1989 address to UNESCO assembly in Paris
Dear Mr. President, distinguished members of UNESCO, ladies and gentlemen.
In the 13th century, long before the establishment of the UNO, of the UNESCO and other Humanist Organizations, a man of a matchless peace-lover lived in Konya, a city of Anatolia: Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi. This great man stating in his works that man beyond his common origin is made up by spirit, reason and love. He was inviting everybody to love, peace and unity without discriminating religion, belief, race, nation and class. We witness that since seven centuries the impact of his works has been perpetuating. As displayed here the works of various nations substantiate well what can I say: French, English, Greek, Arabic, German, Italian, Persian, Japanese, Turkish... The Members of UNESCO published most of these books in their countries. Thus, by these publications they added to the basic but rational principles of UNESCO, an enrichment of new thoughts with feelings, poetry, love and music. In 1963, for the first time UNESCO had shown an interest to this cultural heritage. The late Prof. A. J. Arberry published a book, which was a selection of "Tales from the Masnavi," this book was included by UNESCO in her list of Representative Great Works of World Literature. In 1964, another interest was to its music by releasing a record singled out sixty different compositions aligned along centuries (UNESCO COLLECTION, TURKEY 1, edited for the International Music Council by the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation).
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mevlana's infinite love and faith to the Creator of all of us, to the human brotherhood, to the entire creation, overshadow all the political misunderstanding and conflicts between nations. His message is Universal and hence he invites everybody from the youngest to the eldest to peace and unity... Talking briefly about how this treasure of education, knowledge and culture affected the Turks, I shall be giving some examples of Mevlana's works, which will open you some new vistas.
Ladies and Gentlemen, owing to the geographical situation and historical significance as you all know, that our country is the cradle of ancient civilization, retrospectively Anatolia had become the trespassing stage for the rise and collapse of several nations. By the appreciation and help of the God of all of us, since almost exactly a millennium the Turks have been outliving than any other nations whom preceded us in Anatolia. In the meantime converted to Islam, we always practiced its leniency, and as a rule, we never intervened the faith of "the people of the scripture." It is apparent that the presence of people from different believes, who had been under our administration are now acting as our witnesses. To day too, the inhabitants of this country, belonging to various faiths and religions, are amalgamated within the sphere of "love." More than everybody else, we all believe to the equality, the unity of human being as the creature of God, and that he has been created with love, for love and for to be loved. The existence of this understanding is the result of a spiritual education and teaching of centuries, inherited from father to son. In particular we owe this to Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207-1273). He gifted us the most valuable treasure of the world. His works are composed of five books, two in poetry of more than seventy thousand verses and the rest in prose. He inspired music too, which is the source of the Turkish Classical Music. By appropriating the whirling dance, he affirmed the harmony of the universal movement, which exists in the atoms, that the modern science has just found as the essential secret of the existence. More lately, this conception has created a practicing school, now a part of our folklore. I hope that in months to come you shall witness the music and the whirling (Sema) inspired by him.
Some selected verses from Mevlana:
Mevlana says, that the basis of all creation and believes is love:
An example of Mevlana's conception of unity of all believes:
In the miracles showed by the Prophets in order to invite to faith, Mevlana includes himself as followed:
The call of Mevlana to all human being without discrimination:
Dear Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I end my words with a wish that UNESCO has to take possession of this human treasure which MEVLANA bequeathed us, to publish all his works into various languages including the musical compositions. Thus UNESCO will inherit this valuable heritage to posterity through which, as expressed by Mevlana, the necessity of love together with spirit and reason is to be taught in order to be able to reach a human being. However, the preliminary necessary step for live in a world of love, happy and in peace, is that all of us here begin by forgetting our egos and interests, and get unified in the respect of each other, in the love of all the creatures of God, without any discrimination of religions, believes, nations, races and classes. Dear Members of UNESCO, Do you believe that the continuity of a peace in the world can be rationally obtained only by Education, Science and Culture but without LOVE?
Celaleddin B. CELEBI
UNESCO, October 1989, PARIS
Dr. Çelebi's Legacy
Upon Dr. Çelebi's demise in 1996, his family established the International Mevlana Foundation to continue the his work and to conduct research on Mevlana's works and thoughts, and carry them over to next generations, not only in Turkey, but all over the world.
A list of current activities arranged by the Foundation can be found here.