January 28, 2015
We are back from our almost monthlong super short vacation to India, via Istanbul. Three and a half weeks just flew by and here I am sitting on my couch wondering how to get them back.
We broke our journey in Istanbul and spent a couple of days in this grand old city. Divided by the Bosporus, partly in Europe and partly in Asia, this city is the perfect embodiment of the word picturesque. It reminded me of Delhi, a cleaner, better preserved, grander Delhi with much better weather.
The night we were scheduled to fly out of New York City, almost every other flight had been cancelled on account of an impending snowstorm. The streets of NYC wore a deserted look and usually the bustling JFK airport had fewer people than a local bus terminal. Fingers crossed, we waited for our flight to take off.
The husband knew I was very keen on catching a whirling dervishes performance. It is not a really performance, it is a ceremony; a prayer. We had tried booking one online, but had not been successful due to technical issues in making payments. We were staying at the Best Western Premier The Home Suites & Spa. As soon as we checked into our hotel the husband asked the uber helpful man at the reception about the ceremony and in no time we had reservations for the show at the Orient Express Train Station (Sirkeci Event Hall–Istanbul Gar). Set to haunting music, the ceremony is fraught with spiritual symbolism, right from the attire to the spinning. A short video of the ceremony can be seen on our Instagram account.
I am not a religious person. I believe in God, yes. I like to think of myself as spiritual, but what is spirituality? Is it contentment? Or is it discontentment? The constant ache, the yearning, the longing, the neverending search to attain the unattainable? As the dervishes whirl themselves into a trance, they seek love; eternal and everlasting. Like the earth revolving around the sun, their bodies spin around their hearts. They strive to achieve self-realization, and by understanding themselves they hope to understand the Creator. I too believe that God lives in us. The conscience that guides me, that is my God. If you can be true to yourself, you will never be in danger of worshiping false gods.
God is too big to be contained by religion and too great to be concerned with what you wear or eat. He is more likely to care about how you treat your fellow creations. How much you pray is less important than how much you care and how you express it. To me, God is the flow of energy. Omniscient, omnipresent; that which can neither be created nor destroyed.
My religion says there are two ways to attain the Supreme. One to give up all worldly pleasures and concentrate only on **Him, the other is to devote yourself entirely to the tasks that have been set out for you. Give your all in every relationship. No matter what work you do, give it your best. Seek pleasure not in the results but in every little thing you do. Service to man is sacrifice to God. Mine is the second way. I have not reached the top of the mountain, but I am content that I have found my path.
**Mo ko Kahan Dhundhere Bande Mein To Tere Paas
Khoji Hoye Turat Mil Jaoon Ik Pal Ki Talas Mein
Kahet Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho Mein To Hun Viswas Mein
– beautifully explained here
**Him/Her/Whatever. I’m using Him merely for convenience, otherwise I believe God is gender free.
P.S –Check out the Istanbul, Turkey album our FB page to enjoy our journey through pictures.