----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">cr mittalSent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 6:06 PMSubject: Re: Eliot and Divisions
Dear Listers,I do not intend to obliterate or minimise the basic differencebetween 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 theformer case, one aspires to "be one" with God whereasin Christianity, one may attain paradise but one doesnot merge into God and be one with Him. (Interestingto imagine this "duality" of God -- one Hindu, the otherChristian, and God knows how many more of Godsman is going to imagine -- all so different that theirfollowers 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 notstress this "division" -- he did not stress what madethe Hindu philosophy "different" from the Christian.For, to me, his was not "a divisive imagination".Of course, there are other aspects as well thatdistinguish the Vedic/Upanishadic philosophyfrom the Christian. And Eliot was keenly awareof it -- he was so "mystified" by Patanjali'sYog Sutras that he chose to adhere to hisChristian roots.But as TWL illustrates, Eliot's imagination/visionfinds _common grounds_ between different religiousand philosophic systems of the East and the West.Well, the proof of the pudding, as they say, liesin its eating. Let me briefly illustrate my point in thelight of the three passages devoted to Da Da Dain What the Thunder Said in TWL.TWL depicts the wasteland condition of moderntimes but, simultaneously, it has the memory ofother wastelands in human history and myth --the ancient Greek wasteland of King Oedipus,the medieval wasteland of Fisher King, and theBiblical wasteland. There are causes commonto this affliction.The poet is reminded of Buddha's Fire Sermon(where the Buddha shares his vision of the wholeworld burning in the fire of lust and other such fires).The poet has a memory of St Augustine beingengulfed by the fires of lust in Carthage. The poetfinds a similar affliction having devasted India of yore.Men, gods and demons approach Brahmanwho with his thunder gives the admonitionof "Da" to each one of them. To the gods(the god in man) it meant "to give" -- for theHindi 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 imaginationat work:The second Da -- dayadhvam -- to sympathise --he expounds with images from Dante andShakespeare.This is just one instance of how Eliot'simagination draws upon human wisdomavailable 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 ina lasting "Peace"] are not unique to Easternwisdom. They are taught by the Wise in theWest as well. But Eliot, appreciably, broadbaseshis vision.Well, I find no grounds for dissension in his work.I find his imagination unifying and synthesizingwhat 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 beingone with God.Best,CR
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