Ataman Title

Title Turkey

Our HotelTurkeyCappadociaDaily ToursViewsGuestbookRequest FormHome

AŞIK VEYSEL (1894 - 1973)

The Life | The Art | The Tradition

The Art of Veysel

His philosophy of life

veysel2_s.jpg (7351 bytes)Due to the effects of the village / town culture he leaned upon, and the fact that he could not have a modern education, the fatalist philosophy is very dominant in him. I believe it would be very beneficial to consider his mood as well. There is no doubt that we could not ignore how the negative factors that he experienced in his childhood and early youngster, affected his philosophy of life and pushed him into a disagreement.

Of course, an artist's philosophy of life is shaped by the social environment he lives in. To make it more concrete, it is the financial living conditions that shape his philosophy. The social environment Âşık Veysel lived in contained all the peculiarities of the village and town culture, it was based on agriculture in economic terms, pre-capitalistic means of production were dominant and the industrialization even did not emerge... Also, in addition to the economic structure, if we consider the poorly qualified education-training opportunities, the economic inefficiency of a community beaten by war, and the geography of the people dying of smallpox, it would be easier for us to grasp the social environment that shaped Veysel. Furthermore, understanding the facts that the communal / social environment was so deprived of the written culture, and that all the literary / artistic accumulation was based on oral culture, would help us a lot in perceiving the type of artists we are dealing with. Moreover, when the physical disability of a person having lost his sight is added to this social environment, one would clearly understand Veysel and interpret his poems very easily.

The lack of sight affected him so deeply that he emphasizes the depth of his aspiration in his poems:

Could you not dare escaping from me, even if you were a bird

If only I could see you with my eyes"

Adnan Binyazar, making an interpretation of his lack of sight through his lines, says "Salt was added to honey."

Although Âşık Veysel, most of time, accused the faith and searched for the reasons there, he recited poems on investments and positive aspect that contribute in the life concretely such as the schools, factories, hospitals, etc. In this respect, one should not perceive his faithbased approach as fatalism against science and a careless obsession.

The world changed, so did the conditions
One goes to moon, and the other to heaven

In these lines, he pricks up his ears to scientific developments, on one hand, and creates a significant perspective in terms of evaluating the factors he makes comparisons with. He uses the concepts of "moon" and "heaven" as two different means of believing, in one sense.

Then in another poem, he says:

I saw the wealthies mind in the world
Asked it the outlay, the school it replied.
It is serving the humanity, the help you provide
My mercy, my feelings, the school it replied.

Creating fire from water, that is the best art
The idea to spread many more light
Did I discover them with this thought
These are my guides, the school it replied.

Is that a miracle or a talent
Would the heart perceive that if the eyes do not
Would an unclaimed soil be plowed
With the combine, the school it replied.

You would fly in the sky, if you wear wings
You would pass through the seas ungratefully
How would you perceive the cold and the rain
They have built observatories, the school it replied.

Various vehicles, and the trains
Doctors who find cures for all pains
Is it you who did that
This is not all it can do, the school it replied.

I was amazed by the radio
Can speak in every language, but not alive
Created by science,  by the human mind
Its light is its wave, the school it replied.

Human mind is inventing these things
It is the science, the essence of the world
The core of all those works
Believe in this Veysel, the school it replied.

This and other similar examples prove that metaphysical concepts such as god / faith are not reflected as fanaticism or as the only solution to problems in Âşık Veysel. Therefore, he does not appear to be strict. He is flexible.

Although he gets faded away with the feeling of desperateness and nothingness, he does not give up holding onto life. His struggle to understand and explain life always prevails. Furthermore, the concept of "the next world" is not that strong in him.

Ruhi Su replies the question "Did Âşık Veysel have a specific philosophy?" as follows: "If you ask me whether the world 'philosophy' contained a way of thinking proposed or adopted by Veysel within the society or not, I would reply yes, of course. Like all the good-willed and dependable people, he used to advise working. Depending on the situation, there were times he used to advise adhering to traditions. His own belief was based on love, tolerance and the creative power of human, but when he was asked what he thought about the developments in the society, he was clever enough to discern what people wanted him to say."

