The Sage Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, started off, so the story goes, as an inveterate evil-doer- if not a sitting M. A- who, taking Mara as his mantra, set forth on his mission of murder and rapine. India nice, India good! According to the scholiasts, this couplet- on the face of it a curse upon the hunter- is also a summary of the Ramayana from multiple perspectives stressing the primacy, as its abiding rasa or savour, of vipralambha karuna- the pathos of love-in-separation- which, to my mind, is itself but the breath blinded mirror of parinami vatsalya- the dynamic of maternal affection- of all beings to all beings.
Thoughts of India gimme wood! The essence of Ramrajya- the rule of Lord Rama- is that even the basest of his subjects rise up to a level equal to the ruler and that too by an inward metanoia rather than mere outward mimicry of sacerdotal sanctimony- which, given the self-stunting arrogance it induces, is surely worthy of death, or, in the case of Rishi Shumbhak, ascent to Heaven by less scandalous means. Prose before Woes! Such senseless behaviour shows the uttam purusha, the perfect man, is mad- utterly mad- incurring all manners of sin and moral opprobrium.
But that such is the true nature of Kingship, the true epitome of the Spiritual exemplar- even Marxists are too timid to acknowledge. Rama, Rama kya hai Drama? Thus, Lord Rama- crazily imposing the pain of love-in-separation on Himself- did not, wishful thinking aside, actually change Social attitudes towards women. Neither did the historical Banu Udhra tribe- or the Udhri school of poetry- succeed in valorising free choice and monogamy in marriage. On the contrary both served but to confirm ad captum vulgi received truths about gender dimorphism and Love as the ultimate four letter word- at least when it comes to practical matters like marriage.
No doubt, moral philosophy- even of the most masochistic sort- is yet more prone to deduce the logical necessity of every contemporary injustice, however senselessly inutile, from ever more self-exculpatingly stringent premises of absolute Justice and Equality. Blows before lows! What is the madness of the perfect man? Yummy Mummies have washboard tummies! Concern for equality is the distinguishing feature of maternal vatsalya.
Friendship exists, indeed is truest to its own nature, when between unequals. Nor is there any disgrace if the father exceeds the son- indeed, where wealth and social position are heritable, it is considered praiseworthy. However, a mother who raises up offspring to be of lower degree than herself, is a monster and no mother.
Vatsalya is not, as is vulgarly supposed, a selfish or narrow impulse- such as that of Kaikeyi when she claims the throne for her son Bharata- rather it is universal and burgeoningly egalitarian. Whether considered ontogenetically or phylogenetically, at least in India, Vatsalya is both root and fruit of Metre, Music and Mathesis. Doze before prose! How is this possible? Bores before doze! Meaning, we might answer, is higher than Language. However, for meaning to be noetic- at least noetic within an Indic Lebenswelt- for meaning to give rise to thought qua thought- as opposed to mere discrimination of circumstance-it would need to be, pace Ramanujan, essentially context free, which in turn gives rise to the evolutionarily adaptive demand that noetic meaning be expressible poetically- the moody mimesis of its unthought known being more valuable than what, to retrace itself, Thought overwrites on the palimpsest- a consideration which might favour the intellectual elaboration of an algorithmic, generative, grammar simply so as to permit semantic compression and liberate the versifier from the chains of contemporary usage- where the same effect would depend on a concatenation of idiolectal inflections.
To maximise impact- or rasadhvani- setting up an invisible mirror to condense recursion but also invoke reflexivity- the default persona of the poet most naturally becomes that of the wooer of the vatsalya bearer- the wished for Spouse, Scripture, or Sage. Kya mushkil mujhe manini manana? Panini- an accidental Italian immigrant, according to the Aryan Invasion Theory- wandered the woods and the wilds of ancient Ind hawking an eponymous comestible. Failing to found a fast food franchise, he, in a perhaps pardonable fit of pique, condensed the generative grammar of Classical Sanskrit on the basis of a totalitarianism of the verb.
That infinite effability was now anchored in the act, enabled Sanskrit poetry to serve a paradigmatic globalising function in a particularly, semantically and didactically, dense fashion. Peel my banana! On the other side of that black hole- not on the other side of the event horizon- or that universal merging of all event horizons brought about by pondus meum amor meus! Gadamerian Hermeneutics collapsing under its own weight — tribal bards, if not yet a bardic tribe, continued to dramatise the rupture between Epimethean intentionality and Promethean computability- i.
Roars before bores! This served both a mnemonic purpose as well as a means of resolving discrepant readings or dissonances dangerous to fellow feeling.
rishi the misunderstood messiah Manual
Put simply, the bards used a type of double entry book keeping such that every event, character, bit of dialogue, or magical weapon had its dual somewhere else in the canon. This meant that infirmities of memory could be repaired by a comparison with the dual. Which is important- why? Sores before roars! Doors before spores! What then, if not instruments of social oppression, are karma and dharma? Dharma, operating horizontally across Social space, gives coherence and meaning to our species life, so to speak.
Snores before doors! However, it would be a mistake to think that the mere methodological conservation of symmetries constitutes an a priori ontological commitment to either concept for all Indic traditions are unanimous in allowing them both to be empty from the ultimate stand-point of kevalya- or Gnosis. It may also be worth pointing out that, because of social reflexivity, Karma and Dharma can never function as independent linear operators. Thus, if both are - in actuality- conserved properties at the quantum level, the Many World interpretation fails as does much of present day modal logic.
Mos before Sores! Bear in mind that since Indian hermeneutics- till very recently- eschewed historicism; linking etymological virtuosity to esoteric psychology as a means to ground the mantrodhara mythos of a more than mantic potency; both semantics and pragmatics could adventure orthogonal infinities yielding a transpositionally elastic topos for a type of Poetry whose abiding interest arises in that, violating the Anthropic principle, it allows us to breathe the poisonous air of impossible worlds to which no consciousness could be natal.
Los before Nos! The basic premise of Mannerist poetry- Cavalier or Clerkly- is the notion that all things are but as mirrors of all other things. A bibliolatric twist, or so a recent scholar has suggested, was given to this universal trope in early modern Christendom by St.
He proposed they would be better occupied with romances, which teach virtuous behaviour and promote proper civic engagement. But this, to the eye of History, was but an Icarus flight. Gores before Mos! Equally plausible, but infinitely more suggestive, is the notion that, again by the agency of the Jesuit Mission to China, Roger Boscovich- in founding field theory- was influenced by the Vimalakriti Sutra. Gos before Nos! The Indic poet- or poetaster, to speak more narrowly of my ilk- using the metaphor of the mirror to mechanically crank out conceits- but conceits based upon reciprocal interpenetration, in line with Bhrama Sutra 3.
But notice that, here, haecceity is radically enriched by being enabled to engage more deeply with itself by the eager instrumentality of all other beings. This is a monadology in which all the pearls in Indra's net reflect each and every other but do so by disclosing only their own depths.
Dzos before Gores! Indic poetasting rises to the level of art when it succeeds in invoking bhavas- emotional states, which we would now read as Darwinian algorithms of the mind- thus producing vicarious rasas- induced moods or states- in the reader. That Indic poetry in English has failed miserably in that respect is a fact not to be gainsaid. Toes before Nose! Ohs before dzos! That nothing more promising is possible follows from the fact that Indglish was, and remains, founded upon a judicial hermeneutics- progressive only in being premised upon the most reactionary possible construction of the past and embracing defeasibility only with respect to its own power to probe, let alone exorcise, those imagined horrors.
