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Posts tagged ‘tiresias’

The Blanket!


There was this debate between colleagues, as to whether liquor or smoke was more addictive. Naturally, the participants were reduced to those who at some time had been using tobacco or liquor or both. Even though, it is only a person who had both been a smoker and a drinker who should be qualified to participate in the debate.

One may ask me, why should a debater have a first hand experience to have an opinion? Very true, one need not have to have  first hand experience to hold an opinion, nevertheless the AUTHENTICITY of an experience is what adds weight to an opinion in a debate of these pardonable socially accepted vices.

Let me advert to one of the myths which may exemplify my point. Once the Roman Chief God and his consort got into a debate as to who enjoyed most during sex. So neither Jupiter nor Juno were able to decide, as they both have had only a one sided experience. So the person chosen to deliver a verdict on this was TIRESIAS. So who was this TIRESIAS? He was a person who had led an adult life both as a man as well as a woman. So he was called upon and he opined that a woman enjoyed more than a man during sex. Well Juno did not like the verdict and had issues with this verdict and inflicted blindness on Tiresias. Thus, we already have a mythical example which shows that unless a person has had an experience at both ends, his opinion  would not carry much weight. And i give weight to an opinion based on experience.

My friend, who was both a social drinker and also a pack smoker butted in and said, “I think i am the best suited among you all as I have not merely seen both the sides but have a fresh memory of  the ongoing addictions. He went on to narrate an anecdote from his repertoire, ” Once when a lady saw Mr. Winston Churchill drunk and sprawled on the floor said MR. CHURCHILL YOU ARE DRUNK, HORRIBLY DRUNK, the repartee from Mr. Winston Churchill was, MA’AM I WILL BE SOBER TOMORROW, BUT YOU ARE UGLY.” So by narrating this anecdote he gave an indication that sobriety returned the next day and the urge to return to the intoxicating drink  may not happen till one finds the right crowd and ambiance.

He also said that Nicotine addiction was more permanent as once the nicotine content dipped below a certain level in his blood there was an unquenchable urge to smoke, whereas when it came to drink it was the outer surroundings which impelled him to resort to drinks.  So he went on to narrate a nice little story of dubious veracity, which to my ears, settled the debate in favour of smoking as the more addictive of the two:

Once Ben and Dan went on a trekking and Ben, being the more enthusiastic of the two, ran up a hundred yards ahead of Dan.  They both sighted a black blanket on the other side of a brook, Ben crossed over and as seen from the perspective of Dan, Ben had wrapped himself around with the thick wooly blanket and was standing frozen on the other side of the brook. Dan stood still, and saw not much motion in Ben and shouted, ” BEN, LEAVE THE F**KING BLANKET COME BACK TO THIS SIDE.” Ben replied, “I HAVE LEFT IT, BUT THE BEAR IS NOT LEAVING ME.” It was a bear-hug! And not a BLANKET as was assumed by Ben. SO my friend went on to say, “As kids we take a few drags thinking cigarettes are EMOTIONAL blankets, but it is only as one gets older that one realizes that smoking is no BLANKET, but A BEAR-HUG THAT REFUSES TO LEAVE!”

But coming back to our TIRESIAS, when my professor in college Prof. Eugene D’Vaz was asked by me as to whether Tiresias was first a man and then a woman or the other way round, could not give me a convincing answer, except for his explanation that it would be easier to presume that in those mythical days- when surgery had not enabled men to append organs- it must HAVE been that Tiresias was a man first and then became a woman.

TILL DATE I BELIEVE THAT TIRESIAS  REMEMBERED MORE HIS RECENT STATUS, THAN HIS LOST PAST AND THEREFORE THE OPINION WAS BIASED BASED ON TIME LAG!

MOSES & THE MOUNTAINS!


Moses, the DELIVERER of the Jews from their bondage in Egypt, had a special relationship with the mountains. Moses according to his own confession was the MEEKEST man on the face of the earth, while he was still alive. If one were to go by the Hollywood flick, TEN COMMANDMENTS, it would seem as if he was the underdog with a mission not only to resist the cruel treatment meted out to the Jews, but also to get them the liberty.

But underlying the portrayal,if  one could place oneself in his shoes and imagine, it was all about a man who was raised as a prince in Pharaoh’s palace, & lost his position either due to a discovery of a fact and a consequent choice or to the palace intrigue of Ramses. The discovery was that he did not have the royal blood coursing thru his veins, but was an offspring of a Jew! A dim prospect for a man with that lineage in those times, in Egypt.

Many discoveries of parentage had led to great Tragedies.

Like in the case of Oedipus (king of Thebes). He killed (although inadvertently) his father and married his mother Jocasta. The oracle had decreed that the plague in the land was a consequence of the taboo committed. Oedipus was not able to wash away the guilt  thru his penance or any other means, and the end is truly tragic as it unfolds  man’s helplessness in the light of a discovery, that could not have been imagined when the deeds were committed.