Another thing that is peculiar to Veysel is that he could not stand the pressure of religious formalism and he talked to God in familiar terms. Better to say, he was so loyal to the Bektashi tradition. Like he said in his poem addressing the God:

It was you who created the universe
It was you who brought everything into existence
It was you who kicked me out
Is this your generosity?

Nejat Birdoğan says "In his very first poems, we see Veysel as emotionally enthusiastic, but poetically inefficient. In fact, even in the later versions of this kind of poems, we see Veysel as a public educator, rather than a poet. In his works, Veysel considers poetry as a tool for preserving the Republic and helping in the solidarity of the nation. His actions are also in parallel to this approach. One can observe a man with pure ideas, with honest, self-devoted actions and with correct diagnoses. The fact that he traveled village-to-village to have a bridge built over the Stream Kaplan onto the River Kızılırmak, is a good evidence on how deep the feeling of responsibility manifested itself in him.

But according to us, the most mature poems of Veysel are those that focus on the human beings and elements related to human beings. In those poems, he tells about the revival of human within a body starting from is very first source, how he works throughout this process, how he should behave and his return to the source at the end of this road. In other words, there lies Veysel, the Sufi poet in those poems. These feelings instilled in him by his beliefs in an isolated Anatolian village, blossomed in Veysel in the heart, and he solved the great mystery of Alaouism in his heart."

Veysel being aganinst superstitious beliefs and outdated approaches, is very sensitive in this matter as well.

It is the Republican period, it is the twentieth century
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.
The world in revolt, going to moon
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

Let the blond ox go lazy
Don't block your eyes, let them get sober
Let's have a factory in each corner
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.
Don't pull back the going traveler
Take notice of the ant and the bee,
When it goes this way, can't you reunite with the houri
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

It ain't hurt you, don't be afraid of the saz
We can't get rid of the far of sin
Not telling you to give up praying
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

Help the poor, get the orphan educated
Are those charities bad in our religion?
Learn the hydrogen and the atom
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

The kilogram of the rain dropping
Measured by you say meter, I say square
If you sleep a lot, you'll deepen my pain
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

So many rockets are launched in the sky
Ain't those works lessons to be learnt for us
He wants us to find out the mysteries of the moon
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

The existence of God prevails in human
Science, mind and perception are the wealth for you
Make the ship go and steer the rudder
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.
Don't you know anything, plant some trees in earth
They will call you vagabond if you wander around this world
Don't close your eyes, take a look out
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

Veysel, why do you stay still, everyone on their way
Time won't fit you, you should fit time
Science is swallowin'a huge miracle
Get up from this negligence, don't sleep my fellow.

Even this poem alone can clarify what I have told about him above. As you can see, he criticizes the values in the society by showing examples from the concrete realities of life. He becomes a side at this point. He becomes a side supporting the science, illumination, development and concrete realities. Saying "Let the blond ox go lazy", he mocks with the belief that "the world stands on the horns of the blond ox". He says don't block your eyes. Then he personifies God, and says "The existence of God prevails in human".

However, if we consider the basic views, perspectives of Veysel, we would understand that he did not approach this matter from the point of view of a socialist consciousness, from a conscious perspective. Veysel, mentioned all these privileges that are so natural to him in reference to God, faith and several other natural powers. It is not the social order, but the natural order he is against.

Approaches such as "His way of art is the art that praises the accessible and that is satisfied with the existing"6 oriented towards recognizing Veysel from a narrow perspective, and making estimation based judgments, would neither contribute in understanding Âşık Veysel, nor prove the efficiency of the researchers, the tradition and the ones carrying the tradition forward. However, Âşık Veysel exists with his life, with his works, with his poems. If we make our evaluation based on this reality, we would have a meaningful contribution.

As I have underlined above, Âşık Veysel is a person grown up in the social environment of the village-town and was shaped by the social order fed with the values of such environment. Another typical peculiarity of peasantry is inconsistency. To say in the terms of the culture he arose from, "unfaithfulness" can be seen in him as well. Especially, Veysel always supported and wrote praising poems about the institutions such as Community Centers, Village Institutes that contributed in his development, that made his voice and poetry be known, but he did not show any reaction when these institutions were closed. This is his greatest weakness.

The Life | The Art | The Tradition

published by the Ministry of Culture
ISBN 975-17-2311-6