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RUMI: SOARING TO ECSTASY: Page - 2

Light Millennium proudly presented...
RUMI: SOARING TO ECSTASY
Live Documentary with Slides and Original Music
Date: Thursday, November 18, 2004
Time: 7:00 PM
Presented by:
Prof. Talat HALMAN
,
First Minister of Culture of the Republic of Turkey
& Defne HALMAN , Actress
Introduction by Clifford JACOBS
Original Music by Jeff PERETZ & ABU GARA>

For Page I>


IT WAS BUILT ON WHAT HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN THE ROSE GARDEN OF THE SULTANS… AND THE SULTAN OF LOVE CREATED IT AS A NEW ROSE GARDEN OF THE SOUL.

IT IS IN THE RUMI MAUSOLEUM THAT THE MEVLEVI SECT AND CEREMONIES EVOLVED - - MAINLY AFTER HIS DEATH. WHIRLING WAS A DOMINANT METAPHOR IN HIS SPIRITUALITY. HE WROTE: “WHIRLING IS RISING TO YOUR FEET PAINLESSLY LIKE A SPECK OF DUST BLOWN AROUND IN THE WIND. WHIRLING IS WHEN YOU RISE ABOVE BOTH WORLDS TEARING YOUR HEART TO PIECES AND GIVING UP YOUR SOUL.”

FOR THE MYSTIC, THE ULTIMATE END OF ACHIEVING ECSTASY IS TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF GOD THE BELOVED.:

AS RUMI WROTE IN A COUPLET:

“WHAT NURTURES OUR SOUL IS THE WHIRLING DANCE
WHERE THE LOVED ONE EMERGES IN OUR TRANCE.”

THE MEVLEVI MOVEMENT, INITIATED BY HIS SON AND FOLLOWERS AFTER RUMI’S DEATH, SPREAD FROM KONYA TO OTHER COUNTRIES. IT HAD CONGREGATION PLACES IN 14 CITIES AND 76 LODGES - - FROM INDIA TO NORTH AFRICA, FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA TO BAGHDAD AND ALEPPO.

THE WHIRLING DERVISHES SECT PLAYED A MAJOR SPIRITUAL AND CREATIVE ROLE IN THE OTTOMAN STATE. STARTING WITH THE FIRST SULTAN OSMAN, THE MEVLEVI SHEIKH WOULD BE PRESENT AT EVERY NEW SULTAN’S ACCESSION CEREMONY WHERE THE MONARCH WOULD BE GIRDED WITH THE SWORD.

SÜLEYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT WAS A STRONG SUPPORTER. HE MADE A GIFT TO THEM OF THEIR WHIRLING HALL IN KONYA.

HIS SON SELIM THE SECOND HAD A MOSQUE BUILT FOR THEM NEXT TO THE GREEN DOME IN KONYA.

SELIM THE THIRD WAS VIRTUALLY A MEMBER OF THE SECT. A POET AND A COMPOSER, THIS ARTISTIC SULTAN COMPOSED A CYCLE OF MUSIC FOR THE MEVLEVI CEREMONY – A WORK THAT IS STILL PERFORMED TODAY.

THE REFORMIST SULTAN ABDÜL MECİD ATTENDED THE SECT’S CEREMONIES AND LENT IT HIS SUPPORT.

RUMI’S LIFE HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED IN A VARIETY OF SOURCES. LEGENDS SURROUND SOME OF THE EVENTS. A FASCINATING SOURCE IS A BOOK ENTITLED “THE LUMINARIES OF THE LEGENDS” WRITTEN IN PERSIAN IN 1353, TRANSLATED INTO TURKISH IN 1588 – AND ILLUSTRATED WITH 22 DRAMATIC MINIATURE PAINTINGS. HERE IS ONE SHOWING THE DERVISHES WHIRLING.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE MEVLEVI ORDER IS OF SUNNI PERSUASION REGARDLESS OF THEIR HETERODOXY AND NOTWITHSTANDING HOW RUMI AND HIS FOLLOWERS STOOD AGAINST ORTHODOX STRUCTURES.

THEIR CEREMONIES ALWAYS STARTED, AS THEY STILL DO, WITH ABLUTION AND RITUAL PRAYERS, RECITATIONS OF QUR’ANIC PASSAGES, AND THE WHIRLING WAS PRECEDED, FOR MANY CENTURIES, BY INTELLECTUAL DISCUSSIONS AND DISCOURSES. IN MODERN TIMES, WITH THE WANING OF MEVLEVI INTELLECTUAL CREATIVITY, THESE SESSIONS HAVE BEEN ABANDONED.

