Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Facebook Discussion: Was Fakir Lalon Shah an Agnostic? - Part 1
Thread from an ongoing Facebook discussion on Fakir Lalon sHAH and agnosticism.
1.Tarifa Najmina: 23rd January - "For
the year 1991 passed uneventfully in our willful exclusion of an epochal eventof historical significance. It was the death centenary of the agnostic sage FakirLalon Shah......." from the book, Bauliana by , Maqsoodul Haque. Bangladesh
2. Tarifa Najmina: 23rd January - habibur rahman , abdelmannan, mac haque ,is Lalon Fakir an agnostic sage ?
3.Habibur Rahman: 23rd January - Dear MaqsoodulHaque, It seems you epithet Lalon as Agnostic (অজ্ঞেয়বাদী). I wonder whetherit is deliberate or unintentional mistake with the epithet Mystic (অতিন্দ্রীয়বাদী).If it is deliberate, would you please give us some explanation about what doyou mean by the term `Agnostic', and why do you think it is applicable forLalon?
4.Mac Haque : 24th January - Dear Habibur...itwould all depend on what your perception of an agnostic really is? অজ্ঞেয়বাদীdoesn't precisely describe agnosticism in its spirit - at least not in theEnglish language, where it would mean more or less a 'vague-ist' .Perhaps youwill care to tell me. …and I will take it forward from there.....thanks
5.Habibur Rahman: 24th January - Dear Maqsood Haque and Tarifa, we were talking about whether Lalon was an Agnostic or not. Let me place my understanding of the term Agnosticism. In the epistemological branch of philosophy, grossly we can divide the subject matter of our knowledge intotwo classes: things that we can know by our senses i.e., the book on my tableand things that we can know by our reason, i.e., the sum of two sides of atriangle is greater than the third side.
There are also some ideas we use in our everyday life such as Allah, Soul, and Humanity. The question is whether we can assert that we know Who/What is Allah(God) in-himself or Soul in-itself? Relating to these matters the questionarises whether a person is agnostic or gnostic. Now, an Agnostic believes thatin the present existential condition of the human being, in this present fourdimensional time-space boundary, Human Being cannot assert that he knows Allahor philosophically speaking the Absolute Truth, because in the present situation we cannot prove or disprove such assertion.
Moreover,an Agnostic can be believer or disbeliever. Socratics says: `What I know is that I know nothing'. He was an agnostic and referring his ignorance concerning the ultimate matter about which he asserts his believe.
Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason elaborately explained that by our reason we can only know which are within the time-space, but God is God, who creates the time-space also, and what is not within the time-space, reason cannot know it.Kant is also agnostic but believer.
Thank you for the moment, I will try by best tomorrow insha Allah, why Lalon was not an agnostic but indeed he was aGnostic, in Arabic equivalent of the term is `Arif'.
6.Mac Haque: 25th January - Dear Habibur, thank youfor your kind inputs on agnosticism. I am very impressed by the depth of yourknowledge and am sure have lots to learn in the process. My thirst forknowledge is insatiable and now that I have a brother who knows Arabic (I don't) - I am really excited!
To the course of our debate/inquiry in the loftiest tradition of Ijtehad, I like Socrates would submitthat 'What I know is that I know nothing'. I agree in totality your understandings of Agnosticism which are classical - but in the realms of spirituality – we all know are not above inquiry or questions. I am a novice student in the new domain called Contemplative Science - which I have coined in Bangla - তপস্যা বিজ্ঞান (Tarifa please help correct my usual faulty Bengalee!)
To begin my first port of call will be the concept of truth as we know it.
Clearly for an agnostic there is no such thing called truth and Lalon sHAIJi in my limited understanding personified it himself in the Great NO - or 'La'. So what may be - or is there anything at all called the Great YES?
Truth for AN agnostic is a perception, and as we all know (and not that you have to agree) perceptions are what they are, perceptions: they do not or cannotindicate TRUTH. In Bengalee I have often used the term অনুমান কখনো প্রমান বলে গন্য হতে পারে না. Trut has I am inclined to believe is dynamic, re-creative and pro-creative with interaction and pro-actions its driving wheel. It goes beyond the principals ofcause and effect.
