His Life and Poems

Before giving a description of this annual ceremony, its structure and meaning, a few words on Mevlana, the founder of the Mevlevi Order, whose anniversary draws a stream of pilgrims flowing from all parts of the world, can not fail to be of interest to all who love their fellow men, because of his unexampled love of humanity, self-humiliation and forgiveness.

Mevlana (in Arabic this means 'Our Lord' or Our Master) Jalalu'ddin Muhammed Ibn Muhammed was born in Central Asia A.D. 1207. His father Baha'aldin Veled was a noted Sufi who found himself obliged to flee from Balkh, while Mevlana was a small boy, beacause of the Mongol attacks and some other local difficulties, and eventually they came to Anatolia known at that time as Rum. Those who dwelled there, whether Byzantine, Seljuk, or Ottoman, were all called Rumi, so Mevlana is known by the surname RUMI, that is Mevlana Jalalu'ddin of Seljuk Turkey (Rumi, from the word Roma, was loosely used for all the old Eastern Roman Empire).

Mevlana and his father settled in Konya, the Seljuk capital, he lived, taught, wrote his masterpieces up to the end of his life, and died in A.D. 1273.

Although Mevlana is generally believed to be ethnically of Turkish descent, and he lived most of his life in a Turkish city, except for a few verses in Turkish city, except for a few verses in Turkish, his immense work has all been written in Persian, the dominating literary language of that period. On the other hand his son sultan Veled, born in Turkey in 1226, wrote a series of verses in Turkish language.

The most significant and turning point in Mevlana's life is his encounter in 1244 with the wandering mystic dervish Shamsu'l-Din of Tabriz. Thenceforward, Mevlana was a changed man, his devotion to his inspiring master Shamsu'l-Din entirely cut him off from his disciples. Because of abuse and threats from the jealous disciples Shamsu'l-Din took refuge twice in Damascus, and in 1247 Shamsu'l-Din vanished, and it is believed Mevlana's disciples had plotted to kill him.

Mevlana declared that one of his greatest works, DIVAN, consisting of approximately sixty thousand couplets and one million distiches, was inspired by Shamsu'l-Din since Mevlana identified himself with his muse. His other great work, MESNEVI-I ME'NEVI, divided into six books and containing a total of over twenty five thousand couplets record several hundred stories, legends from the Koran, beast fables, stories about wandering dervishes, biblical stories, all with allegorical and philosophical content.

Apart from this vast collection of poems his prose work contains his sermons, his admonitions, pious anecdotes, his letters dealing with personal and spiritual matters, and his discourses on a wide variety of religious and mystical themes.

Sema and Zikr