Yunus Emre was a thirteenth century mystic from Anatolia, Turkey. He was but one of the thousands of Sufi dervishes of Islam, but he played an outstanding role in Turkish culture, literature and philosophy.
During his youth when Yunus Emre lived with his mother in this village, he found himself in a kind of ghariblik, a strangeness, a loneliness and sorrow caused by the separation from Haqq, from God. Yunus traveled through towns, climbed mountains and walked across the steppes, but he did not find anyone like himself, weeping and moaning because of the longing in his heart. The fire of this yearning for the Beloved burned him by day and by night, although his words spoke only of love, tears of love flowing from his eyes, and still he was unable to find his Beloved.
The more his sorrow increased, the lonelier he became in a crowd. This loneliness, even among other people, was his sole friend; he was now the close friend of those who sorrow. In his village, if someone had sorrow and was in misery, Yunus would visit eagerly to share the sorrow, no matter who the person was. From that time on, everyone's sorrow, everyone's difficulty turned out to be Yunus Emre's own sorrow. He prayed to the Creator to help those who found this strange affliction in themselves: with his prayers to God Yunus sought a remedy for their sorrow.
During a famine, he traveled to the dergah, the dervish lodge, of Haji Bektash Veli, the great sultan of ma‘na, of meaning, to ask for grain and seeds to feed his starving, hungry villagers. On the way to Haji Bektash Veli, Yunus decided he could not arrive there with empty hands, and he picked some wild pears on the Anatolian steppes as a gift for Haji Bektash. May God not oblige anyone to arrive with empty hands.
Haji Bektash asked Yunus if he would accept a nefes, the secret breath of a blessing, instead of a cartful of grain sacks, but Yunus' mind was on his villagers who were starving. Then Haji Bektash increased his offer, “We will give you ten nefes for each wild pear you brought us.” Since Yunus had never heard of a nefes before, nor could he even imagine its extraordinary bliss, he chose the grain and seeds, and Haji Bektash gave him the food instead.
Later, on his way back to the village, Yunus thought he had probably made a mistake as he began to realize the significance of the nefes Haji Bektash had offered him. He rushed back to him and said, “Here is your grain, take it back and give me your nefes.” But Haji Bektash told him his share of the nefes had been turned over to Taptuk Emre who would soon become his guide on the path. And so Yunus went to Taptuk Emre. It took only a little time for Yunus to find Taptuk Emre, delivering himself with total love to his guide.
“I understand it is not easy to be a dervish; so let me go into the world with my solitude, my otherness, I will become an intimate friend of those who sorrow.” - Yunus said Tapuk before his start of travel on foot, miles and miles through the steppes of Anatolia.
Knowledge should mean a full grasp of knowledge:
Knowledge means to know yourself, heart and soul.
If you have failed to understand yourself,
Then all of your reading has missed its call.
During his lifetime Yunus did not claim to be a dervish nor did he describe himself as a sheikh or sultan. He was content with Haqq, the truth or reality which is God, losing any sense of self or varlik, individual existence, in the presence of Haqq.
Sevelim - Sevilelim
Love and Be Loved
- written on the Epitaph of Yunus Emre's Tomb
Find more of Yunus Emre’s poems here:
. The Drop That Became The Sea
. Yunus Emre: Love & Peace
. Turkish Culture
. Poetry Chaikhana