Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Rumi & Whirling Dervishes in St. Petersburg

Pictures by the author, for more PICTURESQUE

On Sunday I was invited to an evening with the poetry of the great poet and thinker 'Rumi' and watch the whirling dervishes dancing at the auditorium of the St. Petersburg hotel. The location could not be a better place as the hotel is located on the bank of the river Neva just opposite the place where the famous battleship ‘ Avrora’ stands after its retirement. The occasion was the 800th anniversary of the birth of the great poet and sufi Mowlana Zalaluddin Rumi. Though Rumi was born on 30th September 1207 in Wakhsh in current day Tajikistan , he had migrated and settled in the town of Konya in current day Turkey. In this town he wrote his divine verses and founded the 'Whirling Dervishes' sect that aim to be one with the Almighty by whirling endlessly.
The event was organized by the Eurasia Dialogue, the municipality of the town of Konya with the help of the Committee on culture of the St. Petersburg City Government, the Russian federal government and the UNESCO.
What was really striking at the performance of the whirling dervishes was their white attire cocooned under a black veil and long sandy colored caps. When they started whirling with the recital of the Rumi’s poems, a surreal spiritual ambience set in the hall. Their elegant movements in white dress that spread out below the waist as white roses bloomed upside down, turned them into angels of love and peace . Their face lit up with the inner light of faith and purity. They forgot their ‘selves’ and got merged into the infinite eternity. I learned there that these rites are called ‘Sama’ and they aim at the union with the Divine.
Here I am leaving you with some pictures I took during the ceremony of ‘Sama’ and a poem by the great poet ‘Rumi’ .
A poem by Rumi
The day I've died, my pall is moving on -
But do not think my heart is still on earth!
Don't weep and pity me: "Oh woe, how awful!"
You fall in devil's snare - woe, that is awful!
Don't cry "Woe, parted!" at my burial -
For me this is the time of joyful meeting!
Don't say "Farewell!" when I'm put in the grave -
A curtain is it for eternal bliss.
You saw "descending" - now look at the rising!
Is setting dangerous for sun and moon?
To you it looks like setting, but it's rising;
The coffin seems a jail, yet it means freedom.
Which seed fell in the earth that did not grow there?
Why do you doubt the fate of human seed?
What bucket came not filled from out the cistern?
Why should the Yusaf "Soul" then fear this well?
Close here your mouth and open it on that side.
So that your hymns may sound in Where- no-place!
Schimmel, Annemarie. Look!

(Source of this poem:-This Is Love: Poems of Rumi. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala Publications, 1991.)


Blogger 1verse said...

Awesome experience, I also enjoy the captured whirling dervishes. The touch of Rumi's mind is the icing on the cake!

28/2/08 2:42 am  
Blogger Abhay K said...

Yes it was indeed awesome! It was also an opportunity to the Great Rumi more deeply. Poets live was his 800th birth anniversary!

28/2/08 3:27 pm  

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