Well, he is about to fight the battle of Kurukhetra in which he will have to attempt to kill not just the Head of his Family- his Great Uncle, Bhishma- but also his Guru, Drona, not to mention a whole bunch of cousins, relatives by marriage, guys he went to School with and like kids he hung out with and so on. Why does Arjuna have to fight? Now, Yuddhishtra is a nice guy- opposed to violence, attached to Justice as Empathy- yet, he over- rules even the pleas of his super-macho brother Bhima, and their common wife, Draupati, normally vociferous for vengeance- not to go to war. In other words, if anybody steps forward at this point- be it, Kunti, his mother, or Lord Krishna, his maternal cousin, or Bhishma, his paternal Great Uncle, or Vidura, his paternal Uncle, or Drona, his Guru, or the blind King Dhitisrasthra, also an uncle and the father of his enemies, or uhm… actually any passing Astrologer or Sage- Yuddhishtra will realize that he is about to commit a sin equal to parricide in raising his arm against his own elder brother.
This raises an interesting question. Does Arjuna suspect that his rivalry with Karna might, in the end, be sibling rivalry; that the passions that connect them run deeper than hate and have their source in something stronger that thymos? Arjuna and Karna have dueled before. Is it possible that, dueling with Karna, dining with Kunti, Arjuna has not picked up, at the unconscious level, any hint, any clue, of the true relationship that exists between him and his rival?
Blows before Chores! What, we might ask ourselves, would have happened if Arjuna, with no Krishna for charioteer, had given way to his vishada, let his depression take the reins? Notice that the scholiasts use the term Vishada-Yoga as the title for this, the first, chapter of the Bhagvad Gita. Clearly, in some sense, Depression, too, is a path to Union, a path to Truth.
Imagine unconquerable Arjuna turning back from the battlefield, slinking away to some forest or desert like a wounded cur. Nos before blows! What then? Arjuna sees himself as he is, as he has become, the lowest of sentient beings. Meanwhile, the World wags on without him well enough. Certainly- knowing himself now to have been more devilish than Duryodhana, more snake-like than Sakuni- he realizes it was actually a good thing that he ran away. Kay Os before Rows! Better, then, that Duryodhana rule. And, bliss indeed- knowing now the alternative- to live even so little in to his Millenial reign.
Thus, on the path of vishada, Arjuna has achieved wisdom. He loves the World, as it is, in every particular, without any particular love for the World and, thus, now in every conceivable World, is equally content to either perish or persist. His Yoga is complete. Hos before Mos! What of the Kurukshetra War- did it have to take place? However, Karna has refused to permit this. His wish is for the aristocrats to attain Heaven, dying the way they lived, sword in hand. Thus, the battle of Kurukshetra goes ahead as the apotheosis, but also the holocaust, of the aristocracy.
Here falls Bhishma- who captured Princesses by the strength of his arm, to give brides to his nephews, completely forgetting that every woman- even a Princess! By this act, Drona falls- he is acharabrashta, a Brahminbandhu merely- but his pique against his friend King Drupada, his desire to rival him in possession of lands, had set him on the path to destruction already. What is our vishada- facing the Gita- seeking to interpret the Gita- which, guided by Krishna or unguided by Krishna, leads us always back to Krishna knowing there was never anything but Krishna and, in that darkness, dreams too were sleep?
Rishi - The Misunderstood Messiah (Paperback)
Putting the Lund into London, innit? Kurukshetra happened. Yathe icchasi tathaa kuru As you wish, so do. Or to put it another way- Do as you will is all of the Law! Foes before Mos! Evolutionary Biology has sought to explain Depression, including post natal depression, as a sort of testing for support. I should move on. Another way of saying the same thing is to speak of a testing- not for support- but for redundancy.
Socio-biology explains the survival value of cultivating a culture of lying, sending out false signals, disguising your need for those you truly need and pretending to need- to be absolutely unable to do without- those of no use whatsoever. Indeed, so little do what wills its survival and what blindly works that will coincide that we are all but chthonic Chimaeras with the eyes of Apollo- to whom it were mortal to glimpse the true form under which we propagate- and the broader streams of Life too seem but cascading symbioses of deceit- all deceit so finely interwoven as to form a seamless web- and the Depressive position, in especial, but a deceit spun upon deceit- the shed skin, the Lebenswelt we quit and do not quit, of the snake in the spine.
Rose before foes! Lord Krishna has a surprising formula for overcoming the despondency that arises from a sudden waking to this web of lies. It occurs before the great duel between Karna and Arjuna. He turns, on his stretcher, in great humiliation and bitterness of mind, to berate Arjuna with ill deserved taunts of cowardice and sloth.
He says Arjuna should hand over his divine weapon, the Gandiva bow, to someone more worthy to wield it. Arjuna gives way to fierce resentment. He is preparing to draw his sword on his elder brother for, as he tells Krishna, he has vowed to kill the man who would have him yield his bow to another. It seems the divine weapons that the different heroes have acquired over the course of the epic are all, in some sense, part of their essence.
They will kill rather than part with, or, indeed, be forced to share, these instruments of universal death. The Gandharva, Chitrangada- a Prince of the faery order, we may recall from the Book of Origins- felt similarly about his own name. In semiotics the distinction is made between paradigmatic and syntagmatic analysis.
It appears, in the Mahabharata, the divine weapons which come in to the possession of heroes are paradigmatic- they serve to identify each warrior with a specific deity or super-natural being. The Kurukshetra battle then becomes the earthly mirror of a contentious polytheistic Universe. But to what purpose? In the end, it seems, they serve but to cancel out each other; or - in the aftermath of the final night slaughter of the apocalyptic Sauptikaparvan- to rend the veil of human agency, exposing all the intense human drama that had gone before as a mere pantomime of nullity, revealing the dread visage of the skull garlanded Goddess whose tongue is ever thirstily outstretched to receive the shed blood of her children.
Krishna explains that Arjuna- bound, now, his brother both to kill and obey- does not know the Law, his intuitions about morality are faulty. However, there is a way he can both fulfill his vow of annihilating his insulter without incurring the terrible guilt of fratricide. He can insult his insulter. An insult is very death to an honorable man. Thus counseled, Arjuna reproaches Yuddhishtra in round terms, condemning him for his addiction to gambling, his weakness in war, his prevarication in peace, the all-round disaster that he has been for his family.
However, Arjuna- unable to bear up to what he has just done- is ready to draw his sword upon himself in a paroxysm of self-loathing. Krishna points out a way in which he can slay himself and yet not be guilty of the wretched crime of suicide. Thou shalt then, O Partha, have slain thy own self.
It is a basic human belief that all laws are in some sense organically connected or consubstantial in essence. Thus, to break one law, to commit one sin, is felt to involve the transgression of all the norms of ethical life. Notice that Lord Krishna uses the same argument. This type of law is applicable to the action of Pinchas, the zealot, who killed Prince Zimri and his shiksa succubus, Kosbi. In other words, the fact that the All Holy approves the action of Pinchas, thus showing it was halachah, also prohibits any student of Scripture from performing a like action.
However, if a single part of the law is of this paradoxical sort, then the entire nature of the Law is utterly changed. The Judge, then, becomes the only truly tragic figure in what is otherwise a comedy- your legal rights and entitlements becoming defeasible simply by being spelled out to you. Indeed, your claims on others, once upheld beyond infirmity of suspicion or hope of appeal, may now appear to you as injustices or injuries for which you owe reparation.
Considered from this point of view, the true sin of the ten spies, mentioned in Numbers , was to have hidden what they should have gloriously revealed rather than, once safe back home, garrulously recount what policy bade them hide. The paradox that the Law, once proclaimed, can function to prohibit its own operation- that infinite defeasibility is the essence of deon- absent an all embracing spiritual revolution- is what ensures that the Law has a living essence; a face ever turned towards us as everything else goes to destruction. By contrast, poetry- as now read, as now written- is Lawlessness in the raw.
How so? They ended up serving the Imperial Bureaucracy of Hell- which, by its bare existence, annexes Heaven and Earth. Holy Gita, pleased to meetya! The Gita, as received in English, appears a poem like every other in its class- viz. Yet, at least in English, they appear to be saying the same thing.
