Jasun Horsley, How Culture Shapers Spin Aleister Crowley |457|

#41
Even 600 AD. Muslims believe one of the purposes of the Quranic revelation is/was to correct the mistakes, if that is the right word, in the transmission of both the Old and NewTestaments from their sources onto the later generations, and the filling in of much material that had been, for whatever reason, excised, lost, or forgotten. That is pretty much mainstream Islamic understanding. If someone wants to dig into this, I prefer the older English translations of the Quran, such as A.J. Arberry or Yusuf Ali, especially for westerners coming out of a Christian or Jewish background.
It's entirely predictable that that's what they'd believe. If they didn't believe it, then what would be the point of Islam? How could it justify its existence as a new and valid religion if it agreed entirely with Christians and Jews? The indications are that Islam as we know it was created by people who didn't really understand Christianity, and at the same time mixed up what the old testament said. For instance, purportedly It wasn't Isaac who Abraham was going to sacrifice, but Ishmael -- a point that the majority of Muhammed's companions didn't agree on, and even the Quran, which leaves the boy unnamed.

So how come that present-day Muslims think it was Ishmael? On what authority other than an unfounded consensus constructed so as to cast doubt on prior scripture? Alex is right. You can't wait 600 years and then create a religion that on the one hand agrees to some degree with prior scripture, but on the other arbitrarily dismisses other parts of it. To do that, you have to believe a priori that Muhammed was in receipt of a new revelation that superseded prior Abrahamic ones. Except of course that in this case, the Quran doesn't shed any light on the issue. It's as interesting what the Quran doesn't say (but most Muslims probably think it does) as what it doesn't say.

It's important for you to realise that I'm not a Christian or Jewish apologist. I'm arguing about the indisputable facts about what was said in their scriptures, not about whether or not it was correct in the first instance. If you want my opinion, the whole story about Abraham and the attempted sacrifice of his son is just that -- a story, doubtless with some allegorical significance, but no basis in fact.
 

Alex

Administrator
#42
I listened to part of this. I’ll try to hear the rest later. My first impressions, for what it’s worth, concerns the relationship between Zevi/Frank and sufism. To equate sufism with the cult of Hasan e Sabbah is an absurdity. I can’t understand also why a serious practitioner of sufism would want to visit the tomb of Sabbatai Zevi. The speaker seems not to be well informed on this aspect of his topic. More later, God willing, after I listen to the rest.
yeah, I think this opens up a lot of interesting stuff... kinda like the Joe Atwill stuff. I think we need a better way of understanding how spirituality works.
 
#43
yeah, I think this opens up a lot of interesting stuff... kinda like the Joe Atwill stuff. I think we need a better way of understanding how spirituality works.
What if "we" (ie. conscious agents) make the rules up for spirituality along the way? If so, it is only "that" which would point to the answer you are seeking as to "how spirituality works."

And if so, then "getting that" would end the investigation. But "getting that" would not be the end to being, it might be a new beginning.
 
#44
As for the Levenda interview, and what follows, Horsley seems a difficult fellow to mentally wrestle with. It comes out most clearly in the Atwill discussion. Massively defended, and, it seems to me, somewhat fragile or brittle state of mind. Never mind, I subscribed to Jasun’s blog anyway, AND I got one of his books. Again, about Levenda, it is certainly creepy to have all those spooks engaged in a venture (TTSA) that purports to enlighten the public on ufos and all things mysterious and occult! I wish I had your powers of discernment, Alex, to see clearly the nature of the mind manipulation being displayed by Levenda. I don’t know how they got into the weeds over child sexual abuse. Clearly, the mental and spiritual poisoning of two or three generations of the world’s youth is abuse enough. They didn’t begin to address Crowley’s ‘philosophy’.
Would you mind pointing me to the part that indicated them getting into the weeds over child sexual abuse? I simply did not have time to read the Horsley-Levenda dialogue, am crazy busy writing my own stuff. on a deadline. Many thanks!

P.S. I too have gone deeper into Jasun's work--it is indeed a stroke of work! He is indeed fragile, and quite courageous.
 
#45
Would you mind pointing me to the part that indicated them getting into the weeds over child sexual abuse? I simply did not have time to read the Horsley-Levenda dialogue, am crazy busy writing my own stuff. on a deadline. Many thanks!

