Q: In all religions, we can distinguish them from their external trappings, outfits and looks. Does this outwardly dressing have any relation with spirituality? Can one derive peace or reach the destination by the aspect of demonstrativeness?
Sri M: Yes, people do recognize the system of belief often through the dressing. No, it has no relation to spirituality. Certain people who reached their goal used to dress in a particular way. Now, just by dressing like that, we may think that we have reached that state. The people who reached ‘there’ could have used a particular dressing style, depending on the cultural context. But they did not reach that state because they had this particular way of dressing. It is only incidental.
Let me mention this: Jalal ad-Din Rumi was great Sufi – founder of the Whirling Dervishes and Mevlevi order in Turkey. He wrote Masnavi—a beautiful, poetic work in the Persian language. He had a personal quirk – he used to sit in a Turkish bath. It’s a large box, full of steam, wherein one can sit enclosed in it till one’s neck, like in Ayurveda. Now, people in the Mevlevi order of Sufis emulate the use of the Turkish bath because of this association with Rumi. Is this really required ?
This had also been clearly stated that the whirling is not meant for all people; it is only for certain people with certain characteristics. Rumi stated that not everyone needs to do this. Now, all are whirling. First of all, the world itself is a “big rotation”, along with that we too are whirling our head around! Hence, it is commonly seen that what is not essential is given importance and what is essential is left out.