Jallaludin is one of the greatest poet saints of the sufi tradition.Rumi founded the Mevlana whirling dervish sect which survives to this day still maintaining its mystic reputation.
The dervishes. like all Sufis, tell of a spiritual message that rejected academic intellectualising of the teachings of mohammed.Like the Christian Gnostics and the Indian Nath Panthis the Sufis attested to direct experience of the divine principle.
According to the sufis self-realisation occurred as result of complete surrender to the divine will.Moral purity,egolessness and devotion to the "pir"(master/guru) who himself resided in a deep state of self realisation are some of the qualities praised by the sufis.
Through music and dance the sufis offered up there imperfections to the godhead in the spirit of love and devotion.The divine love ,in its infinite compassion,consumed their impurities and gave them spiritual transformation.
The Sufis, filled and purified by the divine grace("rukh" in the islamic tradition),looked within their hearts to be consumed by the infinite divine love.for which they had become a vessel.
Below are some anecdotes relating Jallaludin's life and teachings:
He is related to have been born at Balkh on the 6th of Rebi'u-'l-evvel, A.H. 604 (29th September 1207).
When five years old, he used at times to become extremely uneasy and restless, so much so that his attendants used to take him into the midst of themselves.
The cause of these perturbations was that spiritual forms and shapes of the absent (invisible world) would arise before his sight, that is, angelic messengers, righteous genii, and saintly men - the concealed ones of the bowers of the True One (spiritual spouses of God), used to appear to him in bodily shape, exactly as the cherubim and seraphim used to show themselves to the holy apostle of God, Mohammed, in the earlier days, before his call to the prophetic office; as Gabriel appeared to Mary, and as the four angels were seen by Abraham and Lot; as well as others to other prophets.
His father, Baha'u-'d-Din Veled, the Sultanu-'l-'Ulema, used on these occasions to coax and soothe him by saying: "These are the Occult Existences. They come to present themselves before you, to offer unto you gifts and presents from the invisible world.''
These ecstasies and transports of his began to be publicly known and talked about; and the affectionately honorific title of Khudavendgar, by which he is so often mentioned, was conferred upon him at this time by his father, who used to address him and speak of him by this title, as "My Lord.''
His son, Sultan Veled, related that there was a paper in the handwriting of his father, Baha Veled, which set forth that at Balkh, when Jelal was six years old, he was taking the air one Friday, on the terraced roof of the house, and reciting the Qur'an, when some other children of good families came in and joined him there.
After a time, one of these children proposed that they should try and jump from thence on to a neighbouring terrace, and should lay wagers on the result.
Jelal smiled at this childish proposal, and remarked: ''My brethren, to jump from terrace to terrace is an act well adapted for cats, dogs, and the like, to perform; but is it not degrading to man, whose station is so superior? Come now, if you feel disposed, let us spring up to the firmament, and visit the regions of God's realm." As he yet spake, he vanished from their sight.
Frightened at Jelal's sudden disappearance, the other children raised a shout of dismay, that some one should come to their assistance; when lo, in an instant, there he was again in their midst; but with an altered expression of countenance and blanched cheeks. They all uncovered before him, fell to the earth in humility. and all declared themselves his disciples.
He now told them that, as he was yet speaking to them, a company of visible forms, clad in green raiment, had led him away from them, and had conducted him about the various concentric orbs of the spheres, and through the signs of the Zodiac, showing him the wonders of the world of spirits, and bringing him back to them so soon as their cries had reached his ears.
At that age, he was used not to break his fast more often than once in three or four, and sometimes even seven, days.
When Jelal was seven years old, he used every morning to recite the very short chapter, cviii., of the Qur'an -
"Verily we have given unto thee the abounding good. Therefore, do thou perform thy devotions unto thy Lord and slaughter victims. Verily, he who evil entreateth thee is one who shall leave no issue after him."
He used to weep as he recited these inspired words.
Suddenly, God one day vouchsafed to appear to him visibly. On this he fainted away. Regaining consciousness, he heard a voice from heaven, that said -
"O Jelalu-'d-Din! By the majesty (jelal) of our glory, do thou hence forward cease to combat with thyself; for we have exalted thee to the station of ocular vision."
Jelal vowed, therefore, out of gratitude for this mark of grace, to serve the Lord to the end of his days, to the utmost of his power; in the firm hope that they who followed him would also attain to that high grade of favour and excellence.
In the year A.H. 642 (A.D. 1244,, Shemsu-'d-Din of Tebrlz came to Qonya.
This great man, after acquiring a reputation of superior sanctity at Tebrlz, as the disciple of a certain holy man, a basket-maker by trade, had travelled about much in various lands, in search of the best spiritual teachers, thus gaining the nickname of Perenda (the Flier, Bird, &c;.).
