THE SECRETS of LIFE and DEATH
If I were to choose only one story from all of Doctor Dahesh's stories that he wrote in his "Strange Tales and Marvelous Legends" (4 volumes, published in Arabic), "The Secrets of Life and Death" would be my pick. While no one story can fully represent the vast, complex, and yet subtle world of Daheshism, this particular one touches on a rather important subject (if not the most important one) : the meaning of death.
We don't know who the translator is. This beautiful story was given to David and I (typewritten) sometime in January 1986, to include in our booklet which we then distributed during our first lecture on Daheshism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held on January 8, 1986, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1-190, as part of the M.I.T Independent Activities Period (I.A.P.) lecture series.
Simply stated, at MIT, and for a period of one month, any student can submit a proposal for a course in just about any subject. Once approved, the course goes into to the official I.A.P. newspaper.
I remember David coming to me and expressing his sadness at some comments that the person in charge of the architecture department expressed when David submitted the proposal on both our behalves. I remember being very distraught that a person who is supposed to exert a measure of objectivity, and who was in a position of power, would allow herself the right to judge our belief system.
So I charged to confront her and give her a piece of my mind. I remember playing back all the things I felt like telling her, as I walked through the seemingly endless labyrinth of Higgins Hall. I finally got to the elevator and pushed, really hard, the button. The elevator came and the doors opened. Who do you think was in the elevator cab?
She had tears in her eyes and she was holding her seemingly bruised forearm in her hand. She was shaking like a leaf.
Suddenly, everything I wanted to say to her went out of the window... I asked her "What happened?" She explained that she suffered a nasty fall and that she was rushing to the emergency room...
Oh the sad irony for some time prior to that event, I had run across a fellow student who had suffered a similar fate. He was riding his bike and suffered a nasty fall. I remember going to her and asking here to give me a cold pack for his bruise. She adamantly refused! I couldn't believe it!
"Why? We just need to put some ice on his wrist before it really swells!"
She said "I can't, I am sorry, if anything goes wrong, I could be sued! He must go to the infirmary!"
So it was sad and ironic that she was now in dire need of a cold compress—or ice— and none was around to be found on that day. So I accompanied her to the infirmary and stayed with her... I didn't have the heart mention what she said to David...
The lecture would go on as schedule, and many notable people from the Architecture and Planning department would attend.
As to our "Antagonist," I must admit she and I eventually got along better and she even helped me immensely when it came to writing my thesis. I got to see that, in fact, her comments came from a good place. In her mind, she simply wanted to protect her students from (what she might have perceived) cults. But, since that time, I became convinced that the only way to dispel any fear about one's ideas is to have an open dialogue.
Another irony was that one of the inheritors of the Dahesh estate would personally hand deliver the translations to several pieces that Doctor Dahesh wrote (among which was—to my delight—the piece I am about to share with you shortly). That person, herself, wrote a thesis in which she shed light on Daheshism.
She, and her mother and brother, drove 4 hours to attend the lecture and gave us all the necessary support to complete our mission. Her mother even commented "now that you 2 young people did this lectures, perhaps all the older Daheshists who are sitting doing nothing would finally do something!" (After that, we heard that a Lecture in Belgium was to be given. However, no other Lecture—to the best of my knowledge—about Daheshism has ever been given in the USA since that IAP lecture.
Why, did we then, in a six page article titled "The Riddle of Doctor Dahesh" published in the December 1996 issue of ArtNews magazine, find the following official statement on behalf of the Dahesh Museum board of directors:
Kaplan goes even further. Speaking on behalf of the board, she denies that Dr. Dahesh founded the spiritual movement. "He didn't establish it," Kaplan says. "The fact is, these people (Daheshists), that's what they say. He never proclaimed himself anything, not a prophet, not a reincarnation. He never claimed anything that people are claiming for him. He was born a Christian, and he must have been very charismatic.".
Until this mystery is solved, I present you with Doctor Dahesh's story.
THE SECRETS of LIFE and DEATH
I was overcome by sleep so I went to bed. Soon I was lost in the bright world of slumber roaming its paradise. I wandered in a magic wood with strange flowers, clear waters and shady trees where colored birds sang to thrill the ear. I sat before a clear lake where butterflies flew round the flowers whose scent filled the air with magic.
I was sitting in the shade of a tree with drooping branches, fascinated by the rich scene before me, when I heard a faint rustling. An enchanting fragrance filled the air which I avidly breathed in. Then I saw a wood-nymph come to me, smiling. Her beauty bewitched me. Tongue-tied I rose to greet her as though hypnotized, staring at her feminine charms and her supreme beauty.