What our ancestors knew as the truth has by now been rendered obsolete - even redundant. As an Honorable Advocate of Law, you will agree that Courts have historically hanged men to death under the premise of what they thought then, that the evidence suggested strongly a mans unqualified guilt. Yet over time; time itself has recorded that the entire process of gathering evidence was flawed, even unscientific - and a perfectly innocent man has been 'killed' in the gallows.Here TRUTH as we know it was/were the evidence - and the evidence then wasbeyond any sphere of doubt the TRUTH, yet today we know they were not.
Likewise,try as we may to convince each other, posterity may (or may not) judge our verysincere engagement on Facebook as sheer wastage of time and space :)
Agnosticism as I know it, is neither believing nor disbelieving. It’s like an open safety pin - sharp and vulnerable when open, safe and rounded when in unison of circularity. It is acknowledging and appreciating our left and right - andknowing that cohesion comes only when the two meets up with the one - our intellect - or 'akel'. It is neither stereophonic nor monophonic - but quadraphonic.
It is the surrender of the center by the dual. It is our physical supplication as demonstrated in 'sajood', in that we understand our left and right - but not our center, the head, that must be grounded (as in electricity) for current to flow its full course. It is inconfirming within our physical being that wherever they are in pairs - ear,eye, nostril, hands, legs, lungs, kidney, down to our testicles- there areusually nothing that would be a consistent bother of any kind in the short run.
Itis wherever they are in singular that we have to handle insurmountable obstacles.
Starting with our mouth, oesophagus, liver, stomach, genitals, and orifice - we do know and live with the issues on a day-to-day basis. It is only in aligning pluralswith the singular over the center - with the spine and the two great organs,the brain and heart that have multiple chambers, to the global axis of poles(as in magnetism) that our equilibrium our ONE in ONE, our ALL in ALL - aLLAH, Bhagwan,Iswar, gURU, Boddhisatava – whatever - can be positioned - the importance of Sajood, Bhokti or prostration is defined.
The hypothetical ONE therefore is the sum total of the combined plurals on the singulars.
Like a ship has constantly to check its coordinates to North/South/East and West via the stars up above, so has man in his day to day existence. The process of surrender is exemplified for as we kneel and prostrate 'due West' (in case ofthose of us living in the East) - its is only to appreciated that as per thefundamental principals of polarity and rhythm juxtaposed with the principals ofmentalism - equilibrium to the great YES 'maybe' discovered in exercise of ourlimited free will. That however is an individual experience and defiesexplanation, for each experience then is very private, unique and personal. ‘Sacredand secret’ starts here quite unnecessarily for one simply cannot explain it orput in pen or paper (keyboards in these enlightened times!).
It is precisely for the above, in my argument and conjecture that I prefer to useand interpret 'Salah', from one amongits many meanings in Arabic - CORRECTION. Merely hitting our forehead hard on thefloor and leaving ugly scars in our forehead denoting our 'Naamazi' status is not at all the intention of ‘Salah’ in my reckoning!
It is possibly the 'straight path' mentioned repeatedly in the Quran...and two'insane' thoughts for everybody's simpler rumination:
1.The straight path is not being on either side of traffic - but walking on thetraffic divider! In as much as we can see clearly the left and right - we canwalk anywhere from North to South/East to West or vice versa - without anyinterruptions or - importantly 'traffic jams' of any kind!
2. Unlike trees and plant we are upside down creations. Our 'roots' are in ourhair - that comes out of our skull...our brain?
Ending right here before it gets to bore everybody - as and when we eventually move to Lalon sHAIJi and whether or not he was agnostic- in my limited understanding ofGnosis in the realms of Arabic etymology, I would prefer to use the word 'Ihsan' and perhaps you can correct me?
I have also reasons to believe that we need to understand Lalon sHAIJi in the domains of 'Maarifa' (Marefot) whichI prefer to use the term 'extelligence' - as also the so-called 'super-Maarifa' or 'Walaya' from where the word 'Wali' possibly emanated?
Thank you for your time and patience Dear Habibur.