Monday, December 17, 2012

Central Asian Poetry & Language

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Journal Éveillé is an Informal Exploration of the Natural Mind in the Arts of Language and Poetics....

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"Khorasan: Land of the Rising Sun...... has had a great cultural importance among other regions in Greater Iran. .The early Persian poets such as Rudaki, Shahid Balkhi, Abu al-Abbas Marwazi, Abu Hafas Sughdi, and others were from Khorasan. Moreover, Ferdowsi, the author of Shahnameh, the national epic of Greater Iran, and Rumi, the famous Sufi poet, were also from Khorasan."

Jalaluddin Balkhi (more commonly known as Jalaluddin Rumi) was born to a Tajik family in Balkh in 1207 AD. Tajik is synonymous to Persian, it refers to eastern Iranian people who live in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the rest of central Asia. Balkh was the most prominent cities then in the Persian province of Khorasan, and it is now in northern Afghanistan......http://home.earthlink.net/~drmljg/id17.html

The Great Persian Sufi poet Hafiz (1325–1389 AD)....
"The Great Religions are the Ships,
Poets are the Life Boats.
Every sane person I know has jumped Overboard."

".....a king named Samudra Vijaya arrived at S'ambhala in 618 A.D., and shortly after that the period called, in the Tibetan chronology, ^'pi'|'5^^(Me-kha-rgya-Mtsho*, commenced. It is also stated that in 622 A.D., at Makha (Mecca) the Muhamadan religion was established. From what can be gathered from Tibetan histories and works on Kala Chakrait may be conjectured that this S'ambhala, very probably, was the capital of the Bactrian Empire of the Eastern Greeks who had embraced Buddhism. It is also conjectured that the modern city of Balkh must have been the site of their latest capital. The name of King Menander {in Sans. Minendra) who erected a very lofty chaita (castle) has been mentioned by the Kashmirian poet Ksomendra, in^ha Avaddna Kalpalata, a work that was finished iu about 1035 A.D. ..."...http://archive.org/stream/grammaroftibetan00dass/grammaroftibetan00dass_djvu.txt

“All roads lead to Balkh,” uttered Gurdjieff, referring to the Sufic origin of all systems. Yesai Narai writes, “Balkh is the town often associated with Padmasambhava, and Rabia and Rumi as well. Although Padmasambhava is usually said be Indian, it is possible that he is from the Afghanistan region also associated with his name.....Balk is the homeland of Baha ad-Din Naqshband, the greatest of the Khwjaghan Masters. Baha al-Din Walad of Balkh (d. 1230 CE), meaning "the splendor/glory of religion from Balkh" is the designation of the father of Jalal al-Din Balki, more commonly known as Jalal al-Rumi, famed author of the ‘Persian Qur'an/Bible’, the Mathnawi......http://home.earthlink.net/~drmljg/id17.html

"Some explanations of the name "mleccha," suggest that the word was derived from the Indo-Aryan perception of the speech of the indigenous peoples. Namely, "mlech" was a word that meant "to speak indistinctly." As such, some suggest that the Indo-Aryans used an onomatopoetic sound to imitate the harshness of alien tongue and to indicate incomprehension, thus coming up with "mleccha".....The notion of being Aryan suggested a knowledge of Sanskrit in order to effectively perform ritual hymns; thus suggesting the importance of language......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mleccha

"Navbehar (or its variants) appears in several locations of present-day Iran, a sign of the extent of Buddhist impact in ancient times. The Arch of Nawbahar can still be seen today near Balkh.......The many Buddhist references in the Persian literature of the period also provide evidence of Islamic–Buddhist cultural contact. Persian poetry, for example, often used the simile for palaces that they were "as beautiful as a Nowbahar (Nava Vihara)." Further, at Navbahar and Bamiyan, Buddha images, particularly of Maitreya, the future Buddha, had 'moon discs' or halo iconographically represented behind or around their heads. This led to the poetic depiction of pure beauty as someone having "the moon-shaped face of a Buddha." Thus, 11th-century Persian poems, such as Varqe and Golshah by Ayyuqi, use the word budh with a positive connotation for "Buddha," not with its second, derogatory meaning as "idol." It implies the ideal of asexual beauty in both men and women. Such references indicate that either Buddhist monasteries and images were present in these Iranian cultural areas at least through the early Mongol period in the 13th century or, at minimum, that a strong Buddhist legacy remained for centuries among the Buddhist converts to Islam."

