Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | May 4, 2010

Oh! if the doors of your sanctuary should crumble by themselves


The philosopher of dialectics and logos portrays himself in this poem as the guardian of Eleusinian silence.

Oh! if the doors of your sanctuary should crumble by themselves
O Ceres, you who reigned Eleusis!
drunk with enthusiasm, I would
shiver with your nearness
I would understand your revelations
I would interpret the lofty meaning of the Images, I would hear
the hymn of gods banquets
the lofty maxim of their counsel.

Even your hallways have ceased to echo, Goddess!
The circle of Gods has fled back to Olympus
from the consecrated alters;
fled from the tomb of profaned humanity,
the innocent genius who enchanted them here!!–
The wisdom of your priest is silent, not one note of the sacred
initiations preserved for us–and in vein strive
the scholars, their curiosity is greater then love
of wisdom (the seekers possess this love and they disdain you)
–to master they dig for words
in which your lofty meaning might be engraved.!
In vein! only dust and ashes do they seize,
where your life return no more for them.
And yet, even rotting and lifeless they congratulate themselves,
the eternally dead!–easily satisfied-in vein-no sign
remain of their celebration, no trace of an image.
For the son of the initiation the lofty doctrine was too full.
the profundity of the ineffable sentiments was too sacred,
for him to value desiccated sign.
Now thought does not raise up the spirit,
sunken beyond time and space to purify infinity,
it forgets it self , and now once again its consciousness
is aroused. He who should want to speak about it with others,
would have to speak in the language of angels,
would have to experience the poverty of words.
He is horrified of having thought so little of the sacred,
of having made so little of it,that speech seems to him a
sin, and though still alive, he closes his mouth,
That which infinite prohibit himself, a sage
law also prohibits the poorest soul: to make known
what he had seen, heard, felt during the sacred night:
so that even the best part of his prayers
was not disturbed by the clamor of their disorder
and the empty chattering did not dispose him toward the sacred,
and this was not dragged in the mud, but was
entrusted to memory –so that it did not become
a playing or the ware of some sophists
who would have sold it like an obolus
or the mantle of an eloquent hypocrite or even
the rod of a joyful youth, or become so empty
at the end, that only in the echo
of foreign tongue would find its roots.
Your sons, Oh Goddess, miserly with your honor, did not
carry it through the streets and markets, but they cultivated it
in the breasts inner chambers .
And so you did not live on their lips.
Their life honored you. and you still live in their acts.
Even tonight, scared divinity, I heard you.
Often life of your children reveals you,
and I introduce you as the soul of their acts!
You are the lofty meaning, the true faith
which, divine when all else crumbles, does not falter.

–A long poem of the young Hegel who dedicated this to Holderlin in August 1796

—Art by Perla Sarmiento titled–another sad mask, Argentina


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: