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DEVOUT Anandmurti Gurumaa
DEVOUT Anandmurti Gurumaa

A report on the 800th birth anniversary celebration of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi

With the year 2007 being declared by UNESCO as the Year of Rumi, we can expect the sufi mystic poet and his works to be increasingly in the air. The 800th birth anniversary of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi is currently being observed across the world. Today, the term `sufi' has commonly come to be associated with music. The Rishi Chaitanya Trust decided to familiarise the interested public with other aspects of Sufism besides music and poetry by celebrating `Zikr - Way of Love' at Kamani auditorium. The evening, presented in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy, was led by the trust's founder Anandmurti Gurumaa, a spiritual leader who commands a devout following and who has brought out a number of albums of devotional music besides discourses. She movingly recounted the story of Rumi and sang some bhajans, to which many in the packed audience were swaying in ecstasy.Ecstasy was the subject of Gurumaa's talk too, when she said, "That which can be demystified cannot be called a mystery. And love is a mystery."Rumi, born in 1207 in present-day Afghanistan, travelled throughout the region and finally settled in Konya, in present-day Turkey. He died in 1273 in Konya. "Rumi doesn't belong just to Turkey," Gurumaa pointed out. Describing his relationship with his guru, Shams Tabrizi, she recounted how "Shams was moving him from words to wordlessness." But Rumi, a scholar and poet, was yet in the material world. "One day he was sleeping. Shams woke him up and said, `What is this Rumi, I told you to stop reading books, and here you are dreaming of books.' From then, Rumi moved to wordlessness." She then explained the sufi practice of Zikr, initiated by Rumi, which was performed by a group of dervishes from Turkey. A form of meditation, Zikr uses the breath as rosary beads, so to speak. When combined with recitation, it is known as dum-zikr, while a silent form is also practised, called zikr khafi.The dervishes performed Zikr, and an album by the same name, produced by Mystica Music, was also released on the occasion. "Our breath can unite us to the cosmic consciousness," said Gurumaa. "It's not just there to keep you alive."

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