‘On Initiation’ by Fernando Pessoa / İnisiyasyon Üzerine

Artwork by Jonas Jödicke 🌿

[Türkçe çeviri için yorum bölümüne bkz.]

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Dear Friends, we continue here our sharing of Fernando Pessoa’s esoteric writings with the first of a probable two or three more posts serie dedicated to his views on Initiation.

Enjoy !

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Kabbalas are legion, and i am at loss to believe that it is impossible to reach the union with God-if this expression has any meaning-unless we know the ‘Hebrew alphabet’.

You have to distinguish the errors of the path, the errors of the Inn and the errors of the cave. It is an error of the  path to confuse the path itself with its aim. It is an error of the Inn to take the half way for the path as a whole. It is an error of the cave, that lies at the basement of the castle, for the castle itself (for the hall of the castle).

These errors are common to all these paths, and the gnostic path is not more exempt than any other, let it be  mystical or magical.

I can live without ascetism but not without truth, and i refuse to believe that God will not manifest himself  if i am not able to sit still for five hours or to breathe naturally at will with one or the other nostril.

But, whatever the path chosen, the fact lies that one must not partake it before having completed the preparatory degrees, the neophyte degrees. Mysticism seeks to transcend the intellect (with intuition), magic seeks to transcend the intellect by might; gnosis seeks to transcend the intellect  with a higher intellect. But in order to transcend correctly something, one must go trough the thing in question. The benefit of the gnostic path is that one is less tempted to reach the higher intellect without going through the inferior one-as in both cases there is only  a difference of quantity that separates them-than in the mystical or magical paths where there exist more a difference of quality than quantity between the emotion and the intellect, between the will and the intellect.

There is three types of initiation, symbolic or external, intellectual (the outer internal) and vital (internal). In the symbolic initiations, that strengthen the will and are leading as an outcome towards magic, the candidate doesn’t go through phases of comprehension, but intuitive phases, so to say; he constantly stands on the surface, clinging to the appearance of things, and even if he succeeds in reaching the highest degree of an order or of all the orders he walks through, this highest degree doesn’t correspond always (and generally doesn’t correspond) to ‘the-should-be-equivalent’ degree of one of the internal initiations. In the intellectual initiations, that strengthen the intellect and reach, as an achievement, towards mysticism, the candidate go through phases of comprehension, but not phases of life; he may know much, but need not to live what he knows  up to the same level of his knowledge. In the vital initiations, that strengthen the emotion and bear as  a fruit Alchemy, the candidate lives what he feels and knows.

Initiation means in reality that this very visible world where we live in is symbol and shadow, that this life we know through our senses is death and sleep, or so to say, that what we see is all but an illusion. Initiation casts away, gradually, partially, this illusion. It keeps its path secret because most human beings are not prepared to understand it and  would create misunderstanding, havoc and confusion if  it were made available to the general public. It is symbolic because it is not about knowledge but about life, and that man must decipher all by himself what the symbols presents, as he will live their life and will not content himself  just to learn the words that manifest them.

(to be continued…)

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Extracts translated into English from the French edition of ‘ An Essay on Initiation’ in ‘The enchanted Violin ‘, English works of Fernando Pessoa, Christian Bourgois,  1992

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2 Responses to ‘On Initiation’ by Fernando Pessoa / İnisiyasyon Üzerine

  1. İnisiyasyon Üzerine

    Sevgili Arkadaşlar, Fernando Pessoa’nın ezoterik yazılarını paylaşmaya devam ediyoruz. Bu yazı, Pessoa’nın ‘inisiyasyon’ konusuyla ilgili bakış açısını ortaya koyuyor, daha sonra yayınlayacağımız muhtemelen 2 veya 3 yazı da aynı konuyu irdeleyecek. Keyifli okumalar !

    * * *

    Kabalalar çoktur (ç.n: Pessoa burada ‘legion’ kavramını kullanarak kelime oyunu yapıyor; ‘legion’, ‘çok’ demek ve şeytana, ya da bizim deyimimizle ‘muhalif’e, gönderme yapıyor) ve ‘İbranice alfabeyi’ bilmeden Allah – eğer ki bu ifadenin herhangi bir anlamı varsa – ile birleşmenin mümkün olmadığına inanmayı zararlı buluyorum.

