Dr. Mehdi Khorisani was born in Karbala, Iraq, of Persian parents. He did his studies at the University of Najaf in Iraq. His father was an Ayatollah. As a young boy, Mehdi Khorisani would sit by his father’s side to learn about dealing with people and stress related situations. Coming from a long line of Persian spiritual leaders he study to become an Imam.
Dr. Khorasani studied at Oxford and traveled throughout the world, observing people, their culture and spiritual traditions. He engrossed himself in the teachings of Rumi, Saadi, Hafez, Shams e Tabrizi, Farid al-Din Attar, Omar Khayyám and many more great teachers, philosophers and writers. When Khomeini took control of Iran, many Iranians were hunted down and killed. Many of Imam Khorasani’s friends were killed and he was in great danger. He and his wife took refuge in the United States where he built the The Redwood Mosque in Northern California where I met him.
People would come from great distances sometimes just to discuss a problem or some line or two of poetry. He was always quoting the Qur’an for everything, having me run to his library to find some other pertinent book about the topic being discussed. I don’t read Persian or Arabic, so I colored coded many of his favorite books so I could find the correct one. He always read the text first in the original language for all of us to hear. Then again, a second time, translating each line as he went along. He knew many languages and was a wonderful orator. After his readings their would be a long silence in the room. He would smile. Then you’d see this twinkle in his eye as the questions rolled into the air. It was fun. When you left, one felt like some heavy weight was lifted off your shoulders.
Imam was my teacher, my friend and most importantly, he was a poet. He would tell me incredible stories of growing up in Iran. I hope to share some of these stores along with some of his poetry here with you.
Imam was exiled from his country in 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Imam Khorasani lived out his life in Northern California, never seeing his homeland again.
THINKING OF IRAN by Dr Mehdi Khorisani
This pain of separation still weighs on me.
Despite all my experience and art,
my head is still bowed.
Years have passed since my insanity
Became the subject of discussion.
How can I expect a cure?
The master has wiped away my sins
With the kindness of his blessing.
Still the doorman points to the blot that’s on my coat.
With patience, all sadness has been forgotten,
But my rival’s blame remains.
You went away, but you took my heart.
Isn’t my bewildered state to be expected?
Far from Khorasan, beslaved by loneliness,
The last minute of my life I’ll still be thinking of Iran.
Who am I to guide anyone? I am not a guide.
Mehdi is still lost in the wilderness.