Christ is quoted as saying "You are as gods." I can't remember where.
One of the Gospels, I assume.
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">cr mittal
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[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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