Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Swirling Dervishes & Mevlana

While sitting in a cafe in Turkey, sipping on Turkish coffee and soda mineral water, possibly playing tavla (backgammon), dama (checkers), or having a conversation you will sometimes be approached by people. I say people in general, because there are so many different kinds. Firstly you have the people asking for a lighter. Then there are the older men selling lottery tickets and scratch-offs (one of my favorites). There are also the young boys trying to sell roses to you for the girl sitting next to you. The men carrying around a tower of balloons, and the ones selling light-up toys. If you are hungry, there are men selling roasted and cold nuts, and the "cig-kofte" a raw meat that is delicious. You will also have beggars and children giving you a fortune card with hopes you will give them money. Lastly there is a group of people that work with organizations asking for money to support health groups, political groups and so on.

A lady from a leukemia support group arrived at our table asking for money. Of course I get out my wallet, especially since I knew she was official. She then gave me a pamphlet on their group and what they did. On it had an "advice" list from a famous philosopher, Mevlana, or better known as Rumi (Listed below). I was then interested to find out more about this philosopher and his influence.

Come to find out, he is the inspiration to the swirling dervishes(name of the people) participating in the dance known as "Sema." If you ever see a commercial or something about Turkish culture, people always seem to recognize the men twirling in a type of white costume. The traditional reasoning is that these 'twirlers' will spin to perfection. It is a journey through the spirit, mind, and love. It is said that after his 'journey' he will come back as a grown, more mature soul/person. He will have left his egos, his hatred, and his lies, coming to love life, and human nature.

Mevlana or Rumi, is well known for his poetry and teachings about love, peace, and harmony. He was a Muslim man, but looked at every religion with respect. He believed that every man should have his or her own faith, and to prosper through it, not to disturb others. Mevlana died in 1273, but left a legacy of teachings and is honored every year on the day of his death with a celebration of his teachings. There is also a museum in Konya where he is also laid to rest.

After reading some of his translated poetry and writings I find even more of a blessing to be here. To be able to walk the same streets as many ancient philosophers did is somehow amazing to me. The history of Turkey is deep and mystical, and each step I walk while in Turkey, I find something new, even as simple as a pamphlet!
Seven advice of Mevlana (Rumi)
1. In generosity and helping others, be like a river
Comertlik ve yardim etmede akarsu gibi ol

2. In compassion and grace be like the sun
Sefkat ve merhamette gunes gibi ol

3. In concealing others faults be like the night
Baskalarinin kusurunu ortmede gece gibi ol

4. In anger and furry be like the dead
Hiddet ve asabiyette olu gibi ol

5. In modesty and humility be like the earth.
Tevazu ve alcak gonullulukte toprak gibi ol

6. In tolerance be like a sea
Hosgorude deniz gibi ol

7. Either exist as you are or be as you look
Ya oldugun gibi gorun ya da gorundugun gibi ol

*Note: I do not own the copyrights of these photos*