Dervish Days

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During the sema, the arms are open with the right hand held up and the left hand down, which symbolizes blessing from God received with the right hand while turning away from everyone else and distributing these blessings with the left hand. The whirling dervishes who perform the ceremony must undergo rigorous spiritual and physical training before they are ready for the service.

All of the postures and demeanors in the area where the sema are performed conform to rule of decency. Individuals who perform the sema are expected to be capable of reading and understanding the written works of Rumi and to have the skill required to engage in arts such as music and calligraphy. The course of training required for the whirling dervish will put him on a spiritual journey, in other words it will put him on the path of the Perfect Man, which envisions transformation and development after the acquisition of knowledge. The spiritual journey includes many different stages, such as loyalty, love, service, the remembrance of God and solitude.

The Mevlevi Sema Ceremonies that describe divine love in artistic terms with choreography and complex musical structure are performed at least twice a week throughout the summer, particularly in Istanbul and Konya.

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No real shaikh, however, would keep a student in a state of prolonged moral ambivalence. According to the report, he fled Iran in ibid. Then end draws ever closer In my own case it took quite a while for me to understand the value of cultivating a relationship with a teacher. Freedom House reports that "Gonabadi dervishes are apparently persecuted because of their more open interpretation of Islam and the growing popularity of their beliefs, which is regarded as a threat by Iran's Shiite clerical establishment" Freedom House

Mevlevi culture emerged in the 13th century, was developed and changed over time and became an important part of Turkish history and culture. The way to preserve and keep it alive, especially the Sema ceremony, is to teach it to future generations without marring the technical and internal perfection and originality of the tradition. In order to ensure that the Mevlevi Sema Ceremonies are performed without compromising their essence, a protective action plan has been drawn up that includes not only the Ministry of Culture and Tourism but many civil society organizations as well.

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A number of events related to Mevlana and Mevlevi culture were organized both in Turkey and abroad, and the Mevlevi Sema Ceremony was performed. According to this Circular, the Sema Ceremony must be performed with traditional works from Mevlevi Music , which are an inseparable part of the Sema, in spaces where this culture can be accurately transmitted and introduced and in environments that meet the necessary requirements. The dervishes and musicians who participate in the programs must possess the necessary technical and musical competence.

They must conduct themselves solemnly, aware that they are not only representing a culture during the program but performing "a transcendent practice with Sufi characteristics".

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Among the many artistic events held as part of the Istanbul European Capital of Culture program, the Mevlevi Sema Ceremonies attracted significant interest. The costume worn by the dervishes during the sema ceremonies is extremely important. Making the felt hats called "sikke" worn by the Mevlevi dervishes is not only difficult, but it is also a laborintensive process of creation.

The sikke hats currently in the Mevlana Museum were made by him.

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Mehves Lelic

Our pledge, our obedience, our commitment is to Allah, and the shaikh is a link. Why should there be any intermediary at all? This is a very good question. No shaikh is perfect, and it is particularly in his function as shaikh that he may sometimes disappear and become a pure medium for divine grace or wisdom.

It is the dervish who helps to create the shaikh, and both are in the process of learning from the relationship.

It must be remembered that before becoming a shaikh one had to be a dervish, and one never stops being a dervish. A messenger entered with the news that a certain shaikh in a distant village had died. The community was asking that a shaikh be sent to succeed their late teacher. If they had asked for a dervish, one of us would have to go! Spiritual seekers are typically people who have learned to question conventional reality. Our post-modern culture has also suffered a loss of faith, the result of which can be characterized as a pervasive cynicism. The conventional conditioning and orthodoxy of the post-modern world consists of a profound cynicism, doubt, and inability to approach truth innocently.

Once one has decided to play the master game of self-transformation one must do it wholeheartedly.

Whirling Dervishes at the Galata Mevlevihanesi - Istanbul For 91 Days

In my own case it took quite a while for me to understand the value of cultivating a relationship with a teacher. Perhaps I was simply too rebellious and critical. Now I can look back on my own relationships with my teachers with some remorse for the disappointments and pain I caused them through my insensitivity and lack of awareness. It is easy to forget that the shaikh is a servant more than a master.

The shaikh holds the keys to a treasure the seeker cannot really understand. Sometimes the outer respect is the best that can be offered, but we must realize that we can fool ourselves more easily than we can deceive others and especially our shaikh.

What is required in this relationship is a connection of love, rabita , which allows all that one has to pass to the other. When there is real love between a shaikh and a dervish, the dervish comes into resonance with the wisdom and light of the shaikh, and the shaikh carries some of the burden of the dervish. A shaikh needs to be strong enough to do this and this is possible only with the help of God and the lineage, especially the Pir, the Complete Human Being from whom the particular order derives its baraka, or grace. There is more than one kind of real shaikh, in addition to the self-appointed teachers who can do some good and much harm.

There are shaikhs who serve a kind of managerial function in dervish circles.

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Dervish or Darvesh or Darwīsh in Islam can refer broadly to members of a Sufi fraternity (tariqah), or more narrowly to a religious mendicant, who chose or. The Mevlevi Order or Mawlaw'īyya is a Sufi order that originated in Konya and which was founded by the followers of Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, Sufi mystic, and Islamic theologian. The Mevlevis are also known as the 'whirling dervishes' due to their famous . It was they who had Rumi's mausoleum built in Konya, which to this day is a.

They need to have a certain natural authority, experience, and knowledge; they must be trusted not to use the position to gain any kind of advantage for themselves. In their managerial capacity they are useful in the preparatory work of dervish training, provided they are backed up by a real source of baraka.

Then there are those shaikhs who have the permission of the unseen world, who have true spiritual authority. Such a shaikh not only has experience, wisdom, and knowledge, but also serves as a channel for the transformative energies of the tradition, both in group activities like the zhikr , and in relationship to individual dervishes. In order for this individual connection to work at its highest potential, the student needs to cultivate a spiritual connection with the shaikh. In the story-book version of shaikh and dervish, the dervish is involved in a period of closely supervised experiences under the watchful eyes of the shaikh.

A Sufi shaikh is likely to have a family and a profession and rarely has the time to give such personal attention to many people. Given the rarity of real shaikhs, especially in the Western world, one should be thankful if one has found a connection even at a distance to an effective Sufi lineage. What needs to flow to the student will flow if the student knows how to cultivate that connection and has surrendered to it.

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In the physical world we are under many limitations of time and space. In some cases you may see your shaikh in the tangible world only rarely.

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