sema - human being in the universal movement

Category: , , , , By freshouttatime
so now we're on our way to the mevlana cultural center to see some people practice sema.. aka whirling dervishes.

the evening opened up with traditional turkish music, with rumi's poetry intertwined into the lyrics, or just songs paying homage to him.
It felt as though it went on longer than needed, because most of the group was nodding off and the intermission was much needed.

After the intermission, we shuffled back into the room, and the lights were dimmed, and initially 8 men and their leader emerged. Traditional music was being played, and these men circled each other and saluted each other at specific intervals either 3 or 4 times.

After this, more men came out onto the stage and got into line. The line had to passed by the leader individual who "gives the permission to whirl". Then in a really eye opening manner, they just started whirling.
Its an eye catcher for sure! I studied their hand motions, their tilted heads, their feet, their proximity to each other, and the one individual who seemed to be inspecting them.

Certain individuals seemed to be going faster and more fluidly than others. There appeared to be one young boy whom everyone noticed, because he was shorter and moved much faster than the rest.

Normally, I'm not the one to support things that i cant rationally explain to my brain, but by spinning round and round there was a visual sensation of harmony, and when things are in harmony it usually means peace. So i was impressed by it.

I looked more into the details of the sema (the whirling aspect) and revolutions are a fundamental nature of existence be it atoms, the earth around sun and etc, so it is fitting for man to whirl around and share a commonality with all things with the conscious effort of his mind. Its some sort of journey towards perfection.

So they spin counterclockwise, like the earth around the sun with right hand upwards receiving blessings from God, and left hand face down transmitting that to earth.

The last phase was the recital of a verse from the Quran 2:115
Unto God belong the East and the West, and whither over ye turn, you are faced with Him. He is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.

I came out of this event, reflecting that there are so many approaches to fulfillment in this life, and while this was the flavor of the moment for me, it wasn't something i wholly understood and therefore not too inclined towards.

I most certainly respect the fact there are individuals are trying to bring themselves closer to God, but i did not like all the appurtenances to this. Like i wrote in the previous post, this allegiance or deference to Mevlana as i perceived it, snags alot of people. A few months earlier i was listening to an NPR broadcast on Rumi's poetry, and it just appeared to me people are more touched by the man himself than what he preached. I think this applies in many fields, sports, traditional religious figures, and musicians, but it should not be.
What also makes me hesitant is that on first glance and second glance many things don't seem to be congruous with what I've learned traditional Islam to be. Why venture down a path by saying something that may appear blasphemous, only to reveal the same truth at the end? Is it necessary?

Ah i must go, but this is my konya experience enjoy some pics here, better ones on facebook and hopefully a video if youtube works.