We are in Konya, Turkey, visiting the Mevlana Mausoleum and Museum, the grave of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, known as Rumi.
It snowed in Konya and I watch the water drain from the roof.
“You need to tell people about Rumi,” my wife, Karen, tells me. “Most people don’t know that much about him.”
We listen to the Muslim call to prayer.
“He was a 13th century poet, Islamic theologist, and Sufi mystic,” I tell her. “He’s the best-selling poet in the USA.”
“What is his relationship with the Almighty God?” Karen asks.
Karen is curious about the Almighty God — I think she asks this because she is not completely certain of the Almighty God’s existence. I’m not so concerned with belief but urge focus on mental well-being.
“He regards God as a lover,” I reply “He loses himself in God. You should read Rumi’s poems. They do not involve logic or argument.”
I enter an area I regard as sacred and see others who think similarly. There are graves to my right as I walk toward Rumi’s tomb. I see people praying.
They hold their hands out with palms up and sometimes bring their hands across the face in a kind of self-blessing motion.
For me, Rumi is beyond words which is ironic because Rumi is a word-master, a powerful poet. People post quotes from Rumi on the internet.
I move to the museum area and look at Rumi’s cloak and hats and an old, old Qur’an. Rumi wore plain clothes.
I see a Qur’an dated 1268 CE.
A Qur’an dated 1544 CE.
A 9th century Qu’ran.
I see a horn that a dervish would blow to inform villagers of his arrival.
I see the hat worn by the dervish Shams-e Tabrizi, whose meeting with Rumi in 1244 introduced Rumi to mysticism.
Outside, I look at dervish graves. Rumi’s son established what became known as the whirling dervishes.
I look at models of dervishes practicing.
A novice must sit and observe for three days before a decision is made regarding his admission for training.
A novice must train for 1001 days before attaining full status.
We visit a porcelain shop where I see a plate commemorating Rumi’s encounter with Shams of Tabriz, who convinced Rumi to become a mystic, seeking God within. Rumi cast away his scholarly books (seen in the fountain behind them).
We walk across town to visit the grave of Shams of Tabriz, constructed to commemorate his life. There is no actual grave. Shams of Tabriz disappeared mysteriously three years after meeting Rumi. Some say he was murdered, others suggest he went into an occult domain.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 67):
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
Similarities between Rumi and Lao Tsu show universal elements within mystical experience.
Pray with us at Rumi’s tomb.