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And another next, 26, mixed

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — running the gamut from Mike Pompeo a flailing, failing theologian, to ISIS, not that their theology is so great, ahem, but still around, with cat-herding visible unto the days of the grandkids ]
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Credo quia absurdum? Or, getting the original quote right, credibile est, quia ineptum est? That’s no inept as to be believable?

There’s actually a passage in Cicero’s Rhetoric for Herrennius that describes how to make objects of contemplation more memorable by choosing the most beautiful or ugly images as analogs / analogies to represent them:

We ought, then, to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory. And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible; if we set up images that are not many or vague but active; if we assign to them exceptional beauty or singular ugliness; if we ornament some of them, as with crowns or purple cloaks, so that the similitude may be more distinct to us; or if we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood or soiled with mud and smeared with red paint, so that its form is more striking, or by assigning certain comic effects to our images, for that, too, will ensure our remembering them more readily.

It may be that Tertullian — the Church Father who authored that phrase about believing something because it’s so incredible — was not so far in his thinking from Cicero — was accustomed to at least the concept of using the strangest, most strained analogies, and applied it to his contemplation of the unspeakable, unimaginable Godhead, since such disfigured analogies are both the most memorable and the least likely to be taken literally, and thus mistaken for the Reality to which they are intended to point.. but that’s pure speculation on my part.

But I’m sorry, No. Mike Pompeo may have been first in his class at Annapolis, and I may have been far from first in my class at Oxford, but at least my studies were in Theology — and No.

**

Here’s one for the liminal collection:

An island, you know, is something else. In a continent, the watersheds are important natural divisions, as are linguistic groupings and cultures. There’s arguably a cultural component of Brit-oriented Northern Irish, and they’re not enemy — but the naturalness of a united island Ireland seems pretty clear.

Islands:

History has time and again highlighted the importance of islands in establishing naval dominance.

That’s from Darshana Baruah, SISTER ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION: LINKING THE ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS TO LA RÉUNION

Through a ring of bases and naval presence on islands, the British essentially controlled the entry points into this crucial area. In the east it had Singapore and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while Socotra and the port city of Aden provided access to the Red Sea and Bab-el Mandeb. With control of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and, briefly, Madagascar, the empire turned the Indian Ocean into a “British Lake.” To consolidate its presence along the coast of Africa, the British Empire fought bloody wars to take control of Kenya, Uganda, and the island of Zanzibar. With these islands and coastal territories, the empire projected its power across the region and dominated the key chokepoints and shipping lines between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Bloody, note the bloody. And dominance, note the British dominance. I’m not sure that bloody dominance is quite so well-supported any more, but a little less Biriths dominance and Ireland might be a little less bloody.

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Dan Nexon recommends a paper featuring an arc — yes, we’re collecting arcs — but not the MLK moral arc that may be long, but in the end “bends toward justice”..

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JM Berger has been interviewed by Terry Gross — to be aired on Monday:

Stay tuned!

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All In, Chris Hayes:

Unh.

They’re [WH] basically blowing off a co-equal branch of government which gives a strong indication of how they plan to back-rush their way through anything damning from the Mueller report, when it comes.

In fact, there is such a swarm of criminality, prosecutions and pleas around the President and his ever-moving dynamic vortex..

A trial run, a warm-up inning..

Y’know, Mueller report ridiculous, but I want to see it is vaguely reminiscent of credo quia absurdum, or th more accurate quote in my own translation, see above:

That’s no inept as to be believable

**

I can’t find the Jon Meacham quote on ceremonial trolling, so here’s one from India:

Rohit is to this series what trial ball is to gully cricket

Twitter went ahead with its ceremonial trolling of Rohit soon after he was dismissed. It’s become a routine of late for the right-hander to perish cheaply and be the butt of jokes on social media.

At least it’s a fun replacement, though for seriosity I’d have preferred the Meacham.

**

and btw:

**

D’oh.

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Clint Watts @selectedwisdom:

I really would like everyone to read that story ..

The whole idea is, everybody around the world knows that you can hire companies to crack into any one of these endpoints —

— and go through any of these communications ..

If you want to feel your communications are safe, don’t worry about government surveillance, worry about corporate guys-for-hire that are hired by all these companies ..