She spoke to me and her voice was like the enticing song of canary, and I knelt in front of her. She took my hand and made me stand up.
"You kneel only to God, sweet love," she said.
I stammered: "And who are you, incarnate divinity?" I asked in a feeble voice. "I am not a divinity," she replied. "I am only a girl who lives in paradise where I sent my fluid. And you are the elect of my soul. I have been ardently waiting for you, and how you have come to my world where I dwell."
"Oh God, what to I hear. Are you the girl of my dreams? Are you the one I talked to before I knew you? Are you she who I knew I would meet one day? Are you the secret wish of my heart? Are you the one for whom my heart beats? Oh God I am so happy, I could die! All I have longed for has come true."
He took her in his arms and kissed her passionately, and she returned his love. God the bestower of life, the sender of hidden love, only knows how long they remained in each other's arms.
Days, weeks, and months passed, and the years followed fast upon one another, their love growing ever day.
"Godamia, you, who I love best of all the women of paradise, your love flows in my veins. I wish I could give you the happiness you gave me. You are the lyre on which I play the tunes of my deep love. Your happiness is mine, and your misery is my death. Dream of my heart, I am you, and you are me, and you are the answer to my longing."
The fruit of this legendary love affair was a fair made whose parents named Rahadia. She possessed all her mother's beauty, charm, and fascination.
Their house was made of roses and bright flowers from paradise, for spring is eternal in that heavenly kingdom. Winter and old age do not know their way there, they cannot penetrate that impregnable world. All the inhabitants of that paradise live in perpetual happiness. Their food is the luscious fruits. There is a pair of every tree; no sooner are fruits picked that the branches get completely refilled. Vegetables and cereals grow in abundance, and the land is never dry.
Everything that is picked grows back again immediately.
People live in brotherhood like one family bound by everlasting ties of loyalty. They do not know envy, and jealousy does not exist in that happy world. The greed for money is unknown in that world, so far from the greeds of Earth. Happy is he whose spiritual fluids have made him reach that sphere, basking in everlasting joy.
"Godamia, my love, our child Rahadia has grown into an attractive young woman, now. She cannot marry a boy from paradise for she must marry the man who was her lover in a previous existence. He is still on Earth. Until now he does not possess the spiritual fluid which would enable him to enter our world. What can we do to make her as happy as we have been?"
"Oh Sodiam, my beloved, I do suffer for her. How I wish she could be as happy as I have been with you. But what's to be done? Her lover and husband failed to send any spiritual fluid up till now. Therefore he cannot reach our heavenly kingdom in his dreams at all, or he would have joined her whenever sleep carries him on his dark wings, and spend hours with her so long as he is asleep/ And then he would return to Earth forgetting that he had been with his beloved."
Sodiam was leaning his head on Godamia's breast when suddenly he stopped talking. She guessed that he was about to wake up, and if he does he would find himself on Earth, in his bed and his fluid would return to his body immediately at light speed, that is at 300,000 kilometers per second, then he would wake up.
She was horrified at the thought. "I cannot bear to live if he leaves me alone in paradise," she said to herself. "I shall cut the fluid of sleep connected with his body, with the sharp sword of light."
She took the sharp double-edged sword of light and passed it over the fluid connected with his sleeping body. It was immediately severed.
Sodiam was late getting up. His mother went in to wake him but as soon as she saw him she screamed with horror and began to wail loudly as she announced his death. His sisters rushed in and found his cold body of life. They tore at their hair in grief over their brother who had left this world of woe.
Sodiam opened his eyes to find his head was resting on a beautiful woman's bosom. He was greatly bewildered for he remembered that he had been dreaming. In his dream he had been wandering in a happy valley with a girl who was just the one in whose arms he lay. He remembered the dream. He had lived with her for some time in a garden of Eden where birds and flowers were beautiful beyond description. He remembered too that the outcome of this love was a lovely girl who and her mother had called Rahadia.
He was startled to see Rahadia herself standing before him. "Dear father," she said, "would you like me to pick you the fruit of 'Hobajeed' ?" The Hobajeed is a fruit the size of an apple, sweet to the taste, one of which would make one not feel hunger for a whole month.
He got to his feet in great amazement, and said: "Oh God, what do I see? How could all this happen? Have I lost my reason and am I seeing visions, or am I the seer of a mirage? I dreamt what I am seeing now. It is a fact beyond dispute," he murmured, "Oh God help me solve this mystery!"