However, the Gita was neither written in English nor emerged from a literary mode of production of which English retains any trace. Indeed, since its producers were also its chief consumers, it is likely that poesis and hermeneutics fed off each other in a manner subversive of a substantive pragmatics. Which is a particularly witless way of saying, the objectionable portions of the Gita are actually utterly hilarious. No translator, living or dead, has been able to bring out the marvelous humor of this great work.
But what touches me is the enormous pathos of God literally killing himself to save his B. Warning, fart joke fast approaching! If the Gita was about deontological vs. But nobody does that. Something undoubtedly happens to inter-subjective Reality when empathy- Poetry, properly so called- operates to collapse a counterfactual mythos such that only its sweet mathetic fruit is received.
Someday, perhaps, I too will see it. Nose before rose! Or if that aint portentous enough, A. Why write poetry?
The Christ of India
Poetry is the cheapest hobby- or resource of interior decoration- a person can indulge in. Choli ke peeche Stool samples, no doubt, have their place- though, in my experience, it is an adolescent mistake to seek to arouse the interest of your inamorata- even if she is training to be a Doctor- with such gifts, but why anthologise their literary equivalent?
The answer, at least for me, has to do with rasabhasa- inappropriate rasa, bad taste- since all mental objects turn out on analysis to be inappropriate predicates for Concrete Universals, all poetry is guilty of rasabhasa. However, rasabhasa is appropriate for hasya- that is comedy- which precisely for that reason includes all the other rasas- including shanta, the highest.
However, the paradox arises that, whereas the operation of rasabhasa permits the redemption of every rasa by hasya, that saviour alone is unredeemed. Comedy is the mirror which functions as the Messiah of all other literary modes, but only by smashing its own surface and forbidding its resurrection to such shattered slivers as constitute but our World.
Oopar ya Nietzche? They break what they steal! Now, my fortunes wane each passing year None remain I held once dear Who love but feign, that seems clear Each breath is pain, the end seems near. So even the balm of that book is denied to me The chosen subject of my Poetry And I court the Muse with as little hope As of piercing Maya, taking the snake for a rope And with so little scaffolding I begin to build Lacking straw for bricks, yet thinking to gild for Kovalan's Love, an English Mausoleum styled for the echoes of a Tamil Te Deum Kanagi!
O Kanagi! Thus, in her eyes, unshed tears As, in state, the groom appears And looking into his face She finds she cannot see As is always the case Facing Destiny O tender bride! Your body, now, is her very own And you- my God! Thus sundered each day Their work seeming play Going about their tasks they were, but, wearing masks Each eve they would shed Then giggle, then bed. But, this was not how it was With our happy pair, dumb because They employed their tongues but to enhance their raptures Which e'en Ilango's rhyme rather trails than captures. While amongst Men today the thoroughest Trappist The most querulous to speak and quickest to slap wrist At the simplest Anthem whose Anathemas are hurled His Vision is most cluttered with Words and the World.
In every Suburb we see them- in brick embowered Strangers to Art, with Appliances endowered Passing their days in meaningless chatter or, if Meaning intrudes- it becomes a Police matter Ploughing but that weeds might flourish The carrion crow, thy seed doth nourish Veneris a fly trap, the Womb a Prison Nailed to that Cross, which Saviour has risen? And the true emblem of our Apollonian Culture Is not the Bald Eagle, but the Vulture We devise new tricks and whip on our wit To dip our wicks between the piss and shit.
Times change and Manners too Petrol fumes stain the blue The eye of Heaven blinks and waters We forget all the Sages taught us. Deaf to the strictures of mere Sittlichkeit I mourn the glamour, but not the Gemutlichkeit of a conjugal Love, Love conjured away So God, once more, in Mud, could play. Futile this sale of Hymenal torches What cares the flame for the moth it scorches?
The things of the World are things cheapen'd in use And Love, in the World, the coarsest term of abuse What is but possessed finally pollutes and is impure What is ever repossessed, is both fever and cure Thus loath to offer what they can, but, afford Lovers, broken speech'd, are never bored Why attempt the dragon's word horde? Who had wings, never have soared. Luckier now than Bonnie and Clyde Kovalan and his laughing bride if one plott'd a raid on lay vocabulary t'other was deputized by Love's constabulary How foolish it would be to resist arrest!
Or if, of Judgement, the Judge grows coy and suspends sentence- to annoy the Defence then vies with the Prosecution in pleading for summary Execution. For Venus still reckons it deep disgrace in the Sun's orbit to take second place And spurns Earthly Spirits that onwards hurry to freeze or fry on Mercury To rather quibble than kiss argues loss of reason But, all lovers being Mad, Venus still holds it treason And tho' treasonous vermin die on the block Losing their heads, still they will talk.
Lovers, 'tis notorious, know naught of Rhetoric nor much use Memory - that Whorish trick But are, by both, much besieged and beset And, holding their notes, are dunned for a debt. Individual Love pacts gave rise to Civilization Which coming between each couple becomes Syphilization Nor seduced, nor sheep like, nor caring for who talks For the sake of the children, each catches the pox.
Far easier to forgive is mere fleshly infidelity Then among mots and choses to lose one's chastity A baby is bonny no matter how begot Painful the pallor of the children of Thought. And who, from being a face, became a feeling And, from being a body, became a mode of believing ceases to please us and digs Beauty's grave toiling with tweezers, to her mirror a slave Of both we're well rid - Passion and Piety When both are suborned agents of Society Tight bound by the web, there's no bliss beside her We worship and wed, for the convenience of the spider. Who made all things, forbore giving them names We call it Love and perish in its flames We are words that claim a divine provenance But what we mean, we have not connaissance.
We fall in Love taken by its glamour and parlous, attempt to parse, God's grammar Gestating Meaning, belly horribly swollen Desire a full stop and deliver a colon. Paranoid about how perceived, but with no Passion for Perception Seeing a stranger in the Mirror, we delight at our Deception Find nothing so marvellous as a meretricious metonymy And cease to be a metaphor, seized by a mercenary eponymy. Pitiable the poet who, Woe's wight, Purposes to pen, in Doom's despite, The idylls of an Idol, exquisitely antique Inhabiting a World, inherited by the Meek.
Does she yet live - the Goddess Kanagi? Whom sculptor and Songster so vividly see Statues and Stanzas we cannot animate but fuel our fervour and seal our fate. Thinking we field when all we do is juggle We struggle to limn, but limn only our struggle Even if our vision were avowed what would it avail us? Trading but in tokens, visions too will fail us.
Others have penned lines that penned themselves on minds, through minds without end Less heartening rill than hoarsened rasp We are the Poem that eludes our grasp. A shifting shadow forest, a silvered Sylvan glade the bolder he grows the more she's afraid His quiver aquiver- body a bowstring to pluck The deeper its driven, the more she'll buck!
Magnificent the Mountain and prouder the peak Laboured her breathing and Resistance weak Shame 'd be that Sherpa who'd, now, tire or retire Tho' he can but cling, she climbs higher and higher! In Hind, Hymen, tho' fondled and fed Rice In the same nest scorns to stop twice But amongst varying scenes delights to roam being much persecuted, pausing at home. For narrow is the court and numerous the kin Snoring all about and raising such a din Oblivious to their own offence, yet how light they sleep! If any two creep hence, a tryst to keep.
Of bridal bliss the scolds are jealous And of contriving chores the elders zealous With longing looks, yet so little leisure Each for the other is buried treasure. Years pass and an unqickened womb Invites their gall and adds to her gloom For doubtful's that love that has this defect to be so compelling a cause yet barren in effect.
The Clan is rich tho' of frugal habits His brothers boors - they breed like rabbits Returning each night, from his forests and fields He bemoans his plight- to talk to yokels of yields And thus driven by degrees, Kovalan is drawn To pleasure's precincts, where swains swear the morn Commences not yet, till MADHAVI shows her face And day's work is a debt, cancelled by Dawn's disgrace.
