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Odyssey II: A Journey In Three Tablets – Essay


Tablet I

‘Ujud satu Ujud

Di lebur sifat Nafsiah …’

said the wise man

   Of how Death came early before one’s physical death

in paving the way for this long journey to begin

in silence in solitude

in the service of oneself

in the service of others in need

and so that is the journey as it means

as second Odyssey of a life made supreme

‘ujud satu ujud … di lebur sifat nafsiah’

Of one’s existence wherein Form is drowned in Appearance

as words of the man rings again in the ears of this arjuna

in his second Odyssey across the seven minds

from his abode of Love

to the end of his Destiny

where no soul knows where one should end up in

‘There is only one existence in you

And that within you is bathed in the Grace of Desire’

as Arjuna have understood it evolvingly

how then must his journey begin?

From the Source of immense mystery

only him and only he and the Innermost being shall ever agree

that there is no boundary between this and that

and between what is real and what shall be Reality

Such a long journey this man has chosen to embark upon

through all the joys and misery

yet the Logos within still sings praise of his being in its entirety

where art thou Al Mustafa he asked,

one who ought to be his guide in this journey of a lifetime

accompanied with two faithfuls: Memory and Sensibility

Exist one must

with Desire one is blessed with

A simple philosophy, Arjuna thought

Until at his deathbed he asked a question

None could make sense of what it should mean to be

And as in blind poet Homer’s telling of the story

The song of the sirens of this Odyssey too

pierced into Arjuna’s soul

ripping apart every single cell of the body

a grand explosion of joys and anger in one

in smithereens every moment of consciousness

all in the name of


that one and only Existence

in Desire and Eternal Flame one is bathed in

and where should I now go …?

Arjuna asked …

a grand illusion this might turn out to be

Tablet II

you are born into this world

alone and in your aloneness

you may find loneliness a joy

and aloneness a suffering, the Man said to arjuna

what is Real and what is Not

is in your mind

no knowledge is so secret except one you craft

for your own understanding of who you are

and what you shall become

and how you want your life to become

you are a Book of Signs

to be read daily

only by yourself only

as daily as karma shall decree

you are words and words and verses and verses aplenty

so mystified till the meaning is lost

so revered till the essence is gone

so guarded until the words become mere rituals of spoken nonsense

said the Man to Arjuna

showme where Truth lies in you, said the Man

show me what your Al Mustafa and Al Mahdi hath shown thee

said the Man as his eyes looked into the warrior’s, now bewildered

Tablet III

and in his deep reverie, the Chosen one

heard these words spoken into his soul

like the sirens of Homer’s Odyssey:

love thyself

love thine enemies

a hundred battles

a hundred memories

were they not thine beautiful eyes that i saw?

as bright as Venus could be?

that captured my soul

as i was walking slowly

towards eternity?

were those thine lips as sweet

as memory red

as the sweetest strawberry

as though heaven-sent

for my lips and eyes

that are mine only?

carved like the open shore they are

a tempestuous wave

of a night of rage

thine lips smiled a thousand whiles

shifting sands

weeping are mine

yearning for yours

as the calmness of the night

to ease things entire …

beauty is a loss of words no longer

i see beyond this

no sound nor fury shall prevail

for thine eyes hath pierced the many worlds entire

each teardrop thine shed

of a memory we once shared

becomes a drop in the ocean of mercy

only sages and sadhus and siddharthas

would cry to sleep

yearning for the soul to be free

from this bond

of the longing and the belongingness

have i not seen you before?

in a distant memory?

when my soul was not yet in me

when my spirit is but a form none can see?

have i not met you

in that lone dark street

that face i yearn to see

to feel

to touch

in no haste?

of immense beauty you are

larger than any Universe i have seen

what form you are?

wherein do you reside?

why have you cometh to haunt me?

from here till eternity?

release me

from this madness

of unresolved hopelessness

i called thine name

from mount Ararat

from the ruins of paradise lost

from the snowtops of kilimanjaro

from the ocean floor of my humility

thine love is a weapon

thine gaze is a curse

thine eyes a cage

of endless horizon for my battered soul

whose life is lived for love forsaken

when madness and melancholy

and the dread of what i live for daily

is all in the circle of the cries

of longingness

for thee i worship


show me where your Existence lie

and where your Eternal self resides

tell me why it is hiding from you?

show me where you conceal it in your self

wherein the spoken Word in you

will never be in disagreement

with the Eternal Logos within

tell me how your Desire is a sea of Love

unto which you are, like John baptized

until which thou are like Jesus a Reason to Live

a reason to Love

a reason to Be

and tell me how you are borne One and Only

and that the mysteries of the Universe are all within thee …

and with these questions, Arjuna began to lose consciousness

as they were too strange yet too familiar

too simple yet too profound

for a soul like him brave as a warrior

and who is this Man ?

Arjuna thought as he sat in deep thought

under the Bodhgaya tree …

how shall we continue this journey?

Dr. Azly Rahman

Dr. Azly Rahman is an academician, educator, international columnist, and author of nine books He holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in international education development and Master's degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies, communication, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is a member of the Columbia University chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Twitter @azlyrahman. More writings here. His latest book, a memoir, is published by Penguin Books is available here.

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