The Sufi Mystical Dance

from “The Tantric Dancer” by Maya Swati Devi

Completely captured by the mystical dance and the poems of Lalla, I immersed myself in the study of Sūfī dances. During one of my trips to Rajasthan, I was lucky enough to meet Mustaq Khan, one of the most popular Muslim musicians, and he accompanied me in Rajasthan during my dance performances. Through his remarkable artistic and spiritual knowledge, I was able to meet Dargah Sharif and one of Nawab Khadim Shah Sahib’s spiritual descendants, Hasan Sharib, also successor to Sufi Gudri Shahi.

Tenacity and my passion helped me access some teachings which are often not accessible to women. Being a Western woman and a spiritual researcher helped in this. Mustaqji accompanied me to Hasan Sharib’s school and I was received with great respect. The Sūfīs are mystics, and concerned to keep their teachings secret.

Sufi Mystical Dance at the General consulate on India Milan

“Arise, oh day! Dancing, the atoms of dust and souls, happy, in their holy ecstasy, they dance. The one for whom the celestial spheres and the Wind dance, I will tell you in your ear, where he dances!”

Jalaluddin Rumi

The Sūfī dance had the power to lead me to the inebriating realms of Nasha, the state of drunkenness caused by the painful passion of love and the desire for the beloved.

The mystic sūfī goes through an evolutionary path made of seven stages, which represent the seven symbols: sound, light, number, letter, word, symbol, rhythm, and harmony. At the Semas ceremony all seven symbols can be found. They express a completeness that overcomes the thought-action process – realised through the prayer. Love carries pain with it too -as it is the opposite of it – but it also brings the ability to reach high levels of consciousness. My devotion and creativity reached their apex when I realised that agony and ecstasy were two sides of the same coin. We would like to experience the ecstasy without experiencing the pain but we must go through a dark night to be able to see the rising sun of the new day.

The rotating dance was ‘the place of the non-thought’ where present, past and future joined in a spontaneous surrender to love. I became familiar with that place through constant and devotional practice. The poems of the saint Sūfī Jalaluddin Rumi are full of desire and strong passion for the beloved. The beloved is understood as God, the divine, the absolute lover.

We must allow the pure desire to manifest itself within ourselves and to take part in our life experience. Spontaneous surrender occurs when the ardent desire for the beloved becomes so painful that no other thing can fade the fire of love felt towards the beloved. The need to unite with the One overcomes any other desire and the only possibility for us is to fall in love. With the ecstatic dance Sūfī, this union became the imperative that I could not or did not want to deny to myself.