Here’s the article:

A New Age of Warfare: How Internet Mercenaries Do Battle for Authoritarian Governments

BTW another Clint quote from my day’s scan:

If we were to go after Wikileaks, it could lead to massive information dumps of US secrets around the world ..

In have the feeling I quoted an abbreviated version a while back, without that crucial “of US secrets” — good to have thee full version, in any case.

**

Sigh:

Charles Lister, Trump Says ISIS Is Defeated. Reality Says Otherwise.

The ISIS of the future could be just as bad if not bigger and worse than the one we watched dramatically expand in 2014. In Iraq, nearly 20,000 ISIS detainees currently lie in prison and tens of thousands more who are accused of having maintained ties to ISIS lie in squalid camps surrounded by hostile security forces. A further 20,000 Iraqi ISIS prisoners and family members currently in Syria look set to be transferred back to Iraq in the coming weeks, all of whom will surely meet a similar fate: prison or secured camps. If that were not bad enough news, tens of thousands of Iraqi children born under ISIS rule look set to remain stateless due to Baghdad’s continued refusal to recognize their ISIS-produced birth certificates or to produce Iraqi replacements. All told, that may amount to at least 100,000 people in Iraq with ties to ISIS whose bleak futures will undoubtedly fuel long-term radicalization.

Enough.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel ‘s vision of Jewish world dominion, plus respect

Monday, March 11th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — in Judaism, J’lem, Sanhedrin, Temple, Noahide Commandments — in Christianity C Peter Wagner, Dominion eschatology — in Islam, Maududi — hatred springs from love far too narrowly constrained? ]
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As someone who has noted the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts, it seems only fair for me to note that some scripture-listeralist extremists within Judaism also foresee world domination for their faith — taking the form of Israel converting all nations to the seven Noahide commandments, if not to Judaism itself, by the sword if need be.

Thus Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute and head of the reconstituted Sanhedrin, said:

This is what the Torah commanded us: ‘When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it’ [Deuteronomy 20:10].

What is meant by ‘peace’? Maimonides says that they must agree to follow the seven Noahide laws … Meaning, you ask them, ‘Do you follow the seven laws? If so, we will allow you to live.’ If not, you kill all of their males, by sword. You only leave the women.

How do you leave them? They must all agree to follow the seven laws. And that is how you impose the Seven Laws on that city. We will conquer Iraq, Turkey. We will get to Iran, too. We will impose the seven Noahide laws on all of these places.

You say, ‘I call upon you in peace.’ If they raise the flag [of surrender] and say, ‘From now on there is no more Christianity, no more Islam,’ the mosques and the Christian spires and their crosses come down, ‘from now on we follow the seven Noahide laws.’

.

**

I recently posted a piece titled Laughing at, and respecting, Sebastian Gorka in which I, yes, laughed at Seb Gorka, whose views on many topics I strongly disagree with, and whose speech at CPAC last week seemed frankly over the top, but also expressed respect for the narrative of his boyhood which was part of that speech — and which struck me as explaining something of the intensity of his feelings — at the age of seven or eight, he saw something that changed his life for ever: he saw deep white lines on his father’s wrists, and when he asked what had caused them, his father told him — without emotion —

Son, that’s where the secret police bound my wrists together with wire behind my back so they could hang me from their ceiling of the torture chamber.

Coming to the present day, and with that memory seared into him, he told the CPAC audience:

Russia, we have to remember, is run by a former KGB colonel. That’s the sort of person who would be torturing freedom-fighters like my father in the basement of the Headquarters of the KGB. That’s the reality.

That I respect.

And in that spirit, too, I respect Rabbi Ariel‘s memories of the Six Day War and the retaking of the Temple Mount — sacred to both Islam and Judaism —

We saw fire and smoke from all directions. Gunfire was heard. Suddenly the bad news began ton arrive: friends.. this one was killed, that one was killed.. I saw with my ownb eyes, to my great sorrow, some of the artillery struck fellow soldiers. I had to gather up legs, arms, to bring them to a proper burial. Then the shelling began on the Old City. Planes were streaking overhead, lots of fire and smoke.

and then, this:

From the place where I was standing, I could see the entire Temple Mount. After 2000 years this is happening before my very eyes. Within minutes I saw suddenly atop the Dome of the Rock the flag of Israel waving — truly the messianic age..

