Makam Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras

Jelaleddin Dede

Makam Postneshin (Spiritual Director) Jelaleddin Loras was born on January 1, 1950, at Mother Tekke and tomb of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi to Suleyman Hayati Dede and his wife Fereste Hanum. Dede had taken on the wazifa (spiritual task) of feeding the poor in Konya, and acting as the Sheikh of Konya, the spiritual leader of the Whirling Dervishes. He undertook this task at a time when the sufi practices were outlawed in Turkey and gave his life to preserving the tradition and transmitting it to the West.

When Jelaleddin was a boy, the training of Semazen (one who turns) resumed with just a few young men. When Dede traveled through Europe in the late sixties to introduce the Mevlevi practices, Jelaleddin was one of the Semazen who accompanied him. Then in the late seventies, Dede traveled across the U.S. and Canada, planting the seeds of the Mevlevi tradition among the seekers he encountered because, as he told his son “They deserve it.” An essential element of his vision was that women should have an equal place in the Mevlevi Order of America, practicing side by side with men.

Then, on December 16, 1978, on a day when Jelaleddin’s mind would have been filled with the anticipation of the annual celebration of the passing of Rumi, called Shebi Arus, meaning “Wedding Day with the Beloved” (which takes place every year on December 17). On this one day, the traditional Mevlevi ceremony called Mukabele was allowed in Turkey. Jelaleddin would have been preparing himself to participate in the Mukabele, which means “Coming face to face,” or “Coming face to face with our Creator, as we bow in humility to the highest in each other.”

When Jelaleddin arrived home that day, his father presented him with a plane ticket and a suitcase, already packed with his clothes and Koran and Mesnevi, saying “Now it is time for you to go to America to learn about life and tend the seeds I have planted.” In a tradition such as the Mevlevi, there is only one answer to such a command from one’s father, who was also his spiritual Master. The answer is “Eyvallah,” meaning “I accept this as coming from God.”

Jelaleddin flew to America, not knowing the language, or anyone there, trusting only in the wisdom of his father and the Grace of God. Jelaleddin then taught the Mevlevi practices at the Claymont School of Continuous Education, a Gurdjieff Ouspensky school in West Virginia whose Director (Pierre Elliot) was both a student of Gurdjieff and a murid of Suleyman Dede, who initiated him as Postneshin.

This began 30 years of life in America, learning our ways and teaching the Mevlevi tradition, bridging ancient and new, East, and West. Upon arriving in New York, on a visit with Shems Friedlander, who authored the book “Whirling Dervishes”, Shems placed headphones on Jelaleddin and played a tape, asking him to guess “What is this?” Jelaleddin heard what sounded to him like a huge zikr, the chanting practice in which the dervishes repeat “Allah,” over and over. What puzzled Jelaleddin was the size of the zikr. The quality of the sound indicated that there must have been thousands of people present, and he could not conceive of where there would be a hall great enough to hold such an assembly, where it would also be legal to conduct zikr. He could not answer Shems, who then revealed that it was a recording of the heartbeat of his as yet unborn son.

This is the secret of the Mevlevi that Jelaleddin has given his life to share with us in the West. As is said in the Holy Tradition. “The Creator cannot be contained in the entire Universe, but He can be found in the Heart of his servant, in the heart of a sincere human being.” This is the Mevlevi message of Love which is now shared by the Mevlevi Order of America.

Jelaleddin dede

Suleyman Dede and his son Jelaleddin established the Mevlevi Order of America in 1981. For over 40 years Jelaleddin Efendi shared Sema (whirling prayer ceremony), sohbet (spiritual conversation), adab (respectful manners), and zikr (prayers of purification) throughout the world. The Mevlevi Order of America provides an opportunity for meaningful spiritual experience in the context of the traditional richness of Mevlevi culture and lifestyle either as direct participants or as observers of the Sema and Zikr. Through his friendship Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras inspired students to develop a deep and authentic connection to the path of Rumi. He said:

“We are drawing on tradition, but we are at the same time bringing something brand new for our time. Here in America, for our community now, yet still preserving the transmission, tradition, and form of understanding.”
Makam Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras

Jelaleddin Dede

Students are trained to turn, to participate in Zikr, and senior students are taught to teach Sema and lead Zikr in 12 Centers that Postneshin Jelaleddin established across the U.S. in California, Connecticut, Hawai’i, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. MOA also has affiliated Centers in England, Germany, Israel, Turkey, and Russia.

Jelaleddin Dede lived with us for over 40 years, teaching us the Mevlevi way, and practices, tirelessly seeking out ways to make it possible for the unique way, thought, and lifestyle of Mevlana to thrive in our vastly different culture. On December 12, 2021, Jelaleddin Dede began his journey in the next world leaving us the task of continuing the work he so lovingly carried out for all these years.

“Over these 40 years we drew many people and much appreciation from the American people for our presentations of the Mevlevi tradition. We are here now to serve the larger circle. May Allah give us strength, dignity, and love. ”
Makam Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras

Jelaleddin Dede

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