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CHRYSSA VELISSARIOU

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 4/15/2017 |



PART ONE

Greco-Buddhism refers to the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE in Bactria and the Indian subcontinent, corresponding to the territories of modern day Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great, carried further by the establishment of the Indo-Greek Kingdom and extended during the flourishing of the Hellenized Kushan Empire. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic, and perhaps the spiritual development of Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism. With the collapse of the hegemony of the Greco - Bactria in 125 BC, the mobilization of the Greeks of Bactria to India favored contacts with the established Buddhist communities and introduced new dimensions of commercial interdependence between Greek and non-Greek populations. When finally Greeks in the region lost their power, this did not affect the Hellenistic culture which continued to exert its influence in Asia for several centuries. For example, the construction of statues with refractory clay or putty and supporting timber frame (rods drivers for hands), was a great novelty of the Bactrian Greek artists who left the long imprint on Buddhist art. The legacy of Alexander finds expression in unusual Greek - Buddhist sculptures Gandaras that from the time of Kusan have all predominant Buddhist character. The form of the Buddha as the Apollo Belvedere, although "one among countless known forms, is without doubt the oldest, which served as a model for others "while nudity remarkable sculptures of Tzainists probably had as a model Apollonic archetypes. During the first centuries of the millennium, the Greek-Buddhist art Gandarini included Indian and Hellenistic elements. This is distinct to the statues of botisattvas (Buddhas in scene) that were decorated with royal jewels and amulets, the contrapposto standing with emphasis in the folds of the dresses and the abundance Dionysian themes. However, we should bear in our mind that the Greek-Buddhist art did not appear suddenly, but emerge as a byproduct of a continuous exchange of materials, language and cultural specificities between Indo-Greeks, Indians and Persians and the Greeks of Bactria They had attracted many to Buddhism, there would be among them a significant number of Buddhists among the Greeks donors and Hellenized intellectuals and artists.

Despite the distinct similarities, no case is the model for the others, while the novel character and stunning expression of Greco-Buddhist art obviously would not be possible without the contribution of two equally important traditions. The edited image Hellenistic themes in Buddhist art is not likely to be the result of impersonal leased Greek artists who should have been asked by their employers to insist more on issues Buddhist tradition. In the reliefs of Gandaras there is an orgy of decoration with light snapshots Dionysian competition which do not correspond to the renunciation of the early Buddhism of Sravaka (Sanskr. Śrāvaka, listeners or disciples of the Buddha). While the portrait of the historical Shakyamuni representing the birth of the side of his mother, a popular topic in Gandarini art seems to have visual adaptation to the birth of Dionysus from the buttock of Zeus.

We note that the interactions between cultures do not require strictly symmetrical processes between independent entities. The Hellenistic Buddhism is not a self-evident unity, but the side effect of a reconstruction of horizons, neither exclusively Indian, nor only Greek. The transmission of ideas and practices across historical periods and conceptual fields, introduced mutations between the source and target culture. Undoubtedly, innovations occur when the expressions of a tradition restructured organic according to the internal logic of another, an event that stimulated growth without requiring the assignment assumption foreign elements, nor the radical departure from the traditional representation models, but the review of perception the possibilities that emerge from a cultural environment that basically makes possible merger. Buddhism emerged from the cocoon of the Indian, after meeting with the cosmopolitan culture of the Greek Macedonians, who were open to foreign traditions and cults and thought, like Buddhists, death as a passage in a later life. And as Buddhists were constructing funerary monuments instead of godifying their churches and their leaders. There were many deities were of particular importance for Macedonians who found corresponding to worship the pantheon of Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. It is useful to study how the Hellenistic polytheism internationalism had contributed to the spread of globalization and the expression of the theology of Buddhist traditions in the north, forming a pantheon of Buddhas and Hellenized morphological botisattvas, who, like the Olympian gods and demigods, had their own mythical stories and sported distinct spiritual markers and natural features.

The economic interdependence, geographic proximity and socio - political factors determine as intrusive main reasons the shaping of Buddhism in Hellenistic Far East. Moreover, intercultural meetings between Indo - Greeks and Buddhists were the result of effortless and asymmetric ownership knowledge gave way to a new interpretation models in historical times. By "effortless" recognize that both communities had served in different opportunities and alternating density, an open demonstration of cultural superiority and applied resistance by specifying the different ways as barbarian or foreign (mleccha). However no evidence of religious conflicts and pressures that were motivated by the Indo - Greek and Buddhist missionaries. Instead discern cultural proselytism circumstances a voluntary association facilitated by trade. There is no reason to display the Roman influence as crucial in creating the Greco-Buddhist art, except that it had existed a sense of renewal and rejuvenation trends.

