Sirkeci Train Station Hall – Istanbul
Sufi Music Concert & Whirling Dervish Ceremony in ISTANBUL
The origin of Sufism lies in the life and practices of the Prophet os Islam and the Quran. Sufism embraces a well-founded and through interpretation of Islam which focuses on love ,tolerence,worship of God community development through self discipline and responsibility. A Sufi way of life is to love and be of service to people
Known to the west as Whirling Dervishes, the Mevlevi Order was founded by Mevlana Rumi in the 13th century. The Order wrote of tolerance, forgiveness, and enlightenment. They survive today as a cultural brotherhood. They are not theatrical spectacles but sacred rituals.
The ritual of the Mevlevi sect, known as the sema, is a serious religious ritual performed by Muslim priests in a prayer trance to Allah.
Mevlevi believed that during the sema the soul was released from earthly ties, and able to freely and jubilantly commune with the divine. Dervish literally means “doorway” and is thought to be an entrance from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world.
The Whirling Dervishes played an important part in the evolution of Ottoman high culture.
From the fourteenth to the twentieth century, their impact on classical poetry, calligraphy and visual arts was profound. Rumi and his followers integrated music into their rituals as an article of faith. Rumi emphasized that music uplifts our spirit to realms above and we hear the tunes of the Gates of Paradise.
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Sirkeci Train Station – Dervish ceremony Istanbul
Information About Sufim & Dervish Ceremony
Known to the west as Whirling Dervishes, the Mevlevi Order was founded by Mevlana Rumi in the 13th century. The Order wrote of tolerance, forgiveness, and enlightenment. They survive today as a cultural brotherhood. They are not theatrical spectacles but sacred rituals. The ritual of the Mevlevi sect, known as the sema, is a serious religious ritual performed by Muslim priests in a prayer trance to Allah. Mevlevi believed that during the sema the soul was released from earthly ties, and able to freely and jubilantly commune with the divine. Dervish literally means “doorway” and is thought to be an entrance from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world. The Whirling Dervishes played an important part in the evolution of Ottoman high culture.
From the fourteenth to the twentieth century, their impact on classical poetry, calligraphy and visual arts was profound. Rumi and his followers integrated music into their rituals as an article of faith. Rumi emphasized that music uplifts our spirit to realms above, and we hear the tunes of the Gates of Paradise.
Rumi brought enthusiasm to hearts with his saintly characteristics ; he was a saint , spritual master , whose human mind had been bathed in light ; he cleanses hearts and minds of impurities and rescues them from duality.
He rejects nothing but rather unites , perfects and causes love. He is prejudiced toward none because he knows that everything is the manifestation and actualization of God and he reflects this as a spritual state to the mind and heart of man Mevlana is asuperior and saintly master . He is a system in himself , a life an order. He is a monument to spritually who , through his sublimity , displayed his moral values , his knowledge , wisdom love , intelligence , perception of God , behaviour , everything . His is the true representative of the prophets , the highest element and realization of love and intelligence. “Man is the nost honorable of all creation.” is one of his maxims.
The Exalted Mevlana embraced those of every language , creed and race or color ; he is the symbol of love peace , brotherhood, and tolerance.
The night of 17 December is the holiest in the Mevlevî calendar, a night of union, a wedding night (Şeb-i Arus), when Mevlana departed the mortal world to become one with He who loves and is loved. It is not a time to mourn but to rejoice: At my death do not lament our separation…As the sun and moon but seem to set,In reality this is a rebirth. Each year thousands of people from the far corners of the world, travel to Konya in response to Mevlana’s call of 735 years ago:
“Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.”
To understand Mevlana one should read his works. It is suggested to start with his major work, The Masnavi . Mevlana’s books are translated to many languages and are among the best selling books of their sort all over the world. At present, Mevlana, better known there as Rumi, is the “best selling poet” in United States of America. The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks has sold more than a quarter of a million copies and is one of the top 1000 best selling books at Amazon. It is by far the largest selling poem book ever!
