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Sufi Whirling Dervish – The Beauty of Rumi’s Poetry and the ‘Buddha’s Coconut’ Leaves

Sufi Whirling Dervish Rumi Art Nature Journaling

When I listen to this soulful song (do listen to it – it’s divine music), I feel a trance descend over me, and Pari breaks into a dance – most graceful and elegant. This song also inspires a spiritual rising within that wants me to do the Whirling Dervish – the meditative, spiritual spinning of the Sufis. And, this is what has reflected in today’s leaf art. The ‘Buddha’s coconut’ leaves – one good look at them and I thought, this is what the whirl of the cloaks that the Sufis wear during the spinning, look like.

You folks have a look and tell me if what I saw, you see too? And, learn some more about this beautiful Sufi practice. Some might call it a dance, but it’s not. It’s so much more that the viewers might not see or know or understand. So, let’s understand some more about this spiritual spinning.

Oh, and a list of beautiful Sufi songs that you’ll love listening to…

I love the thought and the rhythm of this poetry by Rumi. And, I feel so fortunate to have found the gorgeous, giant leaves of the Buddha’s Coconut leaves that gave me an instant vision to create this art.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” 

Rumi art Sufi Spinning Leaf Art

Rumi Poetry Art

What is Whirling Dervish?

The act of spinning or Sufi Whirling has a deep underlying spiritual meaning, that most of us may not know. This act dates back to the 13th century. And, something amazing that I came to know – Rumi himself was the first to whirl!

The story relates that as he was walking through the market, he heard the rhythmic pounding of the metalworkers. The metalworkers were saying the phrase “La illaha illa Llah”, which loosely translated is Arabic for “There is no god but God”. Upon hearing the words combined with the rhythmic drumming of the metalworkers tools, Rumi went into an ecstatic trance and began to whirl. (Read more in this very informative article about the Whirling Dervishes.)

The Buddha’s Coconut Tree

According to Trees of Delhi – it’s a towering giant of the rainforests of North East India and the Western Ghats, and one of Delhi’s tallest trees even though it is stunted here. The leaves are very large, upto 40 cm, glossy and smooth; 5-7 main veins form a heart-shaped base and the apex is pointy or not.

Sufi Music

I’m in love with Sufi music – I find it so soulful, meditative and glorious. If you’d like some popular Hindi Sufi songs, here’s a list.

Ah..there are so many more. And so many of them by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. I could go on.

But, I want to know YOUR favourite Sufi song. Which one? :-) Do share, so I can expand my fav. list.

And, here’s the Day 24 Leaf Art – Kundalini Awakening. See the art, read the story behind it and the poetry of Rumi that makes it complete.


Leaf Art from Day 1 to Day 23:

Day 1: Inspired by Saptaparni Leaves

Day 2: Inspired by Gulmohar Leaves

Day 3: Inspired by Banyan Leaves

Day 4: Inspired by Peepal Leaves

Day 5: Inspired by Yellow Bells

Day 6: Inspired by Jadi Leaves – Ficus amplissima

Day 7: Inspired by Kassod Leaves – Senna Siamea

Day 8: Inspired by Kashmir’s Chinar Leaves

Day 9: Inspired by Frangipani Leaves

Day 10: Inspired by Kaniar (Bauhinia purpurea)

Day 11: Inspired by Ashok Leaves (Indian Fir)

Day 12: Self-portrait – Inspired by Sheesham (Indian Rosewood) Leaves

Day 13: The Story of Mulberry Leaves, Silkworm and the Indian Flag

Day 14: If Leaves Evolved Into Birds (Karanj or Indian Beech)

Day 15: Gaia – the Goddess Earth (Rai Jamun leaves)

Day 16: Positive Affirmations Leaf Art (‘Putranjiva’ or child-life tree)

Day 17: Elements of the Earth (Inspired by the Shaving Brush Tree)

Day 18: The Dreamcatcher – Inspired by Neem Leaves

Day 19: The Scent of Gratitude – Inspired by Maulsari (Indian Medlar)

Day 20: The Story of Shabari and Ram – Inspired by the Ber Tree (Indian Jujube/Cherry)

Day 21: An Eternal Journey – Colours of the Universe (Inspired by the Pilkhan/White Fig)

Day 22: Dance of the Soul – Inspired by Rumi’s Poetry (and the Pomegranate Tree) 

Day 23: The Deep Pull of What You Truly Love: Rumi Inspired Leaf Art (Frangipani) 

Day 24: Kundalini Awakening: Inspired by Rumi’s Poetry and ‘The Tree of Heaven’ (Ailanthus excelsa) 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Srishti@ProlificCooking August 27, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Just read this one and the previous one. This leaf art journal is becoming a deeper and deeper source of enlightenment as it is progressing. I know all the readers including me do not want this journal to end in 30 days! Lovely art and such inspirational thought behind it!

    • Rashmie August 28, 2013, 7:53 am

      Thanks, Srishti :-) Yes, you’re so right – this art is leading me into so much more than I started out with. Even I didn’t know then that this would become the source of much food for thought for my self.
      I’m so glad you and more of my readers are enjoying this journey of mine. It’s a huge affirmation. :-)

  • prabhat kumar August 30, 2013, 6:28 pm

    It’s good even though I am not a painting enthusiastic.
    And the songs you mentioned are commercial ones so if you know Urdu or Punjabi then do listen songs of abida parveen, nusrat fateh Ali khan, wadali brothers etc & if not then there are songs in hindi-Urdu by abida & parveen you can easily listen to then & trust me they are far beautiful. There is one website folkpunjab.com, download from there for free.
    You can start with enigma album series but some songs induces erotic thoughts. Though enigma is my all time favourite, its musical trance. There is abundance of good music in world i.e. Gazals, thumri, musicals, instrumental especially sarod ones.

    • Rashmie August 31, 2013, 10:54 am

      Thanks you for being here and for suggesting these other legendary singers. I listen to all of them – Abeeda Parveen, Nusrat Fatesh Ali Khan etc.
      Plus, the links to the songs I’ve suggested in the article are equally prolific singers – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan et al.
      How does it matter whether the music is commercial or not?! What matters is music that will stir your soul and send good sound vibrations.
      I don’t like to do intellectual engineering over whether it’s commercial, charity, art…
      And, what’s wrong with what you call – “commercial music”? What’s wrong if these singers could earn a living out of their unique and divine talent?

  • prabhat September 3, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Rashmie i agree with you, the only reason i mentioned those names because you were talking of sufi & trance stuff but quoting/recommending not so intense stuff. It wasn’t any kind of show off, i just thought may be you aren’t aware or you haven’t paid much attention to them. Even i some times listen to likes of Honey singh it totally depends on the context.

  • prabhat September 3, 2013, 9:38 pm

    by the way paintings are good & some intense too(even for me)

  • X-Chel June 22, 2017, 11:40 am

    Very nice post! Apart from stating that, I wanted to share a link with you with one of my favorite Sufi songs by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (see below):


    This always puts me in some sort of “otherwordly” state – hope you like this (if you haven’t heard it before).