MEVLANA CELALEDDIN RUMI (1207-1273)
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi was an Anatolian holy man who gave hope and inspiration to humanity. He was born in 1207 in the city of Balkh, Horasan, present day in Afghanistan (or in the village of Wakhsh, present day in Tajikistan) and died in 1273 in Konya. He took his first lessons from his father Bahaeddin Veled, who was known as “sultan of scholars”. While he was studying Sufism he met Ahi Sems Tebrizi, and after this meeting his own ideas began to emerge. It is his poems about Sufism, however, for which he is chiefly remembered, respected and admired today.
The branch of love comes from ancient times, and its root from immortality,
That greatness is too much for this mind and morals,
Fade away, pass through your existence. Your existence is murder.
Love is nothing other than finding the truth.
According to Mevlana, love is the only thing necessary to attain God. A plant or an animal may also love, but it is only man who has the capacity to love with his body, mind, thoughts and memory. Mevlana exalts the state of being in love with a woman because if someone loves someone else, he also loves himself, humanity, the universe and God. The most beautiful love, “Love of Truth,” begins when someone reaches this level of wisdom. Followers of Mevlana (Mevlevi) spin around and around in a ritual called “sema.” This ritual symbolizes a world united in love and keeping step with the world’s universal rotation. While one of their hands points to the sky, the other hand points to the ground meaning “Love from God spreads to the earth”. The spirit bursts forth from God and is immortal. The sound of the nay (a reed flute) tells of man’s longing to return to his initial source.
He means that the universe is an endless place within the existence of God, and as a small part of the whole, man keeps that divine essence inside him by saying, “You who search for God, it’s you that you’re searching for....”
Come, no matter what you are,
Whether atheist or sun worshipper.
Whether you’ve backslid a thousand times,
Come, no matter what you are.
As we see, all mankind are brothers, and differences between religions do not square well with the divine presence. Mevlana attached great importance to women and maintains that men and women are equal, saying, “The more you insist women should cover themselves up, the more you incite people’s desire to see them.
Like a man, if a woman’s heart is good, she will chose the path of goodness independent of your prohibitory actions. If her heart is bad, you can’t influence whatever you do.” Mevlana’s students were called Kitap-el Esrar (Clerks of the Secret). They were composed of men and women from many different faiths, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Iranians, Armenians, Rums and Turks. Mevlana's students from different cultures and religions collected his poems and preserving them as a gift to later generations.
Reference: Turkish Ministry of Culture, mevlana.net