|Whirling Dervishes of Rumi|
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In generosity and helping others BE LIKE A RIVER
In Compassion and grace BE LIKE SUN
In concealing others’ faults BE LIKE DEAD
In modesty and humility BE LIKE EARTH
In tolerance BE LIKE A SEA
EITHER EXIST AS YOU ARE OR BE AS YOU LOOK (Rumi)
The Institute of Interfaith Dialog and Raindrop Foundation Kansas City organized a display of Whirling Dervishes on September 28th, 2004, at the Lyric Opera House. More than 1000 gathered to see the display of Dervishes from Turkey and to learn the symbolism behind each part of the Sema, from the clothing, to the hand positioning, to the music, to the always immobile left foot of each dervish. (September28, 2004 Kansas City, KS)
The Mevlevi Order was founded in the late 13th century, and named after the mystic and poet Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi–who ended one of his poems with the prophetic line: "dazed by the marvels of love, our whirling endures." His followers continue to perform the ritual that he established.
Participants make precise movements with their hands while turning, and each posture and gesture is symbolic. Their right hands are turned upward to receive Allah's grace, while the left is turned down to convey that grace to earth.
They never move the left foot, it helps to ground the dancer, and is a part of the technique to keep from becoming dizzy, but it also has meaning: the left foot crushes the ego. If you leave your ego and open your heart to all people, and if you seek the truth inside you, you will find the love of God. It means we are not slaves of our desires.
Their devotions are usually accompanied by music, and the attendees to the event were treated to vocalists and a five piece traditional Turkish instrument ensemble. The musicians performed an opening set, and then followed a presentation on Rumi’s life.
"Westerners really love the message of Rumi, because they see that he doesn't discriminate among people," There's a famous saying of his that says, 'Come–whoever you are.' It means openness and vision. Whether we are wrongdoers or believers, we all come from the spiritual world, we can join the spiritual. We are invited to leave our egos. Rumi talks about this. There is a soul within your soul. Seek that hidden jewel. Investigate within." Those who attended were enlightened to culture, tradition, and the hidden jewel.