From: cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Four Quartets -- a reading
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:44:52 -0800
Dear Diana,I appreciate the warmth with which you receive the excerpt. I'm gladit stirs new insights. We have a long way to go, though. It's like Dantehaving lost his way in a dark forest in the opening canto of The DivineComedy. Well, my hope lies in the kindly light that leads us fromwithin. And it brings in coincidences as well that help.Incidentally, "to be conscious is not to be in time" does not imply the stateof human soul without body -- it's an experience that saints have while livingthis life in time -- they are both in time and out of time. That is why this mysticmoment is at the cross-section of time and eternity. TS Eliot recallsa fleeting experience of this "timeless moment" which is available to saintsand sages at all times -- a state of detachment fromearthly joys and sorrows,a state of detached action, and they enjoy all the attributes of this state whilephysically alive. AND, it is possible for anyone to cultivate a way of life througha recourse to, for instance, "Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata", and reach that state.TS Eliot too aspired to attain to that state all his life -- he persevered. It wasthe goal of his life -- not that he attained it. [ According to Hindu philosophy,it takes relentless efforts of many lives. Sometimes, this state is vouchedsafedto you in consideration of your childlike purity of heart, mind and soul -- a giftof Divine Grace.] The Four Quartets defines the moment and charts out thecourse which we can take toward it.Home is where one starts from. As we grow olderstranger, the pattern more complicated
The world becomes
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.Diana, let me again draw your attention to the passage on "the still point".Let us mark the words Iemphasize:At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;motion, concentration
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.Diana, we must contemplate these lines to get at their core.Best wishes,CR
Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Dear CR: This part of the excerpt you posted strikes me as pertinent to the 4 Qts passage that asserts that only in time is time conquered: "A new inflexion/emphasises Incarnation... "Perhaps "to be conscious in not to be in time" is the state of the unincarnated soul or spirit. The rest of the passage could beread as expressing Eliot's realization of the spiritual value of the Incarnation. Seen in this light, the very provocative passage from Wordsworth that Vishvesh posted would seem to be saying something quite different, describing a vision of the incarnation of spirit into flesh as "a death and a forgetting."Many thanks CR -- I begin to see the meaning of the smoky church at nightfall and the rose-garden a bit more clearly! Diana
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