by Aziz Ali Dad
Zarathustra was musing outside his hut situated deep in the mountains. He was besotted by demons within. They appeared in the shape of ideas. In sheer desperation, he wanted to keep his being away from himself. But every attempt of self-alienation has taken him close to the questions that arise from the inner recesses of the self. At the same time, this was a locus of demons within. Zarathustra felt that he is in need of divine help to extirpate what speaks within him and dominates his heart and mind. One fine day, he decided to leave his hearth and went to the town situated on the foothills of the mountain. His entrance into town did not attract much attention as he lived in anonymity for years. Speaking in soliloquy, he says, “Anonymity gives us a freedom that fame cannot bestow”.
Thereafter, Zarathustra proceeds straight away to the temple and bows before the altar. By evening some followers arrive and provide him with hot soup. They deem him a traveller or vagabond, but they did not know that he is a traveller of soul and facing spiritual anguish. He detested the worldly concepts of sin, crime and punishment and the whole institutions established to execute these ideas.
“Look at these beautiful homes that house the people who have been deprived of soul, music of life and eyes for beauty within. They have kept their body within the homes under the illusion that they are the souls of the homes. In fact, they are tombs of their bodies. They are abiding people. Lo! What craft we have created for our spiritual undoing. Pity that for the transgressor of law we have erected gigantic walls of prisons but allow the tormentors of the soul to roam free in the streets.”
Communing with god, Zarathustra thus spoke, “The tormenters of the soul have become custodians of your temple that was supposed to be the saviour. When the very sanctum that was supposed to be abode solace to the soul indulges in the profane act of tormenting with the mundane law, then our life turns into hell. O god! Instead of opening doors of benediction and bliss your temple tortures, scares me of fire, of hell and warn me to roast for defying you. Tell me are you the god or hangman? At least your high priests have become hangmen. The world goes awry when everything loses the anchor that provides grounding for being and the reason of existence. What happens when water fails to satiate a thirsty traveller in the desert? What if the rose loses its fragrance? What if eyes cannot see and ears cannot hear? And what happens when the heart fails to feel?
After raising these questions, Zarathustra shouts at god and declares “We are living in the age of cosmic atrophy. We are numb and dumb. We live in an age where all gods have failed. We need new ears, eyes, ears, mind and heart.” “What is your solution for this cosmic malfunctioning and atrophy? He asked the god. God replied, “Thou shalt repose in me and love my creatures.” “Nay,” said Zarathustra, “Yes you have created us. You breathed life into us. At the same time, you filled our minds with reason and hearts with love. Since genesis, we have loved you and spent our spiritual and mental energies exploring and explicating you. It makes me wonder why you are still not satisfied with us. Forgive me, my lord. Time has arrived to bid adieu to you. I cannot love you anymore for I invested my love in a living creature like me. I cannot preach divine love for I have given my whole heart to someone else.”
Zarathustra further says, “God seemed quite unhappy with my act of profligacy and condemn me to remain in the love of humanity. Rest is the story written by my interface with human beings, but they have been turned into my tormentors. Now I have lost God and humans. Where else to go? Aldous Huxley confided me that maybe this world is another planet’s hell” and guide me to go to that universe where real humans exist. So, I bid adieu and left the planet of humans to find humanity.”
Aziz Ali Dad studied Philosophy of Social Sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He was Crossroads Asia research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany, and a research fellow of Asia Leadership Fellow Program in Tokyo, Japan. His research focuses on the history of ideas and the sociology of margins. Aziz regularly writes for the mainstream media of Pakistan on issues related to philosophy, subaltern and peripheral communities of High Asia. With interests in philosophy, identity politics, culture and issues of Gilgit-Baltistan, he is noted for his pioneering work in understanding history, politics and cultural dynamics in Gilgit-Baltistan. He can be reached at [email protected]