Sufi Tradition & Mevlevi Order
Sufism is a mystical Muslim school of thought and aims to find love and knowledge through direct personal experience of Allah. Sufism, often referred to as the mystical dimension of Islam, was formerly understood in Orientalist scholarship as a spiritual movement that reached its apogee during the medieval period of Islamic history, with its crowning achievement being the brilliant literary productions in Arabic and Persian that became the classics of the Sufi tradition.
Many Sufi orders exist across the Muslim world. Sufis are “mystics” on the path to the Beloved (God). Most Sufis are Muslims, followers of the religion of Islam. Some Sufis (primarily in “the West”) are involved with other religions, or no formal religion — as directed by the higher source of wisdom within the human heart.
The Mevlevi, or Mevleviye, one of the most well-known of the Sufi orders, was founded in 1273 by Rumi’s followers after his death, particularly his son, Sultan Veled Celebi (or Çelebi, Chelebi) in Konya , from where they gradually spread throughout the Ottoman Empire. Today, Mevleviye can be found in many Turkish communities throughout the world but the most active and famous places for their activity are still Konya and Istanbul.
The Mevlevi were a well established Sufi Order in the Ottoman Empire, and many of the members of the order served in various official positions of the Caliphate. The centre for the Mevlevi order was in Konya, where Rumi is buried. There is also a Mevlevi monastery or dergah in Istanbul, near the Galata Tower, where the sema ceremony is performed and accessible to the public.
During Ottoman Empire era, the Mevlevi order produced a number of famous poets and musicians such as Sheikh Ghalib, Ismail Ankaravi (both buried at the Galata Mevlevi-Hane) and Abdullah Sari. Music, especially the ney, play an important part in the Mevelevi order and thus much of the traditional “oriental” music that Westerners associate with Turkey originates with the Mevlevi order. Indeed, if one buys a CD of Turkish Sufi music, chances are it will be Mevlevi religious music.
During the Ottoman period, the Mevlevi order spread into the Balkans, Syria, and Egypt (and is still practiced in both countries where they are known as the Mawlawi order). The Bosnian writer Mesa Selimovic wrote the book Death and the Dervish about a Mevlevi dergah in Sarajevo.
The Mevlevi Order is also linked to other Dervish orders such as the Qadiri (founded in 1165), the Rifa’i (founded in 1182), and the Kalenderis.
Sirkeci Train Station – Dervish ceremony Istanbul.
The Mevlevi Order was outlawed in Turkey at the dawn of the secular revolution by Kemal Atatürk in 1923.
The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony
Mevleviye are known for their famous practice of whirling dances. At their dancing ceremonies, or Sema, a particular musical repertoire called ayin is played. This is based on four sections of both vocal and instrumental compositions using contrasting rhythmic cycles and is performed by at least one singer, a flute-player (neyzen), a kettledrummer and a cymbal player. The oldest musical compositions stem from the mid-sixteenth century combining Persian and Turkish musical traditions. The repertoire was continuously broadened, and the first notations were made from the early twentieth century onwards.
Dancers would receive 1,001 days of reclusive training within the mevlevihane, a sort ofcloister, where they learnt about ethics, codes of behaviour and beliefs by living a practice of prayer, religious music, poetry and dance. After this training, they remained members of the order but went back to their work and families, combining spiritualism with civic life.
Following a recommended fast of several hours, the whirlers begin to rotate on their left feet in short twists, using the right foot to drive their bodies around the left foot. The body of the whirler is meant to be supple with eyes open, but unfocused so that images become blurred and flowing. The Sema takes place in a large circular-shaped room that is part of the mevlevihane building.
As a result of secularisation policies, all mevlevihane were closed in 1925. In the 1950s, the Turkish government, began allowing the Whirling Dervishes to perform annually in Konya on the Urs of Mevlana, December 17, the anniversary of Rumi’s death. In 1974, they were allowed to come to the West. They performed in France, for Pope Paul VI, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and other venues in the United States and Canada – under the direction of the late Mevlevi Shaikh Suleyman Hayati Dede. Many practitioners kept their tradition alive in private gatherings, and thirty years later, the Turkish government began to allow performances again, though only in public. From the 1990s, restrictions were eased and private groups re-emerged who try to re-establish the original spiritual and intimate character of the Sema ceremony.