P.S. I too have gone deeper into Jasun's work--it is indeed a stroke of work! He is indeed fragile, and quite courageous.
You’ll have to read the extended email exchange between Levenda and Horsley. Horsley strongly suggested Crowley was a pedophile, and Levenda responded that there was no evidence of actual pedophelia. They went back and forth in this vein for quite awhile. I would have liked them to discuss Crowley’s ‘philosophy’ and the effects it has had on generations of followers, including how it has been amplified through the media. MKUltra and Operation Mockingbird being examples of the injecting of Crowlian beliefs into the culture. Perhaps by steering the discussion into a blind alley, Levenda (and, perhaps, Horsley) the correspondents were diverting the reader’s attention away from deeper matters.
 
#46
It's entirely predictable that that's what they'd believe. If they didn't believe it, then what would be the point of Islam? How could it justify its existence as a new and valid religion if it agreed entirely with Christians and Jews? The indications are that Islam as we know it was created by people who didn't really understand Christianity, and at the same time mixed up what the old testament said. For instance, purportedly It wasn't Isaac who Abraham was going to sacrifice, but Ishmael -- a point that the majority of Muhammed's companions didn't agree on, and even the Quran, which leaves the boy unnamed.

So how come that present-day Muslims think it was Ishmael? On what authority other than an unfounded consensus constructed so as to cast doubt on prior scripture? Alex is right. You can't wait 600 years and then create a religion that on the one hand agrees to some degree with prior scripture, but on the other arbitrarily dismisses other parts of it. To do that, you have to believe a priori that Muhammed was in receipt of a new revelation that superseded prior Abrahamic ones. Except of course that in this case, the Quran doesn't shed any light on the issue. It's as interesting what the Quran doesn't say (but most Muslims probably think it does) as what it doesn't say.

It's important for you to realise that I'm not a Christian or Jewish apologist. I'm arguing about the indisputable facts about what was said in their scriptures, not about whether or not it was correct in the first instance. If you want my opinion, the whole story about Abraham and the attempted sacrifice of his son is just that -- a story, doubtless with some allegorical significance, but no basis in fact.
Let me try to extract myself from the hole I’ve dug for myself, bearing in mind the sage advice, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” I was firstly responding to something Alex said in the Horsley interview, namely that the character of Satan is not well documented in the Old Testament. I was pointing out that the Satan character is well illustrated in the Quran. Secondly, if Joe Atwill’s thesis that the New Testament is a Roman creation is correct, then the figure of Jesus will be difficult to connect with - to experience ‘Christ Consciousness’ - as it were, given that the character of Jesus that we are presented with in the Bible is fictional. I only intended to point out, though I may not have succeeded, that the Jesus character is illuminated in the Quran (and the hadith) in such a way as to indicate the possibility of encountering the spirituality of Christ. I was aiming at spirituality, higher levels of consciousness, and not intending a discussion of religious dogma, which I think would be unfruitful. Anyway, thanks for your response. I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t originally see what you saw, and what Alex meant when he pointed out that 600 years was ample time for cross cultural fertilization!
 
#47
Quran, 55:33, “O, ye assembly of jinns and men, if you think that you are able to pass through the zones (levels) of the heavens and earth, then pass! You will never be able to pass without an authority (vehicle, or permission, or means)!” Islamic spirituality as a means is mostly overlooked or unexamined in the West. That’s all that I was trying to say. It can’t be, in my opinion, properly understood or approached save on its own terms.
 
