Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya spoke a while on the subject of the departure of the friends of God from this world. One of those present mentioned the name of a particular man and said that at the time of his death he was softly uttering the names of God. This moved Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya to tears and he reited the following quatrain:
Ayam be sar-e-kuye to puyan puyan
Rukhsar be ab-e-dide shuyan shuyan
Bichare rah-e wasl-e to juyan juyan
Jan mideham o nam-e to guyan guyan
I came to the end of Your street, running, running.
Tears came down my cheek, washing, washing.
This is perhaps a bit early, but I have had some time on my hand due to the weather and all. It has been a strange time as of late, and I have been a bit pensive with the strangeness of it all.
Life rushes so fast. Wait, I am catching my breath!
On The Menu:
On The Imaginarium & Musings on Mortality
Mammoth Time Lapse
Marconi Union – Tokyo Ginza District
Three Sonnets On Mortality
Marconi Union – Glace Bay (Part One) / Border Crossing
Art: Henry Siddons Mowbray
Rowan’s key phrase from the film: “As long as the story is told…the unvierse will keep going”
My rejoinder: “And we all have a chapter in the story. When that chapter ends, we winkle out of existence, (or not)”
Last night at Caer Llwydd, we watched Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. This was of course Heath Ledger’s last movie, he sadly died before completing it. Heath was one of my favourite actors, his past work with Terry Gilliam in “The Brothers Grimm” is a household favourite. “Imaginarium” is a most wonderful work of art. Every scene is chock full of eye candy, and has a cornucopia of philosophical underpinnings strewn about in a willy-nilly fashion. I kept on feeling I had read the story before, but no Gilliam has said it came all from him. I think the film touches on deep parts of the human psyche, and generates emotive responses to the questions and situations being layed before the viewers eyes. There are sincere questions on morality, mortality, and the role one wants to or should play in the world. Gilliam has such a deft touch (some would say daft), but this little film, is a fine, fine creation. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
Earlier this week, I seemed to be dogged by the feelings of fleeting mortality….
A friend had confided that they were contemplating ending their life. We had sat and talked for quite a bit what this meant for them. They were feeling worn down by decades of work and responsibility. It was one of those conversations that on one hand you don’t want to have, but on the other it was (perhaps) the most important conversation that we have had in our times together. In the end, it seemed like a dream scenario. People rushing past us on the street, and there we were talking about the limits of mortality. I felt weary after the talk, I must confess. The sky opened up, and the rain came down. I ended up at home, reading poetry and thinking deep into the evening.
So, this little encounter set me up for some interesting musings. I am prone to thinking about mortality, I mean it is the great mystery isn’t it? The divide between life and either another, or oblivion. The one raging question it seems for philosophers, sages, fools, kings and beggars, it has engaged everyone at sometime in their life. Of course, life is to be lived in the here and now, but there are those moments when you attempt to peer across the river…
Later in the week I found myself standing in the yard with the sun (fleeting as it is now days) and wind upon me. I had fallen into a fugue… I was a static point in the universe whilst the winds of time were playing across my mind and life. I felt as if the winds were pulling the fabric of my corporeal being apart in a splay of atoms, slowly increasing in speed and everything was dissolving into light. I must of stood there for an eternity before I returned to the present. I had been in a place where I wasn’t, yet was. I wasn’t sad, or panicked, but oddly detached from everything. Perhaps it was a moment of grace. I don’t know. Yet, the taste of it lingered for hours and into the next day.
I have no idea what really lies ahead, I used to think that I had a good idea, but really who actually does? We have this moment, this now in which we exist together. Though I easily contemplate what might follow in the world, I realize that everything I imagine is a projection of the now unto an unknown field. Intuitively I understand my actions and the way I comport myself sends a message to those who will be when I am not, and those who will not know that I once was. How I treat others, how I loved does have an effect and probably deeper than we realize. Our dealings with others in the present does indeed shape the future to come. What we inherited we have the choice to pass along; either the genuine inheritance from countless generations, or those cultural traps and eddies of stagnation and sleep.
I find myself again on that street talking with my friend; in that one beautiful moment we share our hopes, our fears, the essences of our lives; the mortal and the immortal parts of our beings.
You Mustn’t Be Afraid Of Death
you mustn’t be afraid of death
you’re a deathless soul
you can’t be kept in a dark grave
you’re filled with God’s glow
be happy with your beloved
you can’t find any better
the world will shimmer
because of the diamond you hold
when your heart is immersed
in this blissful love
you can easily endure
any bitter face around
in the absence of malice
there is nothing but
happiness and good times
don’t dwell in sorrow my friend
Rumi – Translated by Nader Khalili
(Thanks To Paul Bingman for finding this!)
(Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland –
by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde )
The Banshee means, especially, the woman of the fairy race, from van, “the Woman–the Beautiful;” the same word from which comes Venus. Shiloh-Van was one of the names of Buddha–”the son of the woman;” and some writers aver that in the Irish–Sullivan (Sulli-van), may be found this ancient name of Buddha.
