The Whirling Dervishes
Sema is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana as well as part of the
Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture.
Historically it has been Rumi, more than any other Sufi, who has
issued the invitation to people of all backgrounds to the mystical
garden that is Sufism:
"Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, idolator, worshiper of fire,
come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again.
Ours is not a caravan of despair."
From a scientific viewpoint we witness that contemporary science
definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is
to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve and
the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons,
protons and neutrons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of
each of them. As a consequence of this similarity, everything revolves
and man carries on his live, his very existence by means of the
revolution in the atoms, structural stones of his body, by the
revolution of his blood, by his coming from the earth and return to
it, by his revolving with earth itself.
However, all of these are natural, unconscious revolutions. But man is
the possessor of a mind and intelligence which distinguishes him from
and makes him superior to other beings. Thus the "whirling dervish" or
Semazen causes the mind to participate in the shared similarity and
revolution of all other beings… Otherwise, the Sema ceremony
represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind
and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, his growth through
love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the "Perfect," then
he return from this spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity
and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the
whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of
believes, races, classes and nations.
During the ceremony, the dervishes remove black cloaks to reveal the
tennure (white religious robes with voluminous skirts). They turn
independently, shoulder to shoulder, both around their own axis and
around other dervishes, representing the earth revolving on its own
axis while orbiting the sun or possibly God.
In the Middle East it is believed that the dervish is in prayer and
that his body becomes open to receive the energy of God. The Turkish
Sultans often consulted the Dervishes in difficult times. Their
spinning created a relaxing and hypnotic effect in which the Sultans
could search for guidance.
Dervish literally means "doorway" and is thought to be an entrance
from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world. During this
solemn religious ceremony it is believed that the power of the Heavens
enters into the upward extended right palm and passes through the body
and leaves the lower, turned-down left palm to then enter into the
Earth. The dervish does not retain the power nor is he to direct it.
He accepts that he is the true instrument of God and therefore he does
not question the power that comes and leaves him.
"The religion of love transcends all other religions, for lovers, the
only religion and belief is God."
"This moment this love comes to rest in me, many beings in one being.
In one wheat-grain a thousand sheaf stacks. Inside the needle's eye, a
turning night of stars."
A secret turning in us makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet, and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
Nothing moves without divine power. No object can stand without six
equal forces. There is another power making the atom move. It is
obedient to it's Creator's will. From the smallest thing to the
largest; everything is moving according to the Will of it's Creator.
Everyone is a unit. There is not two of anything. Everyone is in a
private situation. Among millions of men and women, everyone is in a
private circle, from their birthday to their last day, their death
day: a circle. Everyone's circle is different. Everyone is moving in a
special circle. We call it 'destination' and they are all different.
They are all arranged and prepared. It is a perfect foundation; all
destinations are perfect. This perfection is from Allah Almighty's
perfection. According to the light of your faith, power will be
granted and appear to you. You may be looking and seeing some
realities, maybe 1%, maybe more. We are in need of more lights and
faith. Everyone has been granted 'iman', faith, everyone knows what it
is but very few people may enter the inner faith, like Buckingham
Palace, it is only for a few select people. It is an order from Allah
Almighty to see reality. Work on 'La illah illallah' (The only reality
is God). This year Allah has sent Mevlevi murids to use our will power
physically. The Lord is pleased with us. The 'sema' (whirling
ritual)is for Allah, if you don't like it, go. The permission is from
the Grandsheikh for the sake of this tariqat, Grandsheikh may open for
a particular person. There are angels wearing the Mevlevi dress
whirling for Allah.