#48
Let me try to extract myself from the hole I’ve dug for myself, bearing in mind the sage advice, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” I was firstly responding to something Alex said in the Horsley interview, namely that the character of Satan is not well documented in the Old Testament. I was pointing out that the Satan character is well illustrated in the Quran. Secondly, if Joe Atwill’s thesis that the New Testament is a Roman creation is correct, then the figure of Jesus will be difficult to connect with - to experience ‘Christ Consciousness’ - as it were, given that the character of Jesus that we are presented with in the Bible is fictional. I only intended to point out, though I may not have succeeded, that the Jesus character is illuminated in the Quran (and the hadith) in such a way as to indicate the possibility of encountering the spirituality of Christ. I was aiming at spirituality, higher levels of consciousness, and not intending a discussion of religious dogma, which I think would be unfruitful. Anyway, thanks for your response. I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t originally see what you saw, and what Alex meant when he pointed out that 600 years was ample time for cross cultural fertilization!
also:
Quran, 55:33, “O, ye assembly of jinns and men, if you think that you are able to pass through the zones (levels) of the heavens and earth, then pass! You will never be able to pass without an authority (vehicle, or permission, or means)!” Islamic spirituality as a means is mostly overlooked or unexamined in the West. That’s all that I was trying to say. It can’t be, in my opinion, properly understood or approached save on its own terms.
I'd say that today, Christianity is as much "overlooked" in Islam as is Islam in Christianity. I'd also reiterate the point that Christianity preceded Islam by around 600 years, so the "overlooking" of Islam by Christians is a tad more understandable than is that of Christianity by Muslims. That said, Islam is a different Abrahamic formulation: it mandates a belief in one omnipotent being, just as does Christianity, but it's also Abrahamic because it explicitly agrees (more or less) with the Christian (and before that Jewish) Abrahamic story, as well as with other Old testament stories, and even some New Testament ideas and narratives.

It recognises Jesus and the Virgin Mary, for instance, but denies Jesus as being the son of God, and the idea of the trinity in general, which as far as I recall isn't explicitly mentioned in the NT, but is a later formalisation into dogma of terms such as the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son, into a single, tripartite entity. I'm reminded of Jonathan Swifts's little and big endians, different sects who broke their boiled eggs at either at the little or the big end - a satire on religious differences:

Both nations follow the teachings of a prophet, Lustrog, as recorded in their scripture, known as the Blundecral ("which is their Alcoran or Bible, we don't really know"). Sectarian divisions exist in the debate between "Little-Endians" and "Big-Endians"

In passing, it's interesting here that Swift juxtaposes the Quran ("Alcoran") and the Bible as designations for the same scripture interpreted differently (little and big ends of the boiled egg). But it's a bit more complicated in that the Quran seems very confused -- if you've ever read (I suppose you have), and understood it, you're a better man than I, because to me it makes little sense, is in no particular order except perhaps by Sura size, and seems illogical and even self-contradictory. Say what one wants about Judaeo-Christian scripture, it does in the main present a reasonably coherent narrative independent of sacerdotal interpretation.

One has to rely on other sources (hadiths and the sira) to make sense of the Quran - sources that even Muslims have to admit aren't divinely inspired. A lot of the dogma arises, in other words, from all-to-human influence, just as the dogma in Christianity is alleged to have arisen through the machinations of Roman elites.

If there is a true essence of Islam, and a true essence of Judaism and Christianity, it is imho masked by all the accretions arising from human meddling. I tend to think that the true essence of Islam, if it resides anywhere, is with the Sufis, who have sometimes been dubbed "secret Christians". In other words, at root, Christianity and Islam may be essentially the same thing. Christian (and before that, Judaic, Zoroastrian and so forth) mysticism have much in common:

Idries Shah states that Sufism is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and Christianity.[190] He quotes Suhrawardi as saying that "this [Sufism] was a form of wisdom known to and practiced by a succession of sages including the mysterious ancient Hermes of Egypt.", and that Ibn al-Farid "stresses that Sufism lies behind and before systematization; that 'our wine existed before what you call the grape and the vine' (the school and the system)..."[191] Shah's views have however been rejected by modern scholars.[15] Such modern trends of neo-Sufis in Western countries allow non-Muslims to receive "instructions on following the Sufi path", not without opposition by Muslims who consider such instruction outside the sphere of Islam.

I used to read a lot of Idries Shah, and think maybe he was right that there's something common to all religions -- Sufism, he maintained, wasn't always called by that name; it has been called many names, indeed may have existed at certain periods without having any explicit name. As a term, "Sufism" may just be a placeholder, and the fact that it's associated mainly with Islam today may be a histrorical quirk as much as anything. Certainly, for someone like me brought up in a Judaeo-Christian culture, there's little if anything in Sufism (at least, as presented in the West by Shah and others) that doesn't gibe with my personal spiritual values.