The Life and Spiritual Milieu of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
In the last decades of the Twentieth Century the spiritual influence of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi is being strongly felt by people of diverse beliefs throughout the Western world. He is being recognized here in the West, as he has been for seven centuries in the Middle East and Western Asia, as one of the greatest literary and spiritual figures of all time. Different qualities of Rumi have been brought forth by a variety of new translations that have appeared during the nineteen-eighties. He has been presented as both refined and sensual, sober and ecstatic, deeply serious and extremely funny, rarefied and accessible. It is a sign of his profound universality that he has been so many things to so many people.
Jalâluddîn Rumi was born in 1207 in Balkh in what is today Afghanistan. At an early age his family left Balkh because of the danger of the invading Mongols and settled in Konya, Turkey, which was then the capital of the Seljuk Empire.His father Bahauddin was a great religious teacher who received a position at the university in Konya.
Mevlâna’s early spiritual education was under the tutelage of his father Bahauddin and later under his father’s close friend Sayyid Burhaneddin of Balkh. The circumstances surrounding Sayyid’s undertaking of the education of his friend’s son are interesting: Sayyid had been in Balkh, Afghanistan when he felt the death of his friend Bahauddin and realized that he must go to Konya to take over Jalâluddîn’s spiritual education. He came to Konya when Mevlâna was about twenty-four years old, and for nine years instructed him in “the science of the prophets and states,” beginning with a strict forty day retreat and continuing with various disciplines of meditation and fasting. During this time Jalâluddîn also spent more than four years in Aleppo and Damascus studying with some of the greatest religious minds of the time.
As the years passed, Mevlâna grew both in knowledge and consciousness of God. Eventually Sayyid Burhaneddin felt that he had fulfilled his responsibility toward Jalâluddîn, and he wanted to live out the rest of his years in seclusion. He told Mevlâna, “You are now ready, my son. You have no equal in any of the
branches of learning. You have become a lion of knowledge. I am such a lion myself and we are not both needed here and that is why I want to go. Furthermore, a great friend will come to you, and you will be each other’s mirror. He will lead you to the innermost parts of the spiritual world, just as you will lead him. Each of you will complete the other, and you will be the greatest friends in the entire world.” And so Sayyid intimated the coming of Shams of Tabriz, the central event of Rumi’s life.
At the age of thirty-seven Mevlâna met the spiritual vagabond Shams. Much has already been written about their relationship. Prior to this encounter Rumi had been an eminent professor of religion and a highly attained mystic; after this he became an inspired poet and a great lover of humanity. Rumi’s meeting with Shams can be compared to Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek. I owe to Murat Yagan this explanation: “A Melchizedek and a Shams are messengers from the Source. They do nothing themselves but carry enlightenment to someone who can receive, someone who is either too full or too empty. Mevlâna was one who was too full. After receiving it, he could apply this message for the benefit of humanity.” Shams was burning and Rumi caught fire. Shams’ companionship with Rumi was brief. Despite the fact that each was a perfect mirror for the other Shams disappeared, not once but twice. The first time, Rumi’s son Sultan Veled searched for and discovered him in Damascus. The second disappearance, however, proved to be final, and it is believed that he may have been murdered by people who resented his influence over Mevlâna.
Rumi was a man of knowledge and sanctity before meeting Shams, but only after the alchemy of this relationship was he able to fulfill Sayyid Burhaneddin’s prediction that he would “drown men’s souls in a fresh life and in the immeasurable abundance of God… and bring to life the dead of this false world with… meaning and love.”
For more than ten years after meeting Shams, Mevlâna had been spontaneously composing odes, or ghazals, and these had been collected in a large volume called the Divan-i Kabir. Meanwhile Mevlâna had developed a deep spiritual friendship with Husameddin Chelebi. The two of them were wandering through the Meram vineyards outside of Konya one day when Husameddin described an idea he had to Mevlâna: “If you were to write a book like the Ilahiname of Sanai or the Mantik’ut-Tayr’i of Fariduddin Attar it would become the companion of many troubadours. They would fill their hearts form you work and compose music to accompany it.”
