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Light Millennium proudly presented...
RUMI: SOARING TO ECSTASY
Live Documentary with Slides and Original Music
Date: Thursday, November 18, 2004
Time: 7:00 PM

Introduction by Clifford JACOBS
Original Music by Jeff PERETZ & ABU GARA
Page: I

 

RUMI: SOARING TO ECSTASY

Presented by:
Prof. Talat HALMAN,

First Minister of Culture of the Republic of Turkey &
Defne HALMAN, Actress

This event dedicated to Aliye AK

COME !
BUT DON'T JOIN US WITHOUT YOUR MUSIC
WE HAVE A CELEBRATION HERE.
RISE AND BEAT THE DRUMS.

WE ARE MANSUR WHO SAID "I AM GOD!"

WE ARE IN ECSTASY - -
DRUNK, BUT NOT FROM WINE MADE OF GRAPES.
WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT US,
WE ARE FAR, FAR FROM THEM.

THIS IS THE NIGHT OF THE SEMA
WHEN WE WHIRL TO ECSTASY.
THERE IS LIGHT NOW,
THERE IS LIGHT, THERE IS LIGHT.

THIS IS TRUE LOVE
WHICH MEANS FAREWELL TO THE MIND.
THERE IS FAREWELL TODAY, FAREWELL.

TONIGHT EACH FLAMING HEART IS A FRIEND OF MUSIC.
LONGING FOR YOUR LIPS,
MY HEART POURS OUT OF MY MOUTH.

HUSH!

YOU ARE MADE OF FEELING AND THOUGHT AND PASSION;
THE REST IS NOTHING BUT FLESH AND BONE.
WE ARE THE SOUL OF THE WORLD,
NOT HEAVY OR SAGGING LIKE THE BODY.
WE ARE THE SPIRIT'S TREASURE, NOT BOUND TO THIS EARTH,

TO TIME OR SPACE.
LOVE IS OUR MOTHER.
WE WERE BORN OF LOVE.
LIVE IN LOVE'S ECSTASY
FOR LOVE IS ALL THAT EXISTS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE SPIRITUAL AND POETIC REALM OF MEVLANA CELALEDDIN RUMI, TO THE IDEALS OF SUFISM. AND TO THE CEREMONIES OF THE WHIRLING DERVISHES

COME! RUMI INVITED ALL TO LOVE AND LIGHT, TO TRANCE, TO SOARING. HE INVITED ALL TO THE UNITY OF FAITH, TO THE ONENESS OF HUMANITY, TO UNIVERSAL HARMONY, TO PEACE ON EARTH.


WHATEVER YOU THINK OF WAR, I AM FAR, FAR FROM IT;
WHATEVER YOU THINK OF LOVE, I AM THAT, ONLY THAT, ALL THAT.
LIKE A COMPASS I STAND FIRM WITH ONE LEG ON MY FAITH
AND ROAM WITH THE OTHER LEG ALL OVER THE SEVENTY-TWO NATIONS
SEVENTY-TWO NATIONS HEAR OF THEIR SECRETS FROM US:
WE ARE THE REED-FLUTE WHOSE SONG UNITES ALL NATIONS AND FAITHS.
“IN ALL MOSQUES, TEMPLES, CHURCHES, I FIND ONE SHRINE ALONE”

IN ANATOLIA, THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY WAS AN “AGE OF MIRACLES”, PERHAPS THE MOST STIRRING ERA OF TURKISH CULTURE. YUNUS EMRE, HACI BEKTAŞ VELİ, NASREDDİN HOCA…AND RUMİ. THE GOLDEN AGE OF HUMANISM, OF THE IDEAL OF HUMANITY UNITED IN PEACE.

THE ANATOLIAN RENAISSANCE CAME A FULL CENTURY EARLIER THAN THE RENAISSANCE IN EUROPE… DANTE WAS 8 YEARS OLD WHEN RUMI DIED. PETRARCH LIVED A HUNDRED YEARS LATER THAN RUMI, ERASMUS TWO AND A HALF CENTURIES LATER. WHEN EUROPE WAS STILL IN ITS MEDIEVAL DARKNESS, ANATOLIA HAD SEEN THE LIGHT.