"Rumi.....(1207 – 1273 AD), was born to native Persian speaking parents, likely in the village of Wakhsh, province of Balkh (parts of now modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan), and in the year Rumi was born, his father was an appointed scholar there. Greater Balkh was at that time a major center of a Perso-Islamic culture and Khorasani Sufism had developed there for several centuries. Indeed, the most important influences upon Rumi, besides his father, are said to be the Persian poets Attar and Sanai. Rumi in one poem express his appreciation: "Attar was the spirit, Sanai his eyes twain, And in time thereafter, Came we in their train" and mentions in another poem: "Attar has traversed the seven cities of Love, We are still at the turn of one street".His father was also connected to the spiritual lineage of Najm al-Din Kubra."

Indo-European Poetry and Myth....M. L. West.....Oxford University Press, May 24, 2007 - 540 pages..... "The Indo-Europeans, speakers of the prehistoric parent language from which most European and some Asiatic languages are descended, most probably lived on the Eurasian steppes some five or six thousand years ago. Martin West investigates their traditional mythologies, religions, and poetries, and points to elements of common heritage. In The East Face of Helicon (1997), West showed the extent to which Homeric and other early Greek poetry was influenced by Near Easterntraditions, mainly non-Indo-European. His new book presents a foil to that work by identifying elements of more ancient, Indo-European heritage in the Greek material. Topics covered include the status of poets and poetry in Indo-European societies; metre, style, and diction; gods and other supernatural beings,from Father Sky and Mother Earth to the Sun-god and his beautiful daughter, the Thunder-god and other elemental deities, and earthly orders such as Nymphs and Elves; the forms of hymns, prayers, and incantations; conceptions about the world, its origin, mankind, death, and fate; the ideology of fame and of immortalization through poetry; the typology of the king and the hero; the hero as warrior, and the conventions of battle narrative."

Gesar and Turkic heroic poetry... "Chadwick and Zhirmunsky consider that the main outlines of the cycle as we have it in Mongolia, Tibet and Ladakh show an outline that conforms to the pattern of heroic poetry among the Turkic peoples. (a) Like the Kirghiz hero Bolot, Gesar, as part of an initiation descends as a boy into the underworld. (b) The gateway to the underworld is through a rocky hole or cave on a mountain summit. (c) He is guided through the otherworld by a female tutelary spirit (Manene/grandmother) who rides an animal, like the Turkish shamaness kara Chach. (d) Like kara Chach, Gesar's tutelary spirit helps him against a host of monstrous foes in the underworld. (e) Like Bolot, Gesar returns in triumph to the world, bearing the food of immortality and the water of life.(f) Like the Altai shamans, Gesar is borne heavenward on the back of a bird to obtain herbs to heal his people. They conclude that the stories of the Gesar cycle were well known in eastern Turkestan before the fall of the Uyghur empire.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_King_Gesar.

"Indra, a god whom Zoroaster denounced by name, says he is the patron of the aristocracy and delights in war and poetry."

"The Muses (Ancient Greek: Μοῦσαι, moũsai:perhaps from the o-grade of the Proto-Indo-European root *men- "think") in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths."

"The Indo-Europeans, speakers of the prehistoric parent language from which most European and some Asiatic languages are descended, most probably lived on the Eurasian steppes some five or six thousand years ago. Martin West investigates their traditional mythologies, religions, and poetries, and points to elements of common heritage. In The East Face of Helicon (1997), West showed the extent to which Homeric and other early Greek poetry was influenced by Near Eastern traditions, mainly non-Indo-European. His new book presents a foil to that work by identifying elements of more ancient, Indo-European heritage in the Greek material. Topics covered include the status of poets and poetry in Indo-European societies; meter, style, and diction; gods and other supernatural beings, from Father Sky and Mother Earth to the Sun-god and his beautiful daughter, the Thunder-god and other elemental deities, and earthly orders such as Nymphs and Elves; the forms of hymns, prayers, and incantations; conceptions about the world, its origin, mankind, death, and fate; the ideology of fame and of immortalization through poetry; the typology of the king and the hero; the hero as warrior, and the conventions of battle narrative."...Indo-European Poetry and Myth....M. L. West (Author)

"Singing Emptiness.....KUMAR GANDHARVA PERFORMS THE POETRY OF KABIR.....LINDA HESS......Seagull Books...... Here, two men, 5 centuries apart, make contact with each other through poetry, music, and performance. Kumar Gandharva, the great 20th Century Hindustani classical vocalist, sings Kabir, the great 15th Century poet. Kabir composed poetry that evoked a space called nirgun or shunya – something without qualities or boundaries, empty - which challenged listeners to know it and to know themselves. Kumar Gandharva, drawn to Kabir and other poets of the nirgun experience, seeks the voice that can actually sing emptiness. ....Apart from his emphasis on nirgun, Kabir also spoke about the concept of shunya, a second important tenet of his philosophy which refers to an esoteric state where there is a search for the void representing the state of “ultimate reality”....http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2606/stories/20090327260609700.htm

