be cut, and a couple of buttons are pushed to place a track identification below the wave form--in order to make the verse a separate mp3 audio file. That completes one verse of the Masnavi. It only takes a minute to "chop" three verses. The "chopping" instructions can be read HERE.
Anyone who would like to volunteer may contact the masnavi.net team via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the Facebook page, the link to which is HERE.
Anyone who would like to donate money in order to help pay for the monthly expenses of keeping this website on the Internet may do so through the PayPal link below.