Thursday, 15 September 2016

For Paul Murdoch

Here too is that Healing whose beginning was the Word
Helping Voice Hearers gain a Voice to be Heard
Whether treading the tight-rope or tumbling in free fall
Within each is the web, all spin to save all.

'To meet in combat' is the original meaning of 'to cope'
A war of attrition allowing its conscripts little scope
For mutual caritas. The baby-birthing 'Proletariat'
Set up only to war with 'Welfare's' Commissariat.

Tikkun Olam- Cosmic Repair- commences in a tick's nurture of tock
If Kairos is Beauty's camera, Parrhesia is its aperture & dock
Paranoia its own Wailing Wall- a perpetual Tisha B'Av
Metanoia, St. Paul, blither laughter at failing Love.

Prince!  The greatest tribute you will ever earn
Is just to live & Love, to its Lord, return

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Did Vishvamitra eat dog meat? Bibek Debroy's theory.

Bibek Debroy, one of our less objectionable Economists, has written some tendentious volumes on the Mahabharata. In 'Sarama and her Children', he makes two ludicrous claims which any ordinary Hindu reader would immediately know to be false.
These claims are-
1) that Vishvamitra stole dog meat because he was hungry but did not actually eat it. This was because it rained and so plants began to grow and, by the Economist's standard assumption regarding a one period economy, this meant they became available to eat immediately. 
If Debroy is right, the meaning of the relevant Mahabharata episode is not 'break religious taboos only if life is in danger' but rather 'steal dog meat and offer it in holy sacrifice if there is a drought'.
2) Every Hindu knows that Vishvamitra means  'World Friend' or the World as the theophany of the God Mitra. Why? Vishva means 'World'. Mitra means 'Friend'. Just as 'Ashvamitra' means 'Friend of Horses' so too does Visvamitra mean friend of all the World. 
Debroy however thinks Vishvamitra means 'enemy of the World'. Why? Well 'amitra' means not-friend. So, Vishv- amitra would mean 'enemy of Vishv'. However 'Vishv' does not mean World. That is Vishva. What does Vishv mean? Nothing. Well, I suppose, you could have a cod etymology in which it is the root of 'Vishva', which has the acceptation, more especially for Advaita, of  the gross, as opposed to subtle, aspect of perceptual reality. However, since this gross aspect is sublated by subtle 'taijasya' type soteriological knowledge, it forms no part of Vishva once the latter is properly perceived as 'prajnya' (blissful, all pervasive and unsublatable). To say Vishvamitra is the 'Friend of the World' means the same thing as saying he is the 'Enemy of a gross perception of the World as material, temporal and self-contradictory'.
(This is to simplify things a little. There are paramparas, lineages, where Vishva is used for Vishv- e.g. in this passage (from Wikipedia)
(The significance of the word, Vishva, in Hindu philosophy, is revealed in the Upanishads. In the Āgama Prakarana of his Karika on the Mandukya Upanishad Gaudapada explains that in the three states of consciousness, the one and the same object of experience and the experiencer appears in three-fold forms (त्रिधा भोगं) as – विश्व (Vishva) ('gross'), तैजस (Taijasa) ('subtle') and प्राज्ञ (Prajna) ('the blissful').)

Why does Debroy say Vishvamitra means the 'enemy of the World' when all Hindus know the opposite is the case? The answer is that he wants to prove that the name actually means 'Special lover of dogs'- Vi-shva (dog)-mitra. The problem here is that according to Debroy's eccentric sandhi, the meaning would actually be 'special enemy of dogs'.

Judge for yourself-

 Debroy is too shy to tell us that Sunahshepha means 'dog's penis'.
This is illuminating for adepts, because the subtext to the whole episode of Vishvamitra and the Chandala is a comparison of the Asvamedha ritual (in which a dog is sacrificed for a specific reason) which Visvamitra alone among the Vedic Rishis had completed, and its esoteric counterpart in Upanishadic praxis.
Debroy, of course, being an Economist, is deaf to any such 'dhvani'.
He thinks that the Mahabharata was a text lying around in philology phase space which suffered random interpolations. No redaction of the Mahabharata is internally consistent. It's a book with no organizing principle. Even when it uses a name whose meaning is immediately understood by all knowers of Sanskrit and most Hindus- e.g. Vishvamitra- the 'usual fashion' of interpreting it- at least if the writer is an Economist- turns out to be the opposite of what is universally known and acknowledged. But the fun doesn't stop there. Not only do words mean the opposite of what they were intended to mean and are accepted to mean, they don't mean that either but something else entirely, logic be damned, grammar be damned, because, hey!, hermeneutics is an 'anything goes' General Equilibrium.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Ucalegon & Deliberative Democracy.

