We had the wonderful journey travelling to many parts of Turkey in this year in 2018 and had the opportunity to feel and experience some of their culture.
We also visited some of the local shows that includes “Sema” the dervish ceremony while we were in Konya, a prominent place in Anatolia where the great Sufi Poet Jalaluddin Rumi resided and departed from the world in December 1273 CE.
“Sema” the whirling dervish ceremony is the inspiration of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi as well part of Turkish custom, history and beliefs. It is one of the important heritage of Turkish culture as a tradition that is almost 800 years old.
The “Sema” ceremony is a spiritual journey of Dervishes whirling for devine love. The ceremony represents the mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. Turning towards the truth, a Dervish grows through love deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at “Perfection”. Then returns from his spiritual journey as a Man who reached maturity as greater Perfection, so as to love and to be of sevice to all of the creation without discriminating in regards to beliefs, class or race.
Contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object or being which does not revolve. Revolving that include all smallest particles to the stars in the sky, the moon, the sun and the earth. As a consequence of this similarity, everything revolves man carries blood on his body is circulating. Man is coming from the earth and return to it by revolving with the earth itself.
In this Sema ceremony the Dervishes with their head-dresses representing the ego’s tombstone and their white skirts representing the ego’s shroud are spiritually born to the truth by removing their black cloaks and they take a journey to spiritual maturity through the stages of the Sema ceremony holding their arms in a criss-cross position they represent the number one and testify to God’s unity.
While whirling, their arms open their right hands directed towards the sky and ready to receive God’s beneficence., gazing up, they turn their left hands towards the earth and turn from right to left pivoting around the heart.
The Sema ceremony has several parts of body movement with different meaning. That include four salutes. One of the salute means that the dissolution of rapture into love and thereby the sacrifice of the mind to love. It is complete submission to God.
This state of ecstasy is known as “NIRVANA” in Buddhism and “FENAFILLAH” in Islam. In Buddhism this is the highest state of ecstasy. However, the highest rank in Islam is that reached by the Prophet (s) : He is called God’s servant foremost and subsequently His messenger.
The aim of Sema is not unbroken ecstasy and loss of conscious thought, but realisation of submission to God.
In Konya, we observed the whole performance being presented beautifully and it was quite inspirational.