What it is to enter that tall and tapered Hall! To pause upon the threshold and remit the acclaim of all To know oneself intricate in all lapidary ways As richly rewarding as rewarded by their gaze. Trees dance, but never dance away Flowers clamour, but are crushed in play Hills leap and Mountains skip They're good ole boys, but hardly hip. All the Earth we inhabit is only this body Sell all you have and go and buy toddy!
Think not Ocean to drain, or Himalay to humble You throw down Himalay, in drink when you stumble. As little in charge as an infant at nurse Dumbly he nods and surrenders his purse. But tho' all about they murmur "Madhavi! As one enisled who glimpses the Main As one hot pursued, quitting the Plain His spirits surge in splendid Orison To harmonise with a lifted Horizon. There are more worlds within us than the Universe can hold More tales about us than can, even in tale, be told Yet, self forgetful Sultans, we greet with acclaim Any strolling Minstrel with a rumour of our fame.
What baseness is it in us to quit the well seamed ore? To delight less in the Act than its paltry description And forget the Physic, clutching the prescription.
The challenge of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (peace be upon him)
And thus it happened to Kovalan dazzled by a candle, he discarded the Sun Shrugging off scandal, quitting Kanagi Dance being to him what Verse is to me. The Toddy tree shelters some who seek but for shade The Stews, some, who scorn the wares there displayed But by no dint of denial is the supposition scotched these ones are drunkards, those others debauched. And tho' drawn, but, by dance and a cultured coterie All view him askance as Venus' votary While pestered with Pity and unsolicited advice His wife holds to Smriti and swears it all lies.
Drunkards and dancers are alike but in this They yeast when they yearn, they lie when they kiss Alcoholics and Artists ever long for that Lover The Soul slaking spouse, they'd leave in an hour. And undone by that egotism that triumphs in Wine He roots at her feet, thinking- 'tis pearls before swine. To feel estranged in one's body and shamed to feel shy To know smoother rapture and swifter revival For it's ever a departure and never arrival.
And then score some more. This now is our creed, our creed International On this we're agreed, in this all are Rational Sloe eyed or slant eyed, we maximise Utility Ad man or Had man, we inherit Futility. An irresistible call in our post-Einstienian age Where each new savant seeks the last to upstage And the World is a knot tied in umpteen dimensions And Man is a verb with varying declensions. A point moves- a line. A line moves- a plane. A line read, resolved, a mere point again.
A plane moves- an object. Objects move in Time. Ineluctable modality of Music and of Rhyme. Embedded wherein, world line becomes wave function Entombed therein, we tremble at extreme unction Hounded, unhaltingly, yet spying new hideaways Moving in Time, Minds, alone, move sideways. Through those cruel reveries our parents called viciousness. Tho' the circle was vicious, we achieved Consciousness Zigzagging between impossible Pasts, implausible Futures We'd crash again and again, all smiles now sutures.
A stinking pyre is our brain, in our blood Oceans drown How many wagon trains have we not ridden down? Yet, reeking of rapine, we stumble on another And, seizing, are surprised, their sister is a brother. This wave woven world, this moved, marble, Mind Mirroring each other, to each other are blind What is that Love others have found?
Who binds billows, themselves unbound? But, brave tho' betrayed, Kanagi does not flinch Economises in secret so not he feels the pinch Gives alms with aplomb, nor seems to dread it When the tradesman knocks- which strengthens his Credit. All this done without Hysteria or Histrionics Sorrow's sincerest student, seeming one of Eudemonics And tho' Love was the bitterest cup now placed before her For Love's sake she drained it- so he could, more blithely, ignore her Courage is never in big things, Courage always in small Adventurers are cowards, all in Adrenalin's thrall Men lay claim to courage and into Chaos are hurled For Courage is a Woman.
Shakti sustains the World. A process that's progressed till anything felt or thought Can be expressed by the brands that are bought. His appearance is unaltered yet how much he is changed! If with doubt she'd been dowered, she'd doubt herself deranged Knowing herself widowed without knowing how or why She's an unresisting Suttee, in the pyre of his eye. Marriage is a yoking - a Yoga never over till aloft like the swan above Mansarovar Fidelity triumphs tho' the flesh be faithless once For Crematorium smoke is the wing of Parmahans. Proving again what drabs well know Fortune's ebb is Passion's flow.
Now taunted for his former lofty style now turned away without guilt or guile Now harrowed by her harlot lore Now embraced as he was before Sure of nothing, suspecting much in Tantalus torment for her touch He little knows if he sleeps or wakes And now of gall, now manna, partakes. While Ash is left to stir and embers to warm Who'd winnow the flesh to worship Form?
Tho' ever decaying, 'tis deathless - Matter Form's a flower that, sniffed, doth shatter. Rather choosing to part than be held by her Art tho' not spurned from her door he goes there no more. Wandering the wastes and the wilds thoughts - now a God's, now a child's Swell, like bubbles- then burst her name - now blessed, now cursed. The absence that aches in his eyes Nature's green Physic defies Nor the wind nor the waves can please him Choreographing colours, they tease him.
Nor the brisk squirrel, the motionless kite 's drama distracts tho' it mirrors his plight Fruits of the Earth nourish the knights of the Air Who'd take flight, first feasts on the fair. We learn to Love when we begin to die Besiege a "Thou", bare holding the "I" Our desires and deeds have this common textuality Our Death colophon to our "History of Sexuality.
Penitent for the Past, yet numb to feel Wounded by the Vast, he'll never heal She sorrows twice whose tears are hidden Never cleansed, her mind a midden. Embarrassed by echoes, their speech is small Fearing to fetter, they scarce embrace at all What words are there to silence words?
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How cage the song, yet free the birds? Homelands can become Hellscapes the householder flees Venus, as much as Mars, can boast her Refugees In coarse travelling garb, quitting the well loved scene Their eyes track the dust, not the paddy field's green. The restless roads, the unstopping Seas The unsettling rumour of the breeze Whip on the weary, the loath to leave And who were leery are forced to Believe.
Beginning where waters mingle- both salt and sweet They end on lonely mountains- with lacerated feet. Exchanging sea shore tumult for the torpid plain Quitting Puhar, they sight the Pandya's demesne Glimpsing golden gopurams that gladden the eye And, through morning's mist, the maze of Madurai. Kovalan tosses back the trinket, for its tinkling melodious Revives memories of Madhavi and much that is odious And, with its bells dinning in his ear, steps up his stride Like a homicidal husband fleeing the ghost of his bride.
Plunging through the streets without purpose or plan They, finally, collapse - having walked all they can At last, admitting defeat, seeing his wife so wan So, at least they can eat, he takes the anklet to pawn. Now, for an imaginary crime, Kovalan is lashed As Kanagi's felicity was ferociously smashed Interpolations undermine a common textuality Kovalan expires in an adulterated Reality. Reward me for this my ditty It's blokes like me secure your City What need you fear from Kanagi? Fill my jug and let me be. That done, he goes out into the desert and dedicates himself to solitude and self-abnegation.
Oct-Nov A forlorn and feckless father, the dirge I drink to drown Was uttered for Indrajeet, heir to Lanka's crown Nor know I to assuage, nor own Art to augment Ten tongued Ravan's ill-tendered lament. Serpentine the sinews of that oak knotted neck From which ten heads arise, a score hands at their beck They writhe at me those visages, each vivid with woe With a cacophonous clamour, a Ruth wracking roar. The first couplet ever coined, rang with Rage and Sorrow That of two birds, Love joined, only one fed the arrow.
But, to the demonic discord of the Lankan Lord's dirge No words can accord, nor the world, nor its verge. By the Vulture, not the Dove, the Wars of Peace clarified. The God's grant their best boon to their bitterest bane Felicity to their foemen, to their followers, pain.
