Author Topic: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:  (Read 860 times)

Subramanian.R

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My first teacher, Uncle Noah said words of wisdom that are now embedded in my bones:
'If a star came down from the heavens and unleashed hailstorms and lightning on the Earth, we would perhaps consider it a miracle.  But I would have said that the world is already miraculous. We know that the light of distant stars takes millions upon millions of years to reach us, and that we are seeing these stars not as they are now, but as they were countless eons ago.  So the heavens were set in place before man ever roamed the earth or drank water from any ice cream.  Is all of this not comprable to the miracles of the prophets (anbiyya) and the saints (awiliyya)?'

Why do we not see the miracle in front of our own eyes, instead of concentrating on things we have never seen and know nothing about?

The Earth is a miracle in itself, and man is here to revel in its beauty and rejoice in its never ending renewal, even though this Earth is also flawed, imperfect and, in some ways, impoverished.  And it does not need men who travel on flying carpets, or raise the dead, to make it rich in tenderness and marvel, a home where man may dwell for  time and begin to ponder the beauty of life, the meaning of all his sorrows and the haste with which we depart from this abode.  So listen to the wisdom of your ancestors, preserve the purity of the epics and the romances laden with tradition, but also find you own destiny, pursue your own calling, never stop thirsting for more life and more understanding.  Whether you are 100 years old or only a boy, be alive, love life, drink it in like the water of a cool stream in a barren land.

According to the Juki, divine revelation is woven into the very fabric of the universe. It emanates from the dew that glitters and shines in the morning grass, as from the birds that serenade the rising sun and the full moon that 'pours light into the darkness of the forest.'  Some have contrasted this revelation in nature with more formal, explicit lines of spiritual authority and especially with the mantle of the universal mastery claimed by the priests and the theologians of various religions.  Juke lore, however, sees no contradiction between the authority claimed by the great religions of man and the narrative heritage of the tribe, replete with love of 'the celestial forest', the terrestrial world and the endless flowering, withering and renewal of the entire earth.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 12:28:15 PM »
No doubt it could be said that the whole rhythm and flow of ancestral existence, with its veneration of the sacred custom and its deep and abiding love of life, is a kind of 'religion' in itself, but without being explicitly called such. And that this 'religion' in itself,
but without being explicitly called such. And that this 'religion' is compatible, for some,
with all the great and enduring spiritual traditions that flourish in this world.  However, the tribal elders did not consider themselves in desperate need of a certain dogma or creed, since everything in existence is permeated with divine content and comprises a partial manifestation (Juzi) of an infinite reality, beyond the power of man to define,
fully understand and so to limit.  And they sometimes compared different religions to works of art and poetry, each one as complete and self contained as the most beautiful painting or the most sublime and instructive oral epic. The painter, they said was not meant to quarrel with the poet, love the poetry, but to follow his calling.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 12:10:52 PM »
'Love the painting, love the poetry and song of religion, love its vast possessions and its sacred rites.  But also love the flowering orchard, the golden sun and the still pond where a distant star is sometimes reflected.  And know that we will never be able to explain anything, no matter how many wells of knowledge we drink from. Know that man himself, and the Reality all around him and within him, is deeper, vaster, richer than any of the theories yet devised  to explain it all away.  Know that the grand venture of man is only beginning and that we have the astounding privilege of partaking of it this very moment, here and now, before the hour and the day fade away forever. Know that we were meant to savor this fleeting life, consider it a thing of exquisite beauty, adorn and embellish it as much as we can...'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 09:09:41 AM »
Such were the words of the tribal bards, Jibril, Nuratin and Magrupi.  They also warned us that this is the most perfect rose, life, lasts but a single instant in the history of the whole world.  Then it withers and fades away.  There was no time to seek out an absolute knowledge:  we had to see life as 'the lilting melody of an old village song',
sweet and mournful, full of bitterness and sorrow because of 'the pain of the Gypsies',
but also tender, compassionate, bearing witness to an incurable love of the beauty of the world. And for them nothing was easier to drink in this beauty, as if it were a well fortified red wine that intoxicated man which he paused, lingered over it, permitted it to instruct and solace him. Beauty was given to us in the butterfly with sun golden wings, the tiny song bird that dipped its beak into the water of a cool, sweet fountain, the swaying form of a maiden with a face of milk and honey, and the wonderment of a child seeing green grass, tall trees and distant stars for the first time.  Everything was an Aya, a symbol or portent of the mysterious force that created the universe. And everything was meant to instruct us, to make us see the whole world as if it had come into existence only an instantg ago, and was drenched in the sanctity and grandeur of the Garden of Eden.

contd.

Arunachala Siva.             

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 01:14:25 AM »
"Do we not love the Castle of the Franks (Europeans or Westerners) that looms large on a mound near Homs?' Uncle Noah had asked theoretically. And do we not consider the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus a poem in stone, or perhaps a whole symphony? Why would anyone try to desecrate these treasures?  Is there no civilization left in the world today?'  He said that those who reduce every discussion to the limited sphere of political or religious dogmas 'are like the governor who asks the frog why it croaks and how it can find peace on a mere pond.  Or like someone who stands in the midst of an ancient forest and can find nothing of worth in it.'

