Quaker Universalist Conversations

The Jester’s Net I Gave Me

Jonathan Ferguson is a freelance journalist, satirist, poet and author. He writes: “I help Brian K. White edit the long-running satire site Glossy News. See my Medium, Twitter and Facebook. If you find my work of interest, you can sponsor me on Patreon, or buy my books at Amazon and many other retailers. My life has been short up to now, but my art is increasingly long….”

The Jester’s Net I Gave Me

What if I told you
‘Brahman’ was not a mere ideal
A coercive superstitious worship of unity
As the absolute end-of-all?

What if I told you
‘Brahman’ was the encounter
Between the finite and the (in/)finite
Between the severed and the whole?

What if I told you ‘Brahman’ was where we meet
And not where we end?

What if I told you
Brahman does not exist
Outside of you
Nor within you?

What if I told you
Neither forgiveness
Nor non-forgiveness
Are the end
But rather the boatframes
That carry you
To the shore of encounter?

What if I told you
You are neither a good person
Nor an evil person
But you are amid the endless play
Of both?

Brahman Dandi (Konkani: ब्राह्मण दंडी), by Dinesh Valke on flickr
What if I told you
The play of Brahman
And the Quranic injunction
THE WORLD IS NOT FOR SPORT
Were precisely the same wisdom
And yet (im/precisely) different?

What if I told you
That Jesus was only THE SON OF GOD
Precisely because he was crucified
The one and only Father
Sought eternally?

And what if I told you
The Son of God was the greatest ‘atheist’
Of all?

What if I told you
God warned Moses
IF YOU EVER SEE ME ON THIS MOUNTAIN SLAY ME?

What if I told you
When Confucius begged assistance of Heaven
He was asking Heaven to help him help himself?

What if I told you
To ‘comprehend’ is not make a
Bald
Trite
Factual arrow wound
Murmuring
ALL WILL THUS BE WELL?

What if I told you
ALL WILL BE WELL
AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS
SHALL BE WELL
Was not at all
For the end of these times
But for the here-and-now?

What if I told you
The everlasting love you seek
Is neither inside your self
Nor outside it
But in all those silent fleeting spaces
In between?

What if I told you
Everlasting does not mean all time
But merely neither of time
Nor not of time?

What if I told you
You are neither guilty or innocent
But that you are in them
But not of them?

What if I told you
Every day
God crucifies himself for hurting you?

What if I told you
Everyday
Allah lets the humblest of his servants stone him
And tender
Smiles through tears unwelcomed?

What if I told you
Every day
Buddha weepingly confesses his guilt
To the demons in hell?

What if I told you
Brahman does all these deeds
Not for his own sake
But for yours?

What if I told you
You cannot inflict on yourself
Any of these torments
But that you can nevertheless know
That not one smile you have gifted to another
Shall be taken from them?

What if I told you
When you senselessly crucified yourself
For your faults in love
There was a voice from your morning
Calling to you
NOT IN MY NAME?

What if I told you
The unity of Brahman is not a denial
Of alienation
Of despair
Of grief
Of remorse
Of sadness
Of sorrow
Of tragedy?

What if I told you
There is no Brahman inside
Nor outside
Of you

But that when you are ready
You will be taken
By the hand
And led at last
Where you always were afraid to go?

What if I told you
The place
Where there is no fear
And the place
Where fear lurks in the shadows
Are two names
For the self-same house of Being?

What if I told you
The lies you told yourself
Were truths
And that they were also falsehoods

But they could never
And will never be
THE TRUTH?

What if I told you
You were loved
And you were love
And this love will remain with you
To the end of your days

And no one will ever
Take it away from you
Nor from your love
And not even you
Have the power
To ever accomplish such a deprivation?

What if I told you
The love you have given
And the love you have been given
Will last longer
Than all the generations of this earth

Because the Book of Time
Never rubs out
What she has
First inscribed?

What if I told you
The Poet of Memory
Never forgets

For even if
His poems were to forget
He herself
Shall not ever
Let she himself
Forget

Because the Book of Time
Never rubs out
What he has
First inscribed?
What if I told you
The Poetess of Memory
Never forgets
For even if
Her poems were to forget
She herself
Shall not ever let herself forget?

What if I told you
This love was
Neither real nor unreal
Neither authentic nor inauthentic
Neither beginningless nor beginning
Neither endless nor ending
Neither poison nor cure
Neither life nor death
This nor that
Here nor there
Speaking nor silence?

Brahman does not lie
Nor does Brahman tell the truth
But please do me the courtesy
To whisper unto another
Gently, gently
And loving close
Beyond all hope of love

O beloved one
What do you know?


Author’s Reflections

All too often, the life of cultivation is one where ethics are subordinated to metaphysics.

The one who loves the people of another land risks falling into a coercive globalism/internationalism/cosmopolitanism that is merely nationalism by another name.

Another person, a naive and unreflective ‘Humanist,’ sacrifices the best of historical humanism, in the name of a fictive ‘Universal Interest’ that is almost indistinguishable from racial supremacism.

Yet another person loves God beyond measure, but does not (as the old saying runs) love their brother and sister and friend, who they have seen.

The All is not our petty, unreconstructed and undeconstructed prejudices and terrors writ large in letters of golden blood.

The All is not a thing, or even The Thing.

It is the empty space beyond all knowing, where deep cries out to deep.

Not the particular as the universal, but the emptiness beyond the particular, which is nevertheless brimful of what tongue cannot tell and soul cannot yet dream…

Maranatha.


Image Source

Brahman Dandi,” by Dinesh Valke (2008) on flickr [ Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic ].

Asteraceae (aster, daisy, or sunflower family) » Tricholepis glaberrima DC.

try-ko-LEP-is — hair-like, fine as hair … Dave’s Botanary
gla-ber-REE-muh — most glabrous … Dave’s Botanary

Commonly known as: smooth tricholepis • Bengali: ছাগলদণ্ডি chhagaladandi • Gujarati: બ્રહ્મદંડી brahmadandi, ફુસિયારૂં phusiyarun • Hindi: ब्रह्मदण्डी brahmadandi • Kannada: ನಾಟಿ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮದಂಡೆ nati brahmadande • Konkani: ब्राह्मण दंडी brahman dandi • Marathi: दहाण dahan • Sanskrit: अजदण्डी ajadandi, ब्रह्मदण्डी brahmadandi

Native to: India

References: Flowers of IndiaSahyadri DatabaseFurther Flowers of Sahyadri by S Ingalhalikar

Comments

Dear All,

Thank you for your kind comments and support for this poem, and also for the other one ‘The Lesser Good.’ Just to let you know, The Braying Angel is scheduled for release on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo. Some outlets are stocking it already.

Blessings

Wallace