The process of taking out all of impurities was not an easy one, this is what Mahir was realising in his practice.
He realised all of that as he gathered with that company of Sufis, as they called each other, right outside the city of Izmir.
Mahir heard quite a lot about those sufis before deciding to join them. He heard so many different things on their behalf. He heard that they had lost their common sense, that they were mad, that they ruined their family’s reputation by leaving everything else aside and by joining this unconventional path.
Mahir did not fear of all this. He heard deeply in his hearth the burning desire to join that unusual fellowship. He knew when his hearth was telling him something he could not doubt. As a brave young man, he was rebellious enough to follow what his hearth whispered him.
“Remember Mahir”, once told him his uncle, “the rebellious ones are those who, over the centuries, gave humanity new ways of seeing things. All the prophets were not accepted by their fellows at their times, yet they did not give up. This is how things go”. Who knows, perhaps his uncle’s words plaid a part in his decision to join the company of dancing holy men.
Joining the Sufis was exactly how Mahir expected it, at first. A bunch of joyful people, dancing in circle and repeating the name of the Beloved. Everything was perfect, ecstatic, joyful. Nothing seemed to impair that bliss that Mahir had always experienced in the background of his consciousness and that finally seemed to have found the right foundation on which to grow.
Months had passed since he joined the Dervish. Mundane preoccupations were just a memory of the past. The future seemed to be one of bliss and divine enjoyment. Until the day were the unexpected happened.
On that day Mahir woke up early. He was going all the way to the central hall to start his daily work, as it was the rule of the community. As he was walking from his house to the hall something from the inside struck him. A deep sense of pride suddenly struck him like a thunderbolt. This feeling overcame to him quickly and deeply that Mahir did not even had the time to hide this feeling under some momentary distraction.
It was just unbelievably obvious to him how much his life had always been centred in his sense of superiority to other human beings. Even the holiest of his decisions, the one of joining the company of dancing dervishes, appeared to him as driven by a desire to gain importance, power and prestige, not in material terms, but in much subtler ways.
The more Mahir looked at this feeling the bigger the feeling seem to get.
After a few time the feeling grew so strongly that Mahir had a clear sense of exploding. Inside his brain a thousand voices suddenly appeared. Those voices were telling him how much he deserved to be recognised, that he was the holiest of his family, that he was the holiest of that company of dancing dervishes, that the was the holiest of the whole world. The voice was not stopping there. It started to remind him how well he did in school and that if he wanted he could start his studies again so that the whole world could benefit from the knowledge that was naturally flourishing in him.
Many other promises arose on that day in Mahir’s mind, many of which we cannot speak about because of decency.
Luckily for Mahir not all of his good will disappeared in a instant. He remembered what he had read on the Quran. He was well aware of the tricks that demons could play to the people in the search for God. He knew what had to be done. He had to visit Jalal, the headmaster of the dervish company to tell him all of his doubts and temptations.
“Beloved Master”, started Mahir. “Joining this company was the choice that most drew me closer to God. This is, at least, what I used to think before this day. Since this morning, however, there is a voice inside of me that screams so strongly it can’t be ignored. It tells about me. It tells about my place in the world. It tells about how you should sit at my place and how I should stand on your throne. It tells about all sort of unworldly things. I know that this voice is not true, but yet it won’t stop. I know that I am sinner. I am still the same sinner I was when I first joined. Oh Master, all of my search is just pure pride and I deserve nothing!”.
“Very well”, stated the Master, “I was waiting for you to come to this place. To be a Dervish is to accept God’s gifts, both in light as in darkness, as there is not without the other”. The Master stated.
“The human hearth is like a raw metal”, continued the Master, “to come to purity the metal has to suffer. It has to be put in hell’s fire and be beaten a thousand and more times. No metal has been born pure. Nor it is you, Mahir”.
Upon hearing those words Mahir’s pride intensified, just to quickly lead him to confusion and then desolation.
“But then tell me, beloved Master, what shall I do to overcome my pride? Because this pride squeezes me, like a bug under a shoe. Yet, I know there must be more. I have seen it in the past!”.
“You shall dance, Mahir”, stated the Master, “with your right palm asking for mercy and your left offering the world the blessings you’ll receive. In your dance you shall rotate, to remember that all in this world is a cycle in God’s will”.
From that day Mahir started to dance. He danced and danced and then he danced some more. He danced so much he could not remember his name. He danced so much that even his feeling of pride fell off. He danced until there was nothing else in this world apart for the dance itself.
Mahir finally became that dance, and the people looking at that dance, and impulse leading that dance. He became everything and only because Mahir was no more.
When the dance finally stopped Mahir returned to be who he was. He returned as Mahir, the dervish, with a hearth filled of gratitude. He knew in his hearth that that was just the beginning. The beginning of a wider dance in which to give roots to what he saw in his whirling bliss…