Sufism is a way of life dating back to centuries ago. The concept behind it is looking into the daily life for the divine. The word Sufi is derived from “Safa”, an Arabic word that stands for pure. Sufi celebrates divinity as it realizes that experiencing the higher self is being God.
There have been ongoing debates by scholars in an attempt to demystify Sufism and its relation to Islam. Some scholars believe it is rooted in Islam, while others believe its birth was long before the birth of Islam. Either way, Sufism has now broken the continental boundaries and crossed different religions to reach millions from all walks of life.
A popular Sufi dance, the Sufi Whirling Dervish Dance, can be related to the cyclone’s centre phenomenon. Chaos reigns at a cyclone’s periphery, but the eye has stillness. The power of the cyclone comes from this stillness, and it dictates the movement and force. In Sufi Whirling, the world is surrounded by chaos and music but stillness reigns at the core of our being. This core is the higher consciousness and the place where dance and music emerge.
The dance is a meditation path seamlessly bridging the real world and the mystical realms. It is characterised by a simple turning movement that mirrors the human essence, and its captivating appeal has as much meditative power from watching as from dancing it. It is no wonder the esoteric movements of the Whirling Dervishes continue to wow the world with their performance.
A famous danseuse, Zia Nath, has added another dimension to Sufism by blending her experience with three sacred dances. She created Sufi Splendour as a confluence of Gurdjieff, Odissi and Sufi Whirling, all three ancient esoteric and temple dance forms. The Odissi dance and Sufi Whirling fusion rather makes for an enthralling form of thesacred dances
Zia also draws inspiration from the universal Sufism concept of Hazrat Inayat Khan, which is based on the perception that people become Sufis through a pure devotion to their lives regardless of race or religion. Her contribution to the exponential increase of the popularity of Sufism in the last few years has been significant.
The Sufi Splendour workshops focus on centring movements and exercises to support stability and balance. Students master the techniques for finding inner stillness, as well as whirling and turning techniques.