September 2014 ~Celal Celebi

Your Eminence, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen. Since Turkey is a part of Anatolia we know that we are also former citizens of the Great Roman Empire. We are aware that, Tutte le strade portano a Roma. Tonight, as the 23rd generation descendant of Jelaleddin Rumi and a representative of the 800 year old tradition, I am glad to be with the distinguished and honored members of your great society.

In his book On Heaven and Earth, His Holiness Pope Francis, underlined the importance of dialogue and said: “In order to establish dialogue it is necessary to know how to lower the defenses, open the doors of the house, and offer human warmth.” First of all, we have come here to build a better dialogue between East and West. Rumi says I am neither of the East nor of the West; no boundaries exist in my heart. I am proud to belong to a Sufi path which has taught the real message of Islam to the Western World throughout the centuries. Tonight, we would like to invite all of humankind to the highest level of virtue, moral values, and noble customs. So far in my life, during my spiritual journey, I have had the privilege to become acquainted with many people around the world who have dedicated their lives to Jelaleddin Rumi and his teachings. In each of them I have discovered an inner beauty. We come from different parts of the world with different backgrounds. However we all try to constitute a lifestyle based on patience, tolerance, simplicity, and love. In our friendship, there are no borders, no discrimination for physical appearance, race, or religion. We do not need to speak the same language. However, we are able to communicate with our emotions. This is what we are:

Sometimes hidden, sometimes seen.
Sometimes of the faithful, a Jewish or Christian,
able to fit into any heart,
taking on a new face every day

We don’t look at your form, whether ugly or beautiful.
We look at love and at the aim of your quest.
You, whose lips are parched, keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source.

Aren’t we and you all here tonight to find a remedy for our spiritual thirst? We all know that:

Your life is like a purse of gold; Day and night are like money changers.
Continually Time counts out that gold, until your purse is empty and death is here.
If you dig away at a mountain and don’t replace anything of what you’ve taken
a desolate land is left behind.
So, for every breath you breathe out, put, another in its place.
Fall in worship and draw near, so you may reach your aim.

It is my desire that tonight our Whirling Dervish Ceremony and our music will help in building a bridge from our heart to your heart, so that we can share the eternal love of Rumi. For more than seven centuries, our Spiritual path, the Mevlevi Order, keeps enlightening the world with the message of friendship and respect for those who wish to develop their humanity to the highest level. As Kenan Rifai, a renowned Shaikh of our order said, “From our window Sufism is a discipline of not hurting someone and not being hurt’. Allow me also to mention that our Dervishes did not only cultivate spiritual attainment but cultural and artistic excellence as well. We have always been progressive and liberal in spirit while at the same time conserving the best of tradition. The sky is the dome of a sanctuary where mosques, minarets, churches, synagogues and other shrines belonging to other religions rise out. In many different ways, sanctuaries, religions, languages, people with different skin color pray to one unique Creator. They beg for help. He is such a powerful and mighty God that He understands every language, and what everybody wants and desires in their heart. As stated in the Masnavi, ‘The Sultan of the Souls watches over you. Men or women, He knows the desires in their hearts, what they are working for, He constantly watches.’ Last but not least: There are many languages in the world, in meaning all are the same. “If you break the cups, water will be unified and will flow together” Let’s break the cups of our ego, remove misunderstandings and flow together in harmony. This is really all we need in our age.