With, one tongue to a tumult, we speak as we can. Behold ten headed Ravan, he spoke as a man! And the Schizophrenic, startling, to his, sub-vocal, soliloquy Has for Doctor, a dummy, working the World's Ventriloquy With Gods silenced by our Silence, we but speak as we are bid Discerning ten Rasas6 in Ravan, dismissing a post Reichian Id. I blink not at lightning but was dazzled by his eye. Swallowing their spite, colicky clouds crept away. My tot was grand! One who out dazzled the dazzler in the dew of his days. Your house so nice! Did he not bleach the purple dye of the Sky dyer?
How died he? Did he blanch at the flame dye of the Flower dyer? Say the welkins water, say not that Ravan cries! Don't ask how she misses His kiss, his touch, God's kiss on our kisses Don't ask what she bears Her mighty nonesuch! Death's belly tears Its counterfeits rue the day. Veil'd you from my sight Son- dancing in your eyes Say- did I once marry Light? Sun- poor pun.
To be allowed to watch but forbidden to warn To Love without evolving Love You, I can't forgive… "That I was adopted! Or in a more abstract mode to personalise the impersonal Powers of new types of Property. To paint the dwarf crowned with his new cap of invisibility Pausing his primping to pose Against the backdrop of his new fangled Principality. But, of Art, of Science - what did he really know? Love - he dreamt of, not as Bedouins dream of rivers in Paradise but as bored City children in sullen reverie Picture still, silent, warriors silver silhouetted against sombre skies.
Simultaneous their startling to each other's presence. Setting spur to mount, they drop down from dune's dry eminence to charge across darkling desert flats And the thicket of Crescent Moons shimmering scimitars set up are both bride and bower Anticipation and Consummation Perfect Tryst and primal Trauma for souls who are nonetheless love-sick for being sick of Love.
But, Love when it came, was not something apart form the skeins of which his World was woven the girl was not a dream, nor a waking from a dream Rather a subtle enrichment of the fabric A ripening of colours whose threads had always been there. Nothing Startling, no sudden edge to the known world, no rent in the nimbus shift, no fierce Sudden flash of flesh.
The masks not growing more otiose, more bizarre Rather the reverse, a freer flow of expression, each distinct, unambiguous All the more unsettling then for one who had, after all, hoped for an eventual unmasking Not in the manner of the Lover or the Mystic but as one weary from long reading the effort of decipherment who, half against himself, hopes for a quickening of the pace, a sudden ceasing even though that would violate a favourite genre's canon Rob reading of its pleasures.
But, Love, he knew, is different. It cannot Be bought. What then can it be? But an Advertisement. It's something Hollywood in the late '50's seemed always about to say but stopped, self censored, short. As also Narcissus No one does not know this drew back from the Pool the soul slaking stream "I'm not ready! Vats filled by kenosis Look not for Engagement here. More typical is the engaged tone that special cacophony that names the modern silence not Love without dialogic But messages re-routed, derailed connections fail by reason of other connections or, if the phone is off the hook, there's the intenser dialogue the Self whose implied existence Lets, leaves, Everyone off the hook.
What's Love any more, any way? It's a strange heirloom more fit for the Attic than the living room in these Executive Estates Ranch style dwellings, Colonial Mansions, un petite, the lofts are crammed with relicts of hobbies that more than unhonoured Ancestors shaped and framed the Homo Aequalis underneath the roof and it is when disaster strikes that Love like the lustreless Holbein the chapped commode in another age, amongst another class is suddenly rediscovered in Act - the last Briefly paraded, it Provenance purveyed to the knowing stranger, then thankfully traded for brief solvency the Sanity of a febrile age.
No harsh wind is needed here. Those with the commonly held blind belief in destiny portray it as predetermination by God of everything big and small. This view is popular with some cryptic sects of Sufis mystics , who live a life apart from the common people. They claim that man has no control over anything.
Everything is predetermined. As such all that happens is the unfolding of the grand plan of destiny, known only to God. This is a very problematic concept of the plan of things and inevitably leads to the question of crime and punishment, penalty and reward. If a man has no choice, then there should be neither punishment nor reward for his actions. The other view is that of free choice, with destiny playing practically no role in whatever man decides and executes. During the discussion on destiny, another important philosophical issue finds its way into the debate adding further complications, and that is the question of pre-cognition.
What does the pre-knowledge of God have to do with the things to come? That is the question, the answer to which has been rather poorly handled by both parties in the debate. We do not propose to enter into a lengthy review of the comparative merits of the arguments of the believers and unbelievers of destiny, but would only attempt to portray the Islamic viewpoint.
Destiny has many categories, each playing a distinct role in their respective spheres of operation, working simultaneously. The laws of nature reign supreme and none is above the influence of them. This is the general plan of things which can be referred to as the widest concept of destiny. Whoever follows the laws of nature with a profound understanding of them will gain some advantage over others who do not. Such people are always destined to benefit and to shape a better life for themselves. But none of them is predestined to belong to any specific grouping in relation to their being on the right or wrong side of the laws of nature.
There was a time in the era just preceding the Renaissance in Europe, when the Muslim world of the orient was far more advanced in its understanding of the laws of nature. The Muslims consequently were in a position to draw benefits attendant upon this knowledge. When, later on, this unprejudiced and open minded study of nature shifted to the West, it ushered in a new day of light of knowledge for the West while the East began to plunge into a long, dark night of wishful thinking, superstition and dreaming.
This is destiny of course, but of a different type. The only law which is predetermined in relation to this destiny is the unchangeable command that whoever studies nature without prejudices, and permits himself to be led to wherever the laws of nature would lead him, he would tread the path of eternal progress. This is the general and all-pervasive category of destiny which transcends everything, except the laws of destiny relating to religion.
Before taking up the discussion of destiny in application to religion, we should further explore some areas of this universal destiny of the laws of nature. In their larger global applications, they exhibit some features of predetermination but of a different type than commonly understood. In this sense we are speaking of such seasonal or periodic changes in atmospheric balances which represent a very complicated eco-system in which even distant events such as sun spots play a role.
Similarly, the meteoric invasions of planets bring about certain changes, which are reflected upon the earth through corresponding variations in weathers, climates etc. These larger influences, together with periodic alterations in climates which are caused by various factors many of which are as yet undetermined , sometimes bring about subtle changes in the growth patterns of vegetative and animal life on earth. Again there are factors responsible for droughts or shifting of seasons from one part of the earth to another.
Ice-ages and global warming, in alternation, are but some consequences of various cosmic influences. However, in relation to religion, there are some spheres of destiny which are predetermined and unchangeable. If they are rejected, it is the opponents whose designs are frustrated. The prophets, their messages and mission must always prevail, regardless of how powerful their enemies may be a few examples in the living history of man are the confrontations between Moses as and Pharoah, between Jesus as and his opponents, and between Muhammad sa a nd his adversaries.
The triumph of religion is what remains as the legacy of past struggles between prophets and their adversaries. Abraham as and his faith, and those who uphold him and his message, predominate the world. Moses as and those who revere him, Jesus as and his message, and the Prophet Muhammad sa and what he stood for, almost dominate the entire world.
But none is found today who uphold the cause and values of their opponents. This destiny does not come into play in other confrontations between men and men. The general rule there is that the strong will annihilate the weak. In religious destiny, it is the converse which becomes an inviolable principle. They do not clash with each other within their spheres, but when they stand at cross-purpose with other laws, the laws which possess greater force always prevail over the weaker ones.
Even a law of the widest and farthest influence can be defeated within a small sphere by a more powerful one operating against it. Thermodynamic and electromagnetic laws in opposition to the laws of gravitation can win in limited areas of influence. However, the gravitational law is much wider in its influence, and more far-reaching.
In view of this introduction, according to Islam, if God decides to favour a special servant of His with a special manifestation of some hidden laws, such manifestations are regarded by the onlookers as miracles and supernatural events. But these things happen in accordance with the laws of nature, which are subtly controlled to bring about an amazing effect. Here, destiny plays a specific role in the life of a special servant of God. Similarly, destiny can also be understood in relation to the genetic, social, economic or educational background of the individual, who seems to be a helpless product of circumstances.
