Mevlana was, above all, a mystic. His poetry, his philosophy and his arts were aspects of his sufism. But unlike many great sufis, he was no recluse but voiced his message openly to all mankind. His mystical way infused itself into the popular life of Islam, and beyond. He refers to ‘love’ as the greatest guide on the mystical path, spiritual devotion being, in his words, the true guide to spiritual enlightenment. “The way of the Prophet is the way of love. Be not without love that you be not without life. To love is to be alive”. He himself “melted as sugar in water” in the boundless ocean of mystical devotion. He considered himself a soul of God, burnt to a cinder within the ecstasy of that mystical love, that spiritual devotion which he bore in his heart.
He believed that by renouncing false temporal pleasures, greed and ambition, instinctive desires, evil, falsehood and hypocrasy, the adept could attain an understanding of true beauty and truth, could find true peace of mind. The attainment of such peace of mind implied for him the nurturing of devotion to God as the finest of devotions. One could, he believed, find this love of God under the guidance of a spiritual mentor who himself had attained the mystical truth. His mentor-mursid-would be his greatest guide on the spiritual path and it was only through such a person that the adept could ripen and blossom spiritually.
The spiritual devotion spoken of by Mevlana generally manifested itself in controlled ecstasy, of which the sema-the mystic ritual-was the most striking form. The sema was accompanied by music, which provided the correct rhythms for the attainment of ecstasy. Performing the sema was, to Mevlana, a way of absorbing spiritual tranquility, of nourishing the soul. It was a way of opening one’s spiritual wings to the oneness, the unicity of God. Mevlana expressed his philosophy, his theosophy in a harmonious blend of music, sema, verse and song which all pointed to an unrepleted spiritual love, a vast ocean of devotion which was contained within his mystical mind: “It is my love which enhances my whole existance…” he proclaimed.