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» Whirling Dervishes - Mevlâna, the Mystical Philosopher
» Mevlâna Celaleddin-i Rumî and the Mevlevi Order
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Whirling Dervishes - Mevlâna, the Mystical Philosopher
After this account of Mevlâna's life, work and ideas as they emerge from his own writings it seems necessary to attempt a definition of his mystical and spiritual personality.
Mevlâna was not a philosopher: he was a mystic. But since mysticism is basically a philosophical theory he can perhaps be described as a mystical philosopher. At the same time he was a moralist and an acute psychologist, with a profound understanding of men in all their aspects, individually and in society; a man who exercised great influence on others, and, a very great poet into the bargain.
Mevlâna disagreed with the philosophers-because they valued only reason. in his view it was necessary to have regard to men's feelings as well. Man is always yearning for the. ineffable, and Mevlâna, attaching more importance to feeling than to reason, believed that the only approach to absolute Being was through the heart and by a synthesis between the outward and the inward worlds. The outward world, he taught, is merely the foam on the surface of the sea: the inward world is the infinite sea itself, invisible and perceptible only through the heart. For Mevlâna, basing himself on reason in everyday life but on feeling as a means of attaining mystical truths, the way of the heart is love. The only way to attain absolute Being is by love; the absolute Being is God, the love of God is to be found everywhere, and everything leads to God. If we love everything for God's sake and if this love leads us towards God, we shall find God at the end of the way. The main thing is to love, to have the capacity to be in love. Mevlâna believes that the human soul can become united with the infinite and identify itself with the infinite by annulling its own substance and following the way of the heart. God is absolute truth, absolute beauty and absolute light. The mystic who succeeds in annihilating his own being and drowning himself in ecstasy can attain understanding and knowledge.
Mevlâna attaches great importance to Semâ because the pleasure and enthusiasm obtained from Semâ, morally exalted and purely aesthetic, take man away from the material world. Semâ is the unitary soul which dances round the integral soul as the moth flutters round the candle, singeing its wings. The universe emanates from a single Being, who is God. All forces and all things are merely manifestations of God in diverse forms. In this Being there is Union, and Mevlâna believes that all religions are basically one.
In the field of morality the principles to which he attaches greatest importance are those which procure serenity for the individual and the people with whom he comes into contact - morally edifying qualities like modesty, patience, resignation, abnegation, kindness and honesty. He taught his disciples to avoid any discrimination on grounds of colour, race, class, wealth or strength, to love and respect all men, since each man was a reflection of the absolute Being. This is perhaps the main difference between his mystical thought and that of other mystics. In no other religion or sect are the love of mankind and the idea of tolerance expressed with such lucidity and purity. By his invocation, "Come; let all men come!" he calls on all humanity to follow his way and imposes on himself the duty to educate and sublimate mankind. He is thus an educator as well as a philosopher.
The full greatness of Mevlâna Celaleddin-i Rumî is revealed in his works and in the doctrines of the Mevlevi order, which so profoundly influenced the artistic and intellectual life of the Turkish people: a sage, a mystical philosopher, a thinker and a poet, whose achievement forms part of the spiritual heritage of all mankind..
Come, come, whoever you are;
Be you infidel, idolator or pagan, come.
Our convent is not a place of despair.
Even if you have gone back on your oath a hundred times, still come!
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