Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Gauri03, Jul 23, 2014.
I tried but honestly couldn't crack it
I made an effort to find a pic that had the Qutub Minar in the background as misdirection! It was easy enough to get photographs of the Iron Pillar by itself. I rejected that as too obvious for a clue.
"Qutub", by the way, translates as "pole" but in the sense of a "Pole Star", "pivot", or "axis" (like the earth's pole or axis of rotation) - not "pole" as in "post" or "pillar". That would be the "minar" bit - the important clue part!
"Masts" also is not "pillar" or "post" or the mast of a ship - it is not a hard, palatal 't', but the soft dental fricative 'th'. In Urdu or Persian, it is "مشت" = "मस्त" in Hindi (transliterated as "Masth"). It means "intoxicated", in a cheerful sense, as in "Mast Mohabbat" ("मस्त मोहब्बत"), i.e., "Intoxicating Love". In the Sufi and Meher Baba context, this refers to "Mast-Allah" or "Intoxicated by God", ("Mast-Meher" in his case!!). So, you may have been misled by a hurried misreading of a Persian word transliterated into English!
If you had tried to reconcile the other clues, you might have figured it out since you certainly had the important ones right!
Simeon (A poem by the Greek poet Cosntantine Cavafy)
Yes, I know his new poems;
all Beirut is raving about them.
I'll study them some other day.
I can't today because I'm rather upset.
Certainly he's more learned in Greek than Libanius.
A better poet than Meleager though? I wouldn't say so.
But Mebis, why talk about Libanius
and books and all these trivialities?
Mebis, yesterday (it happened by chance)
I found myself under Simeon's pillar.
I slipped in among the Christians
praying and worshipping in silence there,
revering him. Not being a Christian myself
I couldn't share their spiritual peace-
I trembled all over and suffered;
I shuddered, disturbed, completely caught up.
Please don't smile; for thirty-five years -think of it-
winter and summer, night and day, for thirty-five years
he's been living, suffering, on top of a pillar.
Before either of us was born (I'm twenty-nine,
you must be younger than me),
before we were born, just imagine it,
Simeon climbed up his pillar
and has stayed there ever since facing God.
I'm in no mood for work today-
but Mebis, I think it better that you tell them this:
whatever the other sophists may say,
I at least recognize Lamon
as Syria's leading poet.
No harm done! The puzzle is simply an excuse to share interesting stories. I try to make slightly tricky, and one hopes rewarding but never obscure puzzles. So, I retested the clues in a private-browsing mode, with Safari, on Duck-Duck-Go (rather than Google). "Pillar + Saint" still brings up the Stylites and St. Simeon among the top hits. The clues weren't too arcane!
I meant to "joke" - the pole (as in pillar) hero star (the saint)!
My clue, after that explanation, now just looks like a sentence horribly gone wrong with comma mistake I suppose!
In my defense, the puzzle pic I had downloaded to solve didn't have the "Qutub" at all!
Yes, I added that a bit later to make the clues simpler. Um er-Rasas is almost impossible to research if you don't already know it. The photograph is almost featureless. That picture is of historical interest and works as a confirmatory clue. Plus, in this case, "pillar" is an easier keyword than "tower", which is the first word that comes to mind. More on this later.
I gave you the benefit of the doubt. There were two ways to read it:
"Atop the Pole-Star"
The second does not make sense. The Qutub response was for Viswa. I have heard of Meher Baba, but I did not know that he was referred to as Qutub. So, that part did not come into play at all.
You need to Google more. No, Soka, Meher Baba is referred to as Qutub by his followers. Persian word "Qutub" also means "Center of all", the pivot. It also meant perfect master (Qutub) and he included himself as one of the perfect masters. Perfect Master is the English term Meher Baba began to use in his writing as early as 1925 to denote the Eastern idea of a sadguru or a qutub ().A Perfect Master, according to Baba, is a God-realized person (one whose limited individualized consciousness has merged with God) who can use his Divine attributes of Infinite Power, Knowledge and Bliss for the spiritual upliftment of others.
Yes. I was trying to say that I learned that from your post. I did not know it at the time of composing the puzzle. I knew of Meher Baba in the barest outlines, from some reading about Blavatsky and the Theosophists. He struck me as a bit of a Koot Hoomi himself, very real though he was, unlike Koot.
Yes, acknowledged above in Post #8543.
The Qutub Minar seems to have made a deeper impression on you than I intended, but then the misdirection "worked"!
I found this one simpler than most of Dr S' previous puzzles. I tried a few keywords for the first image - yogi, sage, ascetic, saint + pillar, tower. The Basilica reminded me of Palmyra in Syria so I added Syria to my search. Found it right away. Glad I solved it before the Qutub minar was added. Would have thrown me off track had I seen it.
So, why Simeon for a puzzle?
We all know of transient austerities performed to this day: the self-flagellation of Muharram, the piercings with spikes, needles, and hooks during Thaipusam in southern India (and S.E. Asia), the angapradhikshanam - ritualized, tamed, and monetized - in Tirupati and many, many others. The Christians had such traditions too. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, wore a cilice (a hair shirt**) under his archbishop's garments. In what will almost certainly come as a surprise to most of you, he also eschewed hygiene as vanity, a practice far more common in the middle ages than you might imagine. Upon Becket's death, his clothes and body were found to be crawling with lice, the fruits of his radical asceticism; there have been claims that he deliberately infested himself with vermin, but that is another story!
Bodily mortification is undertaken as penance or in search of mystical powers, especially in Indian mythology. Voluntary control of the mortal body provided access to celestial forces and spiritual technology. We have all heard tales of Ravana's tapas or the much more amusing - to little Indian children on Dada/Dadi's lap - story of Viksha. Among these many mythical tales, I have found some real examples of asceticism more fascinating than most - these include the silent monks of the Carthusian order*** and Simeon the Stylite to choose just two.
Archaeological and textual evidence suggests that Simeon spent most of the last 37 years of his ~70-year life standing atop the pillar, 50 feet high, now marked by the boulder you see in the picture of the Basilica, on a 3x3 feet platform. Once ascended, he never came down. Even so, he advised the Pope and maintained an active correspondence. Foot gangrene he ignored as penance. He spent most of his time contemplating his God and advising the simple folk who sought him out.
What sort of people are they who can sustain a lifetime of such ascetcism, devotion, and unwavering faith? What might Simeon's DMT level be?
**Thomas More's hair shirt you can see: The hair shirt was rescued after More’s execution and held by the Augustinian abbesses of Abbotskerswell Priory in Devon until it came to the care of the Diocese of Plymouth. It has now been encased in Buckfast Abbey for public veneration, erected above the altar of the Chapel.
***As incentive to watch Philip Gröning's film on the Carthusian monks, allow me to add this: "Groning approached the Carthusians for permission to shoot the film in 1984, and they said they weren't quite ready. Sixteen years later, they said they were."