VERY FEW HISTORIC FIGURES HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CREATE A SPIRITUAL CLIMATE. IN ANATOLIA THIS WAS ACHIEVED BY MEVLANA CELALEDDIN RUMI.

THE RELIGION OF LOVE IS APART FROM ALL RELIGIONS;
THE LOVERS OF GOD HAVE NO RELIGION BUT GOD ALONE.
I ROAMED THE LANDS OF CHRISTENDOM FROM END TO END
SEARCHING ALL OVER, BUT HE WAS NOT ON THE CROSS.

I WENT INTO THE TEMPLES WHERE THE INDIANS WORSHIP IDOLS
VAND THE MAGIANS CHANT PRAYERS TO FIRE - - I FOUND

                                                                                   NO TRACE OF HIM.

RIDING AT FULL SPEED, I LOOKED ALL OVER THE MUSLIM KAABA,
BUT HE WAS NOT AT THAT SANCTUARY FOR YOUNG AND OLD.

THEN I GAZED RIGHT INTO MY OWN HEART:
THERE, I SAW HIM... HE WAS THERE AND NOWHERE ELSE.

HE INTRODUCED A POWERFUL NEW IDEAL OF LOVE AND HUMANITARIAN SOLIDARITY IN THE 13TH CENTURY AND FOR ALL TIME. IN THE MESNEVİ, A MONUMENTAL PHILOSOPHIC WORK IN 52 THOUSAND POETIC LINES, AND IN SOME 4 THOUSAND LYRICS, RUMI GAVE THE WORLD AN APEX OF HUMANISM.

HEGEL PRAISED HIM AS ONE OF THE GREAT POETS AND THINKERS IN WORLD HISTORY.

THE BRITISH ORIENTALIST REYNOLD NICHOLSON, WHO TRANSLATED RUMI’S MESNEVİ AND SELECTED POEMS, PAID TRIBUTE TO HIM AS “THE GREATEST MYSTICAL POET OF ANY AGE.”

FOR HIS WESTÖSTLICHER DİVAN, GOETHE DREW INSPIRATION FROM SOME OF MEVLANA’S POEMS TRANSLATED INTO GERMAN.

ONE OF THE IMMORTALS OF PERSIAN CLASSICAL POETRY, JAMİ SAID OF HIM: “HE IS NOT A PROPHET, BUT HE HAS WRITTEN A HOLY BOOK,”  REFERRING TO THE MESNEVI, WHICH HAS ALSO BEEN CALLED “THE KORAN OF MYSTICISM” AND “THE INNER TRUTH OF THE KORAN”.

REMBRANDT MADE TWO IMAGINARY DRAWINGS OF RUMI.

SIR MOHAMED IQBAL, THE NATIONAL POET OF PAKISTAN, PROCLAIMED: “CHOOSE MEVLANA AS YOUR GUIDE SO THAT GOD WILL GRANT YOU LOVE AND ARDOR.”

GANDHI, THEY SAY, OCCASIONALLY QUOTED RUMI’S COUPLET:

   TO UNITE – THAT IS WHY WE CAME;
  
TO DIVIDE, THAT IS NOT OUR AIM.

UNESCO’S FIRST DIRECTOR-GENERAL, JULIAN HUXLEY, LAUDED HIS SPIRIT OF INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD.

CELALEDDIN WAS BORN IN BALKH (IN PRESENT-DAY AFGHANISTAN) IN 1207, THE SON OF A RENOWNED SCHOLAR AND MYSTIC, BAHAÜDDİN, WHO WAS FORCED TO FLEE FROM BALKH WITH HIS FAMILY WHEN CELALEDDIN WAS ABOUT 12 YEARS OLD. THE REASON HAS NOT BEEN FULLY DOCUMENTED, BUT IT WAS PROBABLY EITHER AN IMPENDING MONGOL ONSLAUGHT OR AN INTELLECTUAL-POLITICAL DISAGREEMENT WITH THE SULTAN AND HIS ENTOURAGE. THE FAMILY WANDERED THROUGH PERSIA AND THE ARAB LANDS FOR TEN YEARS WITHOUT FINDING A CITY RECEPTIVE TO BAHAÜDDİN’S INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AND UNORTHODOX IDEAS. FINALLY KONYA WELCOMED THEM.