A vital, authentic spiritual tradition, according to Noah, is not the imposition of dogma by force, but the memory of a sacred past and recognition of its beauty and pathos within ourselves.  Truth cannot be imposed on man by force and remain authentic: it must be given  freely, as an infinitely precious gift, like water that is given to the thirsting Earth when it falls from the passing clouds.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 09:21:59 AM »
'Tradition' is not dogmatic authority; it is the creative, ever fecundating life of the spirit.
'Authority' belongs to a different domain, a social, external reality.  In a living, vital tradition, Truth is not a 'proven' by theological arguments; it is seen in the light that pours out of it.  And so it is with irresistible poetry, the themes of all great philosophy and the beauty of trees, stars, river oaks and rose gardens.

Man is inundated in impression from a thousand sources of revelation:  but he is easily
distracted, even by very petty concerns.  And so it often happens that he is no longer open to the miraculous, the incomparable gift of life itself, or to the enchantment and wonder endlessly poured over the world, 'since the beginning of time'.  And man was meant to traverse the entire earth, drinking water of knowledge from all its wells, wounded, stirred and enriched by its vastness and variegation and the unique destiny of every people and every culture.  (Every nasiya, nation or tribe, having its own destiny, its own mission in life.  And there are no tribes, no religions, whose destiny lies in 'devouring the rest of the mankind'.  The calling of every people is latent in its very life, like butter in milk. And it is not 'petrified dogma' that reveals such a destiny to a given nasiya, so much as it is self discovery, and discovery of the Other, in the course of living a life.                   


contd.,.

Arunachala Siva.
       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 09:38:26 AM »
Without reservation Uncle Noah, the bard Magrupi and various other mentors proclaimed it 'the destiny of the Gypsies' to journey to the ends of the earth, 'tasting the sweetness and sorrow of the nations', possessed of an
insatiable, all consuming thirst for freedom and open space, prefiguring the universal human quest for the infinite, host nations, the kapire or non Gypsies. Nurain, known as 'the master of bards', said that Gypsies were meant to enrich and embellish their own culture by becoming exposed to the art, life, music, history and poetry of the whole world.  That every corner of the earth can replenish the Juki.  That there is no shortage of art, or life, with lessons to give.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 02:26:25 AM »
But, he insisted, 'It all depends on us, on our ability to accept what is offered.  We have learned lessons from the Cedars of Lebanon and the Sacred Oaks of Besan. The stones and the lanterns of the Western World are waiting for us now, like Hamra Street in Ras Beirut. Waiting to offer young, rapacious hearts new treasures of understanding, when they are ready to listen, grateful to these lands for what is given, as the snow that covers the Mount Cedars.'

Even he, however, insisted that such a worthy heritage cannot be understood from a perusal of mere dogma, but by absorbing the values of 'the ancient shades', or ancestors, and understanding that they express timeless and universal verities of our existence. And that it is life that validates religion and the quest for deeper, purer, more sublime meaning in all things.  It is not the proclamations of the 'authorities'
at second hand that validate life and renders it precious.  He added, as was customary, that many would stay in the East, 'where water of life and bread of life has been spread out before us, like the Feast for the Departed and Mass or Quddas called
'Remembrance of Christimas Eve', 'Dukhrana Laylat at Milad'."

My beloved old teachers conceded that authoritarianism in religion is a reality in terms of social practice.  But it is in the transmission of spiritual verities, and in the delicate process of elevating the attention of the spiritual novice, that Truth and Beauty are made living and whole.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Cosmic Tapestry - Douglas Halebi - Mountain Path, April - June 2016:
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2017, 09:36:57 AM »
For the Juki, then, revelation is a two fold phenomenon, manifested in the Sacred Texts of great religions and the commentaries they inspire, but also in ancient tribal lore and
in an ardent love of life and virgin nature. For nature, herself, is an endless, ever varying theophany sent to man to guide him. Many views of such things are possible, however, Aunt Rihani offered us her own assessment when she said that 'our customs and ways connect us to the ever flowering, endless reality of life and how we are able to experience it anew, generation to generation.'  And she used the example of a Juki marriage, when the bride and groom face one another on bended knee.  A thin, crepe like bread, coated in honey and sprinkled with almonds, is placed on the right knee of the groom and the left knee of the bride.  Each one eats the bread of the other, indicating that their two lives are now more deeply intertwined, immersed in a greater totality that encompasses them both.  This part of the wedding must be observed in all times and places, or else it will be seen as an invalid and tainted union.

But it is not part of the intimate, unique process of spiritual discovery that is given to each soul in its turn, in the course of living an unrepeatable and therefore precious existence.  Man has learnt the latent capacity for inner renewal and discovery, for a 'knowledge'  which is itself an illumination of life, carrying the adept from one level of awareness to another, as he 'travels' on the spiritual path, learns that all creation is a kind of sacred lore, a mystical repast that honors life, sanctifies tradition, and in certain cases compromises a rapturous communion between God, man, and the cosmic tapestry spread out before us yesterday, today and always.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.