Culture of Love

Stereotypes prevail in the modern world. But love can break any of them.

Continent Khofiz Shakhidi

In 13th Century a Tajik philosopher and poet was walking through bazaar when he suddenly heard the hammers’ knock. Mevlana enjoyed the rhythm and sound so much that he raised his hands to the sky and started to whirl in a dance praying to God. That’s how the main ritual of the Order of Whirling Dervishes was born. Three times dancers stop to greet God, Universe and Soul. He was born in Balha, died in Konya, his words do not leave the mouths of the people all over the world and philosophy is kept in hearts of his followers. Our columnist, CEO of GTL Group Khofiz Shakhidi is on how the teaching of a Great Sufi transformed in perception of his descendant from our epoch.

Jalaluddin Rumi, a greatest poet born in Tajikistan once wrote: “My religion is Love. Every heart is my Temple”. And “my Faith is Love. My Mother is Love as well. My Father is Love. My God is Love. I’m a child of love and came to this world to talk about love”. Before mosque, church, synagogue and pagoda appeared there was Altar where people prayed. They didn’t need a mediator between them and God. Mevlana created his own way of meditation and direct communication with Creator and founded the Order of Dervishes. My inner spiritual Altar, symbol of true faith is the same with the poet, Love.

I’m Muslim. But I think that we should talk about culture. There are European, Arab, Mediterranean, Middle Asian and other cultural worlds and they are more important than religions same as Altar is more important than temple. And above all of that still stays Love.

Stereotypes prevail in the modern world. But love can break any of them. Once I bought a good video and photo cameras and asked my childhood friend to fly from Sweden and just have a trip to our beautiful mountain villages to show the faces of people who live their, to the world. There’s a magic happening when a photo artist makes a snapshot: the man in the frame can be compared to a book we can read and his face tells about life more than a biographer could. People who live in those places are special. Every day of their life they observe majestic and fearsome mountain landscapes and sharper than others realize the insignificance of human existence. Rumi’s words were born here ‘This world is mountains and our deeds are cries, the echo of our cry in the mountains always come back to us’. Life makes a philosopher even of the most modest peasant, this tendency is fed by slow and peaceful existence. Feeling of frailty of life, of its transience is enforced by the fact that rocks fell down and destroyed villages not once in the history of Tajikistan. For people who live here mountains are Altar and every look at them is a prayer.

We were led by love and that’s why we managed to fulfill our plans, to tell the world about our people in a bright and easy way, to break stereotypes through creation. The exhibition took place and was very successful, and right was the Leban and American philosopher Gibran Khalil Gibran saying: ‘In the heart of a man seeking for beauty it shines brighter than in the eyes of the one who is beholding it’.

My father is composer Tolib Shahidi, representative of the artistic world,  musician. He gives people music as a true love language through all of his life. I think that he managed to implement his creativity thanks to the country that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore, USSR. Soviet culture existed as one of the most worthy in the world: strong musical education, artistic and theatrical schools.

My children proved that Soviet cartoons were the best ever in the world. There are many modern cartoons and series but my four years old daughter asks to show her “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Bremen Town Musicians”.

Soviet school’s actors were impersonation of romance and kindness for us, Leonov who speaks for Russian Winnie the Pooh. Mironov, Vysotsky, most talented people who created to bring the high Culture of Love to us. It is higher then Wailing Wall, Orthodox Church or Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem for me. It is religion and God and Temple. It is what touching words of the song by Tsoy tell about, ‘And in my dream the world was ruled by love. And I saw the world was ruled by dream’.

I wouldn’t like to lose the romance and love that were always in relationships between the simple Russian people. There was no emphasis on religion or Temple. It was our Altar: love to each other, to children, to work, to what we were doing. Eldar Ryazanov made an amazing movie “Office romance” with Alisa Frendlih and Andrey Myagkov starring. This picture in two series became for me the best reflection of relationship between a man and a woman in a society where the Culture of Love reigned. Despite of the difference in social position two characters fall in love with each other and make a family always surrounded by atmosphere of humour and kindness. Same atmosphere reigned in my parents’ house mostly thanks to my mother. She was and is the ideal embodiment of Love for us, our friend an the best life coach. Our parents’ relationship is a live example to follow, the derivative of Culture of Love.

We observe a totally different picture in the Western world, men and women are literally opposed to each other and this reminds me of the endless gender wars. Loud scandals and divorces every day, discussions of what the ex wife managed to sue from her husband, how the children were divided. There was nothing of the kind in Soviet times: marriages were strong, people lived and still live with each other all of their lives, like my parents do. When Culture of Love exists in the society it can be in the avant-garde of developing mankind.

It’s a pity that like my father once said Soviet Union was, in fact, “destroyed by the package”. But in the beautiful package they brought the cult of money, genetically modified food and stuffed with antibiotics American chicken legs. It was all brought to the country where food was absolutely organic before. In Tajik Soviet Republic they planted fifteen sorts of apples and almost the same quantity of sorts of apricots and peaches. Globalization came with its far from being the best rules.

Cult of money is prevailing in the Western society and I’d oppose it to the cult of love, creativity and labour in the USSR. Temple, religion, money are the same rate phenomena. They are forms not usually filled by a right content. Altar, Love and Creation are on the opposite and have a deep sense. Life is impossible without love and happy is the one who can follow Rumi’s advice:

Love is a water of Life,

Drink it by your heart and soul.