    Yolun, konağın ve mağaranın yanılgısı arasında bir ayırım yapmalısın. Yolun kendisini hedef ile karıştırmak, yolun yanılgısıdır. Yolun yarısını, yolun tümü gibi algılamak, konağın yanılgısıdır. Kalenin bodrumunda olanı, kalenin kendisi (kalenin salonu) olarak algılamak, mağaranın yanılgısıdır.

    Bu yanılgılar tüm yollar için geçerlidir. Gnostik yol, mistik veya büyülü olsun, bir diğerine göre daha özgür değildir.

    Sofuluk olmadan yaşayabilirim, ancak Gerçeklik olmadan asla. Beş saat boyunca hareketsiz oturmadığın veya herhangi bir burun deliğiyla kendi isteğin doğrultusunda doğal bir şekilde nefes alıp vermediğin sürece Allah’ın tezahür etmeyeceğine inanmayı red ediyorum.

    Ancak, hangi yol seçilirse seçilsin, kişi hazırlık evrelerini bitirmeden acemilik dönemlerine girmemelidir. Mistisizm sezgi ile zihinden üstün olmaya çalışır, büyü güç ile; gnosis (ruhani bilgi) ise zihinden daha yüksek bir zihin ile üstün olmayı niyet eder. Ancak birşeyi doğru düzgün aşmak için, kişi söz konusu olan hususu ayrıntılı bir şekilde ele almalıdır. Gnostik yolun bir avantajı, kişinin aşağıdaki zihni incelemeden daha yüksek bir zihne geçmeye kalkışmamasıdır. Her iki durumda da onları sadece nicelik bakımından var olan bir fark birbirinden ayırır. Mistik veya büyülü yollarda ise duygu ve zihin, irade ve zihin arasında nicelikten ziyade daha çok nitelik bakımından bir fark vardır.

    Üç çeşit inisiyasyon vardır, sembolik veya harici, zihinsel (dıştaki dahili) ve hayati (dahili). İradeyi güçlendiren ve sonuç olarak büyüye yönlendiren sembolik inisiyasyonlarda aday, kavrama dönemlerinden değil, sezgisel dönemlerden geçer; sürekli yüzeyde bulunur, olayların görüntülerine odaklanır, bir hatta tüm düzenlerin en yüksek derecesine ulaşmayı başarsa bile, söz konusu derece dahili inisiyasyonların ‘eşit-olmalıdır’ derecesi ile her zaman (ve genelde) eşdeğer değildir. Zihni güçlendiren ve bir kazanç olarak mistizisme ulaşan zihinsel inisiyasyonlarda aday kavrama dönemlerinden geçer, ancak hayatın dönemlerinden geçmez; birçok şey bilebilir, ancak bilgi seviyesine eşit olacak kadar bildiklerini yaşamak durumunda kalmaz. Duyguyu güçlendiren ve meyvesi Simya olan hayati inisiyasyonlarda aday hissettiğini ve bildiğini yaşar.

    Gerçekte inisiyasyonun anlamı, içinde yaşadığımız görünür dünyanın bir sembol ve gölge, duyularımızla algıladığımız bu hayatın ölüm ve uyku, hatta gördüğümüz herşeyin adeta bir yanılsama olduğudur. İnisiyasyon bu yanılsamayı kısmen, azar azar yok eder. Çoğu insan onu anlamaya henüz hazır olmadığından, kendi yolunu bir sır gibi saklar. Çünkü aleni ortada olan bir bilgi yanlış anlaşılmalara, yıkıma ve karmaşıklığa yol açabilir. Bilgi değil hayat üzerine kurulu olduğu için semboliktir. İnsanoğlu, onların hayatını yaşayarak sembollerin neyi temsil ettiğini kendi başına deşifre etmeli, onları tezahür eden kelimeleri öğrenmeyle yetinmemelidir.