ONE DAY IN KONYA, RUMI GIVES HIS BELT TO A BEGGAR.

WHEN A RENOWNED PRIEST VISITS, RUMI KEEPS HIS HEAD BOWED IN HUMILITY, WHICH INSPIRES THE PRIEST TO CONVERT TO ISLAM.

THE CANDLE RUMI LIGHTS IS SMALLER, BUT KEEPS BURNING LONG AFTER THE OTHERS HAVE MELTED AWAY.

A YOUNG MAN GREETS THE PILGRIMS ARRIVING IN KONYA AND INSPIRES THEM TO BECOME RUMI’S DISCIPLES.

RUMI PROTECTS KONYA DURING THE BATTLE BETWEEN SULTAN SELIM AND BEYAZID.

RUMI RESCUES A SHIP AND ITS PASSENGERS FROM A WHIRLPOOL.

RUMI REBUKES SOME OF HIS FOLLOWERS FOR BICKERING.

RUMI TALKS WITH A MONSTER THAT COMES OUT OF THE WATER.

AT A BATH, RUMI ADVISES HIS FOLLOWERS TO ENLIGHTEN THEIR HEARTS INSTEAD OF IMPROVING THEIR OUTWARD APPEARANCES.

RUMI WARNS HIS SON VELED TO AVOID SIN.

A STINGY VIZIER IS FORCED TO PAY A HIGH PRICE TO A POOR POTTER.

RUMI KEEPS A VIZIER WAITING.

SHEMS ABOUT TO BE STABBED TO DEATH BY A BAND OF ASSASSINS.

RUMI WHIRLS IN ECSTASY OUTSIDE A GOLDSMITH’S SHOP. THERE IS A LEGEND THAT HE CONCEIVED OF THE IDEA OF THE WHIRLING RITUAL AFTER THIS SPONTANEOUS EXPERIENCE HE HAD.

TWO MEN LEAD AWAY RUMI’S SON.

RUMI CURES A BOIL ON THE NECK OF HIS GRANDSON ARIF.

AFTER RECITING FROM THE KORAN AND THE MESNEVI, THE DERVISHES WHIRL TO MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT.  

Prof Halman, and his daughter and actress Defne Halman performed RUMI: SOARING THE ECSTASY, accompany
original music by Jeff PERETZ & ABU GARA on November 18, 2004 at the Turkish House in New York City.

IN MODERN TURKEY, NOT ONLY RUMI’S MORAL FORCE BUT ALSO THE CEREMONIES OF THE WHIRLING DERVISHES EXERT A STRONG IMPACT. WHEN TURKEY WAS IN ITS NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF MUSTAFA KEMAL PASHA, THE MEVLEVIS GAVE THE EFFORT THEIR SUPPORT THROUGH A BATTALION OF THEIR OWN. AFTER THE TURKISH REPUBLIC WAS ESTABLISHED, PRESIDENT MUSTAFA KEMAL PASHA WENT TO KONYA IN 1924, HE VISITED THE RUMI MAUSOLEUM AND WROTE IN THE GUEST-BOOK IN HIS OWN HANDWRITING:

“EVERY VISITOR TO RUMI’S MAUSOLEUM IS A REFUGEE FROM REACTIONARY DOGMA…THE IDEA OF SOARING TO GOD STANDING, WHIRLING, IN MOTION IS A NATURAL EXPRESSION OF THE TURKISH GENIUS…RUMI IS A LOVER OF TRANSFORMATION WHO TRANSCENDS THE AGES, A GREAT REFORMER WHO WELDED ISLAM TO THE TURKISH SOUL… HE UPHELD THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL REVOLUTION AND THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE.” IN 1925, THE TURKISH REPUBLIC INITIATED AN AMBITIOUS SECULARIST PROJECT, AS PART OF WHICH ALL SECTS WERE ABOLISHED AND THEIR CONGREGATION PLACES CLOSED. BUT, ON MARCH 3RD, 1927, ON ORDERS FROM PRESIDENT MUSTAFA KEMAL PASHA, THE RUMI MAUSOLEUM OPENED ITS DOORS AS KONYA’S MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES. YAKUP KADRİ KARAOSMANOĞLU, PROMINENT INTELLECTUAL AND NOVELIST, COMMENTED THAT SUFISM HAS A MOMENTOUS POTENTIAL FOR MODERN LIFE: “SUFISM PROVIDES TOLERANCE AND FREEDOM OF FAITH. IF SUFI LITERATURE HAD DEVELOPED EFFECTIVELY, IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN NECESSARY FOR US TO ADOPT SECULARISM, BECAUSE SUFISM IS A SYSTEM OF BELIEF BASED ON FREE THINKING AND LIBERAL FAITH.” TODAY, RUMI’S IDEALS AND MEVLEVI CULTURE INSPIRE COUNTLESS INDIVIDUALS IN TURKEY AND ABROAD. RUMI’S POETRY BOOKS ARE BEST-SELLERS IN THE UNITED STATES. IN FACT, BOTH LOS ANGELES TIMES AND CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR HAVE IDENTIFIED RUMI AS “AMERICA’S BEST-SELLING POET.”

