Feature: Turkey commemorates wisdom of mystic poet Rumi

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ANKARA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Turkish people commemorated on Monday the death of the mystic poet Mevlana Jalal ad-Din, better known in the West as Rumi, who died 745 years ago.

The whirling dervishes from Rumi's Mevlevi Sufi Order organized a traditional big ceremony in the sports and congress center in Konya city, 260 km south of the capital Ankara, where the tomb of the Muslim scholar lies.

The poet's verses advocate love, peace and tolerance. They are known not only in the eastern world but also in the western civilization where his works have been translated into many languages.

"Every war and every conflict between human beings has happened because of some disagreement about names. It is such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing, there is a long table of companionship set and waiting for us to sit down..."

Given his uplifting message of unity, it's easy to understand why the translated poets of Rumi are the best sellers in the United States.

His influence crossed cultural and national boundaries as he said "the whole universe and all the people are like a single body."

Like the previous years, thousands of local and foreign tourists flocked to Konya this year for the commemoration which was also attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Rumi was born in present Afghanistan and settled down in Konya. He wrote in Persian, the literature language of the time.

The whirling dervishes attracted attendees when they performed the dance called "Sema", meaning to represent the journey to maturity and enlightenment.

The dancers wore a tall camel's hair hat which represents the tombstone of the ego, setting them apart from today's hectic way of life.

Accompanied by ethereal music and sounds of the ney, a Turkish reed flute, the rotations represent the earth's orbit around the sun, and the dance is a symbolic journey for the dervishes to get closer to their creator and truth.

This iconic ritual has been inscribed in the UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

"It's definitely not a show. It has profound philosophical meaning ... It takes years of spiritual maturity to become a Sufi and a dervish. It's all about behavior and attitude," Seyfi, a performer from Istanbul, told Xinhua.

Preaching the dignity of the human race, peace and tolerance, Rumi's exquisite words read: "Come, come, whoever you are. Wandered, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair, come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come."

To honor his peaceful teachings, his faithful followers from different religions trek to his resting place in the city, where he spent most of his life and died, to pay their respects. Enditem

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