On Ashik Veysel’s “Unity Epic”

Sadık Yalsızuçanlar
9 minutes

This poem, which is a kind of vahdetnâme of Âşık Veysel, is one of the most beautiful poems that poses us how the universe looks when viewed with the consciousness of tawhid. The unity, which is explicit, clear, understandable and direct, begins with the unity of the Truth:

Allah is one and the Prophet is right
The Lord is absolute
Stop being you and me
I’ll tell you now

The primary meeting point is the oneness of the Truth. Our God is one. Our messenger who brings news from Him is one. Allah is the absolute Lord of the worlds. He is the Owner of Rububiyyat. He is the most beautiful and the only one.

In this poem, Veysel looks from the perspective of “ehadiyyet” (the absolute unity/uniqueness of God) and expands, reduces, and concretizes the unity he grounds in this universal principle, circle by circle, towards all states of the world.

Ehad means one in Arabic. God is one in the realm of multiplicity, one in the beyond/transcendent realms where there is no creation. When viewed from His oneness, Tawhid is realized in its fullness. In one of her conversations, Sâmiha Ayverdi told her students, “My son, don’t think about what this and that will say, think about what Allah will say. There is no such and such, there is Allah”. This is the poetry of ahadiyyat. Seeking only His pleasure. Ikhla. As a matter of fact, both the beginning and the end of Surat al-Ikhlas is ehadiyyat: Say that Allah is one… When one thinks and believes that there is only Allah, “you and me” disappear. There will be no more “for you” and “for me”. After grounding the consciousness of unity in this way, Veysel goes on to explain how the ethics of tawhid should permeate the fabric of social life:

Kurds, Turks and Circassians
Always Adam’s son and daughter
Martyrs and veterans together
Is it wrong and where?

The fires of discord can only be extinguished with such a cosmic approach to tawhid. The difference of races, colors, tribes, genera and species are all due to His Oneness and are among His Signs. Indeed, the Qur’an states that “the diversity of languages and colors are among the signs of Allah”. From the one, the many are born. Difference is only the work and evidence of the One. The civilization(s), great states and social organizations that flourished on these lands have been the guarantee of the existence of different races, languages and colors. No civilization makes itself exist by destroying the other. On the contrary, civilization can only be formed when it is understanding, compassionate, fair and hospitable to the other. They are all sons and daughters of Adam. All of them originated from Adam and “Adam-i Mânâ”. Our ancestry is one, our source is the same. Again, they fought together in the defense of these lands, they fought shoulder to shoulder, they became “martyrs together”. Their destiny is one. They are one in joy and sorrow. This unity is at the core of our social existence. Also, the heavenly books were revealed to remind us of this unity:

Look at the Koran, look at the Bible
All four of the four books are the Truth
Insulting and racializing
A disgrace in truth

The Qur’an and the other three books in their original form have inculcated the absolute unity of God. The Qur’an in its unchanged, original form, the three of them, and the Qur’an that will always be preserved, is the truth, the reality. When we look at them carefully, it is a disgrace “in truth” to look down on people because of their race, color, to marginalize them. This is how it is seen in reality. The level of truth finds its expression in the statement “my servant comes so close to me that I become his seeing eye, hearing ear and speaking tongue”. When we listen to the Holy Prophet who said, “Beware of the believer’s discernment, he sees with the light of Allah”, when we look through the light of the Truth, that is, through the window of the truth, it becomes impossible to see difference as strange and to see others as inferior. For this, it is necessary to think about the names and attributes of Allah:

Grab one of a thousand names
What’s in it for you and me?
Go towards the path you hold
Don’t be a rebel

“Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth ,” says the Holy Qur’an. In other words, it encompasses everything. The essence of all existence is divine light. So existence is one, the unfolding of the One. We all come from the same source.

Veysel, in the first verse, he says that Surah Al-Imran, 103. He alludes to the verse: “Hold fast, all of you, to the rope of Allah…” Hold fast to Him and His messengers and His messengers and the news they bring to you.

