Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug 4 sacred whirling dervishes

Aug 4 Whirling Dervishes
I went to see the Dervis Evi, the whirling dervish ceremony, in Goreme. The performance was in an underground cave; as we descended the stone steps to take our seats, the four musicians had begun to play. There was a small audience, and the cave was dark with small flickering lights like candles illuminating the small stage. Rumi wrote that we all share the One light, the radiating light. After seeing the many centuries of life in the caves, the overlap of Christianity and Islam both worshiping prophets of peace, I thought the essence of Rumi would be radiant here. I meditated as the musicians played, and felt full of light; it was rich and profound to participate in this mystic journey to perfection.
Samazen causes the mind to participate in the shared similarity and revolution of all beings. The dervishes turn their left hand to Earth and their right hand to Spirit. Revolving around the heart, from right to left, they embrace all of humankind, and all of creation with affection and love. The ceremony began with “Nat I sarif” to praise God, who created all of them. The Drum then sounded “Kund=Bo!” symbolizing divine order of the Creator. The flute or “nez”, with a very nasal wind sound, played to announce the presence of the breath of first life; the Divine Breath; the Breath Maker.
There were six dervishes, five participating in the ceremony and one Master of ceremonies. They enter with black coats over white flowing regalia, with a tall brown hat. They greet each other and bow to each other, a salutation of soul to soul concealed by shapes and bodies. I bowed quietly as well. They bowed to a red sheep skin, I believe representing all of life, all our relations, all sentient beings.
They take off the black cape, the shroud of death, and slowly begin to twirl in their pure white regalia, flowing out as they twirl. There were four parts to the ceremony. The first part of the ceremony is man’s birth into truth, feeling and the mind, ecstasy of God as Creator. I prayed to the spirit of the East, new beginnings, wind, the mind, the winged ones. Prayers of gratitude.
The second part of ceremony or “round” was the rapture of man witnessing the splendor of creation in front of God’s greatness and omnipotence. I prayed to the spirit of the south, fire, all plants, trees and deer – the gentleness of love.
The third was the direction of rapture into love, the sacrifice of mind to love. The complete submission and annihilation of self. Here I was praying to the west, water, collective consciousness, deep feelings - but had become lost in the light, swirling all through me and the room. I did metta prayer especially to one I was profoundly angry at and felt peace and compassion and really meant it for the first time. Forgiveness is the ultimate peace, the ultimate gift to self. This feeling was Buddhist void or nirvana, ecstasy, fenafill in Persia, a realization of submission to God.
The fourth and final round “He is a servant of God, of his books, of his prophets and all the Creation…” (Sura Bakaru 2 verse 285). Return to the task on Earth. The Master of Ceremonies led the last part of the ceremony, the dancers all bowed to acknowledge each other, and left. Thanks be to God the audience sat in awed silence, participating and presence. We all shared Oneness and light. Allah akbar.
The Reed Flute’s Song by Jelaluddin Rumi
Listen to the story told by the reed,
Of being separated.
“Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves
Understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source
Longs to go back.
At any gathering I am there,
Mingling in the laughing and grieving,
A friend to each, but few
Will hear the secrets hidden
Within the notes. No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit,
Spirit up from body: no concealing
That mixing. But it’s not given us
To see the soul. The reed flute
Is fire, not wind. Be that empty.”
Hear the love fire tangled
In the reed notes, as bewilderment
Melts into wine. The reed is a friend
To all who want the fabric torn
And drawn away. The reed is hurt
And salve combining. Intimacy
And longing for intimacy, one
Song. A disasterous surrender
And a fine love, together. The one
Who secretly hears this is senseless.
A tongue has one customer, the ear.
A sugarcane flute has such effect
Because it was able to make sugar
In the reedbed. The sound it makes
Is for everyone. Days full of wanting,
Let them go by without worrying
That they do. Stay where you are
Inside such a pure, hollow note.
Every thirst gets satisfied except
That of these fish the mystics,
Who swim a vast ocean of grace
Still somehow longing for it!
No one lives in that without
Being nourished evey day.
But if someone doesn’t’ want o hear
The song of the reed flute,
It’s best to cut conversation short, say good-bye, and leave.

1 comment:

  1. I also had the privilege of witnessing a performance of the whirling dervishes. I was in Istanbul, Turkey last week. I believe they were a group that performed at a recent conference in Spain and were the headlining act. It was stunning.