THIS YEAR, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS TO THE RUMI MAUSOLEUM IN KONYA WILL REACH A RECORD ONE AND A HALF MILLION. WHEN THE DERVISHES PRESENT THEIR CEREMONIES IN THE UNITED STATES AND ELSEWHERE, THEY CREATE TREMENDOUS EXCITEMENT.

THE “SEMA” CEREMONY IS A POWERFUL SPIRITUAL SOARING TO ECSTACY, EXHILARATION OF LOVE, INNER ENLIGHTENMENT DURING THE SOUL’S HEIGHTENING TOWARD GOD. RUMI’S WHIRLING DERVISHES SEEK ECSTASY.  IN THEIR RITUALS, WITH MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT, THEY TURN GRACEFULLY  -  FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, LEFT: BECAUSE LEFT IS WHERE THE HEART IS, THE HEART IS WHERE LOVE VIBRATES.  THE RIGHT HAND OPENS UP TO HEAVEN, THE LEFT HAND POINTS DOWN TO THE GROUND.  THAT WAY, THEY RECEIVE THE BENEDICTION AND THE BLISS OF GOD THE BELOVED  -   AND TRANSMIT LOVE TO OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.  THE WHIRLING IS A SPIRITUAL SOARING, THE PERFECT TRANCE.

WHEN THE DERVISHES EXPERIENCE A TRANCE, IT IS AS IF THEIR FEET RISE ABOVE THE GROUND OR FLOOR. THE GREATEST BLISS FOR THEM IS TO GLIMPSE, DURING THAT ECSTASY, THE BEAUTIFUL FACE OF GOD. RUMI EXPRESSED THE SENSATION OF TRUE LOVE’S SUBLIMITY AND PURIFICATION IN AN EXQUISITE POEM:

PERFECT, PERFECT, PERFECT
THIS LOVE IS THREE TIMES PERFECT;
EMPTY, EMPTY, EMPTY
THIS FLESH AND ITS LUSTS.
SACRED, SACRED, SACRED
THIS LIGHT IS THREE TIMES SACRED;
SOARING, SOARING, SOARING
TO MEET ETERNITY TODAY.

SINCE THE 13TH CENTURY RUMI’S POETRY AND SPIRITAULITY, HIS HUMANIST VALUES, AND THE STIRRING CEREMONIES OF HIS FOLLOWERS HAVE FOSTERED A “CLIMATE OF LOVE”:

THE VOICE OF LOVE IS DESCENDING FROM LEFT
                                                            
AND RIGHT:
WE ARE BOUND FOR PARADISE. JOIN US.
                                                            
WATCH THIS SIGHT.
THIS IS SUCH DAY: THE SUN IS DAZZLING TWICE
                                                            
AS BEFORE - -

A DAY BEYOND ALL DAYS, UNLIKE ALL OTHERS - -

                                                             SAY NO MORE…

LOVERS, I HAVE GREAT NEWS FOR YOU: FROM THE

                                                    HEAVENS ABOVE

THIS DAY OF LOVE BRINGS SONGS AND FLOWERS IN

                                                                A DOWNPOUR. LOVE IS THE WATER OF ETERNAL LIFE, CURES

                                                                  EVERY WOE;

GARDENS WHERE LOVERS RE-UNITE DRIVE AWAY

                                                             ALL SORROW.

THEY SAY THERE IS A WINDOW THAT OPENS FROM

                                                         HEART TO HEART;

IF THERE ARE NO WALLS, THERE IS NO NEED FOR

                                                              ANY WINDOW.

