Monday, May 9, 2011

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam-I


This ‘book’ can be treated as more than drunken poetry or a Sufi's attempt to elucidate spirit love. Each verse/couplet has esoteric meanings hidden just like most Indian texts on the subject of divinity or such.
I have tried other people’s commentary and translation on the various topics present in the rubbaiyyat. Though there are references to the mundane events and people in certain couplets; yet omar khayyam keeps most of the couplets as esoteric and hidden as they can get. Most people read this famous treatise on Sufi love and think of it as some madman in love for the supreme godhead. Yet most verses offer a different worldly perspective for the ones in dire need for liberation.
The translation (there are numerous of them) which I like most is by Edward Fitzgerald (this is the most comprehensive and famous too perhaps). The reason translations are advisable is not because one can’t decipher the meaning from the literal translation; but as the quatrains can point to various meanings, the most suitable depending upon the age/time of khayyam and the immediate environment too must be taken into consideration (which I believe fitzgerald has done marvellously)
The Quatrain which I love to read over:
Up from Earth's Centre through the seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate
.
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The literal and esoteric translations of this quatrain for a long time did not make any sense to me, it seemed to be very very tantric but I in my foolishness did not give khayyam credit for the worthy knowledge and experience he possessed. Then one day it struck me :
The earths centre here refers to – The base of the spine, the energy centre close to the sexual reproductive organs- which in Sanskrit texts is known as ‘Muladhara’ / The earth center by definition. This centre holds the individual ego powered energy which in simple English refers to the individual ego. I personally call this as Kundalini- the female serpentine energy – non mythical, and the causality of the entire illusion of personal history and creation.
The seventh gate here refers to the top of head – in Sanskrit its known as the seventh chakra (energy center) – sahasrara (refer to post – ). There are seven such energy centres along the spinal column of the erect homo sapiens. Each energy centre is progressively pierced by the rising earth force- kundalini during the unlearning process of enlightenment.(seven gates from the earth center- muladhara, svaddhistana, manipura, anahata, visuddha, ajna, sahasrara)
Sitting on the throne of Saturn is a very metaphorical yet powerful statement- Saturn/Satan/Shani and so forth is the seventh known planet in the solar system (moon was considered a planet as well in olden times), Saturn is considered as the biggest planet and hence its gravitational effects in astrology are felt to be strongest. Saturn in Indian context refers to a planet giving enlightenment. It gives spiritual knowledge and freedom from mundane pursuits.
Hence sitting on the throne of Saturn- refers to the process of achieving one’s original state. Its not the illusory I condition, and it refers to freedom from the world.
Now Omar, refers in more detail regarding the journey to sitting on the throne of Saturn- there were many knots unravelled by the road. In Indian tantra and texts- there are roughly three major granthis or knots the Individual ego power- kundalini has to ‘unknot’ before reaching the top of the head- sahasrara/ The three knots simply are called the shiva/vishnu/brahma knots. So it looks like even omar had to unknot these on his journey of self discovery.
But the last line is the most difficult to comprehend. He continues to say though he had unknotted and reached the top of his journey to evolution and enlightenment, yet he could not find the key to remove human death and fate. He is trying to impart powerful wisdom here- though you are enlightened and death and fate exist not for you anymore, but for the person who is still dawning the rose colored glasses of maya- there is no reprieve from human fate or death.
And this is true, every saint or Sufi who has been enlightened has not been free (or so it seems to us) from the entanglements of human mortality or fate. This is a way of saying that enlightenment has nothing to do with this. If you are looking to avert your karma- action/reaction/ranu-bandana or such or trying to reach immortality in the guise of enlightening yourself- then you might be sorely disappointed.

1 comment:

iPara la vida! said...

good blog man! may humanity be blessed with more such divine knowledge from the enlightened masters.

Love is Hanuman