This helplessness of the individual makes his destiny, over which he has no control. Yet it may not be assumed that he was particularly targeted for such events or accidents which play an important role in the making or unmaking of his life. Individuals who are born in homes riddled with poverty are far more likely to fall prey to petty or even serious crimes. Poverty is the most compulsive force of all factors which create and promote crime. If this is understood to be destiny, then it will cast a grave reflection on the Creator.
So, first of all it should be clearly understood that destiny is only part of a grand scheme of things which does not issue particular edicts against people in particular families. In a larger economic plan, there are bound to be more fortunate and less fortunate people with relative advantages and disadvantages. It is wrong to say that they were individually stamped by a maker of destiny, even before their births, to be born under certain specific circumstances.
Yet there are other questions to be answered. How would they be treated in relation to the crimes committed by them as against those who are born in comparatively healthier circumstances, and who have very few, if any, background factors to egg them onto crime? If the crime is the same, shall they be treated alike? This means that background factors, social and other, that surround a person, will certainly be taken into account, and he will be judged accordingly.
In the sight of Allah, it is not just the crime itself which is mechanically punished, but all factors which go into the making of the crime are also brought into consideration, with the ultimate result that justice will be done. The fortunate and the unfortunate will not be judged with equal severity and, most certainly, license will be given to the environment and the background of a person who commits crime. Likewise, acts of goodness will be rewarded far more in the case of a man whose circumstances are likely to discourage him from doing good, than a man whose environment is one in which acts of goodness are taken for granted.
Thus the issue of destiny is highly complicated, but as the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the All-Knowing, All-Beneficent, All-Powerful and All-Wise God, in the final analysis, the dictates of justice will indeed prevail. There are certain areas in which man is free to exercise his will, where he can choose between good or bad, right or wrong, and for which he will be held responsible.
On the other hand, there are areas in which man has little choice of his own, and appears to be a pawn in the hand of the mover. The general plan of things in nature, which covers and controls the destinies of nations and peoples, is one such area. The circumstances of a wider application make an individual of society completely helpless; he has no choice but to move along like a straw being carried by the waves of a river in spate.
The subject of destiny is a very complicated and vast one and requires a separate and fuller treatment. So, with these few hints, we would like to bring this discussion to an end. It is the outward profession to be made if one wants to become a Muslim, and the inward principle by which a Muslim must live their life. Worship is common to all religions. What differs is only the manner and style of worship.
That which is unique in Islamic mode of worship is that it contains features from the mode of prayers found in other religions. Some people pray to God in a standing posture and some in a sitting posture. In some religions people remember God by kneeling to Him, while others bow down to Him. Some stand before Him with folded arms and others with arms hanging at their sides.
In short there is no single mode of worship common to all religions as a whole. It is fascinating however to note that Islam instructs its followers concerning the manner of prayer so comprehensively that all the postures of worship found in other religions are symbolically represented in the Muslim prayer. Another step forward in the direction of ushering in an era of universal religion, it seems. The institution of Islamic prayer is a most highly developed system, covering every human requirement.
It should be remembered at the outset that the purpose of worship is not just bowing to a Superior Being and paying homage to His greatness, as if God created man only for satiating His egotistic desire of being praised. All the purposes mentioned in relation to the philosophy of worship and the manner in which a Muslim is required to conduct his prayer, makes it manifestly clear that the benefit of prayer is drawn by the worshipper himself and in no way can it be taken as a favour to God.
He is so great in His nobility and so sublime in His character that the praises of His creatures do not add anything to His magnanimity and majesty. The Holy Prophet sa of Islam once mentioned that if the entire mankind had turned away from God and committed the worst possible sins, one and all, they would not diminish His universal grandeur even as much as when someone dips a sharp needle into a vast ocean; the water one finds adhered to the surface of the needle would be far more than the sins of the entire mankind could take away from the glory of God.
Remembrance of God and pondering over His attributes during the prayer helps man in refining his spirit, bringing it more into harmony with the nature of God. This is central to the Islamic prayer. Man was made in the image of his creator and he must ever strive to gain closeness to Him. This is a lesson in nobility which is ultimate. Those who train themselves to think like God and to act like Him within the limitations of the human sphere, constantly improve in their relation to all other human beings and even other forms of life.
For the one who truly gains nearness to a mother, all that is dear to the mother will naturally become dear to him as well. Acquiring the attitude of the creator is like acquiring the attitude of an artist to his works of art. It is impossible for one to be near God and distance himself from His creation. Like a slave who loses everything to his master and follows him in all respects, the worshipper in Islam must do the same in his relation to God. The infinitive used for worship has the connotation of following in the footsteps of someone.
This verse has both positive and negative connotations, both highly essential for cultivating ideal human conduct. Thus in its negative connotation, it helps the worshipper by liberating him from sins of all types. In its positive connotation it educates man, refines his character and cultivates his qualities to such sublimity as to make him worthy of communion with God.
According to Islam, each human soul in relation to the carnal human body can be likened unto a child in the uterus of the mother. To give birth to a healthy child requires so many influences that are constantly transferred from the mother to the embryo and the child at a later stage.
Of all the influences that work towards the making and modification of the human soul, prayer is the most important single factor. The institution of Islamic prayer is rich in so many profound lessons as are not found even fractionally in other religions. Islam admonishes both congregational and individual prayer. The congregational prayers are held in a manner which is amazingly well organised and meaningful. There is one leader who leads the congregation in all such prayers.
That leader is not an ordained priest; anyone whom the people consider worthy of this task is chosen as the Imam. The assembly is admonished to be arrayed behind the Imam in perfectly straight lines, each worshipper standing close to the other, shoulder to shoulder, with no distance between any two worshippers. They follow the Imam perfectly in everything that he does. As he bows they bow, as he stands they stand.
As he prostrates they prostrate. Even if the Imam commits a mistake and does not condone it even after a reminder, all followers must repeat the same. To question the Imam during the prayer is not permitted. All face the same direction without exception, facing the first house of worship ever built for the benefit of mankind. No-one is permitted to reserve any special place behind the Imam. In this regard the rich and poor are treated with absolute equality, so also the old and the young. Whoever reaches the mosque ahead of others has the prior option to sit wherever he pleases. None has the right to remove others from the place that they occupy, except for reasons of security etc.
Thus the Islamic system of prayer is rich not only in spiritual instruction but also in communal and organisational instruction. All mosques are frequented five times a day, a task which appears to be over-much demanding to a casual observer. The Midday Prayer, which ordinarily is more problematic, is performed in Muslim societies during the midday break from work.
Thus it is not only a lunch break, but is slightly extended to accommodate the performance of prayer as well. Then no prayer is permitted until after sunset. The time between the two is spent in outdoor activities like sports, shopping, walks, visits to friends and relatives etc. It is a period of relaxation in which prayers are practically forbidden, except for the quiet remembrance of God which becomes a constant feature with some believers.
At sunset, the night of the believer begins with the Sunset Prayer, after which there is again a time for relaxation, dining, and so on. The night is capped before retirement with the last prayer which is called Isha. It is discouraged to stay awake after Isha in wasteful occupations of gossip and vain talk etc. The Muslims are encouraged to acquire a habit of early to bed and early to rise. The day, next morning, begins routinely in the small hours before dawn.
The prayer which is performed at the end of the night is called Tahajjud. It is not obligatory, but is a very highly emphasised optional prayer. The dawn ushers in the time for Morning Prayer, which is called Al-Fajar. Optional prayers are not recommended between Fajar and sunrise, for obvious reasons. Then till Zuhar, the midday prayer, only two optional prayers are mentioned; otherwise the pre- Zuhar period is expected to be spent in normal day to day activities.
