Introducing Chishty Foundation, Ajmer Sharif (Sufi Art)

SEMA – Divine Ecstasy

With blessings of Ajmer Sharif we have brought in a soulful collection of Sufi art showcased for the first time by the Chishty Foundation in Mumbai. We present beautiful forms of ‘Whirling Dervishes’ to awaken your inner senses and unique artworks of Medina Sharif & the Khwaja Garib Nawaz Dargah in Ajmer Sharif.

SEMA – The act of whirling is not only meditative but sacred. It teaches us within a moment, what could be a lifelong journey in ‘anchoring within’.

This art is energized to reveal what is already in your heart. A space where we can allow doubts to disappear and where the heart & soul can communicate directly with Source.

“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

Letter from Director, Syed Salman Chishty
Chishty Foundation Ajmer Sharif

Chishty Foundation is based on the blessed vision, principle and message of “Love towards all, malice towards none” which is the blessed message of Hz. Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (r.a) popularly known as Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (r.a).

It is a universal message for the whole of humanity that we may love and respect the best of creations i.e. human beings, among all the creations of the One Almighty Creator Allah (swt).

Our aim in establishing the Chishty Foundation is to realize a blessed vision and to create a platform for people from around the world who believe in the blessed message i.e. to love and serve humanity. Khidmat e Khalq – to spread the message with all its essence among the people of our beautiful planet Earth.

In today’s troubled times, we believe that the message of the great Sufis and Saints is not just a way but it is the ONLY way for solutions of the world problems and a perfect roadmap towards the path of love, peace and brotherhood among the whole humanity.

As part of the larger picture, through the blessed platform of Chishty Foundation, we intend to promote the blessed Sufi teachings of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, Sufi Art of Calligraphy, Sufi poetry culture, concepts of spirituality & Sufi music and a strong connection between a higher state of awareness of the Divine presence through Sama and Qawalli – The Chishty Sufi’s food for the Soul.

– Ma Salama Ishq Bashad Wa Baraka Bashad !-

Alhamdulilah, this is our humble journey …

ART is the mirror of a culture and its view of the world. There is no case to which this statement applies more directly than to the art of the Sufi world. Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Sufis view the spiritual realm, life, the universe and the relationship of the parts to the whole.

For the Sufi, reality begins with and centers around God (“Allah” in Arabic), the One, the Unique, the Sovereign, the Holy, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the Loving, the Most Merciful. All existence is subject to His will and His laws. He is the center of the conscious Sufi’s worship and aspirations, the focus of their lives.

The Whirling Dervish Art work is a personal collection of Syed Salman Chishty who is the Founder Director of Chishty Foundation Ajmer Sharif, which has been collected over a period of time and through intense search and travels across the Sufi world.

At Chishty Foundation we also commission various artists to work on creating Sufi Art and Calligraphic forms through different mediums of art.

We extend our support and thanks to Jalpa Vithalani for initiating this SEMA – DIVINE ECSTASY exhibition of Sufi Artworks at the Cosmic Heart Gallery and look forward to have a long standing relationship with the gallery for future Art projects.

May Allah always Smile upon you and all by your blessed side, Ameen.

Dua’s and Blessings from Ajmer Sharif,

Syed Salman Chishty
Gaddi Nashin – Dargah Ajmer Sharif
Khadim e Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA)
Chishty Foundation

Whirling Dervishes

Sema Ceremony

Sema is part of the inspiration of Mevelana Rumi as well as of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. It is what we do as a form of remembrance of God.

From a scientific viewpoint we witness that contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons, protons and neutrons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of each of them. As a consequence of this similarity, everything revolves and man carries on his life, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural stones of his body, by the revolution of his blood, by his coming from the earth and returning to it, by his revolving with earth itself.

However, all of these are natural, unconscious revolutions. But man is the possessor of a mind and intelligence which distinguishes him from and makes him superior to other beings. Thus the “Whirling Dervish” or Semazen causes the mind to participate in the shared similarity and revolution of all other beings…

The Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfect”. Turning towards the truth, his growth through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the “Perfect”, then he returns from this spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes, races, classes and nations.

Here is an excerpt from a Sema ceremony.

Sema consists of seven parts:

Part One: The dervish with his headdress (his ego’s tombstone), his white skirt (his ego’s shroud) is removing his black cloak spiritually born to the truth, he journeys and advances there. At the onset and each stop of the Sema, holding his arms crosswise he represents the number one, and testifies to God’s unity. While whirling his arms are open, his right hand directed to the skies ready to receive God’s beneficence. Looking to his left hand turned toward the earth, he turns from right to left around the heart. This is his way of conveying God’s spiritual gift to the people upon whom he looks with the eyes of God. Revolving around the heart, from right to left, he embraces all of mankind, all the creation with affection and love… It starts with an eulogy “Nat-I Serif” to the Prophet, who represents love, and all Prophets before him. To praise them is praising God, who created all of them.

Part Two: A drum voice, symbolizing God order to the Creation: “Be.”

Part Three: An instrumental improvisation “taksim” with a reed “ney.” It represents the first breath which gives life to everything. The Divine Breath.

Part Four: The “Dervishes” greetings to each other and their thrice repeated circular walk “Devr-i Veled,” with the accompaniment of a music called “peshrev.” It symbolizes the salutation of soul to soul concealed by shapes and bodies.

Part Five: The Sema (whirling). It consists of four salutes or “Selams. At the end of each as in the onset, the dervish testifies by his appearance to God’s unity.

o The first salute is man’s birth to truth by feeling and mind. His complete conception of the existence of God as Creator and his state of creature.

o The second salute expresses the rapture of man witnessing the splendor of creation, in front of God’s greatness and omnipotence.

o The third salute is the transformation of rapture into love and thereby the sacrifice of mind to love. It is a complete submission – it is annihilation of self within the loved one, it is unity. This state of ecstasy is the highest grade in Buddhism, defined as “Nirvana” and in Islam “Fenafillah.” However, the highest rank in Islam is the rank of the Prophet, he is called God’s servant first and his messenger afterwards. The aim of Sema is not unbroken ecstasy and loss of conscious thought. At the termination of this salute, he approves again by his appearance, arms crosswise the Unity of God, consciously and feelingly.

o The forth salute – just as the Prophet ascends till the “Throne” and then returns to his task on earth, the Whirling Dervish reaching the state of “Fenafillah,” returns to his task in creation, to his state of subservience following the termination of his spiritual journey and his ascent. He is a servant of God, of his Books, of his Prophets and all his Creation.

Part Six: Sema ends with a reading of the Quran and specially of the verse from Sura Bakara 2, verse 115:

Unto God belong the East and the West, and whither over ye turn, you are faced with Him. He is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.

Part Seven: A prayer for the repose of the souls of all Prophets and all believers.


Tue ‒ Thu: 09am ‒ 07pm
Fri ‒ Mon: 09am ‒ 05pm

Adults: $25
Children & Students free

673 12 Constitution Lane Massillon
781-562-9355, 781-727-6090