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Christ is quoted as saying "You are as gods." I can't remember where.
One of the Gospels, I assume.
P.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: cr mittal 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 6:06 PM
  Subject: Re: Eliot and Divisions


        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 Chriistian 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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