Looking at the institution of prayer in Islam from another angle, it is intriguing to note how well organised, disciplined and comprehensive it is. In some prayers, particularly the two afternoon prayers, there is no loud chanting; this goes well with the general mood of the time. Even the birds cease to sing during the early parts of the afternoon and there is a general air of silence covering the hubbub of normal work.
The Morning Prayer, the prayer after sunset and the prayer after the fall of night all include periods where chanting of verses is the routine practice. The prayer can be further divided into two categories. As against congregational prayers, individual prayers are also highly emphasised. In congregational prayers, society pays homage to God collectively and openly. In individual prayers, emphasis is laid on privacy and there should be no effort to display such prayers to anyone.
Similarly the late night prayer is performed in perfect privacy. Members of the same house try to find their own niches and even husband and wife try to say their prayers separately, so that communion with God becomes a highly personal affair. It has been observed that the institution of the five time congregational prayer has worked very well, for over fourteen hundred years or so, for the protection and preservation of this holy institution.
The mosques have been the mainstay in keeping this noble institution alive. They also serve as education centres for young and old and throughout history they have played the most prominent role in religious teachings and instruction. The places of worship in Islam, whether congregational or private, are kept meticulously clean. Everyone is expected to take his shoes off before entering such places. Although in every prayer the worshipper has to touch the floor with his forehead, sometimes briefly and sometimes for longer periods, it is surprising that no skin diseases have been transferred from forehead to forehead in the Muslim society.
Some may attribute this to the high standard of cleanliness and some to the blessings of God, but this is a well observed fact. All worshippers are expected to know the meaning of what they are reciting, otherwise they will deprive themselves of the immense benefit which they may draw from the meaningful recitation.
It will make this discussion too lengthy if we were to go into the details of the contents, but such readers as are interested in further study can always consult the relevant literature. This second category is controversial in the sense that many a school of jurisprudence disallow such practices and insist on the recitation of only the prescribed form, irrespective of whether the worshipper understands that or not.
As we have amply demonstrated above, the institution of Islamic prayer is a highly developed one, where the individual is required to pray five times a day, both individually and in congregation with others. Islamic prayer thus plays an important role in the life of a Muslim and in the spiritual and moral upbringing of the individual. Fasting is another form of worship found universally in the world religions.
Although there are vast differences regarding the mode of fasting and the conditions applied to it, the central idea of fasting is present everywhere. Where it is not mentioned clearly, it is likely that it may have either been discontinued or have petered out through gradual decay in practice. The case of Buddha is an interesting example. He started his quest for truth with a severe form of fasting, but later on it is said that he abandoned this practice because it had adversely affected his health.
In view of this one can understand why he discontinued, but this does not in any way indicate that he had ceased to believe in fasting. Perhaps that is why some Buddhists, here and there, still observe some form of fasting. Fasting in Islam is a highly developed institution, and needs to be studied in depth. There are two types of injunctions with regards to fasting. One relates to obligatory fasting and the other to optional.
Obligatory fasting is further divided into two categories:. There is one full month in every year in which fasting is prescribed for Muslims all over the world. As the month is a lunar month, so it keeps changing around the year in relation to the solar months. This creates a universal balance for the worshippers. Sometimes the fasting in winter months is easy as far as the days go, in comparison to the long winter nights, while during the summer months the days become long and exacting.
As the lunar months keep rotating around the year, so Muslims in all parts of the world have some periods of easy fasting and some of arduous fasting. Fasting in Islam begins everywhere at the first appearance of dawn and ends with sunset. During this period one is expected to abstain from all food and drink completely. It is not just physical hunger and thirst that constitute the Muslim fast, but the nights prior to the beginning of the fast acquire a far more important character and play a central role in the institution of fasting.
The Muslims wake up many hours before dawn for individual prayer and the remembrance of God. A greater part of the night is thus spent in spiritual exercises which make up the very essence of fasting. During the day, apart from restraining from food and water, all Muslims are particularly exhorted to refrain from vain talk, quarrels and fights, or from any such occupation as is below the dignity of a true believer.
No indulgence in carnal pleasure is allowed; even husband and wife during the day lead separate lives, except for the formal human relationship common to all people. However when it comes to Ramadhan, the month of fasting, Muslims are required to redouble their efforts in this field. It is reported of the Holy Prophet sa that spending in the cause of the poor was a routine daily practice with him which has been likened unto a breeze, never ceasing to bring comfort and solace to the needy.
However during Ramadhan, the reporters of the Ahadith, the sayings of the Holy Prophet sa remind us that the breeze seemed to pick up speed and blow like strong winds. Alms-giving and care for the destitute are so highly emphasised that in no period during the year do Muslims engage in such philanthropic purposes as they do during the month of Ramadhan. Other obligatory fasting is most often related to the condoning of sins by God. This also includes violation of the obligatory fasts. Although a majority of Muslims do not go beyond the month of obligatory fasting, some keep fasts now and then particularly when in trouble.
There is no limit to this, except that the Founder of Islam strongly discouraged those who had vowed to fast continuously for their whole life. When the Holy Prophet sa came to learn of one such case, he disapproved of the practice and censured the man for attempting to achieve liberation as if by forcing his will upon God. To some, after their insistent petulant begging, he permitted optional fasts only in the style of David as , peace be upon him.
The Holy Founder of Islam told them that it was the practice of David to fast one day and abstain from doing so the next. Throughout his life, after he made this vow, he kept the fast on alternate days. The institution of fasting is extremely important because it cultivates the believer in almost every area of his spiritual life. Among other things, he learns through personal experience about what hunger, poverty, loneliness and discomforts mean to the less fortunate sections of society. Abstention from even such practices during the month of Ramadhan as are permissible in everyday life plays a constructive role in refining the human character.
Another example which demonstrates the universality of Islamic injunctions regarding the practice of religion is the instance of Hajj, the pilgrimage. Once again one finds the institution of pilgrimage in all religions of the world, but the sites for pilgrimage are scattered at different places in one or more countries. One does not find a single central place which all the followers of a religion must visit at least once in their lifetime. Amazingly in Islam we find exactly such a place in Mecca, where Muslims from all over the world are expected to gather and spend about ten days entirely dedicated to the memory of God.
The pilgrims come from all countries, all nations, and all races and in all ages. Men, women and children, they all gather once a year for a fantastic rally which sometimes runs into the millions. This grand display of universality is seen nowhere else in any other religion. Hence all these fingers, which were raised in different areas of Islamic teaching, point to the same message of unification of man on earth under the Unity of God.
The institution of pilgrimage can be traced back to the time of Abraham as , peace be upon him. It is also called Bait-ul-Ateeq, or the most ancient house. Abraham as raised it from the ruins which he discovered under divine guidance, and about which he was commissioned by God to rebuild with the help of his son Ishmael as. It is the same place where he had left his wife Hagar and infant son Ishmael as , again under divine instruction.
But work on the House of God awaited attention until Ishmael as grew to an age where he could be of some help. So, both of them worked together to rebuild the house and restart the institution of pilgrimage. Many rites performed during pilgrimage are rooted in those early days of the reconstruction of the House of God, and some even go beyond that. The child is described as having become extremely restive with the agony of thirst, striking the earth with his heels in desperation. There, it is said, sprouted a fountain which still exists today in some form.
Later, a well which was created around that spot and its water is considered to be the blessed water. Most of the pilgrims who perform the Hajj try to bring some water from there by way of blessing for their relatives and friends. There are other rites and traditions which should be briefly explained. In Hajj the pilgrims do not wear any sewn garments; rather, they dress in two loose sheets. This is further indicative of the tradition being most ancient.
It indicates that the institution of Hajj began when man had not learnt to wear sewn clothes. They had only started to cover themselves. As such it seems that it is in memory of those ancient people who used to circuit the first house built for the worship of God in that preliminary dress that the pilgrims are required to do the same. Again, the shaving of the head is an important feature which is also universally found as a symbol of dedication among monks, priests, hermits and vishnus.
