Since January 30, 2016, Dr. Soroush has presented his lecture series on the Divan-e-Shams in this single ghazal format on a monthly basis at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California and these sessions will continue on the first Saturday of each month.
During the first three installments of the lecture series, he delved into Molana’s life, his relationship with Shams Tabrizi, the changes brought in his beliefs and worldview brought about by his meeting with Shams, as well as literary and Sufi characteristics of the Divan-e-Shams. According to Dr. Soroush, the Divan-e-Shams contains some 36,000 lines of poetry that compose 3,200 ghazals. Over the years, ghazals by other poets found their way into the Divan, increasing the number of lines to as many as 60,000. The two best-known editions of the Divan-e-Shams were edited by Badiozzamanh Forouzanfar and Dr. Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani.
While some English translations of the Divan-e-Shams exist, a complete translation directly from Persian to English is not available. The only complete translation of the Divan was based on a Turkish translation edited by Abdulbaki Golpinarli that was commissioned by the Turkish government. Reynold A. Nicholson and A. J. Arberry is two of the translators who have rendered parts of the work into English directly from the Persian. There exists also a book of selected ghazals in imperfect translation by Coleman Barks.
The first session of the lecture series was held on January 30, 2016, on Skype. Due to the low quality of the audio recording from this session, a transcription is included in the lecture series archive.