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I said above that I had noted “the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts”. I’d like to quickly document those two claims to world dominion:

C Peter Wagner, convener of the New Apostolic Reformation declared:

My favorite term is “dominion eschatology.” Why? Because Jesus did not give His Great Commission in vain.

The battle will be ferocious, and we will suffer some casualties along the way.However, we will continue to push Satan back and disciple whole nations.

We are aggressively retaking dominion, and the rate at which this is happening will soon become exponential. The day will come when “‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15, NKJV)!

while Syed Abul A’la Maududi wrote:

Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam.Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world. Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. Islam doesn’t look for a nation to be in better condition than another nation. Islam doesn’t care about land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power in this world that tries to get in the way of that goal Islam will fight and destroy. In order for Islam to fulfil that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is jihad.

Okay?

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And it was the prophet Isaiah, I think, who offered a more peaceable version or vision of the same global imagery:

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Spiritual Warfare, an evolution / devolution

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — fascinating — how a scriptural theme is developed by Catholic and Orthodox sources, is turned by a Calvinist split-off and a related Pentecostal movement to an attack on the Virgin Mary, carried out on Mt Everest — and in New York City, on AOC! ]
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Said president Dave Kubal of Intercessors for America:

It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City.

The southern portion of New York City? A coven? Typically, though not always, referring to a gathering of a dozen plus one witches? 24/7?

Is this a witch-hunt? Literally??

So, right in the middle of all of this, the southern district, in the middle of where these witches are doing the 24/7 spell-casting, we find the territory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her district is in the center of all of this going on. Is this a coincidence? Maybe … Is there an evil thread running through this area, trying to dispel diabolical power?

Furthermore:

Just this week, there was a spiritual SWAT team that was sent into this particular geographic area to deal with the spiritual activity that is going on there.

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Sending prayer teams to tackle the malevolent spirits associated with geographical areas is an idea associated with C Peter Wagner, lately of Fuller Theological, the moving spirit behind geographically oriented Spiritual Warfare, and the New Apostolic Reformation.

  • C Peter Wagner, Territorial Spirits: Practical Strategies for How to Crush the Enemy Through Spiritual Warfare
  • C Peter Wagner, Breaking Strongholds in Your City: How to Use Spiritual Mapping Tomake Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective and Targeted
  • I’ve used the full titles and sub-titles of both books above, because I want to catch the geographico-militarist flavor of each — and of course, from my POV and with my interests, the word mapping doesn’t hurt..
  • Spiritual warfare is a concept at least as old as St Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus, telling them:

    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

    It’s also to be found in both Catholic and Orthodox traditions:

  • Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat: and a Treatise on Peace of Soul
  • Theophan the Recluse, Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat and Path to Paradise of Lorenzo Scupoli
  • What can I say? In these classic, sacramental traditions, there’s no emphasis on territorial spirits. Territorial spiritual warfare is an innovation that goes along with the Seven Mountains theory, by which many present-day Pentecostal and other Christians seek dominion over:

  • family,
  • religion,
  • education,
  • media,
  • entertainment,
  • business, and
  • government
  • Dominion theology is the work of an off-shoot of Calvinism pioneered by RK Rushdoony in his master-work:

  • RJ Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law
  • :

    There’s a slippery slope, I believe that’s the phrase, between the somewhat eschatological dominionism of many who may nonetheless feel a sacred devotion to the Constitution, and Rushdoony‘s original version, which regards anything less than strict Old Testament law with some New Testament changes — “Ye have heard.. but I say unto you..” — and views the existing laws of the United States as tantamount to anarchy:

    For a sense of where C Peter Wagner‘s territorial spiritual warfare takes us, see:

  • C Peter Wagner, Operation Queen’s Palace
  • This includes Wagner‘; endorsement of Ana Mendez‘ spiritual warfare on Mt Everest, fighting the Queen of Heaven. Wagner quotes Mendez‘ report, in which (see final paragraph below) she asserts that among the blessings brought about by her spiritual warfare on the lower slopes of the highest mountain on earth was the death of Mother Theresa, whom she describes as “one of the most visible advocates of exalting Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix” — Mary Mother of God in the Catholic tradition, the Theotokos or God-bearer in Orthodoxy.