As the Leanan-Sidhe was the acknowledged spirit of life, giving inspiration to the poet and the musician, so the Ban-Sidhe was the spirit of death, the most weird and awful of all the fairy powers.
But only certain families of historic lineage, or persons gifted with music and song, are attended by this spirit; for music and poetry are fairy gifts, and the possessors of them show kinship to the spirit race–therefore they are watched over by the spirit of life, which is prophecy and inspiration; and by the spirit of doom, which is the revealer of the secrets of death.
Sometimes the Banshee assumes the form of some sweet singing virgin of the family who died young, and has been given the mission by the invisible powers to become the harbinger of coming doom to her mortal kindred. Or she may be seen at night as a shrouded woman, crouched beneath the trees, lamenting with veiled face; or flying past in the moonlight, crying bitterly: and the cry of thus spirit is mournful beyond all other sounds on earth, and betokens certain death to some member of the family whenever it. is heard in the silence of the night.
The Banshee even follows the old race across the ocean and to distant. lands; for space and the offer no hindrance to the mystic power which is selected and appointed to bear the prophecy of death to a family. Of this a well authenticated instance happened a few years ago, and many now living can attest the truth of the narrative.
A branch of the ancient race of the O’Gradys had settled in Canada, far removed, apparently, from all the associations, traditions, and mysterious influences of the old land of their fore-fathers.
But one night a strange and mournful lamentation was heard outside the house. No word was uttered, only a bitter cry, as of one in deepest agony and sorrow, floated through the air.
Inquiry was made, but no one had been seen near the house at the time, though several persons distinctly heard the weird, unearthly cry, and a terror fell upon the household, as if some supernatural influence had overshadowed them.
Next day it so happened that the gentleman and his eldest son went out boating. As they did not return, however, at the usual time for dinner, some alarm was excited, and messengers were sent down to the shore to look for them. But no tidings came until, precisely at the exact hour of the night when the spirit-cry had been heard the previous evening, a crowd of men were seen approaching the house, bearing with them the dead bodies of the father and the son, who had both been drowned by the accidental upsetting of the boat, within sight of land, but not near enough for any help to reach them in time.
Thus the Ban-Sidhe had fulfilled her mission of doom, after which she disappeared, ‘and the cry of the spirit of death was heard no more.
At times the spirit-voice is heard in low and soft lamenting, as if close to the window.
Not long ago an ancient lady of noble lineage was lying near the death-hour in her stately castle. One evening, after twilight., she suddenly unclosed her eyes and pointed to the window, with a happy smile on her face. All present looked in the direction, but nothing was visible. They heard, however, the sweetest music, low, soft, and spiritual, floating round the house, and at times apparently close to the window of the sick room.
Many of the attendants thought it was a trick, and went out to search the grounds; but nothing human was seen. Still the wild plaintive singing went on, wandering through the trees like the night wind–a low, beautiful music that never ceased all through the night.
Next morning the noble lady lay dead; then the music ceased, and the lamentation from that hour was heard no more.
There was a gentleman also in the same country who had a beautiful daughter, strong and healthy, and a splendid horsewoman. She always followed the hounds, and her appearance at the hunt attracted unbounded admiration, as no one rode so well or looked so beautiful.
One evening there was a ball after the hunt, and the young girl moved through the dance with the grace of a fairy queen.
But that same night a voice came close to the father’s window, as if the face were laid close to the glass, and he heard a mournful lamentation and a cry; and the words rang out on the air–”In three weeks death; in three weeks the grave–dead–dead–dead!”
Three times the voice came, and three times he heard the words; but though it. was bright moonlight, and he looked from the window over all the park, no form was to be seen.
Next day, his daughter showed symptoms of fever, and exactly in three weeks, as the Ban-Sidhe had prophesied, the beautiful girl lay dead.
The night before her death soft music was heard outside the house, though no word was spoken by the spirit-voice, and the family said the form of a woman crouched beneath a tree, with a mantle covering her head, was~ distinctly visible. But on approaching, the phantom disappeared, though the soft, low music of the lamentation continued till dawn.
Then the angel of death entered the house with soundless feet, and he breathed upon the beautiful face of the young girl, and she rested in the sleep of the dead, beneath the dark shadows of his wings.
Thus the prophecy of the Banshee came true, according to the time foretold by the spirit-voice.
Three Sonnets On Mortality
– by William Shakespeare
Sonnet 19: Devouring Time blunt thou the lion’s paws
Devouring Time blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood,
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix, in her blood,
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet’st,
And do whate’er thou wilt swift-footed Time
To the wide world and all her fading sweets.
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen,
Him in thy course untainted do allow,
For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
Yet do thy worst old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.
Sonnet 12: When I do count the clock that tells the time
When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silvered o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
Sonnet 49: Against that time, if ever that time come
Against that time, if ever that time come,
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
Called to that audit by advised respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,
And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye,
When love, converted from the thing it was,
Shall reasons find of settled gravity—
Against that time do I ensconce me here
Within the knowledge of mine own desart,
And this my hand, against myself uprear,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part.
To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
Since why to love I can allege no cause.
Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test. – Rumi
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep. – Rumi