Sufism isn't widely known and practised in the West, it's true, but Shah maintained that the essence of Sufism can be adapted by competent individuals to fit virtually any religous framework -- at least for a period, before its energy wanes and it has to be re-formulated to suit the current time, place and people.

In the East (by which I take you to mean Islamic countries), I'm not saying that it doesn't currently exist in such a form, but I do wonder whether or not it might not mostly comprise "fossilised" remnants. The whirling dervish dance, for example, is, according to Shah, something that has long outgrown its usefulness. According to him, it was initially formulated for Mediaeval Turks, whom he says were rather phlegmatic and needed the dance to stir them up a little. It was but part of an integrated system that worked at one time, but is currently inappropriate and serves mainly emotional ends for those who practise it.

Shah said there might be contemporary formulations of Sufism that many orthodox Muslims wouldn't recognise as remotely Islamic. I can't say for sure myself, but if he's right, then no conventional religious formulation, be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam currently reflects true spiritual values. Which is not to say, of course, that there aren't in all religions some genuinely spiritual people -- but I tend to think if there are, they're such despite and not because of the dogmatic milieu in which they find themselves.
 
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#49
You’ll have to read the extended email exchange between Levenda and Horsley. Horsley strongly suggested Crowley was a pedophile, and Levenda responded that there was no evidence of actual pedophelia. They went back and forth in this vein for quite awhile. I would have liked them to discuss Crowley’s ‘philosophy’ and the effects it has had on generations of followers, including how it has been amplified through the media. MKUltra and Operation Mockingbird being examples of the injecting of Crowlian beliefs into the culture. Perhaps by steering the discussion into a blind alley, Levenda (and, perhaps, Horsley) the correspondents were diverting the reader’s attention away from deeper matters.
Deep thanks, you gave me exactly what I needed.

BTW, regrading the mission creep of Crowley, I recommend Gary Lachman"s Secret Teachers book.
 
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#50
Again thanks
also:


I'd say that today, Christianity is as much "overlooked" in Islam as is Islam in Christianity. I'd also reiterate the point that Christianity preceded Islam by around 600 years, so the "overlooking" of Islam by Christians is a tad more understandable than is that of Christianity by Muslims. That said, Islam is a different Abrahamic formulation: it mandates a belief in one omnipotent being, just as does Christianity, but it's also Abrahamic because it explicitly agrees (more or less) with the Christian (and before that Jewish) Abrahamic story, as well as with other Old testament stories, and even some New Testament ideas and narratives.

It recognises Jesus and the Virgin Mary, for instance, but denies Jesus as being the son of God, and the idea of the trinity in general, which as far as I recall isn't explicitly mentioned in the NT, but is a later formalisation into dogma of terms such as the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son, into a single, tripartite entity. I'm reminded of Jonathan Swifts's little and big endians, different sects who broke their boiled eggs at either at the little or the big end - a satire on religious differences:

Both nations follow the teachings of a prophet, Lustrog, as recorded in their scripture, known as the Blundecral ("which is their Alcoran or Bible, we don't really know"). Sectarian divisions exist in the debate between "Little-Endians" and "Big-Endians"

In passing, it's interesting here that Swift juxtaposes the Quran ("Alcoran") and the Bible as designations for the same scripture interpreted differently (little and big ends of the boiled egg). But it's a bit more complicated in that the Quran seems very confused -- if you've ever read (I suppose you have), and understood it, you're a better man than I, because to me it makes little sense, is in no particular order except perhaps by Sura size, and seems illogical and even self-contradictory. Say what one wants about Judaeo-Christian scripture, it does in the main present a reasonably coherent narrative independent of sacerdotal interpretation.

One has to rely on other sources (hadiths and the sira) to make sense of the Quran - sources that even Muslims have to admit aren't divinely inspired. A lot of the dogma arises, in other words, from all-to-human influence, just as the dogma in Christianity is alleged to have arisen through the machinations of Roman elites.