    Mendez, as quoted by Wagner, reports:

    After five days of prayer, on September 22, 1997, an incredible climbing anointing came over the team, and God led us through the Ice Fall, the most difficult, dangerous, and technically exacting part of the Everest ascent, with no guide but Him and no help other than from His angels. After many hours of crossing crevasses and climbing ice walls, we were about to reach the point where we had located the seat of the Queen of Heaven. At that moment the fury of the devil was unleashed and a huge avalanche broke loose above us, sending megatons of ice and snow crashing our way. At the last moment a huge crevasse in front of us swallowed up the avalanche, saved our lives, and we only had to deal with the [life threatening] resulting cloud of ice for about ten minutes.

    “We continued toward our goal, and when we arrived we took the throne that the Lord had showed us, prophesying against the powers of darkness and declaring the judgment of God on the whore of Babylon and the false religions of the world.

    “That same evening God spoke a clear and strong order: “Go out from this mountain tomorrow before 11:00 AM because I am going to destroy everything. The next day we dismantled the camp in a great hurry, and left Base Camp at 10:30. When the last of our 36 beasts of burden [yaks] had come out, not one, but all three mountain slopes which surrounded Base Camp–Everest, Loh-La, and Nuptse–simultaneously collapsed in the greatest avalanche ever seen in Everest. Base Camp was totally buried under the snow and the enormous falling clouds of ice. The climbing season was closed, and the only flag waving on the top of the world was the one planted by the king of Kings and Lord of Lords.” [ .. ]

    Ana points to some world events which occurred within two weeks after the prophetic act at the throne of the Queen of Heaven which she senses have some connection: (1) The nation of Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, caught on fire and began to burn on that very day; (2) An earthquake destroyed the Basilica of Assisi in Italy, the place where the Pope had called a meeting for the unity of all world religions; (3) Hurricane Paulina destroyed the infamous temple of “Baal-Christ” in Acapulco, Mexico; (4) Princess Diana of England died, representing the crown of England, to whom Mt. Everest was consecrated by Sir Edmund Hillary; and (5) Mother Theresa, one of the most visible advocates of exalting Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix, died in India.

    This attack on the Blessed Virgin Mary, to use another title afforded her in Catholicism, was so blatant as to arouse a comic-book artist to pillory it:

    It is often taught in Catholic circles and elsewhere that Mary, as Queen of Heaven, is portrayed in Revelation 12.1:

    A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

    The artist Albrecht Durer rendered her thus:

    Shutdown plus First fruits equals two months salary, pouf!!

    Friday, February 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — where economics meets scripture ]
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    The mundane:

    Pete Nischt, 32, of Akron, Ohio, didn’t like the shutdown from the start, and now his flight from New York to Cleveland was delayed for three hours. In recent days, as he saw how people who had gone without pay for a month were suffering, he came to view the failure to pay public employees as “a breach of the social contract. Trump has been lying the whole time .?.?. and now we’re paying for it.”

    That’s from How the shutdown ended: Americans just had it up to here

    **

    The spiritual:

    Okay, that’s the mundane “people who had gone without pay for a month” because of the shutdown — how about the spiritual? How about they also give God, in the person of Paula White, a month’s pay?

    Eh?

    And:

    Oh yes, she’s an Apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation.

    Paula White, who heads up the president’s evangelical advisory committee, suggested making a donation to her ministries to honor the religious principle of “first fruit,” which she said is the idea that all firsts belong to God, including the first harvest and, apparently, the first month of your salary.

    In any case, the principle is simple enough:

    “January is the beginning of a new year for us in the Western world. Let us give to God what belongs to him: the first hours of our day, the first month of the year, the first of our increase, the first in every area of our life. It’s devoted…. The principle of first fruits is that when you give God the first, he governs the rest and redeems in,” she said.

    “When you honor this principle, it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life. It unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life. When you apply this, everything comes in divine alignment for his plan and promises for you. When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience, there are consequences.”

    But what if — because of the shutdown, you weren’t paid for a month? Maybe you’re an air traffic controller, and received a check for $0.00? Offer it up?

    Pouf! cancels out Pouf! In other words, that won’t cost you anything — beyond the original suffering mentioned above..

    Ouch!