THE SELJUK SULTAN ALAEDDIN KEYKUBAT, ACCORDING TO LEGEND, SENT BAHAÜDDİN AN EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG INVITATION PLEDGING THAT, IF THE GREAT SCHOLAR AND HIS FAMILY WOULD SETTLE IN THE SELJUK CAPITAL, THE SULTAN “ALTHOUGH HE BOWS TO NO ONE IS READY TO BECOME BAHAÜDDİN’S FAITHFUL SERVANT AND DISCIPLE.”

THE ARRIVAL OF BAHAÜDDİN AND HIS FAMILY IN KONYA IS A DRAMATIC STORY.

LEGEND HAS IT THAT, WHEN BAHAÜDDİN, HAVING ACCEPTED THE INVITATION, WAS ARRIVING WITH HIS FAMILY AND RETINUE, SULTAN ALAEDDIN MET THEM OUTSIDE THE CITY, DISMOUNTED, AND WALKED TO THE DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR WHO REMAINED ON HIS HORSE. THE SULTAN WANTED TO KISS BAHAÜDDİN’S HAND, BAHAÜDDİN HELD OUT HIS SCEPTRE, THE SYMBOL OF HIS MORAL AUTHORITY, WHICH THE SULTAN RESPECTFULLY KISSED. 

THEN THE SULTAN HELD THE BRIDLE OF THE SCHOLAR’S HORSE AND, REMAINING ON FOOT, LED THE WAY. THAT IS HOW THEY ENTERED THE CITY OF KONYA, THE SULTAN PAYING HOMAGE IN PUBLIC TO THE HIGHER SPIRITUAL AND INTELLECTUAL AUTHORITY. UNTIL BAHAÜDDIN’S DEATH, THE SULTAN REGULARLY ATTENDED HIS SERMONS AND LECTURES.

IN THE WORDS OF SULTAN VELED, RUMI’S SON: “THE SULTAN AND HIS COMMANDERS FAITHFULY VISITED HIM / AND WHOLEHEARTEDLY ATE THE HONEY OF HIS COUNSEL.”

CELALEDDIN WAS 22 YEARS OLD WHEN HE ARRIVED IN KONYA. HE LIVED THERE UNTIL HIS DEATH ON DECEMBER 17TH, 1273 AT THE AGE OF 66. THE CITY AFFORDED FOR HIM THE ATMOSPHERE AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO EVOLVE AND EXPRESS HIS NEW IDEAS WHICH RECEIVED CULTURAL VALUES FROM THE DIVERSE RELIGIONS AND SECTS ACTIVE IN THE SELJUK CAPITAL.

AT THIS STAGE IN HIS LIFE, HE WAS ABOVE ALL A SCHOLAR. HE HAD READ IN DEPTH IN PERSIAN, ARABIC, TURKISH, GREEK, AND HEBREW, AND COMMANDED VAST ENCYCLOPAEDIC KNOWLEDGE.

SHEMS WAS KNOWN TO BE FROM TABRIZ. BUT WHERE DID HE COME FROM TO KONYA. HE WAS A WILD MYSTIC. HE AND CELALEDDIN BECAME BOSOM FRIENDS.

SHEMS, A COMPELLING FIGURE OF MYSTERIOUS POWER, PUT RUMI THROUGH MANY RIGOROUS, AND OCCASIONALLY CRUEL, TESTS FROM WHICH RUMI EMERGED OBEDIENT, SELFLESS, DEEPENED AND ENLIGHTENED.