He prayed to God that it might be revealed to him who was the most occult of the favourites of the divine will, so that he might go to him and learn still more of the mysteries of divine love.
The son of Baha'u-'d-Din Veled, of Balkh, was designated to him as the man most in favour with God. Shems went, accordingly, to Qonya; arriving there on Saturday, the 26th of Jemada-'l-akhir, A.H. 642 (December A.D. 1244). He engaged a lodging at an inn, and pretended to be a great merchant. In his room, however, there was nothing but a broken water-pot, an old mat, and a bolster of unbaked clay. He broke his fast once in every ten or twelve days, with a damper soaked in broth of sheep's trotters.
One day, as he was seated at the gate of the inn, Jelal came by, riding on a mule, in the midst of a crowd of students and disciples on foot. Shemsu-'d-Din arose, advanced and took hold of the mule's bridle, addressing Jelal in these words: "Exchanger of the current coins of recondite significations, who knowest the names of the Lord! Tell me: Was Mohammed the greater servant of God, or Bayezid of Bestam?"
Jelal answered him: "Mohammed was incomparably the greater - the greatest of all prophets and all saints."
"Then," rejoined Shemsu-'d-Din, "how is it that Mohammed said: 'We have not known Thee, O God, as Thou rightly shouldest be known,' whereas Bayezid said: 'Glory unto me! How very great is my glory'?"
On hearing this question, Jelal fainted away. On recovering his consciousness, he took his new acquaintance home with him. They were closeted together for weeks or months in holy communications.
Jelal's disciples at length became impatient, raising a fearful and threatening tumult; so that, on Thursday, the 21st of Shewwal, A.H. 643 (March A.D. 1246), Shemsu-'d-Din mysteriously disappeared; and Jelal adopted, as a sign of mourning for his loss, the drab hat and wide cloak since worn by the dervishes of his order.
It was about this time, also, that he first instituted the musical services observed by that order, as they perform their peculiar waltzing. All men took to music and dancing in consequence. Fanatics objected. out of envy. They said Jelal was gone mad, even as the chiefs of Mekka had said of old of the Prophet. His supposed malady was attributed to the malefic influence of Shemsu-'d-Din of Tebriz.
The widow of Jelal, Kira (or Gira) Khatun, a model of virtue. the Mary of her age, is related to have seen, through a chink in the door of the room where he and Shems were closeted in spiritual communion. that the wall suddenly opened, and six men of majestic mien entered by the cleft.
These strangers, who were of the occult saints, saluted. bowed, and laid a nosegay at the feet of Jelal, although it was then in the depth of the midwinter season. They remained
until near the hour of dawn worship, when they motioned to Shemsu-'d-Din to act as leader on the occasion of the service. He excused himself, and Jelal performed the office. The service of worship over, the six strangers took leave, and passed out by the same cleft in the wall.
Jelal now came forth from the chamber, bringing the nosegay in his hand. Seeing his wife in the passage, he gave her the nosegay, saying that the strangers had brought it as an offering to her.
The next day, she sent her servant, with a few leaves from her nosegay, to the perfumers' mart of the city, to inquire what might be the flowers composing it, as she had never seen their like before. The merchants were all equally astonished; no one had ever seen such leaves. At length, however, a spice merchant from India, who was then sojourning in Qonya, saw those leaves, and knew them to be the petals of a flower that grows in the south of India, in the neighbourhood of Ceylon.
The wonder now was: How did these Indian flowers get to Qonya; and in the depth of winter, too?
The servant carried the leaves back, and reported to his lady what he had learnt. This increased her astonishment a hundredfold. Just then Jelal made his appearance, and enjoined on her to take the greatest care of the nosegay, as it had been sent to her by the florists of the lost earthly paradise, through those Indian saints, as a special offering.
It is related that she preserved them as long as she lived, merely giving a few leaves, with Jelal's express permission, to the Georgian wife of the king. If any one suffered with any disease of the eyes, one leaf from that nosegay, applied to the ailing part, was an instant cure. The flowers never lost their fragrance or freshness. What is musk compared with such?
To prove that man lives through God's will alone, and not by blood, Jelal one day, in the presence of a crowd of physicians and philosophers, had the veins of both his arms opened, and allowed them to bleed until they ceased to flow.
He then ordered incisions to be made in various parts of his body; but not one drop of moisture was anywhere obtainable. He now went to a hot bath, washed, performed an ablution, and then commenced the exercise of the sacred dance.
