Friday, May 27, 2011


"........We stopped at a little monastery occupied by dervishes who danced every Friday. The arched doorway was green and had an open hand of bronze-Mohammed's sacred symbol-on the lintel. We entered the immaculate courtyard. It was paved with large white pebbles; there were flowerpots and creepers all around the edges, and in the centre a huge fruit-laden laurel.

We stopped beneath its shade to catch our breath. One of the dervishes saw us from his cell. Approaching, he greeted us by placing his hand over his breast, lips, and forehead. He was wearing a long blue robe and a tall kulah of white wool. His beard was pitch black and pointed; a silver earring hung from his right ear. He clapped his hands. A chubby barefoot boy came and brought us some stools. We sat down. The dervish chatted about the flowers we saw around us, then about the sea, which we observed sparkling between the laurel's lanceolate leaves. Finally he began to speak about dancing.

"If a man cannot dance, he cannot pray. Angels have mouths but lack the power of speech. They speak to God by dancing." 

Father, what name do you give God?", asked the abbé. 

"God does not have a name", the dervish replied. "He is too big to fit inside names. A name is a prison, God is free." 

"But in case you should want to call Him," the abbé persisted, "when there is need, what name will you use?'

The dervish bowed his head and thought. Finally he parted his lips: "Ah! - that is what I shall call Him. Not Allah, but Ah!"

Nikos Kazantzakis
'Report to Greco' (Autobiography)

No comments:

Blog Archive