April 20, 2005 - May 04, 2005

Day 08
April 27, 2005 -- Day 8     Konya to Egridir
The text and the picture is submitted by Ann Brooks

Word has it that Gene went out for sunrise with Meli and found it worth 
while. He said he hoped to do it every morning now.  Meli reported 
amazement that there was no one on the streets in the early morning. 
Very quiet and peaceful.

Meli said that Konya had had bad smog but in the last few years had 
gone on natural gas and the smog has lessened considerably.

We left Hotel Beybara shortly after 8 a.m. for the Selimiye Mosque 
where Meli and the imam had a warm reunion. Jerry joined the imam in 
prayer, prostrate and standing.

Meli began her Rumi talk with a description of the faith system of 
Islam. Faith systems are to make people happy, whether it is Peli in 
Hawaii or Hinduism helping people live with the cast system in India. 
Unlike faiths that set out to make people happy in the afterlife, 
Islam’s goal is to make people happy in this life.

To achieve this happiness, Islam has five pillars.

1. God is one.
2.  Prey five times a day (namac)
3.  Fast for one month (Ramadan)
4.  Give alms - zakat
5.  Hadj - go to mecca once in your life.

1. One God. - Mohammed is a profit, not a god. There are 28 profits 
including Jesus, Buddha, etc,. 125 profits are referenced in the Koran. 
The WHOLE world is under one God. Islam is a unifying faith.

2. Prey five times a day. Ablution, cleansing before each time. With 
water if you have it, in the desert, use sand. The preyer positions 
exercise the body as well as the mind. This pillar reminds one of the 
importance of taking care of the physical and mental self. Take time.

3. Ramazan - During this month, fast from sunrise to sunset. Nothing to 
eat or drink. For the first ten, eleven days of you really notice your 
hunger and know what you are missing. No pleasures. No excitement. Meli 
gave the example of a jasmine vine in her garden which she loves the 
smell of. Yet she comes to take it for granted. By not being able to 
enjoy it during Ramazan, when the thirty days are over, she finds she 
has new appreciation for the jasmine vine and its fragrance. When you 
break fast, you realized what you have missed. The thirty days cleanses 
both body and mind. You learn what is really important in life. All you 
need is bread and a jacket. All other things don’t matter. The sultan 
and the common man are one. You grow to have confidence in yourself and 
your body, no matter who you are. You break fast in community and 
realize the importance of that.

4. Zakat - giving alms. Giving alms is different than writing a check 
to a charity which is at arm’s length, misses the direct human contact. 
In giving alms, you seek out a person who needs your help. I am aware 
that the family in Guzelurt who she has helped set up a B&B in their 
home may be such a case. Alms is to be 1/40th of your means but you are 
not to do it before you have given those in your family what they need, 
your parents, your children and you owe no one anything. What you give 
them may be material or may be something involve giving your time and 

5. Hadg - pilgrimage to Mecca once in your lifetime. You are there with 
Moslems from around the world. Africa, Spain, China, Libya, etc. 
Everyone dresses in the same seven yards of white schrod, thereby 
making everyone equal, no hierarchy. People stay in camps. They have to 
fetch water in buckets and must give the water they bring to the camp 
next to them, there by having to meet their neighbors, reinforcing the 
importance of worldwide community, the oneness of the world, while 
maintaining a sense of individual identity.


Rumi based his theology on Islam but came to express an especially 
beautiful expression of Islam.

Born Mevlana (one who reached up to the peak) Celallitin Rumi, in Belh 
in what is now the north of Afghanistan, year 1207. He always called 
himself Cellallitin. His father was a teacher. Influences on Rumi were 
many. In Belh was a man who taught the importance of a free society, 
knew the disciplines of math, science and poetry. Hoards from Genghis 
Kahn were threatened by the freedom and began oppressing the society.

To escape the oppression Celettetin’s father packed up all of their 
earthly possessions and moved the family to Mecca, assuming that was a 
place the family could live in freedom. The road there was very 
dangerous but he said, “Our guide is our faith.”

