Saturday, November 12, 2005

On Fakir Lalon Shah - Response from Maia Grenell

[I am delighted and feel exteremely honoured to have received pertinent comments from the Detroit, Michigan based academic Maia Grenell on the article by Farhad Mazhar on Fakir Lalon Shah and later a response from Sulav Chowdhury who is based in London in this website. Maia doesn’t seem all too totally convinced with what either Farhad or Sulav has to say and I take this opportunity to share her views with everybody.

However on her comments:
“At this point, it is useful to point out that neither author really grasps the importance of the personal relationship between Siraj Shai and Lalon. How a relationship between two humans inexplicably drawn together, no matter what their stature, can play on the internal development is a very important point when discussing this subject.”
I will be very grateful if she and others can take time to read Of the ‘Regal’ Lamp in this link - for I personally believe that Siraj Shai was no ‘human’ as is the common misconception , or may be I would be imminently proven wrong! Happy reading, regards and respects, Mac]


Mac,

Again, delighted to receive your reply.

My thoughts on the two articles:

Though I appreciate the thoughts of both Mazhar and Sulav, I was not satisfied by either writer.

Mazhar attempts to define Lalon by telling us, for the most part, what Lalon was not. This bears no fruit since Lalon was a master at avoiding definition.

Sulav says that Lalon should be defined by his system of thought and in doing this would know how it could be used for the "well-being of society." He states that he does not allow himself to "ponder one's birthdates ... [or] relationship with one's neighbors."

However, I recall the old adage "actions speak louder than words." If a philosopher's actions align with his words, would this not be a test on how the philosophy would affect the well-being of society in itself?

Example of such would be comparing the Hadith to The Koran - Hadith has a great impact to many seekers in understanding Rasul's message. History is a fact that is unavoidably tied to ideology. When history is not taken into account, problems arise such as the rigid expectations set forth by fundamentalist extremists of all faiths. And that, in no way aids the well-being of society.

This brings me to the next point concerning perception and reality.

Of Lalon's death, whether "coincidence" or "quintessence of his mental sublimity" is something that is unknown. Mazhar's statement about Lalon being "one sense known and one sense unknown" is an effort at describing Lalon's cultural significance, not as Sulav believes, to drape him in a shroud of spirituality.

At this point, it is useful to point out that neither author really grasps the importance of the personal relationship between Siraj Shai and Lalon. How a relationship between two humans inexplicably drawn together, no matter what their stature, can play on the internal development is a very important point when discussing this subject.

Furthermore, if one denies Lalon's "Gnosis" (the closest English can come to "Ma'rifat" that I have found), then one would be denying the source of Lalon's exclamation to his disciples:

"Where are all of you? Come now! The small fish came!"

If you want to call something spiritual or material or some other word is unimportant. In general I believe that these words were created in ivory towers by intellectuals who, though with all due, respect may love, admire, aspire to resemble or just record the histories of the beloved sadhus, fakirs, or gurus, may not, however, be one him/herself.


My final comment is concerning Mazhar's description of Lalon as the Baul.

Baul is the pursuit, the path into which one is unavoidably thrown, perhaps by genetics, social influences, fate, or some other reason (which is unimportant). Whether a Baul's message is "philosophical utterances" or "musical performances by some lowly rural minstrel," both are boiling in the same pot, are they not?

Only a Baul knows who is a Baul.


Peace,
Maia

3 comments:

Sadiq M. Alam said...

its an delight to see you are doing great research on the blogging community. its good. Lalon deserve a lot of attention from international community as well as from Bangaldesh.

Keep up the good work.

sadiq
singapore

constance said...

this may seem completly inappropriate (but at least I have checked up who was lalon, and i have learned something) but I am trying to get in touch with maia grenell who i met 10 years ago in England. here is my email address in case she gets a chance to read this, and feels like getting in touch: constdauce@hotmail.com.
I will come back on this blog as soon as I have enough material to understand what your discussion is about!

Apoplexy said...

Oshadharon write up.Mac salam.
Amar e lekhata parle poro.
http://www.himalmag.com/2007/may/reflections_world_cup_india_bangladesh.htm