    The remaking of angels, their rank and sweep

    Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — on, i suppose, the uphill slog or seduction of genius — or a very different take on complexity? ]
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    Paul Klee‘s Angelus Novus — described by the Verso writer Stuart Jeffries as “this goofy, eternally hovering angel with hair that looks like paper scrolls, aerodynamically hopeless wings and googly if rather melancholy eyes”:

    was admired and bought for a thousand marks by Walter Benjamin, and moved with him from one lodging to the next until her fled Germany and the onrushing Nazis. It is also:

    Benjamin’s most famous image, in the 1940 “Theses on the Philosophy of History”: the “angel of history” who is blown backward into the future by the storm of progress.

    or to quote Benjamin himself:

    A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

    **

    At a time after Darwin, Marx and Freud have dissolved the basics of fundamentalism, and before the likes of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and the brilliant Christopher Hitchens proclaimed “the new atheism” in an easily-won contest with that same low, popular religiosity — all but ignoring the retreat of angels from Renaissance tryptich to Hallmark Card — we might do well to carry the God-NoBoDaddy debate up an octave, and consider the possibility that once angels have been more or less erased from modern western consciousness, they may, as in a palimpsest, reappear in new-old guises..

    **

    Principally, I think here of Rilke‘s angels in the Duino Elegies:

    Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’ hierarchies?
    and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
    I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.
    For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
    and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    Every angel is terrifying.

    Ah!

    Rilke told one of his translators that she should not make the mistake of understanding the angel referred to in the elegies as a Christian angel. To the contrary, this angel was quite distinctly drawn from an Islamic tradition. Rilke writes that in the months before his trip to Duino, he had traveled in Spain and had been consumed with reading the Qu’ran and a book on the life of the Prophet Mohammed. It seems fairly clear that this occurred under the influence of his friend Lou Andreas-Salomé, whose husband, Friedrich Carl Andreas, was a leading scholar of Islamic culture in the Russian Empire, particularly including Naqshibandiyya.

    **

    Let Rilke have traveled next to India or China, the apsarases and gandharvas of Hinduism and Buddhism might have affected him, with their sensuality, their song, their dance..

    **

    But while gandharvas and apsarases capture us by their powers of seduction — in some ways like the houris of Islamic paradise — with Rilke’s angels, drawing no less on the Old Testament than on the Qur’an, our surrender is to elemental force:

    I mean the Angel who appeared
    to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
    when the wrestlers’ sinews
    grew long like metal strings,
    he felt them under his fingers
    like chords of deep music.

    Whoever was beaten by this Angel
    (who often simply declined the fight)
    went away proud and strengthened
    and great from that harsh hand,
    that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
    Winning does not tempt that man.
    This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
    by constantly greater beings.

    **

    Constantly greater beings, with which we may if we are spiritually fortunate, wrestle — these are Rilke‘s angels, and they fill the gap in the once-dominant Great Chain of Being paradigm, on a rung above human usualness, demanding, promising, skirmishing, delivering…

    To be carried in the arms of an apsara, to be swept by the gale-force storm of an angel, these are human experiences of the transhuman kind, and we need words for them, both forgetful of any surrounding dogma and delighting in their strength as imagery — gandharvas and angels named as such, and constantly revivified by the poetic imagination.

    Klee, Benjamin, Rilke, but also Jacob wrestling with — who? a man, angel, God? — and becoming IsraelGiotto, Fra Angelico, Michelangelo who wrestled form from Carrera marble, Dogen Zenji for whom mountains were the sages into whom, living among them, he blended.. Kalidasa with his yakshas in Cloud Messenger and perhaps supremely in the gandharva marriage in his Shakuntala..

    Isaac becoming Israel, Shakuntala the mother of Bharata.. Of such are sacred nations born.

    **

    Yet this world is wide and deep, the beings above us multitudinous, and the humans touched by them more than a single mind can comprehend. And:

    The problem of god is a problem in ballistics, Icarus discovered this,
    that to shoot for the sun is to fall short of it, those who shoot
    for beauty achieve prettiness, there is a gravity in aesthetics as there is
    in physics, and theology too has its fall, the problem of god being
    that the mind falls short of what is huge enough to conceive it, give
    conception whatever relevant definition you choose, too vast
    to think of, give birth to it — no, no, mind has sheer cliffs of fall, and
    to shoot for a conception of god is full speed ahead to fall, fail ..

    I bow, salute, prostrate, pranam, bow gassho.


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