They didn’t like the conditions in Mecca, so decided to move on to 
Baghdad. With the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” literate 
interpretation of their faith, they moved on to Damascus. After six 
months there and they realization that women weren't valued in society 
they moved again. Celalletin’s father was desperate to find the right 
place to settle. He got the message, “go to the land of Rom” (land of  
the Romans) which was near Konya.

The sultan in Konya began to hear of Celalletin’s father’s teachings 
and called them to Konya to live in the palace and be his teacher. His 
father’s response was, “The place for a teacher is in the school, 
available to all the people, not in the palace.” The sultan provided 
that school.

Rumi’s father died when Celalletin was 18. His father’s followers came 
to finish Rumi’s education.  He learned many languages of the Middle 
East and beyond, including Hindi.

At age 26/27, he became a teacher and was given the name Rumi as the 
land of Rom An adjective, modifying the name, telling where he is is 

About this time Rumi and Shams of Tabriz met -- in an alley riding 
donkeys. Shams became his most important teacher. Sham’s important 
teaching for Rumi came as a question: “What do you know from your heart 
and brain?” From that Rumi realized he was only imitating past 
teachers. He had to be a virtuoso in his own right.
In Sufism there is no duality, no god up there, people down here. You 
and I are the same (only the pronouns are different). All are equal man 
and god. Sufism is ecumenical, humanitarian and universal. God is not 
in temples but in our hearts. Islam’s trinity is the wholeness that 
comes from -- Feeling -- Consciousness -- Wisdom. Human beings are THE 
masterpiece of art which is why they are not represented in art. 90% of 
Turks follow Sufism.

The whirling ritual is not just physical. It is also metal. Becoming 
one with all themselves with one hand up and one down. They don’t need 
clergy or the Pope to connect with god.

We left the mosque and visited Rumi’s mausoleum and museum before 
leaving Konya. We drove a few hours to Beysehir Lake where we boarded a 
boat for a trip across the lake. There was a lovely lunch served 
onboard. Three hours on the lake was very relaxing. The color of the 
lake was a phenomenal aqua blue with lots of billowy cloud formations 
in the bright blue sky, all of which made for some great shots. Two 
thirds of the way across we passed an island, home to many birds which 
took flight as we were close, feeling a threat, I’m sure. Though not 
currently inhabited but with many visible ruins.

On the far side of the lake the dingy took us to shore where we 
reboarded the bus and continued, climbing into the Toros Mountains. We 
stopped to take pictures of some beautiful mountain vistas. The near 
peaks were probably 3000 meters. Vistas reminiscent of the Colorado 
Rockies or the Sierra Nevada. I was amazed to find such geographic 
diversity in Turkey.

We crossed the summit in the Toros at about 2200 meters. Cows grazed in 
high mountain pastures as we continued west and headed back down, 
people yelling “Dur!” “Stop! Photo opp!” every now and then.

We continued down, passing more sheep pastures and began to get into 
foothill villages with red tile roofs, then fertile valleys with fields 
of baby wheat looking like spring green grass all watered by extensive 
gravity irrigation systems. At times we met cows wandering down the 
middle of the narrow two lane road.

Along the way Meli told us some interesting facts about Turkey. The 
state provides medicine, education and a retirement at age 60 for men 
and 58 for women. Taxes are fairly high. Solar heating is everywhere. 
Turkey is one of 13 countries, world wide that is self sufficient in 
food production according to the United Nations. Turkey exports 
hydroelectric power to Bulgaria and Georgia.

We arrived at our hotel in Egirdir about dinner time and found 
ourselves on an island attached to the main part of town by a causeway. 
We were in another very peaceful setting at the end of a long day of 
ever changing topography. Through out the day we had all wondered at 
the unexpected beauty and diversity of this country.

Ann Brooks
Ann Brooks Photography
San Rafael, California