"Tsangyang Gyatso, who was enthroned with grand ceremony as the Sixth Dalai Lama on the golden throne in the Potala palace in 1697, was a special Dalai Lama. Born in renowned Nyingma family and brought up at a late age in Gelugpa tradition, Tsangyang Gyatso proved to be an uncomfortable blend of the two traditions. But, leaving aside the unfortunate politics that surrounded his desolate life, Tsangyang Gyatso brought to holy Lhasa and Shol taverns some of the purest and most beautiful lyrics of all times......Extraordinary as a lover of wine and women, melodious as a singer of love songs and above all, tragic as a national hero of the status of a Dalai Lama, reduced to become a heroic pawn at the hands of the Qosot Lhazang Khan, the Sixth Dalai Lama became a legend within his short lifetime. Worshipped and loved by Tibetan people with stainless faith, Tsangyang Gyatso's songs became famous in every corner of Tibet receiving once again the fascination of simple folk poetry.

"According to some people, the Armenian geographical atlas ‘Ashharatsuyts’ described the Bulgars as such: The inhabitants of Balhara were called Bulh in the 5th-7th century Armenian geographical atlas ‘Ashharatsuyts’. The atlas describes them as an old settled, artisan and trading nation rather than nomadic tribe, inhabiting the area centered around the ancient major city of Balh (Balkh)(which was the capital of Balhara - it was very old - the Arabs called it the "mother of all cities") that comprised roughly present northern Afghanistan and most of Tajikistan......Another possible connection between Balhara and the Bulgars is the words by Nasir Khosrow Qubadyani, the famous Persian poet of 11th century, who was born in Qubadyan, a village near Balkh in Afghanistan, says:our voice hardly reaches the corridor from the room But his song (poem) easily reaches from Balkh to Bulgar......

"The Shahnameh or Shah-nama (Persian: شاهنامه‎ Šāhnāmeh, "The Book of Kings") is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of the Iranian cultural continent. Consisting of some 60,000 verses, the Shahnameh tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of (Greater) Iran from the creation of the world until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century. The work is of central importance in Persian culture, regarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of ethno-national cultural identity of Iran. It is also important to the contemporary adherents of Zoroastrianism, in that it traces the historical links between the beginnings of the religion with the death of the last Zoroastrian ruler of Persia during the Muslim conquest.

"Hātefī....Hatefi, 'Abd-Allah (Persian: هاتفی‎) was a Persian poet (1454–1521)...Hatefi, 'Abd-Allah (Persian: هاتفی‎) was a Persian poet (1454–1521) and nephew of Abdul Rahman Jami......He was born around 1454 at Ḵargerd, a village on the outskirts of the Khorasanian town Jām (modern Afghanistan)....Shah Ismail I was also deeply influenced by the Persian literary tradition of Iran, particularly by the Shahnameh, which probably explains the fact that he named all of his sons after Shahnameh characters. Dickson and Welch suggest that Ismail's Shāhnāmaye Shāhī was intended as a present to the young Tahmāsp. After defeating Muhammad Shaybāni's Uzbeks, Ismāil asked Hātefī, a famous poet from Jam (Khorasan), to write a Shahnameh-like epic about his victories and his newly established dynasty. Although the epic was left unfinished, it was an example of mathnawis in the heroic style of the Shahnameh written later on for the Safavid kings......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahnameh

"The town of Rudaki, birthplace of the eponymous classical poet. He recited passages from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi and the Divan of Hafez, the two best known poetic works of classical Persian, in which the pre-Islamic era is covertly praised at the expense of the Arabs. He then went on to quote verses from the most famous and popular of modern Tajik poets, Layegh Sherali, a native of Panjikent, who is apparently deeply immersed in his own private quest for his historical roots, and whose verses acknowledge the wisdom of Zoroastrianism. 14 Farhad said that he always carried a copy of Hafez with him wherever he went, so sacred did he consider him to be. What was particularly interesting was that he insisted that like his mentor, the poet Sherali, he was a Sogdian or Sughdi.".....http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/rss/22-1_109.pdf