Ucalegon, proverbially, is a neighbor whose house is on fire. His uncouth cries may well disrupt the august proceedings of Deliberative Democracy. Thus, by the McKelvey-Schofield chaos theorem, there is likely to be an overlapping consensus among all 'agenda control' seeking agents such that procedural rules are adopted to stop up our ears to Ucalegon's piteous entreaties.

One easy way to exclude Ucalegon's cry is to eagerly demonstrate impotence- i.e. divorce Deliberative Democracy from any Executive function or Judicial competency.  Indeed, to escape McKelvey's result re. agenda control, deliberation must restrict itself to a dimension orthogonal to policy space. However, rational agents- as opposed to antagonomic blathershites- no longer have an interest in participating in such deliberation.

As for the rest of us- poscit aquam, iam frivola transfert ucalegon- we might cry out for the fire brigade's salvific jets of water, but are better employed carrying our trashy little possessions away to some unpeopled Cumae & its Oracle of indifference.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Now the Saqi has turned Muslim

By my prayer, tho' the sweat of our every Farhad run as canals of free milk
By my prayer, tho' even our Khusrow's Shirin rise to Khadijah's ilk
By my prayer, tho' the Saqi turn Muslim & the Mujahid serene
How, pray, convert Sorrow while it's yet my Qarin?

Friday, 19 August 2016

Hadrian's animula vagula

Animula, vagula, blandula 
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos…

My breast's guest would rest in dirt
But, sweet cheat, must longer flirt
Stripped of wit, pallid, nude,
Yet onward tryst. The jest is crude

Thursday, 18 August 2016

All things that are, are- to Faith- as a slow burning fuse

All things that are, are- to Faith- as a slow burning fuse
Every Credo a Cartridge whose powder alone is of use
Be it by Manichean mendacity or through Trinitarian tricks
Our own is the arse all Theology licks

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Cavafy's The City

By other seas, to some other land
To another City of fairer renown
You said you'd go rather than let stand
Your every ardor a sentence handed down
Your heart its own corpus delecti, your mind
A punitive treadmill & wherever your eye went
Your life's smouldering ruins rising up to remind
Your years here were rather squandered than spent.

You will find no new Strand, cross no new Sea
The City will shadow you relentlessly
You will wander the same labyrinth of lanes
Dessicate among the same tenement drains 
Always returning to this now and here
Give up Hope. No Ship will appear
To take you from yourself. The Earth is round
What you've ruined is ruined for every patch of ground.

Lawrence Durrell's translation of this poem, given below, was perhaps the first 'modern' poem I read which gave me goose-bumps. It's a pretty free translation. I suppose Greek readers would find things like 'no ship exists/ to take you from yourself' to be crude or otiose. But it isn't so in English. At least, what used to be English. Or, since Durrell was born in India, Indglish.

You tell yourself: I'll be gone
To some other land, some other sea,
To a city lovelier far than this
Could ever have been or hoped to be-
Where every step now tightens the noose:
A heart in a body buried and out of use:
How long, how long must I be here
Confined among these dreary purlieus
Of the common mind? Wherever now I look
Black ruins of my life rise into view.
So many years have I been here
Spending and squandering, and nothing gained.
There's no new land, my friend, no
New sea; for the city will follow you,
In the same streets you'll wander endlessly,
The same mental suburbs slip from youth to age,
In the same house go white at last-
The city is a cage.
No other places, always this
Your earthly landfall, and no ship exists
To take you from yourself. Ah! don't you see
Just as you've ruined your life in this
One plot of ground you've ruined its worth
Everywhere now-over the whole earth?