And finally, the kind of exchanges that occurred between Greeks and Buddhists were asymmetric in the sense that neither the cultural proselytism, nor the effects of the conscious or unconscious actions are distributed equally or equally in front of the law to the ideological and materialistic culture that prevailed. Moreover, the mundane reality of two or more people who share and borrow practices, ideas and customs, not what is disputed. Rather it is the result of a cross-cultural stratification function to our attention that affected the formation, transfer and expression of religious knowledge in different areas and seasons between East and West, West and East.

Several philosophers, such as Pyrrho, Anaxarchus and Onesicritus, are said to have been selected by Alexander to accompany him in his eastern campaigns. During the 18 months they were in India, they were able to interact with Indian ascetics, generally described as Gymnosophists ("naked philosophers"). Pyrrho (360-270 BCE) returned to Greece and became the first Skeptic and the founder of the school named Pyrrhonism. The Greek biographer Diogenes Laërtius explained that Pyrrho's equanimity and detachment from the world were acquired in India. Few of his sayings are directly known, but they are clearly reminiscent of sramanic, possibly Buddhist, thought: "Nothing really exists, but human life is governed by convention... Nothing is in itself more this than that". The close association between Greeks and Buddhism probably led to exchanges on the philosophical plane as well. Many of the early Mahayana theories of reality and knowledge can be related to Greek philosophical schools of thought. Mahayana Buddhism has been described as the "form of Buddhism which (regardless of how Hinduized its later forms became) seems to have originated in the Greco-Buddhist communities of India, through a conflation of the Greek Democritean-Sophistic-Skeptical tradition with the rudimentary and unformalized empirical and skeptical elements already present in early Buddhism" (McEvilly, "The Shape of Ancient Thought", p503).

In the Prajnaparamita, the rejection of the reality of passing phenomena as "empty, false and fleeting" can also be found in Greek Pyrrhonism. The perception of ultimate reality was, for the Cynics as well as for the Madhyamakas and Zen teachers after them, only accessible through a non-conceptual and non-verbal approach (Greek Phronesis), which alone allowed to get rid of ordinary conceptions. The mental attitude of equanimity and dispassionate outlook in front of events was also characteristic of the Cynics and Stoics, who called it "Apatheia". Nagarjuna's dialectic developed in the Madhyamaka can be paralleled to the Greek dialectical tradition.

CYNICISM, MADHYAMAKA AND ZEN

Numerous parallels exist between the Greek philosophy of the Cynics and, several centuries later, the Buddhist philosophy of the Madhyamika and Zen. The Cynics denied the relevancy of human conventions and opinions (described as typhos, literally "smoke" or "mist", a metaphor for "illusion" or "error"), including verbal expressions, in favor of the raw experience of reality. They stressed the independence from externals to achieve happiness ("Happiness is not pleasure, for which we need external, but virtue, which is complete without external" 3rd epistole of Crates). Similarly the Prajnaparamita, precursor of the Madhyamika, explained that all things are like foam, or bubbles, "empty, false, and fleeting", and that "only the negation of all views can lead to enlightenment" (Nāgārjuna, MK XIII.8). In order to evade the world of illusion, the Cynics recommended the discipline and struggle ("askēsis kai machē") of philosophy, the practice of "autarkia" (self-rule), and a lifestyle exemplified by Diogenes, which, like Buddhist monks, renounced earthly possessions. These conceptions, in combination with the idea of "philanthropia" (universal loving kindness, of which Crates, the student of Diogenes, was the best proponent), are strikingly reminiscent of Buddhist Prajna (wisdom) and Karuā (compassion).

Another of these philosophers, Onesicritus, a Cynic, is said by Strabo to have learnt in India the following precepts: "That nothing that happens to a man is bad or good, opinions being merely dreams. ... That the best philosophy [is] that which liberates the mind from [both] pleasure and grief")

Intense westward physical exchange at that time along the Silk Road is confirmed by the Roman craze for silk from the 1st century BCE to the point that the Senate issued, in vain, several edicts to prohibit the wearing of silk, on economic and moral grounds. This is attested by at least three authors: Strabo (64/ 63 BCE–c. 24 CE), Seneca the Younger (c. 3 BCE–65 CE), Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE). The aforementioned Strabo and Plutarch (c. 45–125 CE) also wrote about Indo-Greek Buddhist king Menander, confirming that information about the Indo-Greek Buddhists was circulating throughout the Hellenistic world.

Another century later the Christian church father Clement of Alexandria (died 215AD) mentioned Buddha by name in his Stromata (Bk I, Ch XV): "The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number of the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sarmanæ and others Brahmins. And those of the Sarmanæ who are called "Hylobii" neither inhabit cities, nor have roofs over them, but are clothed in the bark of trees, feed on nuts, and drink water in their hands. Like those called Encratites in the present day, they know not marriage nor begetting of children. Some, too, of the Indians obey the precepts of Buddha (Βούττα) whom, on account of his extraordinary sanctity, they have raised to divine honours."