    (devam edecek …)

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    Kaynak: ‘The enchanted Violin’, Fernando Pessoa, Christian Bourgois, 1992

  2. 6 Responses to ‘On Initiation’, by Fernando Pessoa

    1. Azim Looker says:
    December 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    A saying that is central in Sufism is “The world is an illusion; and/but it is also “The Truth in Truth””. Two levels of understanding are indicated here…the flight to a (false) “Union with God” in an intoxicated state of “ashk” (Passionate love)…a dangerous hallucination of “annihilation in God” (Fana-i-Allah) based on false premises, for as we were never separate in any case what is there to be re-unified? Hazreti ‘Ali “To look for “Union” while never having been separated is madness”… a necessary stage on the way and to be disillusioned of, yes. But as Ibn ‘Arabi says, “do not stay here”… remorseless distraction and intellectual confusion attend this (untenable and false) position. In the process of evolution through “spiritual states” (Mevlana, “The Way is by Hal (Spiritual State) not Qal (“Talk”)) eventually it will be really understood with all of ourselves that reality is One and single. There is nothing “outside” the Divine, including ourselves, nor is the Earth a cheap Walmart copy of some greater Truth, but the actualisation and flowering, “the bridal gift”, of the Truth in Truth. Truth is not “somewhere else” than where we stand, or findable in the reification and hierarchicalistion of limited aspects of Being. To live this is to be in “Baqa”, ‘remaining’, the real union, as a simple human being.
    Some aspects of the article worry me…the idea of ‘the world as illusion’ in Sufism must be always balanced by its opposite ‘but it is also the Haqqiqat in Haqqiqat’, or it is dangerously incomplete and misleading, and can lead to the crazed transcendentalism and the speculations of Plato (‘the parable of the cave’) of a greater realm of ‘Reality’- “The Ideas” and the devaluing of the world. “Revile not the World (also the time, the Era) for God He is the World”. Hadith of Muhammed (S.A.). “The Jewel Flower is in the Lotus”. Amongst mystics a hint is enough, a few words. Those who have the capacity to understand will understand, and those who don’t would never understand no matter how many times the matter was explained. Om Mani Padme Hum…

    2. Green Man’s creations says:

    December 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Huuuu Azim !

    On the contrary, the idea that world is an illusion is a call to see ‘deeper’ in the distorted fabric of reality that our controlled society is giving us. As a rosicrucian, Pessoa doesn’t dismiss all in our reality, like the Cathars or manicheans would do, on the contrary, he invites us to see deeper in the spirit of father Rosenkreutz, to study the book of Nature, the Liber M:
    : ‘ Initiation casts away, gradually, partially, this illusion. ‘

    The emphasis on ‘ LIFE’ , as experience in Reality is a safe-guard, for such unbalanced detachement proposed by the mystics or the magicians.

    The next two posts to come will be right spot on your concerns.

    Blessings,

    Nicolas

    3. Azim Looker says:

    December 19, 2012 at 12:36 am

    We know that the Cathar and Manicheans were not gnostics under any definition of the word etymologically…but extreme dualists who literally believed this world to be the creation of a satanic demiurge, and intrinsically evil. Unfortunately such an underlying sense of matter and spirit as opposed is rife in Western texts, probably through the legacy of Plato, leading to ambiguity about “the world” even if the world is not explicitly labelled “evil”. Instead of letting such underlying premises pass and lead people astray, into transcendence…surely its better to point out that Jesus said “split a piece of wood and you will find me there”. (Gospel of Thomas, now recognised as probably pre-dating the New Testament, and close to the “Q” (Quelle) source document for the 3 synoptic gospels). In Islam it is often said that one must understand Moses (transcendent aspect of God) and Jesus (The immanent aspect of God) before one can understand Muhammed and the equal assertion of both, in balance. The “Insan-i-Kamil”, “Perfect Man” is the mediating point between the worlds and inclusive of them. In some Sufi schools I have been present in it is forbidden to say “The world is an illusion”, without also saying “But it is also the truth in truth”, because it isn’t true. Transcendence and immanence require balancing, and clear exposition as to why this is so from the very beginning, or we are promulgating an incomplete and false dualism of matter and spirit.
    “And that day, the earth becomes another earth” (Qur’an) perhaps corresponds to your use of the term “initiation”. But it does not mean that “The World” is illusory at all, but that our perceptions of that world are illusory, and that those mis-perceptions cause us to misunderstand what we are looking at. Does not Jesus in the quotation above point out that ‘matter’ is ‘spiritualised’? Is not the transubstantiation of Bread and Wine a symbol of the ‘spiritualisation’ of ‘matter’, or better, of it’s Oneness??? Alchemy, true.

