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I have always felt that it was the fundamental poetic
spirit of mankind that created the religions than the
vice-versa.  Religions are, perhaps, only a commentary
of the unquenchable poetic spirit of mankind : the
commentary always having the possibility of subjective
interpretation and distortion, but the spirit always
remaining the same. 


--- cr mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Of Matthew Arnold, yes. And of WB Yeats as well who
>   said something to this effect in his essay "The
> Body of
>   Autumn" (1898) -- of poetry taking the burden off
> the
>   shoulders of priests.
>    
>   Well, poetry has many voices, many moods --
>   an infinite variety!
>    
>   Thanks.
>    
>   ~ CR
>    
>   
> 
> Vishvesh Obla <[log in to unmask]> wrote:  
> 'Eliot's imagination/vision
> finds _common grounds_ between different religious
> and philosophic systems '
> 
> CR,
> 
> Why am I reminded here of Mathew Arnold ? :)
> 
> ‘THE FUTURE of poetry is immense, because in poetry,
> where it is worthy of its high destinies, our race,
> as
> time goes on, will find an ever surer and surer
> stay.
> There is not a creed which is not shaken, not an
> accredited dogma which is not shown to be
> questionable, not a received tradition which does
> not
> threaten to dissolve. Our religion has materialised
> itself in the fact, in the supposed fact; it has
> attached its emotion to the fact, and now the fact
> is
> failing it. But for poetry the idea is everything;
> the
> rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion.
> Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea is
> the fact. The strongest part of our religion to-day
> is
> its unconscious poetry.’
> 
> - Arnold, 'Study of Poetry'
> 
> --- cr mittal wrote:
> 
> > Dear Listers,
> > 
> > I do not intend to obliterate or minimise the
> > basic difference
> > between Vedantic/Upanishadic philosophy -- of the
> > ultimate
> > "oneness" of human soul and the Universal Spirit
> > (call it God)
> > -- and the Christian vision of God as the "Other".
> > In the
> > former case, one aspires to "be one" with God
> > whereas
> > in Christianity, one may attain paradise but one
> > does
> > not merge into God and be one with Him.
> > (Interesting
> > to imagine this "duality" of God -- one Hindu, the
> > other
> > Christian, and God knows how many more of Gods
> > man is going to imagine -- all so different that
> > their
> > followers uphold the superiority of one against
> > another
> > -- what strife, what violence, what bloodshed, to
> > "save"
> > their Gods from others' Gods!!! I'm glad Eliot did
> > not
> > stress this "division" -- he did not stress what
> > made
> > the Hindu philosophy "different" from the
> > Christian.
> > For, to me, his was not "a divisive imagination".
> > 
> > 
> > Of course, there are other aspects as well that 
> > distinguish the Vedic/Upanishadic philosophy
> > from the Christian. And Eliot was keenly aware
> > of it -- he was so "mystified" by Patanjali's
> > Yog Sutras that he chose to adhere to his
> > Christian roots.
> > 
> > But as TWL illustrates, Eliot's 
> > imagination/vision
> > finds _common grounds_ between different
> > religious
> > and philosophic systems of the East and the West.
> > 
> > Well, the proof of the pudding, as they say, lies
> > in its eating. Let me briefly illustrate my point
> > in the
> > light of the three passages devoted to Da Da Da
> > in What the Thunder Said in TWL.
> > 
> > TWL depicts the wasteland condition of modern
> > times but, simultaneously, it has the memory of
> > other wastelands in human history and myth --
> > the ancient Greek wasteland of King Oedipus,
> > the medieval wasteland of Fisher King, and the
> > Biblical wasteland. There are causes common
> > to this affliction. 
> > 
> > The poet is reminded of Buddha's Fire Sermon
> > (where the Buddha shares his vision of the whole 
> > world burning in the fire of lust and other such
> > fires). 
> > The poet has a memory of St Augustine being
> > engulfed by the fires of lust in Carthage. The
> > poet 
> > finds a similar affliction having devasted India
> > of yore.
> > 
> > Men, gods and demons approach Brahman
> > who with his thunder gives the admonition 
> > of "Da" to each one of them. To the gods
> > (the god in man) it meant "to give" -- for the 
> > Hindi word "Devta" means one who gives
> > ("deta"); to the man it meant "to sympathise",
> > to shed his ego/vanity and cultivate compassion;
> > to the demons (demon in man) it meant "to control"
> > 
> > one's demonic/ lower passions.
> > 
> > Now look at Eliot's synthesising imagination
> > at work:
> > 
> > The second Da -- dayadhvam -- to sympathise --
> > he expounds with images from Dante and
> > Shakespeare.
> > 
> > This is just one instance of how Eliot's
> > imagination draws upon human wisdom
> > available to us from diverse sources --
> > both in the East and the West.
> > 
> > All of us know that the three virtues -- 
> > [to give, to sympathise, to control --
> > whose cultivation may dispel the drought
> > (physical, mental and spiritual) and usher in
> > a lasting "Peace"] are not unique to Eastern
> > wisdom. They are taught by the Wise in the 
> > West as well. But Eliot, appreciably, broadbases
> > his vision. 
> > 
> > Well, I find no grounds for dissension in his
> > work.
> > I find his imagination unifying and synthesizing
> > what are apparently disperate.
> > 
> > As for God being one with man or not,
> > Eliot's "still point", his "fire and rose are one"
> > come very close to the Eastern notion of being
> > one with God. 
> > 
> > Best,
> > CR
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > ---------------------------------
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> 
> 
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