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Australian Centre For Sufism


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Previous Events:

Religions' Sacred Teachings
and Their Inner Meanings
International Symposium
15th December 2013

Seeing God Everywhere:
Traversing the
Spiritual Journey
5th November 2011

An Ancient Psychology
for a Modern Era
The Journey of the ego self
to the Spiritual Self
International Symposium
4th December 2010

One Humanity, Many Faiths
Interfaith Summit
February 2009

Sufi Music and Zikr
by Al Madeheen
September 2008

Moulana Rumi and the
Perfume of Divine Love
International Symposium
December 2007

ABC Radio Interview
December 2007

UNESCO Moulana Congress
Tehran and Tabriz
October 2007

UNESCO Moulana Rumi
Istanbul and Konya
May 2007

Conference on the
Iranian Identity
December 2006

Dalai Lama meets
with Muslim and
Sufi leaders
April 2006

Sufi Meditation
on ABC Radio
April/May 2006

Life of Maryam (a.s.)
August 2005

The Unifying Role
Of Mysticism
International Symposium
October 2004

Peace and God Consciousness
- The Journey of the Soul
International Symposium
October 2003

Uniting & Dividing
Humanity - The role
politics & religion play
August 2003

Sufism & Self-Transformation
The Path of Knowledge
and Love
International Symposium
October 2002

An Evening with
Claudio Naranjo
September 2002

Unity Within Diversity
November 2001

The Message of Moulana Rumi
"Listen to the Reed
How it Tells its Tale...."
International Symposium
November 2000

The Need for Sufism in a
New Century - An Old
Tradition for a New World
International Symposium
May 2000

Previous Event:

International Sufi Symposium

Moulana Rumi and the
Perfume of Divine Love

December 2007

The room was decorated with candles, Persian carpets and pushtis, and in the centre hung an antique carpet depicting Moulana Rumi’s tomb in Konya. People had gathered from across the country and speakers had come from around the world to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of one of the worlds greatest spiritual Masters in this International Year of Rumi. In addition to Persian music and poetry, it seemed like the spirit of this great Persian Mystic, Poet and Saint had graced us for the day and that the perfume of the Beloved filled the room.

Dr Patrick Laude Audio

Dr Patrick Laude

The first speaker for the day was Dr Patrick Laude. Originally from France, he completed his MA in Comparative Philosophy at the Sorbonne, prior to moving to the USA, where he gained his PhD at Indiana University and began working in various Universities and in 2002 he became a Professor at Georgetown University. The title of his talk was The Role of Poetry in Expressing the Divine Presence. He explored the interplay between silence and words, presence and absence saying "The mystic, and this is one of the major aspects of mystic poetry, aspires in a sense to be consumed in silence and therefore poetry tends in a sense towards silence as pure presence. So the aim of poetry will be this silence which is full of presence and which is the peak of poetry. The pure presence that is pure poetry." He went on to say "The junction between the Divine and the human being is of such a subtle nature, that it is in fact quasi imperceptible outwardly, until it manifests itself in and throughout the creation through the words of poetry. So poetry proceeds from an imperceptible reality that outpours in creation with a view to bringing back, ultimately to the heart."

Dr Arthur Buehler Audio

Dr Arthur Buehler

The next speaker was Dr Arthur Buehler who studied with the late Professor Annemarie Schimmel at Harvard University, graduating in 1993 with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Having taught at four universities in the USA he relocated to New Zealand and is now at Victoria University, Wellington. Speaking on The Path of Divine Love, he proposed that whereas human beings fall in love, Divine Love could be described as 'rising in love'. He added "that is clearly what Moulana Rumi has given us an eternal example, an inspiration and a model of."

Next, before we broke for prayer and lunch, we took a visit to the resting place of Moulana, in a special film presentation of the Sema, the whirling dervishes, set in the courtyard of Moulana's shrine, where he was laid to rest in Konya.