    4. Green Man’s creations says:

    December 19, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Azim Can,

    The only thing Pessoa is saying is that one needs to break from the illusion of the senses (‘visible’, ‘see’, ‘through our senses’, etc…) and experience LIFE in its multiplicity, leading us to a taste of the real. Alchemy sure leads there. Remember he is a Poet, perhaps one of the greatest.

    His use of images is striking (see the Father Rosenkreutz poem) and so precise to the point.

    Did you realize how close he is from all what you said?

    The next two posts will meet your point, clearly.

    Blessings,

    Nicolas

    5. Azim Looker says:

    December 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    “Illusion of the senses”…Ibn ‘Arabi…”taste Me in the food”. There are so many assumptions inherent in this language; that the “sensory world” is a lower world, (shades of dualism), that “life” can be apprehended at all without direct sensory input. We misapprehend what the sensory world really is…a gift, in Sufism “jilwah”, the bridal gift, of realised Union. The Jelveti Sufis used to say “serving people is serving God”. But of course that is “Wahdet-i-Shuhud”, the “Witnessing of Oneness”, directly in this world, from the understanding of “but it is also the Truth in Truth””.. “When two lovers hold hands in real love, all the mercy of God flows through those hands” (Bulent Rauf). I really find the western esoteric texts generally mixed up and confused, imagination, astral journeys and physical reality often bundled together inextricably; I guess to me they are full of bizarre unproven assumptions often deriving from later Greek philosophical categories and supposed hierarchical absolutes “The Good”, “Virtue” etc. To someone who hasn’t bothered much with it for 40 years this actually looks like pure imagination, fantasy. Of course there are many exceptions…Carl G. Jung is a great love of mine and I read all the 22 volume “collected Works” at 17 years of age, taking to them like “a duck to water”, as I did to Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales” which became my inseparable companion. I always liked very much “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence” by Robert M. Pirsig, subtitled “an enquiry into values”, which points to the pre-socratic philosophers as “real philosophers” and sees Plato as symptomatic of decline and paranoia in Greek Society with his supposed certainties presented as “Objective Truth”, which then set the gold standard for much later muddled wise-acreing for thousands of years. So I have to admit to a strange impatience with the “Western Tradition” and a disinclination to involve myself in it, that maybe should warn me not to comment on your posts, dear Nicolas. Maybe a difference of “taste” makes me unsuited to comment.

    6. Green Man’s creations says:

    December 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Huuuuu Azim !

    On the contrary, please do involve yourself in these useful comments, as we are all brothers and sisters in the Unique and this mapping tells us ‘ who we are’ in all our different qualities, colors and experiences in the patient tasting of the Real.

    Blessings,

    Nicolas

    PS: I must agree that most of what you describe as ‘ western tradition’ is actually external gibberish and far from the center, where all is finding its peace and harmony. Here is a nice hint, by one of the phenix of the ‘western traditions ‘, Jacob Boehme, who settles this as it should be, in the filled silence and the appeased quietness of the jumping judging mind.

    ***
    On Christian Tolerance

    43. I have no controversy with the Children of God, by reason of the variety, and diversity of their gifts; I can reconcile them all in my self [I can make a good construction, and understanding of them to my self]. I only bring them to the Centre; and there I have the proof, and touchstone of all things. Now then if you will imitate and follow me, then you shall find it to be my experience; and afterward perhaps better understand what I have written.

    “The Epistles of Jacob Behmen”, aliter, the teutonicus philosophus,
    very usefull and necessary for those that read his writings,
    and are full of excellent and plaine instructions how to attaine to the life of Christ.

    London, 1649, John Sparow’s first English Edition,
    Printed by M. Simmons for Gyles Calvert,
    Translated out of the German by John Ellistone.
    Excerpt from Epistle 2, paragraphs 43.

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