Mevlâna smiled and took from inside the folds of his turban a piece of paper on which were written the opening eighteen lines of his Mathnawi, beginning with:
Listen to the reed and the tale it tells,
how it sings of separation…
Husameddin wept for joy and implored Mevlâna to write volumes more. Mevlâna replied, “Chelebi, if you consent to write for me, I will recite.” And so it happened that Mevlâna in his early fifties began the dictation of this monumental work. As Husameddin described the process: “He never took a pen in his hand while composing the Mathnawi. Wherever he happened to be, whether in the school, at the Ilgin hot springs, in the Konya baths, or in the Meram vineyards, I would write down what he recited. Often I could barely keep up with his pace, sometimes, night and day for several days. At other times he would not compose for months, and once for two years there was nothing. At the completion of each book I would read it back to him, so that he could correct what had been written.”
The Mathnawi can justifiably be considered the greatest spiritual masterpiece ever written by a human being. It’s content includes the full spectrum of life on earth, every kind of human activity: religious, cultural, political, sexual, domestic; every kind of human character form the vulgar to the refined; as well as copious
and specific details of the natural world, history and geography. It is also a book that presents the vertical dimension of life — from this mundane world of desire, work, and things, to the most sublime levels of metaphysics and cosmic awareness. It is its completeness that enchants us.
His Spiritual Milieu
What do we need to know to receive the knowledge that Rumi offers us?
First of all, it needs to be understood that Rumi’s tradition is not an “Eastern” tradition. It is neither of the East nor of the West, but something in between. Rumi’s mother-tongue was Persian, an Indo-European language strongly influenced by Semitic (Arabic) vocabulary, something like French with a smattering of Hebrew.
Furthermore, the Islamic tradition, which shaped him, acknowledges that only one religion has been given to mankind through countless prophets, or messengers, who have come to every people on earth bearing this knowledge of Spirit. God is the subtle source of all life, Whose essence cannot be described or compared to anything, but Who can be known through the spiritual qualities that are manifest in the world and in the human heart. It is a deeply mystical tradition, on the one hand, with a strong and clear emphasis on human dignity and social justice, on the other.
Islam is understood as a continuation of the Judeo-Christian or Abrahamic tradition, honoring the Hebrew prophets, as well as Jesus and Mary. Muslims, however, are very sensitive to the issue of attributing divinity to a human being, which they see as the primary error of Christianity. although Jesus is called the in the Qur’an “the Spirit of God,” it would be thought a blasphemy to identify any human being exclusively as God. Muhammad is viewed as the last of those human prophets who brought the message of God’s love.
In Rumi’s world, the Islamic way of life had established a high level of spiritual awareness among the general population. The average person would be someone who performed regular ablutions and prayed five times a day, fasted from food and drink during the daylight hours for at least one month a year, and closely followed a code which emphasized the continual remembrance of God, intention, integrity, generosity, and respect for all life. Although the Mathnawi can appeal to us on many levels, it assumes a rather high level of spiritual awareness as a starting point and extends to the very highest levels of spiritual understanding.
The unenlightened human state is one of “faithlessness” in which an individual lives in slavery to the false self and the desires of the materials world. The spiritual practices which Rumi would have known were aimed at transforming the compulsiveness of the false self and attaining Islam or “Submission” to a higher order of reality. Without this submission the real self is enslaved to the ego and lives in a state of internal conflict due to the contradictory impulses of the ego. The enslaved ego is cut off from the heart, the chief organ for perceiving reality, and cannot receive the spiritual guidance and nourishment which the heart provides. Overcoming this enslavement and false separation leads to the realization and development of our true humanity. spiritual maturity is the realization that the self is a reflection of the Divine. God is the Beloved or Friend, the transpersonal identity. Love of God leads to the lover forgetting himself in the love of the Beloved.
whirling dervish ceremony istanbul, Dervishes Istanbul