Godamia came near. She explained that he had been with her in paradise for some time, that the fruit of their love was their daughter, Rahadia. She explained that the vision which appears to a dreamer on Earth for a couple of minutes, would last many years in the heavenly kingdom.
Then she put her hand on his brow and drew a five-edged star on his forehead, and said: "In the name of God, and the beloved prophet, and the six personalities, and the twentieth fluid, that you may see your body on Earth." Then he saw his home on Earth where he had lived and where he has grown up. He saw himself lying on the bed where he had slept when he dreamt of Godamia. He saw his mother and his sisters bending over him, and a group of friends surrounding his body. Then he saw the hearse standing at the door. The coffin was brought into his room and he was lifted and placed and placed inside. Then the coffin was shut.
He was standing among them.
He came near his mother and shook her by the hand. "I am alive," he said, "I did not die. Look at me." She did not pay him any attention. So he left her and went to one of his sisters and repeated the same thing. But she obviously did not hear his voice for she did not answer him. He went to his other sister, but failed too.
He became certain that he was invisible to all who were in the house. But he could hear and see them, trying to console them, but all his endeavors were in vain.
He accompanied his body to the grave, and the priest performed the funeral ceremony.
After his fluid left his body, he was given spiritual insight. The truth about that immoral priest was revealed to him. He knew that before he was summoned by his mother to conduct the funeral he had fornicated with a woman who had gone to give him her confession. When he knew she had committed adultery with the man she loved, he assured her that her sins would be forgiven if she gave herself to him. The woman believed him and gave in.
Sodiam fell upon the priest slapping him full in the face. "You fornicating priest!" He said; "shut up, and stop reading the scriptures. You are nothing but a dirty devil!" But the priest went on with his act. Sodiam understood that he had not felt the slap he gave him. He regretted that because for he knew through his spiritual insight that the priest had committed the same crime many times with many women. That was in addition to the gifts of money with which he filled his pockets. "If only I could rise from this coffin and shout what I know about this godless man, so people would avoid him," he thougth. But his wish was not to be answered. He remained stretched in his coffin, motionless.
The body was buried in the grave. It lay inside the closed coffin, and the Earth was heaped over it, while Sodiam looked on in astonishment. Then the people dispersed, each to his home.
Sodiam could see so many tragedies and so many unbelievable scandals, yet true beyond a doubt. He saw women with children who were the fruit of illicit relationships. He saw girls, believed to be chastity itself when in reality they were dissolute and wanton.
The facts about people were revealed to him and he was appalled at their wickedness. He realized why God did not give man a seventh sense, and that was in order to protect him from knowing horrible facts which would have made him wish to die.
After Sodiam left the graveyard, he retuned to paradise with the speed of light. There, Godamia and Rahadia her daughter were waiting for him impatiently. Godamia hurried to the lake of oblivion and asked Sodiam to wash himself in its sacred waters. Soon he forgot what he had seen at his own funeral. He also forgot that he had died and that he was transported to the heavenly kingdom. He forgot all this so that he should not suffer morally from a succession for succession of frightening thoughts, when he recalls the hypocrisy of men and the immorality of women.
Sodiam believed he been created in that paradise, after he forgot that he had been on Earth. Just like all mortals believe they were born on Earth and that they did not have a previous existence before that. They do not know that they existed in another world, and the moment they are born they forget all about the world they have left behind.
For God in his wisdom willed it to be so.
Beirut 8:38 p.m.
Feb 2, 1979
Last edited by Mario; 01-07-2007 at 03:30 PM.
Thanks dear brother Mario for translating this great inspired work of our guiding beloved prophet. One cannot but meditate on the greatness of God's works through salvation. Indeed, death isn't but a simple gateway to another life that we receive as a reward according to our deeds; good or bad.
we can't but wonder in the secrets of the universe; of how other civilizations dwell and rule their planets and other planets.
cosmos to them is a road full of signals and gates and advanced sciences.
God bless you all.
Once again, and as I wrote in the second paragraph, almost a decade ago, "We don't know who the translator is. This beautiful story was given to David and I (typewritten) sometime in January 1986, to include in our booklet which we then distributed during our first lecture on Daheshism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held on January 8, 1986, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1-190, as part of the M.I.T Independent Activities Period (I.A.P.) lecture series."
That aside, you're most welcome. And for the record, I've since come to realize that this translation does not do the story justice. Maybe one day, just as I did in the case of the "Journey of a Musk Rose," I hope to translate this one as well.
"Fail, to succeed."
I mistakenly thought that you translated it. I apologize for this.
God bless you all.