Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Understanding Vijayan - Liberation

'We went round the township. We came to the old mosque which had not changed these 40 years. As a child, I had imagined djins in the form of grey parrots zooming in to perch in its attic. I fold Fazl about the djins. He called me in to see them.
There were four or five boys with Fazl, and as we went in, it was time for the evening prayer.
"Would you mind sir?" said Fazl, as they went to a little tank inside for the ritual washing of hands and feet. I went in after them and washed too; it was unpremeditated, the most natural thing to do. I followed them into the prayer hall, stepping with freshly washed feet on ageing mats of rush.
"Would you mind," I asked, "if I prayed with you?"
It is not often that I pray, but I prayed that evening. Fazl and his boys swayed and bent and rose, while near them I sat cross-legged and with my prayer dug for that spring of love that lay beneath Mecca's great black stone and the stone figures of my own pagan gods. It was compact with something which was there for Fazl and his boys and me, a trust which I knew will not fail my country.'


'Liberation, dear Fazl, is much more complex than the books would have us believe, and we, both you and I, are in need of it. I can still hear your chanted prayer, a prayer in which, in affection and generosity, you let this pagan merge his sense of the incarnate Brahman, a celebration of your Prophet in which you let me experience the immanence of my Gurus. Let us not split the God of that prayer or ethnicise prophecy.'

O.V.Vijayan, 1986

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