“He Is Always With You”
Mevlâna, who came Into thIs world In 1207, departed from It on a cold December day In 1273.
A newborn baby dies to the world of his mother’s womb but is born into our world. Similarly, a man who departs from this world is born into the other world.
“What seed was ever planted that did not sprout?
Why would you doubt the human seed?”
Those were his words on the night of his death, aka the Şeb-i Arûs or Nuptial Night. Uttering them he wept, promising that his tears would not be shed in vain and that his body would be buried not in mourning but with a smile. For that was the night of his Union with God. As well as Muslims, both Christians and Jews also attended his funeral saying, ‘He was like our Jesus’ or ‘He was like our Moses.Ever since that day, for 738 years his devotees from around the world have observed that night, the night of December 17, like a nuptial celebration. Mevlânâ is perhaps the only person in the world whose death is commemorated in this way.
The whole world takes an interest in the whirling rituals that are held every year on the Şeb-i Arûs. Thanks to that interest the ceremonies begin on December 1 and run for through December 17. The number 18 is special for Mevlevis in many ways. First of all, like the Fatihâ Sura at the beginning of the Koran, the first 18 couplets of Mevlânâ’s great work, the Masnavi, are believed to hold the key to the entire book. The stories in the Masnavi commence following this 18-couplet introduction, which was written by Mevlânâ in his own hand and handed over to his confidant, comrade and successor, Çelebi Hüsameddin, who copied down the remaining 25,682 couplets as Mevlânâ recited them.
Virtually synonymous with Mevlevism, the sema (whirling ceremony) actually predates Mevlânâ. He did not create it; indeed, he did not even add anything new to it. Whirling to achieve a state of ecstasy and spiritual fervor was widespread since the time of the first caliph, Abubakr. But the whirling performed by Mevlânâ was different from that of today. He did not whirl in a planned and ritualized way but rather spontaneously out of ardent love of God. It was only after Mevlânâ that whirling became institutionalized and governed by rules. Special music was composed for the whirling ceremony and played at Mevlevi gatherings, eventually acquiring the perfect form it has today.
Starting from December 1, you can take part in the whirling ceremonies held twice a day at the Mevlânâ Culture Center in Konya. Although it may be difficult to get a reservation due to the intense interest in the ceremonies, which are held at the 2,500-capacity ‘semahane’, the doors of Konya will be open wide to all those who wish to heed to this great call. “Come, come, whoever you are come again.”
O, hep sizinledir, bu müjde O’ndan gelir,
Bu müjdeyle canıma,yeniden bir can gelir.
He is always with you.The good news comes from Him.And with it comes new life to my soul.
MEVLÂNÂ AND A CHURCH
Mevlânâ loved nature and spent long hours on solitary walks in the countryside. On one of those outings he came across a church at Sille and noticed that the candles were not lit. This saddened him, so he sent olive oil to the church when he got back to his lodge. His thoughtful gesture was kept alive even after his death as oil for the church lamps was sent every year without fail from the Mevlânâ Lodge in Konya right up to 1925 when Turkey’s dervish lodges were officially closed down.