"Originally the word Bonpo meant someone who invoked the gods and summoned the spirits. Thus a Bonpo was an expert in the use of mantra and magical evocation. Mantra or ngak (sngags) is sound and sound is energy. Mantra is the primordial sound that calls the forms of all things into being out of the infinite potentiality of empty space which is the basis of everything. Sound or word has a creative power. But this term Bonpo in ancient times appeared to cover a number of different types of practitioner, whether shaman, magician, or priest. Here there seems to be a strong parallel of the role of the Bonpo in ancient Tibet with that of the Druid in ancient pre-Christian Europe. Just as the Druidic order was divided into the three functions of the Bards, the Vates, and the Druids, who were singers, soothsayers, and magicians respectively, so the ancient pre-Buddhist kingdom of Tibet was said to be protected by the Drung (sgrung) who were bards and singers of epics, the Deu (lde'u) who were soothsayers and diviners, and the Bonpo (bon-po) who were priests and magicians. Another archaic term closely related to Bonpo was Shen or Shenpo (gshen-po), and this term may have originally designated the shaman practitioner in particular. The Shen system of practice was transmitted through family lineages, especially in Western and Northern Tibet, then known as the country of Zhang-zhung, so that Shen also came to designate a particular ancient clan or tribe.".....http://vajranatha.com/articles/traditions/bonpo.html?start=1

"Rabia Balkhi......(c. 914-943 AD)......The female pioneer in the New Persian Poetry.......Known for her beauty and for being the female pioneer in the New Persian Poetry, Rabia Balkhi was born in a royal family and was a native of Balkh in Khorasan (which is now in Afghanistan). Her father, Ka’b al-Quzdari, was a chieftain at the Samanid court......She was one of the first poets who wrote in modern Persian and she is among very few female writers of medieval Persia to be recorded in history by name. Her brother, Haris, inherited his father’s position after his father passed away......As legends have it, her brother discovered about her secret love with a Turkic slave named Baktash. Rabia and Baktash would see each other in privacy and would write each other poetry. Haris imprisoned Baktash in well, cut the jugular vein of Rabia and imprisoned her in a bathroom. Other accounts tell stories of Rabia sinking into deep depression and pain till she was found dead in ladies bathhouse with her hand’s veins slashed. She wrote her final poems with her blood on the wall of the bathroom until she died.

INDO-EUROPEANS...."The ancient Indo-Europeans possessed a poetic tradition and a poetic language of which fixed formulas and metrical patterns survived in Vedic and Iranian literature. The evidence indicates that there were songs of praise with shorter, basically octosyllabic verses, beside recitative gnomic poetry with hendecasyllabic verses already in Proto-Aryan times." (Yarshater: 1987..pg 687)...

"Poetry, linguistic expression, and music are identical as far as I am concerned."....(Trungpa: 1983..pg xx)

POETRY..."the second volume of Jargon Kongtruls "The Encompassment of All Knowledge" deals with poetry, grammar, arts, literary composition, opera..." (Kongtrul: 1995..pg 38)..."Poetics is based on the idea that first we see our universe very clearly, very precisely, and very thoroughly."...(Trungpa: 1991..pg 201)...."Sloka; a stanza of poetry. In the Sanskrit tradition, it has a particular kind of common epic meter."..(Nalanda: 1980...368)...

D.H. Lawrence @ Lobo Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico.....July 1924.....""To tell the truth I am sick to death of the monotheistic string......It has become monomaniac. I prefer the pagan many gods, and the animistic version. Here at this ranch in Taos, looking west over the desert, one knows that all of our Pale-Faced and Hebraic monotheistic insistence is a dead letter....the soul won't answer any more. Here we have a camp under the hanging stars, and we sit with the Indians around the fire, and they sing till late into the night, and sometimes we dance the Indian thread dance.....".....Lawrence's primary literary effort was to re-sacralize the world, to awaken in his readers their long lost power to recognize the sacred in themselves and in the living environment....."

HAFIZ and SHAKESPEARE..."Comparison of the ghazals of Hafiz (14th C) and the sonnets of Shakespeare (16th C). Both seem to be using the same genre of poetry and both styles seem to be rooted in some common and ancient tradition. Shakespeare seems to have been inspired by the anacreontic tradition, which spread through Europe with Latin poetry (primarily with that of Horace) during the Renaissance. Accompanied by an intensive interest in the Biblical psalms which represent an old Eastern tradition of quasi-erotic/quasi-panegyric poetry of which the ghazals are perhaps a continuation." (Acta Iranica:1985..pg 583)...

History of the Persian language:
Proto-Iranian (ca. 1500 BC)...Southwestern Iranian languages
Old Persian (c. 525 BC - 300 BC)....Old Persian cuneiform script
Middle Persian (c.300 BC-800 AD)....Pahlavi script • Manichaean script • Avestan script
Modern Persian (from 800 AD)...Perso-Arabic script

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Email....wijijiarts@gmail.com

Northern New Mexico

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