Buddhist gravestones from the Ptolemaic period have also been found in Alexandria in Egypt, decorated with depictions of the Dharma wheel. The presence of Buddhists in Alexandria at this time is important, since "It was later in this very place that some of the most active centers of Christianity were established". The pre-Christian monastic order of the Therapeutae is possibly a deformation of the Pāli word "Theravāda," a form of Buddhism, and the movement may have "almost entirely drawn (its) inspiration from the teaching and practices of Buddhist asceticism". They may even have been descendants of Asoka's emissaries to the West. The philosopher Hegesias of Cyrene, from the city of Cyrene where Magas of Cyrene ruled, is sometimes thought to have been influenced by the teachings of Aśoka's Buddhist missionaries.

Zarmanochegas (Zarmarus) (Ζαρμανοχηγς) was a monk of the Sramana tradition (possibly, but not necessarily a Buddhist) who, according to ancient historians such as Strabo and Dio Cassius, met Nicholas of Damascus in Antioch while Augustus (died 14 CE) was ruling the Roman Emprire, and shortly thereafter proceeded to Athens where he burnt himself to death. His story and tomb in Athens were well-known over a century later. Plutarch (died 120 AD) in his Life of Alexander, after discussing the self-immolation of Calanus of India (Kalanos) witnessed by Alexander writes: "The same thing was done long after by another Indian who came with Caesar to Athens, where they still show you "the Indian's Monument," referring to Zarmanochegas' tomb in Roman Athens.

Although the philosophical systems of Buddhism and Christianity have evolved in rather different ways, the moral precepts advocated by Buddhism from the time of Ashoka through his edicts do have some similarities with the Christian moral precepts developed more than two centuries later: respect for life, respect for the weak, rejection of violence, pardon to sinners, tolerance.

One theory is that these similarities may indicate the propagation of Buddhist ideals into the Western World, with the Greeks acting as intermediaries and religious syncretists.

"Scholars have often considered the possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity. They have drawn attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus" (Bentley, "Old World Encounters").

The story of the birth of the Buddha was well known in the West, and possibly influenced the story of the birth of Jesus: Saint Jerome (4th century CE) mentions the birth of the Buddha, who he says "was born from the side of a virgin".

The similarity between Greek and Indian thought
The empirical world as a reflection of the true.
Proportions in the Platonic and Upanishad reflection.

The Indian thought, throughout the long history, characterized by the belief that behind streaming phenomena there is something imperishable and the Absolute, which for his knowledge and realization, the Indian esoteric tradition devoted to exclusive care. That something which Indians call Brahman, Supreme Spirit alone Reality, Unborn, eternal, self-existent, Unlimited, Unspecified are incomprehensible outside categories of cognition and not subject to any determination. Both the Vedas and the Upanishads deal with the rush of Brachman. All Indian spiritual teachers are enthusiastic students and disciples of the Upanishads. They are written in Sanskrit language and translation and the transmission of their meanings is difficult, especially for the Western world.

Sri Aurobindo states that university education is not enough, so it can lead to errors and alterations, criticizing Professor Max Muller, who tried to make a translation of "Oriental holy books", which in their study - says The Aurobindo - "man surpasses the level of thinking of the empirical world and ascends to the knowledge of the Absolute, the Eternal and unending." The Upanishads inspired every religion and philosophical system of the world. This is particularly the case with Greek philosophy as well as among them there are striking similarities, which cannot be accidental. There must be some relationship between the Upanishads with the Ionian sages, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Megasthenis, Herodotus and Plato. It seems that the above philosophers and other Greeks and Romans, had joined the Indian philosophy, the wisdom of the Vedas and Upanishads.

Special similarities exist in the books of Plato: Timaeus, State, Phaedrus, Phaedo, Theaititos, Parmenides etc. Both Plato and the Upanishads, discard the experience of the senses - that leads to the phenomenal world, the world of shadows as described in the State in the myth of the cave - with which man acquires only an impression (glory) while the other path, that of the mind leads to Knowledge (Science).

As in the Platonic texts, we have two kinds of knowledge: the lower where the experience leads to beleiving, and the higher where the uplifting of the mind leads to the "Knowledge", so in the Upanishads we are inferior to the phenomenal world, or paranidya, and superior to Brahman, or aparavidya. Plato, like the Upanishads, turns thinking and searching the world of experience to another imaginary world, "where the soul will look back and remember the immortal and eternal ideas."