WHOEVER JOINS THE CIRCLES OF OUR FAITH TO GO OUR WAY

SEES THAT IN OUR BODY HUNDREDS OF LIVES HAVE THEIR 

                                                                                          HEYDAY;

WHOEVER DRINKS NECTAR FROM THE PITCHER OF OUR SPIRIT

FINDS SUCH BLISSFUL ECSTASY THAT HE TAKES OUR NIGHT

                                                                                          FOR DAY. AT ONE TIME WHEN LIFE WAS REAL, YOUR SOUL WAS ONE WITH

                                                                                            MY SOUL:

ALL WE WERE, OPEN OR SECRET, WAS PART OF

                                                                      THE SAME WHOLE,

IF “YOU” AND “I” ARE PRONOUNS I USE, THEY ARE ONLY TERMS -

IN TRUTH, THERE CAN BE NO SEPARATE YOUR OR I AT ALL. WHEN I HAVE YOU, THE PASSIONS OF LOVE MAKE ME STAY

                                                                                        AWAKE;

WHEN YOU ARE NOT WITH ME, I CANNOT SLEEP - I MOAN,

                                                                                          I ACHE;

I’M AWAKE THE NIGHT YOU STAY WITH ME AND THE NIGHT YOU

                                                                                                DON’T -

BUT HOW THOSE TWO NIGHTS ARE WORLDS APART, LOOK, FOR

                                                                                  HEAVEN’S SAKE.

TO BECOME A MYSTIC, FEEL NO LONGING FOR THE PAST. GAGE

THE AFFAIRS OF BYGONE DAYS - - AND YOU SHALL TURN A NEW

                                                                                                   PAGE;

YOU SHALL THEN BE THE CHILD OF THE TIME, ITS YOUTH, ITS

                                                                                            OLD SAGE,

AND NEVER LOSE THE HOUR YOU ARE IN, THE CORE OF THE AGE.

TONIGHT IS SUCH A NIGHT - - THE CORE OF THE DARKEST

                                                                                          LAYERS;

TONIGHT IS SUCH A NIGHT WHEN ANSWERS ARE FOUND FOR

                                                                                PRAYERS - -

THE NIGHT OF GIFTS, GRANTS, AND OFFERINGS, THE NIGHT OF

                                                                             BOUNTY.

SUCH A NIGHT: WE SHARE THE SECRETS OF GOD LIKE

                                                                               SOOTHSAYERS.

THERE IS A ROAD THAT STRETCHES FROM SOUL TO SOUL IN

                                                                             GRANDEUR:

MY HEART REMAINS AWAKE: IT SEEKS ON THAT PATH LOVE’S

                                                                                                   ARDOR.

THIS HEART OF MINE IS SO LIMPID – LIKE WATER THAT IS PURE.

PURE WATER GLIMMERS: TO THE MOON IT HOLDS A PURE

                                                                                                 MIRROR.

BEYOND BELIEF AND FAITHLESSNESS THERE LIES THE SPACE

IN WHOSE HEARTLAND THIS LOVE OF OURS HAS FOUND ITS

                                                                                           PLACE:

IT HOLDS NO ROOM FOR RELIGION AND SACRILEGE - -

THAT’S THE GROUND WHERE THE MAN OF WISDOM RUBS HIS

                                                                                             FACE.

IN THIS WORLD AND IN AFTERLIFE THERE IS HE, ONLY HE:

WE WORSHIP HIM ALONE, FOR EVERY OTHER ENTITY

IS FALSE: SKIES AND THE SUN, ORCHARDS AND GARDENS ARE A

                                                                                             SHAM;

IN ALL WORDS, ALL MEANINGS, HE IS THE SOLE REALITY.

THIS SEASON IS NOT THE SPRING, IT IS SOME OTHER SEASON,

THE LANGUID TRANCES IN THE EYES HAVE A DIFFERENT REASON,

AND THERE IS ANOTHER CAUSE FOR THE WAY EACH SINGLE BRANCH

DALLIES BY ITSELF WHILE ALL THE TREES SWAY IN UNISON.

I TOOK A VOW THAT SO LONG AS LIFE DOES NOT FADE AWAY

FROM MY HEART, I SHALL STAY ON THE STRAIGHT PATH AND NEVER

                                                                                                               STRAY;

BUT THEN I LOOKED TO MY RIGHT AND TO MY LEFT - - AND I SAW

MY BELOVED RIGHT AND LEFT - - LEFT AND RIGHT - - EVERY WHICH WAY.

HOW LOVELY TO HALT AND REST – AND THEN TO GO ON

                                                                                       YOUR WAY,

NOT FROZEN NOR MUDDLED, TO STAY FRESH BY FLOWING AWAY.

YESTERDAY IS PAST AND GONE – SO ARE YOUR WORDS OF

                                                                                    YESTERDAY:

HOW LOVELY TO FIND FOR EACH NEW DAY SOMETHING FRESH

                                                                                            TO SAY.

For Page 3>
For Introduction by Cliff JACOBS>

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