Dr Harry Oldmeadow Audio

Dr Harry Oldmeadow

Following lunch, Dr Harry Oldmeadow of La Trobe University spoke on 'A Pasture for Gazelles': Rumi and the Modern Encounter of Religions. He said "What we need is an understanding of religion and actually beyond religion, a kind of understanding of Reality, an understanding of life, which recognizes the authenticity, the particularity of each religious tradition, recognizes the right of each tradition to exist, recognizes that each tradition is a kind of refraction of universal truth. So, on the one hand, we recognize the need for diversity in the religious domain, and at the same time we understand that religious forms, religious traditions are necessarily limited by definition. Any form is limited by being one form - it can't be another form. So the religions are forms, if you can get your head around this, which contain the formless. And it is in the end the formless that we might envisage as the goal." He said "They are like paths up the mountain, you can climb a mountain in many different ways, but the important thing is you are climbing upwards. And once you get to the top of the mountain you are not going to argue with the others you meet up there about how you got there."

"In this context Islam , which is not my own religion, I myself am Christian, but in this context Islam and Sufism have got a very particular role to play. A providential role. We know that Islam is the last of the great revelations, we know that Mohammad is the seal of the Prophets and we know that in Sufism in particular this teaching about the validity of other paths and other traditions has been there from the beginning and it was crystallised and articulated and most beautifully and eloquently expressed by both Ibn Arabi and Rumi.”

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Milad Milani Audio

Milad Milani

This was followed by Milad Milani from the University of Sydney who spoke on the role of Shams in Rumi's life and poetry in a talk entitled The Scent of Light.

Fleur Nassery Bonnin Audio

Fleur Nassery Bonnin

The final speaker of the day was Sufi Murshid, Fleur Nassery Bonnin, the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies who in the International Year of Rumi has presented at several UNESCO events including the International Congress of Moulana Rumi in Istanbul and Konya and the Moulana Congress in Tehran and Tabriz. The title of her talk was Moulana Rumi and the Mirror of Divine Love. In a beautiful and moving speech, Fleur recited Rumi’s words in Farsi and then translated them giving their literal and inner mystical meanings in English. She used Rumi’s own words to illustrate his spiritual journey in particular and the stages of the spiritual path in general. She concluded: "Looking at Moulana’s life from beginning to the end and particularly his relationship with Shams, it would be difficult not to see how he was chosen, prepared and delivered for this purpose. Other Sufi Masters and Poets have also walked this path, but it seems that Allah has made such a display of Moulana’s personal journey for us, so that we can relate to it, in order to be able to see and hear from Moulana himself, what happens when one walks on the path of Shari’ah and Tariqah and reaches Haqqiqah. Through Moulana’s example we are shown how one travels the path and by transforming the ego self (nafs), arrives at Love. The mesmerizing quality of his words, that moves people and that talks to their inner hearts, is only due to the scent of the Beloved.”


Persian music group Chang-e-Nahid

Following the afternoon tea break we were whisked away to the land of Rumi's birth with a performance of traditional Persian music and the poetry of Moulana in Farsi and in English by the Persian music group Chang-e-Nahid.

The day was concluded with these words of warning:
Throughout today we have heard so much about Moulana and the importance of his message. But we must impress that if we are to preserve Moulana's legacy, those of us in the English speaking world who are not fortunate enough to be able to read him in his original Persian language, must insist on quality translations which have the sources and the numbers of the verses quoted. Unfortunately, the books of Moulana Rumi’s poetry and translations these days have a little of Moulana and a lot of the translators, and the public would be best served by the accuracy of Moulana Rumi’s own words and meanings. Otherwise we are ending up with everybody's version of Moulana, but we lose Moulana himself. And we must remember that his words are sacred and come from a Divine Source.

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Moulana Rumi Program
on ABC Radio

December 2007

Fleur Nassery Bonnin, the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism was interviewed on ABC Radio’s “The Spirit of Things” program on Moulana Rumi on Sunday 2nd of December. The first part of the program featured an English story teller who gives performances of Rumi’s poetry and in the second part Fleur Nassery Bonnin, (who spoke at the December 2007 symposium “Moulana Rumi and the Perfume of Divine Love”) was interviewed discussing Rumi, Sufism and Sufi Psychology.

To read the transcipt of the program please visit their website at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/spiritofthings/stories/2007/2102543.htm

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For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org

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