Little is known about the life of Hacı Bektaş Veli, but he is believed to have lived from 1208 to 1270. Like other Turkish intellectuals of the time he was educated in Khorasan, where he became well versed in religion and mysticism. After journeying with his brother, he returned to Anatolia and lived in Kayseri, Kırşehir and Sivas. Eventually he settled in a hamlet of seven houses, Suluca Karahöyük, the present location of the monastery.
In comparison to his life, his teachings are well known, especially his great work, the Makalat, which gives an account of a four-stage path to enlightenment or Marifet – a level of constant contemplation and prayer. The faults that grieved Hacı Bektaş most were those of ostentation, hypocrisy and inconsistency: “It is of no avail to be clean outside if there is evil within your soul.” This could be the origin of the unorthodox customs of later followers of the Bektaşi sect, which included drinking wine, smoking hashish, eating during Ramadan and – for women – uncovering the head outside the home. Hacı Bektaş’s own dictum on women was unequivocal, and it is one of the most popularly quoted of all his sayings: “A nation which does not educate its women cannot progress.”Read More