This further adds to the universality of its character. Women are exempt from shaving, but they have to symbolically cut their hair as a token. Also, in the places where Hadrat Abraham as is known to have remembered God in the style of an intoxicated lover and extolled his glory with loud chanting, the pilgrims are required to do the same in the same places. Now turning to alms and other philanthropic spending, all religions seem to promote the same in one way or another. In some religions spending in the cause of Allah is institutionalised by levying a well-defined tithe.
In others, the method is left to the free will of the individual as to how and how much to spend. The subject is so vast, that it covers all possible areas of human interest. We find in Islam an institutionalised mode of spending as well as non-institutionalised modes of spending, with their respective spheres well defined. But Islam does not leave it at that.
It speaks of all possible requirements and their relative importance. The subject is so vast, as mentioned before, that it is beyond the scope of this short treatise to cover every aspect of it. One thing however is certain, that the character of universality of this teaching becomes more and more apparent as one proceeds to grasp its form and spirit. Islam also clearly defines the areas of spending of the prescribed religious tithes, leaving no ambiguity whatsoever. Over a billion Muslims recite its verses daily, with at least hundreds of thousands having memorised the book in its entirety.
It is at once the moral foundation of the Muslims, their legislative guidance, and their ladder to the spiritual realisation of the Almighty. Revealed piecemeal to the Holy Prophet Muhammad sa throughout his 23 years of Prophethood, the entire text was memorised by thousands of Muslims within his own lifetime, and was written down faithfully by many scribes.
It is therefore without a doubt the most reliable religious text in history, itself making a prophecy regarding the security its letter and spirit would enjoy. The verses inscribed upon it are exactly the ones we read today. A must-read for scholars and non-specialists alike. Read it online here. Read online here or by PDF. Visit the Alislam Applications Homepage here. You can read the full work here. In the presence of all these books and teachings, did the world need another book?
Its answer will take many forms:. First, was not this division between religion and religion reason enough for the coming of yet another religion to unite all? Secondly, was not the human mind to undergo a process of evolution similar to that which the human body had already gone through? And, just as physical evolution had ultimately become established, were not mental and spiritual evolution destined towards an ultimate perfection which was the very end of human existence?
Fourthly, did earlier religions regard their Messages as absolutely final? Did they not believe in continued spiritual progress? Did they not continuously assure their followers of a coming Message, which would unite mankind and lead them to their ultimate objective? We proceed to answer these questions one by one. Firstly, was not division between religion and religion reason enough for the coming of a new Teaching, which would unite all earlier teachings?
Religion has a twofold purpose: i it enables man to meet his Maker; and ii it teaches him his duty towards his fellowmen. All religions existing at the advent of Islam were not only different but mutually contradictory. The Bible talked not of God, but of the God of Israel. We read in it again and again:. And also thus said the king, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying Jesus also regarded himself as a Teacher for the Children of Israel.
If others approached him, he would send them away. In Matthew we read:.
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Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word.
And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. What Moses and the earlier Prophets have taught in this respect, we have described already.
Christian missionaries have gone to all parts of the world, but Jesus himself had no such plan. The question is not what Christian believers are trying to do.
The question is, what was the intention of Jesus himself? What was the design of God Who sent Jesus? This nobody can express better than Jesus himself and Jesus said clearly:. I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The teaching of Jesus, therefore, is only for Israel, not for others. It is said that Jesus exhorted his followers to go to other people:. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
But to argue from this that Jesus had commanded his followers to take his Message to peoples other than Israel is not correct. It means only this that the followers of Jesus were commanded by him to preach his Message to all the tribes of Israel and not to all nations and peoples as such. Once we have a good start in appropriate secrecy, we must move on to establishing the necessary mindset for work. This mindset has two major advantages: first is that it builds on the insulation we have installed by allowing us more and more to recognize ideas and emotions alien to our own psyches, which gives us the choice of either accepting or rejecting them; second, it makes the primary work of alchemy possible at all.
Preliminary Mind-control Exercise This exercise should be performed at least daily, and will take about 15 minutes each time. Begin by sitting in a comfortable meditation posture. The standard zazen posture is good: cross-legged, back straight, chin tucked slightly so that the spine is straight at the top, a cushion under the buttocks, hands resting on thighs or in a simple mudra.
I also often use the common Western posture of sitting in a chair, back and neck straight as above, hands resting on thighs, feet flat on the floor with thighs parallel to it. Once in position, take a few deep breaths and relax your body. Ask yourself a series of questions somewhat like what follows:. Make sure that you have at least intellectually grasped the idea. Once you have achieved the appropriate mental state, that you are not your mind but are superior to it, build upon that intellectual foundation by closing your eyes and quietly observing your mental and emotional states, each individual thought and feeling, as if completely separated from them.
Maintain this state for as long as you are able, or until the end of your allotted time. Repeat this entire process at least once a day for a month or more. It is even advisable to abandon other practices, for unfocused attention cannot help this process. This exercise will gradually have the effect of separating your identity from your lower faculties. It is even possible to gain the capacity to know the source of any given thought or emotion. Still, the goal here is not to gain siddhis , but to transcend the need for them in the first place. That is, how can a person prepare herself for the study and practice of alchemy so that they will be balanced and safe in the process?
There are a myriad of ways which people have used through the centuries, though certain modern Hermetists have devised some extremely safe and efficient methods which work much better for the majority of people than previous systems. These ware the approaches I favor and are thus the approaches which I will recommend. First, I recommend a foundation in general Hermetic theory and practice.
I myself waited significantly longer than that, though that was because I was not privy to the arcana of alchemy at the time. It also depends upon which stage of development you are at: that of a magician, or that of a mystic. If you are at the stage of magician, you should work your way through most or all of Initiation Into Hermetics before considering any intensive practice of alchemy. As you work through the initial stages of IIH , it is a good idea to study some of the finer points of the theory behind sacred magic and alchemy.
Study this book deeply. Two other books are of primary importance in this preliminary training. A number of other works are of secondary importance. They can be done without, but they are extremely helpful in clarifying certain points. First among these is the Bhagavad Gita. In addition to being a fascinating look into Hindu mystical cosmology, the material within on the three gunas is quite useful in coming to an understanding of the three principles of alchemy. The Way of Hermes , Inner Traditions , an outstanding translation of the Corpus Hermeticum and the Definitions of Asclepius , is the primary set of Hermetic scriptures and is well worth study and contemplation.
Of course, Alchemy Unveiled by Johannes Helmond , Merkur Publishing is a wonderful guide to alchemy, though it is necessarily quite dense and difficult reading. I suggest it be added to any Hermetic library. I do not claim to have all the answers on the topic, but through a series of recent miracles, I have been given something of the practical arcana of the Royal Art. I have been given some degree of freedom to share what I have learned. Still, all arcana require practice and application for full understanding. As such, I can only reveal so much, so I will do my best to make it count.
I have chosen to name this series after one of the books which I have found to be most helpful to me in my study of alchemy: Alchemy Unveiled by Johannes Helmond English translation copyright Gerhard Hanswille and Deborah Brumlich. I pray that my own writing does honor to the work of the Order of the Hermetic Initiated Gold- and Rosicrucians, and all other Hermetic adepts who have opened the way for me.
What is alchemy? It is not a simple thing to define, like horticulture or cooking. We may say that alchemy is the Hermetic art of transmutation, but that still leaves us with many questions. Transmutation of what? And to what end? What are the methods used? And so on.
So let us begin with these and see where they lead. There are multiple ways to answer this, each useful in its way. First, we have the common use of the word: hermetically sealed. This point will become more clear in later articles, but for now it is enough to know that the principle work of alchemy is performed within the alchemist, who must make of himself an athanor , a sealed vessel wherein the transmutations take place.
There are many techniques used to establish and maintain this seal.