Discovering Mevalana in Turkey (by David Mendelsohn)

Discovering Mevalana in Turkey (by David Mendelsohn)

David MendelsohnDiscovering Mevalana in Turkey (February 17, 2007) I first heard of Rumi not by that name, but by the name of Mevlana. In 1989 I was driving throughout Turkey with my girlfriend, Martha, and as beginning students of Gurdjieff we were interested in going to Konya when we learned that a Dervish school had been founded there in the 13th century by a great spiritual teacher. As I read on in the guide book I was told the story of this teacher's experiencing of God through his love for his male companion, Shems, and how this love inspired a local spiritual rebirth and the founding of Mevlana's Dervish brotherhood. It was only when Paul Gorman, on WBAI, read from Rumi after giving a short biography of him, including that he is also known to history as Mevlana that I put the spiritual dance teacher and lover in the shoes of the poet. And the poetry! Written eight hundred years ago and as contemporary as my view of heaven in my lover's eyes. David Mendelsohn New York, NY (WNYC, 93.9 FM)

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is professor of Persian & Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of several books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal aI-Din Rumi.