JACOBS, Deputy Executive Director of
Queens Public Television, Flushing, New York
event dedicated to in memory of ALIYE AK AYDAGÜL...
evening everyone and welcome to another important program
sponsored by the Light Millennium.
is a special honor for me to be invited to deliver these
opening remarks. This introduction grew out of an informal
conversation that Bircan and I had about Sufism.
first awareness of the Sufis occurred when I was very
young. My brother George was a History major who received
his Master Degree in North African and Islamic History
from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He had a
great many books on Islamic Culture; however, I remember
distinctly a series of books entitled The Sufi Message
of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Khan belonged to an order of Sufis
from the Indian continent. He brought knowledge of Sufism
to the West in 1910 when he arrived in Europe. He is quoted
is one religion and there are many covers. Each of these
a name: Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism,
Islam, etc., and when you take
off these covers, you find that there is one religion, and it
emphasis added) religion which is the religion
of the Sufi."*
Judaism it is said that the Torah is the Law, the Talmud
is the soul of the Law and, Kabbalah is the soul of the
soul of the Law. If that is true then perhaps we can say
that, if the Islam is God's, and the Koran represents
the soul of that Law, then Sufism is the soul of the soul
of the Law, which reaches its highest form of expression
in the idea of LOVE.
later years I became a Free and Accepted Mason. I say
that I became a Mason not joined them, because like the
Sufi I believe that one does not join them but one's spirit
evolves to the point where you become a Mason, or a Rosicrucian
or a Sufi. I also developed a particular interest in what
is known as the Western Mystery Tradition. This tradition
includes such areas of study as Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians,
the Knights Templar, Druids, Neoplatonism, Wicca, and
Kabbalah. It was also at this time that I discovered the
writings of Idries Shah, who has suggested that the Western
Mystery Tradition was influenced by Sufi philosophy which
was brought back to Europe by the Knights Templar at the
end of the Crusades.
my education came full circle through my friend and the
producer of the cable program, The Voice of Anatolia,
Ms. Aliye Ak. She gave me tickets to see the Mevlevi Order
of Whirling Dervishes at Lincoln Center for the Performing
Arts. I saw them for a second time at their historic performance
at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine here in New York
in the early nineties. Ms. Ak also gave me my first cassette
of Sufi Music which is a treasured part of my collection.
Sadly for me and for Bircan, Ms. Ak passed away last Wednesday
(November 10, 2004) and has taken her last journey
to Istanbul, and we would like to dedicate this evening
to her memory.
Talat Halman was the First Minister of Culture of the
Republic of Turkey. He served as part of the National
Cabinet, and was the first person to ever hold that position.
He is the author of many books and articles on Islamic
Mysticism. He is an authority on the works of both Mevlana
Celaleddin Rumi and Yunus Emre. A poet of note, his work
has been translated into English and French. In addition
he has translated into Turkish Shakespeare's Sonnets,
selected works of Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes and
William Faulkner. He is a member of UNESCO's Executive
Council and Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
at New York University.
he was decorated Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent
Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
he will be performing with musicians Jeff Peretz and Abu
Gara. And with Defne Halman, actress.
and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters, please welcome Mr.
Talat Sait Halman.
Speech of the "RUMI: SOARING TO ECSTASY"
A Live Documentary Event
Presented by: Prof.
Talat HALMAN & Defne HALMAN
Turkish House, #821 United Nations Plaza, 2nd Floor,
by: Bircan Ünver
Organized by: Light Millennium
Sponsored by: New York Turkish Tourism &
Special Thanks to: Seniha
HALMAN; Mr. Levent DEMIREL, Tourism and Culture
Atache; Figen BINGÜL, Mevlut AKYILDIZ &