The First & The Second.
Portraits of Hajji Bektash Veli (left) and Balim Sultan (right).
Hajji Bektash is the founder of the Bektashi order, for whom it’s namesake comes. Born into nobility in Khorasan, a descendent of the blessed and divine family of the Prophet Muhammad, he demonstrated an aptitude for spiritual learning and the ability to perform miracles from an incredibly young age. As a child he was guided under the instruction of Luqman Perende, who would be the one to grant him the sacred title of Hajji (one who has performed the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca) after he had seen a manifestation of the boy while performing the pilgrimage himself.
Hajji Bektash forsake his inheritance and the life of nobility and became a dervish, wandering the wilderness of Persia. During his travels he was recognized by the saint Hajji Ahmed Yesevi, who had then sent him forth to Rum. Bektashi legend tells of how Hajji Bektash snatched a fire brand of mulberry wood from a fire, hurling it through the air as a message to the dervishes of the region, telling them of his coming. The fire brand was received by Ahmet Sultan, who had lived near Konia, and had it planted in front of what was to be Hajji Bektash’s threshold. It grew into a tree, spoken of within the Vilayetname, and is said to be still burning at it’s top.
At every step of his journey miracles manifested at his hands. The most famous of these is the meeting between Hajji Bektash and Seyit Mahmut Hayran. To show his power Seyit Mahmut mounted a lion, using a serpent as a whip, and went out to meet Hajji Bektash accompanied with three hundred scholars. In response Hajji Bektash spread his prayer rug on a great rock and commanded it to move. When the two men met, Hajji Bektash remarked that it was easy to mount and drive an animal, but what could be said of the power to give a rock life. The two dismounted and talked together, leaving the rock standing where it can still be seen today. After this the influence of Hajji Bektash’s wisdom spread throughout Rum and the neighboring regions. It was here that the order was founded and it’s first apostles went forth to different regions of the earth to spread the Bektashi message of love, kindness, humility, and oneness with God.
In about the year 1500 there came into the leadership of the order a man by the name of Balim Sultan. Born in Dimotika, south of Adrianople, where according to Bektashi tradition was located a dergâh of the Bektashi named for it’s founder, Seyit Ali Sultan. When Seyit Ali had entered the region, there was a Bulgarian king whose daughter had made a prayer rug and hung it on the wall. She had told her mother that she would marry whoever prayed on it. Seyit Ali and Mürsel Baba visited the home and without having asked permission, took down and prayed on the rug. They were both old men in the way the princess would not care to marry. When she saw what they had done she grabbed and lifted the blanket from underneath them causing them to fall. Seyit Ali remarked that this act showed abnormal strength that did not come from her, but rather a son that would be born to her, Balim Sultan. Mürsel Baba asked for honey, and dipped his finger into it, and then put it into the princess’ mouth. The girl, still a virgin, became pregnant.
At the death of the princess the child was taken to Seyit Ali Sultan’s tekke at Sofular. His influence as a leader within the order gave permanent form and structure to the practices of the order. It is for this reason he is commonly referred to as Piri Sani, or the Second Pir (Saint).