Many of the chief disciples of Jelal have related that he himself explained to them, as his reasons for instituting the musical service of his order, with their dancing, the following reflections: -
''God has a great regard for the Roman people. In answer to a prayer of the first Caliph, Abu-Bekr, God made the Romans a chief receptacle of his mercy; and the land of the Romans (Asia Minor) is the most beautiful on the face of the earth. But the people of the land were utterly void of all idea of the riches of a love towards God, and of the remotest shade of a taste for the delights of the inner, spiritual life. The great Causer of all causes caused a source of affection to arise, and out of the wilderness of causelessness raised a means by which I was attracted away from the land of Khurasan to the country of the Romans. That country he made a home for my children and posterity, in order that, with the elixir of his grace, the copper of their existences might be transmuted into gold and into philosopher-stone, they themselves being received into the communion of saints.
When I perceived that they had no inclination for the practice of religious austerities, and no knowledge of the divine mysteries, I imagined to arrange metrical exhortations and musical services, as being captivating for men's minds, and more especially so for the Romans, who are naturally of a lively disposition, and fond of incisive expositions. Even as a sick child is coaxed into taking a salutary, though nauseous medicine, so, in like manner, were the Romans led by art to acquire a taste for spiritual truth,''
. From this day forth thou shalt not suffer loss; and that which tdetermined to visit thee with a sore judgment and a heavy trial; but, through this thy visit here, he hath pardoned thee, and the trial is averted from thee. Be not dismayedhou hast already suffered shall be made up to thee."
One day, a very learned professor brought all his pupils to pay their respects to Jelal.
On their way to him, the young men agreed together to put some questions to Jelal on certain points of Arabic grammar, with the design of comparing his knowledge in that science with that of their professor, whom they looked upon as unequalled.
When they were seated, Jelal addressed them on various fitting subjects for a while, and thereby paved the way for the following anecdote:
"An ingenuous jurist was once travelling with an Arabic grammarian, and they chanced to come to a ruinous well.
"The jurist hereupon began to recite the text (of Qur'an xxii. 44): 'And of a ruined well.'
"The Arabic word for 'well' he pronounced 'bir,' with the vowel long. To this the grammarian instantly objected, telling the jurist to pronounce that word with a short vowel and hiatus-bi'r, so as to be in accord with the requirements of classical purity.
"A dispute now arose between the two on the point. It lasted all the rest of the day, and well on into a pitchy dark night; every author being ransacked by them, page by page, each sustaining his own theory of the word. No conclusion was arrived at, and each disputant remained of his own opinion still.
"It so happened in the dark, that the grammarian slipped into the well, and fell to the bottom. There he set up a wail of entreaty: 'O my most courteous fellow-traveller, lend thy help to extricate me from this most darksome pit.'
"The jurist at once expressed his most pleasurable willingness to lend him that help, with only one trifling conditionthat he should confess himself in error, and consent to suppress the hiatus in the word 'bi'r.' The grammarian's answer was 'Never.' So in the well he remained."
"Now," said Jelal, "to apply this to yourselves. Unless you will consent to cast out from your hearts the 'hiatus' of indecision and of self-love, you can never hope to escape from the noisome pit of self-worship-the well of man's nature and of fleshly lusts. The dungeon of 'Joseph's well' in the human breast is this very 'self-worship;' and from it you will not escape, nor will you ever attain to those heavenly regions - 'the spacious land of God' (Qur'an iv. 99, xxix. 56, xxxix. 13).
On hearing these pregnant words, the whole assembly of undergraduates uncovered their heads. and with fervent zeal professed themselves his spiritual disciples.
One day Jelal took as his text the following words (Qur'an xxxi. 18): - "Verily, the most discordant of all sounds is the voice of the asses." He then put the question: "Do my friends know what this signifies?"
The congregation all bowed, and entreated him to expound it to them. Jelal therefore proceeded:-
"All other brutes have a cry, a lesson, and a doxology, withwhich they commemorate their Maker and Provider. Such are, the yearning cry of the camel, the roar of the lion, the bleat of the gazelle, the buzz of the fly, the hum of the bee, &c;.
"The angels in heaven, and the genii, have their doxologies also, even as man has his doxologyhis Magnificat, and various forms of worship for his heart (or mind) and for his body.
"The poor ass, however, has nothing but his bray. He sounds this bray on two occasions only: when he desires his female, and when he feels hunger. He is the slave of his lust and of his gullet.
"In like manner, if man have not in his heart a doxology for God, a cry, and a love, together with a secret and a care in his mind, he is less than an ass in God's esteem; for he has said (Qur'an vii. 178): 'They are like the camels; nay, they are yet more erring.' " He then related the following anecdote:-