Oedipus is laden with PATRICIDE & INCEST. Both ABSOLUTE SINS, one for not knowing one’s father and yet killing him unknowingly, and the other for having sexual relationship with one’s own lineal ascendant- also unknowingly. The forms in which both the acts were committed were LEGAL. Oedipus’ father was killed in a fight with him and Oedipus got married to Jocasta, as she was the prize for having aided in destroying the Sphinx which was troubling the Thebans. The  TRUTH could have lain hidden and  the plague  regressed, but  his imagined non-involvement in the DEATH OF LAIUS (Oedipus’ real father and husband of Jocasta) emboldens him to search out, even against the opinion of TIRESIAS. But his arrogance led him to the discovery, without recourse.

But in the case of Moses, it was not any of those ABSOLUTE SINS, but a MISTAKEN PEDIGREE! The storyline is the reverse of KARNA in the Mahabharata. Karna (Karan, to the Sanskritized) was thought of to be from the hoi polloi, whereas Moses was imagined to be from the Royal stock. Moses’ discovery leads to his abandoning the comforts of the Pharaoh’s palace and consequently takes him to the ghettos of the Jews.

IT IS FROM THIS POINT THAT THE REVOLUTION WITHIN MOSES STARTS. The conflict was WHETHER TO RECONCILE WITH HIS PEDIGREE & TO ACQUIESCE IN THOSE REALITIES OF SQUALOR, SLAVERY, WHIPLASHES, TOIL & IGNOMINY or TO TAKE UP CUDGELS AGAINST THE SYSTEM THAT TREATED MAN IN SUCH BRUTISH WAYS?

Karna’s conflict was that he had the skill fit to be a king, but without the pedigree to rise there. He could at best be a WARRIOR but never a CONQUEROR. The skills that he had in him was pushing him higher, but his supposed humble origins – like gravity- was pulling him down.

To clarify in Christian terms, the distinction between a WARRIOR & a CONQUEROR is the difference between JOAB and DAVID. Joab, the commander of the Israeli army during King David’s reign, used to subjugate the enemies with the strength of his sword, but when the City was to be taken, David used to be called for, by the same Joab and the city gates were flung open for the CONQUEROR KING to make his TRIUMPHAL ENTRY. A warrior has to DO IT HIMSELF EVERYTIME, but for a CONQUEROR things were DONE FOR HIM IN HIS NAME. History RECOGNIZES the CONQUERORS but the warriors are mere footnotes. A KING is mostly a WARRIOR, but a WARRIOR need not become a KING.

Moses’ conflict had to be resolved. But how can it be?

In the movie TEN COMMANDMENTS, Moses’ wife tells the Queen U LOST MOSES WHEN HE WENT LOOKING FOR HIS GOD, AND I LOST HIM WHEN HE FOUND HIS GOD! (one sane inference that could be drawn is that, God and Woman are not simultaneously compatible!), but the pertinent point is that MOSES DISCOVERED GOD. His first tryst with God was in the Mountains of Sinai (Horeb).

IT WAS ALWAYS IN THE MOUNTAINS THAT MOSES MET JEHOVAH. Moses met his maker also in the Mount Nebo.

I am left wondering, as to why God had to meet Moses in the MOUNT and not in the plains.

The Psalmist says I WILL LIFT UP MINE EYES UNTO THE HILLS FROM WHENCE COMETH MY HELP. (Ps.121).

Is it because that the AIR is RARER and the PRESSURE is DOWN that the mortals start hallucinating better there?,

Or is it because of the geographical elevation that a person’s perception is raised above the occupants of the valleys and plains?

Or is it truly that God’s attention is drawn quicker on the hilltop that the mortals made it a habit to get to the mountain top?

The answer is not certain and whether the question was right at all, is a bigger question!

In any case, the resolution for Moses came from the discovery of his God. A God who believed in what Moses himself believed in, but couldn’t do anything about. He saw that the burden of slavery was so heavy, that thoughts of LIBERTY, FREEDOM & HAPPINESS did not dawn in those embittered hearts, worn down thru slavery and bondage.

It isI here that he invents ways of explaining the GOD, he had discovered. The God who names himself as “I AM WHO I AM“. This God I AM shakes the Pharoah and the Jews alike, from their logic and understanding of their EXTERNALIZED OMNIPOTENT GOD.

This wordings used bu Moses, to define God, brought God to Man. Since the time he was chased out of the garden of Eden, it is for the first time that the first person pronoun  “I” was used to SIGNIFY GOD. The space of “I”, was made DIVINE and men were given a foretaste of the possibility of God becoming Man and also residing in MEN. This definition of God, marks the beginning of the end, to the Externalization and outer experience with God. Even though this tradition continued in the Jewish history. NOW MAN HAD TO MAKE WAY FOR GOD IN HIS “I” CONSCIOUSNESS. The nameless desert God straight made an ENTRY into the JEWISH hearts, through that definition of Moses.

A QUANTUM SPIRITUALISM DAWNED!

MOUNTAINS WERE NO MORE NEEDED TO MEET GOD, ONE HAD TO LOOK WITHIN AND EXPERIENCE GOD.

HOW TRUE, I AM WHAT I AM.

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