Konya - Rumi's Tomb and Turkish Schools

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Apr 09, 2011

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Konya has a very special place in my heart. Perhaps I will have time to update this entry to fully express my feelings here, but if I don't, know that this place holds the history of one of the greatest saints of any religion - Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī.

In many ways, this is the second of my personal holy sites.  We took time to visit Rumi's tomb, and the monastery where the order of the whirling dervishes was developed. Sadly they didn't let you take photos inside, but in any case I don't think photos would capture the feeling of Mevlevi. Rumi's religion was one of ecstasy and love, of searching for one's loved ones and of finding them in unexpected places. Of drunkenness and irreverence and dancing and eroticism and ongoing ecstatic searching. Rumi was someone who found God in the sound of a reed flute and in the drunken ramblings of a street beggar, and in losing yourself in a simple dance that is repeated for hours on end. Even his death is celebrated as a "wedding day" -  the day they say he found union with God. 

After visiting his shrine, we spent the next few days visiting Turkish people and Turkish schools. The group stayed with guest homes at night, and we all got back together the day after for a full meal in Turkish fashion. Although I wish I had more photos of Rumi's sites, in a way this may be a perfect representation of the sort of religion Rumi taught: one of spontaneous greetings and the joy of finding love in smiling faces.  
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