AFTER FIFTEEN MONTHS OF FRIENDSHIP DURING WHICH RUMI WAS IN BONDAGE TO HIS MORAL AND MYSTICAL GUIDE SHEMS (WHOSE NAME MEANS “SUN” – THE SUN THAT ENLIGHTENED RUMI) MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED. RUMI WAS SHATTERED, IN DEEP DISPAIR: “WITHOUT HIS FACE, PARADISE FOR ME IS HATEFUL HELL.” HE COMPOSED HEART-RENDING POEMS FULL OF IMAGES OF BURNING FROM SEPARATION, OF UNBEARABLE LONGING, OF SPIRITUAL EXILE: “COME, COME, IN YOUR ABSENCE, I HAVE LOST MY MIND AND MY FAITH.”

COME, COME, YOU WILL NEVER FIND A FRIEND LIKE ME.
WHERE’S A BELOVED LIKE ME IN ALL THE WORLD?
COME, DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE RUNNING BACK AND FORTH.
YOU ARE LIKE A DRY VALLEY, I AM THE RAIN.
YOU ARE A CITY LAID WASTE, I AM THE ARCHITECT.

RUMI WAS TO UNDERTAKE AN ARDUOUS SEARCH.
SOME CLAIMED SHEMS HAD DIED. RUMI PROTESTED:

HE LIVES THE ETERNAL LIFE, YET “HE IS DEAD!” SAYS SOMEONE.
HE IS THE SUN OF HOPE. WHO CAN CLAIM DEATH FOR SUCH A SUN?
IT IS AN ENEMY OF THE SUN WHO CLIMBS ON THE ROOF,
COVERS BOTH HIS EYES AND SHOUTS: “LOOK, THE SUN

                                                                           IS DEAD AND GONE!”

WHEN HE FINALLY RECEIVED WORD THAT SHEMS HAD BEEN SEEN IN DAMASCUS, HE SENT LETTERS IN VERSE: “O THE LIGHT OF MY HEART, COME BACK! O MY LOVER AND LOVED ONE, OUR LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS. COME, I PRAY.” SHEMS DID NOT REPLY – LIKE GOD WHO DOES NOT ANSWER THE PRAYERS OF THE MYSTIC.

ONE DAY, SHEMS CAME BACK. SYMBOLICALY RUMI HAD FOUND HIS GOD AGAIN. HE WROTE A CELEBRATION OF REUNION:

BLESSED MOMENT.  HERE WE SIT IN THIS PALACE OF LOVE, YOU AND I
WE HAVE TWO SHAPES, TWO BODIES, BUT A SINGLE SOUL, YOU AND I.

THE COLORS OF THE GARDENS AND THE SONGS OF THE  BIRDS
AMONG THE FLOWER-BEDS WILL MAKE US IMMORTAL, YOU  AND I.

THE STARS OF HEAVEN WILL COME OUT TO GAZE AT  US
WE SHALL SHOW THE STARS THE MOON HERSELF, YOU  AND I.

UNITED IN ECSTACY, WE SHALL NO LONGER BE YOU OR I
RESCUED FROM FOOLISH BABBLE, WE SHALL REJOICE, YOU AND I.

ALL THE BRIGHT-PLUMED BIRDS OF PARADISE WILL PLUNGE INTO ENVY
WHEN THEY HEAR US LAUGHING MERRILY, YOU AND I.

THEN SHEMS WAS LOST TO RUMI FOREVER. THOSE JEALOUS OF THE CLOSENESS OF SHEMS TO RUMI STABBED HIM TO DEATH.

THE ABSENCE OF LOVED ONES, THE SEPARATION FROM GOD WHO IS THE ULTIMATE AND THE PERFECT BELOVED, GAVE THE MYSTICS THEIR TRAGIC EXISTENCE. THE NEY, THE TRADITIONAL  REED FLUTE, WITH ITS SAD, SOUL-PIERCING STRAINS, EXPRESSES THE MYSTIC’S YEARNING TO RETURN TO THE BELOVED GOD. THE OPENING COUPLETS OF THE MESNEVI CAPTURE THE REED’S MOANING:

LISTEN TO THE REED, HOW IT TELLS ITS TALES;
BEMOANING ITS BITTER EXILE, IT WAILS:

“EVER SINCE I WAS HORN FROM THE REED-BEDS,
MY CRIES TEAR MEN’S AND WOMEN’S HEARTS TO SHREDS.

