Born in Afghanistan in the thirteenth century, Rumi settled in Turkey and became the greatest mystical poet who ever lived. Although he began his adult life as a highly respectable scholar, he found his true calling after becoming the disciple of a mysterious holy man, Shamsuddin, who taught him for three years. From Shams he learned to listen for the sacred sound of God within himself. When his creative spirit was awakened, he recited more than 50,000 rhymed couplets. He wrote about the love that resides in the soul of everyone regardless of religion or background. He founded the order of the whirling dervishes who believed their spinning dances put them in touch with God and brought peace and love into the world. Although Rumi died 800 years ago, his poems are more widely read now than ever. To honor the 800th anniversary of his birth, the United Nations declared 2007 the year of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.