November 8, 2011

Turning Dervishes Of Konya - Odes De Ney: The Cosmic Dances Of The Turning Dervishes

The Turning Dervishes from Konya
- The Mevlevi Round Dance

Nobody knows the origin of this unique rite, probably it derives from a constellation cult, practised long before the dervishes adopted it and gave it a new meaning.
The position of the head and hands is typical. The right, "good" hand is opened and held towards the sky, the left, "improper" hand is held towards the earth. The head is slightly inclined to the right shoulder. The eyes are varly closed and are focussing the left thumb. A general belief is, that the dervishes have magic forces during their dance.
Once a year these Turning Dervishes, the Mevlevis, are meeting in Konya, in the highlands of Anatolia, and perform their dance in the hall of sports. Only one hour they are dancing, remembering to big white butterflies. Officially there are no mystic brotherhoods in Turkey since 1920's, and these dervishes need a special allowance from the Turkish government for their festivity to honour the founder of this sect, Mevlana Dschelal ed-Din Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī), each December.
At the beginning there is a procession. Then the participants are lining up. The Sheikh, head of tl4e sect, has a special place in front of an altar showing towards Mekka. Holy City - altar - a red-coloured sheepfur, the place of the Sheikh, are on one line,
dividing the dance floor into two equal halfs, a mystic line called equator. The orchestra is playing mostly with "neys" (the Oriental flute of reed) and drums. All dervishes are wearing the conical "sikke", a cap made of felt, being the sign of the Mevlevi Sect, and the black-coloured "hirka" (cowl). The festival starts with a hymn to praise the Prophet Muhammad and a piece for solo flute. Then the dancers are walking three times around the Sheikh and the dance floor and return then to their places. After a second flute piece, accompanied by Per-sian songs and orchestral music the dance itself starts. The dancers are now wearing their white clothes only, the "tennure", and a short waistcoat called "destegiil". The hands crossed over their breast, the dancers are walking to the Sheikh, kiss his hands and are receiving a kiss on their caps. Then they start turning around themselves in left direction.
The origin of the Mevlevi Sect is going back to a public anger which ocurred in the year n44, exactly on November 3oth 1244.
An imam, Dschelal ed-Din, fell in love with a foreign preacher in Konya. Dschelal ed-Din came from the city of Batch (today in Afghanistan) and counted 37 years. He was a professor and mufti and belonged therefore to the important people of Konya. His students called him respectfully "Maulana", in Turkish language "Mevlana"(Mevlâna,Our Guide). Due to this love he became a stranger in his city overnight. He neglected his duties and services, but people did not realize that Mevlana had not seen a normal man in this foreign preacher, but a portray of God.
The Sufi, the Islamic mysticals, were searching for God's presence already on earth, and the unification with God. The mystic beliefs of Mevlana and most Sufis are bearing on the following thoughts: Except God there is no reality. Man itself is without a real being, but may participate - under certain circumstances - in the reality of God. This assumption is fulfilled, when man has freed himself from his own, human qualities. The way to this freedom is suffering (not in a stupid self punishing way of course, in The Sufi path of love: the spiritual teachings of Rumi, in section on separation and union at about pages 236 to 238 you can read Rumi's thoughts on this ". The power to go this way is coming from his love for God.
In February 1146 Dschelal ed-Din and Schems ed-Din, the preacher, were separated by jealous students. Schems ed-Din returned once again to Konya in later years, but he disappeared under unknown circumstances. Konya found its Mevlana again, but he was not the same anymore. Twice again Mevlana fell in love with other men. His last love was Hilsam ed-Din, member of a family with great influence. Due to this love, Mevlana wrote a giant poem called "Mesnevi" (alternate link), influencing Islamic mystics in an incredible way. The first verses of this poem are considered to be influenced by God. This poem is generally known as the "Lament of the Ney". In the second half of his life, Mevlana became the mystic father of Konya. He was called "Sultan of the Lovers". In his last years of life the Sect of Mevlevis was founded, the origin of the Turning Dervishes. The final form was given to the sect by Sultan Veled, the son of the master. In the evening of 17th December tin Mevlana died.
The Sect of Mevlevis treasured his heritage for over 700 years, but with some renewed interpretation. Today the tomb of Mevlana is never without visitors. Those who have the opportunity to observe the Mevlevis for some days will see that there is a very deep believe behind the Turning Dervishes from Konya.
form linear notes with some intervention

Terms of Mevlevi order

1 Naat (Lounge)
2 Peshrey (Prelude)
3 Niyaz Ayin (The Cosmic Dance)
4 Hay (Zirk) (Invocation)
5 Son Peshrev (Postlude)
6 Bayati Semai (Interlude)
7 Nukte (Humour)
8 Ferahfeza
9 Yayli Tanbur (Arch-Lute)
10 Bishnev Ez Ney
11 Odes De Ney (Ode)
12 Tanbur (Long-Neck Lute)


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