Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The title of this weblog is taken from the visionary treatise al-Qissat al-ghurbat al-gharbiyyah ("The Story of the Occidental Exile") written by the great Persian Ishraqi philosopher Shihab al-din Suhrawardi. It presents a development of the universal theme of the alienation of the human being from his spiritual home represented by the Orient as the source of the rising light of dawn. According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr commenting on this work, "the universe becomes a crypt through which the seeker after truth must journey, beginning with this world of matter and darkness into which he has fallen and ending in the Orient of lights, the original home of the soul, which symbolizes illumination and spiritual realization." The themes of exile and imprisonment have long held particular fascination for me due to their reflection of my nostalgia for the luminous realm of paradise in the presence of my Creator prior to entering into this world. They represent the paradoxical nature of the human state wherein God is veiled from us only through the corrugations of the soul and the opacity of the ego. This veil of separateness and illusion causes Him to appear distant when in reality "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein." (50:16)