If there is a true essence of Islam, and a true essence of Judaism and Christianity, it is imho masked by all the accretions arising from human meddling. I tend to think that the true essence of Islam, if it resides anywhere, is with the Sufis, who have sometimes been dubbed "secret Christians". In other words, at root, Christianity and Islam may be essentially the same thing. Christian (and before that, Judaic, Zoroastrian and so forth) mysticism have much in common:

Idries Shah states that Sufism is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and Christianity.[190] He quotes Suhrawardi as saying that "this [Sufism] was a form of wisdom known to and practiced by a succession of sages including the mysterious ancient Hermes of Egypt.", and that Ibn al-Farid "stresses that Sufism lies behind and before systematization; that 'our wine existed before what you call the grape and the vine' (the school and the system)..."[191] Shah's views have however been rejected by modern scholars.[15] Such modern trends of neo-Sufis in Western countries allow non-Muslims to receive "instructions on following the Sufi path", not without opposition by Muslims who consider such instruction outside the sphere of Islam.

I used to read a lot of Idries Shah, and think maybe he was right that there's something common to all religions -- Sufism, he maintained, wasn't always called by that name; it has been called many names, indeed may have existed at certain periods without having any explicit name. As a term, "Sufism" may just be a placeholder, and the fact that it's associated mainly with Islam today may be a histrorical quirk as much as anything. Certainly, for someone like me brought up in a Judaeo-Christian culture, there's little if anything in Sufism (at least, as presented in the West by Shah and others) that doesn't gibe with my personal spiritual values.

Sufism isn't widely known and practised in the West, it's true, but Shah maintained that the essence of Sufism can be adapted by competent individuals to fit virtually any religous framework -- at least for a period, before its energy wanes and it has to be re-formulated to suit the current time, place and people.

In the East (by which I take you to mean Islamic countries), I'm not saying that it doesn't currently exist in such a form, but I do wonder whether or not it might not mostly comprise "fossilised" remnants. The whirling dervish dance, for example, is, according to Shah, something that has long outgrown its usefulness. According to him, it was initially formulated for Mediaeval Turks, whom he says were rather phlegmatic and needed the dance to stir them up a little. It was but part of an integrated system that worked at one time, but is currently inappropriate and serves mainly emotional ends for those who practise it.

Shah said there might be contemporary formulations of Sufism that many orthodox Muslims wouldn't recognise as remotely Islamic. I can't say for sure myself, but if he's right, then no conventional religious formulation, be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam currently reflects true spiritual values. Which is not to say, of course, that there aren't in all religions some genuinely spiritual people -- but I tend to think if there are, they're such despite and not because of the dogmatic milieu in which they find themselves.[/QUOTE
 
#51
Again thanks Michael and others,
for your thoughtful comments. May we move ever towards greater understanding. A couple of observations; firstly, the Quran is designed or intended to be recited, rather than to be read like a conventional book. The text has many divisions, and small portions are used in prayer. The individual chapters (surahs) and verses (ayats), when recited and contemplated in this way, along with their tonal or phonal or sonic qualities can produce a range of spiritual effects on both the reciter and listener. Looked at it in this way, the Quran is much like a series of zen koans to be contemplated again and again until they begin to yield their secrets. Most Sufis use small portions of the Quran, sometimes even a few words, in their daily practices, where they function as spiritual supports as the seeker encounters his or her daily situations. Ibn al Arabi called these Quranic phrases “Hijrs” - like a rock to stand on. He said every wali (saint) has been given a private hijr to support himself or herself spiritually.
The second thing I’d like to point out, which is in keeping with the subject of the Horsley interview, (and I think Alex mentioned it), is that when venturing into spiritual realms, it is dangerous to throw away the moral restraints that religion provides. This is perhaps Crowley’s most fundamental error. I’ll let this sit for awhile. We’ll see what comes out later, insh’Allah (God willing).
 
#52
The second thing I’d like to point out, which is in keeping with the subject of the Horsley interview, (and I think Alex mentioned it), is that when venturing into spiritual realms, it is dangerous to throw away the moral restraints that religion provides. This is perhaps Crowley’s most fundamental error. I’ll let this sit for awhile. We’ll see what comes out later, insh’Allah (God willing).
[That which I bolded] This was precisely what Charles Upton told me in an e-mail which I have so wanted to share publicly but I have not been able to reach him. Interestingly, I discovered Charles Upton via Jasun Horsley and discovered Jasun via Alex right here on Skeptiko.