“LET THIS SEPARATION SLIT MY SAD BREAST
SO I CAN REVEAL MY LONGING AND QUEST.

EVERYONE IS MY FRIEND FOR HIS OWN PART,
YET NONE CAN KNOW THE SECRETS OF MY HEART.
“THE FLAMES OF LOVE MAKE THE REED’S VOICE DIVINE;
IT IS LOVE’S PASSION THAT RAGES IN THE WINE.

THE REED CRIES WITH THE LOVERS WHO FELL APART,
IT RENDS THE CHEST AND TEARS OPEN THE HEART.
NOTHING KILLS OR CURES THE SOUL LIKE THE REED;
NOTHING CAN CRAVE OR CONSOLE LIKE THE REED.”

HE VIEWED CONVENTIONAL RELIGIOUS TENETS AND INSTITUTIONS AS RESTRICTIONS ON INTELLECTUAL INDEPENDENCE AND THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE. FOR HIM, ORTHODOXY WAS INIMICAL TO TRUE FAITH. HE DENOUNCED IT IN VEHEMENT TERMS IN A RUBAI:

UNLESS THE SEMINARIES AND THE MINARETS PERISH,
THE WANDERING DERVISH CAN REACH NO STATE HE CAN CHERISH.
UNLESS FAITH BECOMES DISBELIEF AND DISBELIEF IS FAITH,
NO VASSAL OF GOD WILL BE A TRUE MUSLIM AND FLOURISH.
BE THAT AS IT MAY, RUMI BORE ALLEGIANCE TO THE BASIC TENETS AND VALUES OF SUNNI (MAINSTREAM) ISLAM:

ALL MY LIFE I HAVE LIVED UNDER THE QUR’AN’S SWAY,
I WAS ALWAYS SOIL FOR THE MUHAMMADAN WAY…
THOSE WHO DERIVE UNLIKELY MEANINGS FROM THE FACTS
ARE MISTAKEN, WHAT THEY CLAIM LEADS ME TO DISMAY.

RUMI LIVED HIS LIFE IN EXCITEMENT AND TRANQUILLTY, IN ECSTASY AND CONTENTMENT, DRAMATIC EVENTS AND CEASELESS QUEST.

MEVLANA CELALEDDİN RUMİ DECIPTED IN A MINIATURE PAINTING MADE ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH… A RESPECTFUL DELINEATION OF THE SPIRITUAL LEADER IN SERENITY, GENEROSITY, AND EXQUISITE HUMILITY. A PERSIAN SCHOLAR ONCE DESCRIBED RUMI’S LOOKS USING ALL THE EVIDENCE HE COULD FIND:

“RUMI WAS A MAN OF SALLOW COMPLEXION. HIS BODY WAS THIN AND LEAN. HIS EYES FLASHED WITH A HYPNOTIC BRIGHTNESS DAUNTING TO THOSE WHO LOOKED UPON HIM…IN HIS CONDUCT HE WAS PEACEFUL AND TOLERANT TOWARDS PEOPLE OF ALL SECTS AND CREEDS..AND WAS NEVER HEARD TO UTTER ONE BITTER REPLY.” HERE IN KONYA, UNDER THE GREEN DOME, HE LIVES AND TEACHES. THE GREEN DOME… RUMI’S HOME, LYCEUM, SHRINE OF LOVE, MAUSOLEUM, THE HEARTLAND OF MAWLAVI MYSTICISM…HE DESCRIBED IT AS “THE TEMPLE FOR ALL LOVING HEARTS”.

“THIS PLACE,” HE WROTE IN A FAMOUS COUPLET,

“THIS PLACE IS THE KAABA FOR LOVERS:
“WHOEVER COMES IN HALF LEAVES IT FULL.”

Page 2>
For Introduction by Clifford JACOBS

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