Tawhid education is done with Divine names. In self-training, which is commonly practiced through the “seven isms”, at each stage, the sâlik, who clings to a Divine name, regularly draws an asma every day – as many as his master has inculcated in him. In this training to remove the obstacles of the self, the attachment implied by Veysel, who says “hold on to one of a thousand and one names”, constitutes the essence of the matter. Self-identity is wiped away and one walks straight on the path one has taken. In this verse, the 112th verse of Surah Hud. There is a reference to the verse: “Be upright as you were commanded.” To go astray is rebellion, rebellion.

Veysel carries this perception of unity to a problematic area of our country:

What is a Yazid, what is a red head
Aren’t we always one brother
Our fire burns us
The only cure is to extinguish

The poet asks directly: “What is Yazid, what is Kizilbash / Aren’t we all one brother?” The sages say that Yazid was the nafs-i emmâre (evil self) and Hussein was the ruh-ı insanî (human soul). However, in the social sphere, Sunnis are characterized and marginalized by Alevis as “Yazid”. Sunnites, in turn, alienate and marginalize Alevis with various accusations. According to Veysel, this is unbecoming of the children of Adam, that is, brothers and sisters. Our fire burns us all. So the only solution is not to add fuel to the fire, but to extinguish it with unity consciousness and morality.

In the next line, Veysel speaks in a way that allows the truth to be grasped even more deeply:

What some suffer from their tongues
Both from the waist and the hand
From good and evil ambition
This is where the truth is

This is a reference to a hadith: “To control your hand, waist and tongue…” Hz. This is the advice of Hünkâr Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli and all the sages: Control your hand, tongue and waist. These are the best signs of being human. A person suffers a lot from his hands, tongue and waist. These are three reasons for conflicts in almost all areas of social life. The poet explains the golden secret here in the following verse: “From the ambition of good and evil…” Both good and evil are the will of God. This world is a world of opposites. Here the most negative and the most positive are intertwined. This is the fundamental nature of the world. Because the life of this world is a test. According to the conditions of the test, the celal and the jalâl are together. But it is the Truth that wills and creates both good and evil. The sages have said: “Allah takes His revenge by the hand of a servant. The one who does not know its inner side thinks that the servant did it. The doer of everything is the Almighty, it is done by the hand of the servant. Do not think that without the permission of the Almighty, a straw will be moved.” The fact that evil is also the aspiration of the Truth from its goodness will be seen only if it is viewed from the “level of truth”.

Veysel continues to analyze this area of conflict:

The one who created this world
He is omnipotent
What is Alevi Sunnism
Interest is the bottom line

The creator and owner of the universe is one. And His power is all-sufficient. Our Qibla is one, our Kaaba is one, our Prophet is one, our book is one… What is separation in these thousands of unities! What is Alevism and Sunnism? Is it not salvation for all of us to love and respect His Ahl al-Bayt and to adhere to the tradition of His pure progeny by following His command? There are two clean and cleansing things in the universe: Water and the Holy Prophet Mustafa (PBUH) When we all follow in the footsteps of this blessed lineage, separation will disappear. This being the case, generating conflict out of the tension between “Alevism and Sunnism” can only mean one thing: Self-interest. At the bottom of all this noise is nothing but self-interest. Veysel returns to the cosmic principle:

All living things are from the earth
We exist, we are ordered by God
Ask God for mercy
The inexhaustible river of mercy

Soil is the source of our material existence. We are all created from the earth. By the order of the Creator, all living beings came from the earth and feed on the earth and live in the earth. Our source is one. We need to become earth and be filled with compassion. We should ask for mercy from the infinite and absolute merciful God. His sea of mercy is never exhausted.

In this situation, we will not deviate to the left or to the right, but we will be united, we will live in unity, we will not be separated from unity. Because only trouble comes from duality. In our tradition of wisdom, the term “hypocrite” is used for people who have not yet undergone the training of wahdat, who have not yet been able to see the Truth in all existence, that is, who have not reached tawheed. They have remained in duality:

Veysel, don’t deviate left or right
You ask Allah for unity
Trouble comes from duality
The case is a case of humanity…

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