Upton is a devoted Traditionalist (metaphysics) who also studies with a Sufi (I would point to that carefully with my own term - "esoteric Islam").
 
#53
[That which I bolded] This was precisely what Charles Upton told me in an e-mail which I have so wanted to share publicly but I have not been able to reach him. Interestingly, I discovered Charles Upton via Jasun Horsley and discovered Jasun via Alex right here on Skeptiko.

Upton is a devoted Traditionalist (metaphysics) who also studies with a Sufi (I would point to that carefully with my own term - "esoteric Islam").
I have enjoyed Charles Upton’s books in the past. I’ll go have a look at his current stuff, insh’Allah. Have you read Rene Guenon?
 
#55
I have enjoyed Charles Upton’s books in the past. I’ll go have a look at his current stuff, insh’Allah. Have you read Rene Guenon?
I have "The Symbolism of the Cross," "Man & His Becoming According to the Vedanta" and "The Multiple States of Being (my favorite).

I also have (based on Upton's recommendations) two titles from Frithjof Schoun, "The Transcendent Unity of Religion" and "The Eye of the Heart" (with a Forward by Huston Smith).

I discovered what I call, deep (or true) metaphysics via reading one book by Ken Wilber which essentially was a diary entitled: "One Taste."

That's where I discovered the perennial philosophy which was exciting as I felt I finally read truth. But even better, when I read that book (2005), I had more than once come to experience "direct apprehension" and my life has never been the same. Wilber had a close relationship with Huston Smith.

In my e-mail to Charles Upton, I ended the e-mail with this - "PS - I wish I knew somewhere in Dallas where like minded folks gather. If you know of such a place, please, kindly let me know..."

Upton address this add on in the first line of his reply - "You have the “perennial” problem of Traditionalists/Perennialists: nobody to talk to about what most interests you."

And this is where things stand with me today... a sense of being on the journey alone.
 
#56
I have read Guenon. Lots of wisdom. But I cannot accept the Hindu cycles.
Perhaps more important than fixing on the Hindu terminology is an understanding of what the ‘Kali Yuga’ describes, namely, the assault on and final dissolution of traditional values in the modern world. The concept of the “Akhir Zaman”, the last times or the end of days is common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well. The descent into darkness has only intensified since Guenon’s time. People generally have lost their sense of direction as the world slides into materialism. The spiritual implications of the end of the world are obvious. The apprehension of one’s impending death gives the strongest impetus to prepare, to set out on a spiritual journey towards whatever lies beyond this life.
 
#57
I have "The Symbolism of the Cross," "Man & His Becoming According to the Vedanta" and "The Multiple States of Being (my favorite).

I also have (based on Upton's recommendations) two titles from Frithjof Schoun, "The Transcendent Unity of Religion" and "The Eye of the Heart" (with a Forward by Huston Smith).

I discovered what I call, deep (or true) metaphysics via reading one book by Ken Wilber which essentially was a diary entitled: "One Taste."

That's where I discovered the perennial philosophy which was exciting as I felt I finally read truth. But even better, when I read that book (2005), I had more than once come to experience "direct apprehension" and my life has never been the same. Wilber had a close relationship with Huston Smith.

In my e-mail to Charles Upton, I ended the e-mail with this - "PS - I wish I knew somewhere in Dallas where like minded folks gather. If you know of such a place, please, kindly let me know..."

Upton address this add on in the first line of his reply - "You have the “perennial” problem of Traditionalists/Perennialists: nobody to talk to about what most interests you."

And this is where things stand with me today... a sense of being on the journey alone.
You are not alone, if that helps any.
 
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#58
Perhaps more important than fixing on the Hindu terminology is an understanding of what the ‘Kali Yuga’ describes, namely, the assault on and final dissolution of traditional values in the modern world. The concept of the “Akhir Zaman”, the last times or the end of days is common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well. The descent into darkness has only intensified since Guenon’s time. People generally have lost their sense of direction as the world slides into materialism. The spiritual implications of the end of the world are obvious. The apprehension of one’s impending death gives the strongest impetus to prepare, to set out on a spiritual journey towards whatever lies beyond this life.
I did not fix on Hindu terminology, I rather acknowledged his wisdom that you so deftly presented.
 
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