Before men become aware of this reality, both in Plato and the Upanishads are like sleeping! In the project "Menon" Plato describes humans like "sleepwalker chasing ghosts" and the cation Upanishads, the Yama shouts to his student: "Awake, and take lighting." We find both Light as a symbol and as an image to denote sulfur, in Platonic texts and the Upanishads. In   State, the sun, the light of the experience world is likened to the "Good" or "Divine" the world of Ideas. The Upanishads use similarly light as symbol when referring to the Absolute Being, Brahman. In Tsantogia Upanishad we read:

"The Brahman is the sun of the universe." "The visible sun is the (apparent) form of Brahman"

AND SVETASVATARA UPANISHADS:

"Like the sun with flash illuminates all the space up, down and across, so adorable and one god, the guardian of all goodness and greatness, dominates any Cause."

This light, the Platonic word is a lamp to illuminate the inner "self" and become known beyond the narrow "I" (know thyself). This "Self" beyond the narrow ego is the reflection of society and of the ideas and the supreme Idea, the "Good" to which is related  and  from which the Enlightened One is attracted to the "memory" and the " love "(Menon, Alcibiades, Symposium). In the Upanishads the same search dominates.

The man to know the ultimate truth must  feel and experience Brahman -  "the light that illuminates all beings", the first substance that is beyond intellect - and to live the union with the Atman. Rejection of empirical knowledge turned to cognition is found almost invariant in the State. For Plato, the world of experience is the "shadow of reality." In the myth of the cave, people are shackled with their back to the light and know only the shadows projected as ghosts on the wall in front of them. But when they will be free and will look to the true light, "will be left dazzled by its great luster."

The Svetasvatara Upanishad speaks of maya, «spiritual blindness which has no real knowledge or vidya» (excerpt from "Plato and Upanishads," B. Vitsaxis). The Svetasvatara Upanishad tells us about maya, «the illusion" of the empirical world. In cation Upanishads speak of darkness into which man plunges the avidya (spiritual blindness or ignorance) and into which emerges as the ghost world of maya.

"As one can see that a dream and a magic is not real, or even a city in heaven,one can  see the entire universe is not true, the Upanishads, the Wise."
(Manduca Upanishads)
"One should know that Nature is illusion, maya»
(Svetasvatara Upanishads)

Most of us find it very difficult to maintain at all times an awareness of the limitations and relativity of the world experience. The models of reality that we create with our thoughts - because this is the easiest down a procedure - lead us to consider them as the only elements of reality and so complacent in their plausibility. One of the main objectives of the Upanishads is precisely the exemption from the above confusion and error. In cation Upanishad we read:

"Whoever heard what is not heard, will catch this which is not caught, whoever see what is not seen, whoever taste and smell what does not taste and smell, what has no beginning and end, what is the largest and the smallest yet, he will be freed from the chains of death "

The description of the Divine and Absolute (or Divine Wisdom and Science) with reason, or rather, the linguistic symbols, was recognized as something impossible from Plato, Timaeus and the Seventh Letter to Dion. Timaeus says:

"It's difficult to find the Creator and Father of the universe, and when yet figured out, it is impossible to speak about Him."

As a way of expressing the transcendent, both Plato and the Upanishads resort to the apophatic method. In trying to make a comparison, we chose two similar texts. In Parmenides, Plato argues:

"Neither any reason nor any name belongs to this. Why it is neither the whole nor parts. It is neither straightforward nor cyclical. It is neither within nor another thing to himself. It is neither in motion nor at rest. It is neither identical nor different. It is neither straight nor unequal with something else. It is neither in the past nor in the present nor in the future. "

This refusal (to something) does not necessarily mean the absence. The fact that something is neither so nor otherwise, nor this nor that, does not mean that something does not exist, but that it is something else, elusive and incomprehensible by the senses. This determination with reference to the Imperishable, the Absolute, Brahman,  in the Upanishads and is named in the Sanskrit dictum neti-neti, which means neither-nor. In Brchantaranyaka Upanishad we read:

"The indestructible is neither coarse nor fine, neither short nor long, neither glamorous (like fire) nor fluid (like water). Without shadow, without darkness, without air, without space, without resistance to the touch, without smell, without taste, without eyes, without ears, without voice, without wind, without energy, without breath, without mouth, without counting, without interior, without overseas. "

However, people want to talk about this supreme Truth and so the Indians, with their characteristic ability to wrap everything in a veil of myth, showed the Brachman like a divine entity. With special place in the sacred texts and Indian poems, place it in its deepest essence of all the gods and goddesses they worship it while they  point out and clarify that all gods and goddesses are nothing but His own reflection. In Brchantaranyaka Upanishad we read:

"People say: Believe in that God, believe in this Goddess and right. Because every god and every goddess were created by Brahman and Brahman is all the gods. "

The manifestation of Brahman at the level of the human soul is called Atman (or theosophical terminology, inner self). The myth of Indra and Virotsana referred to Chantogya Upanishads illuminates nicely the fact that we need proper and persistent quest to understand the nature of the inner self, the Atman. The inner self, the Atman, our Upanishads say, not to be confused with the body - that is only temporary residence - nor with the various levels of experience. This way one identifies with the body, the swing between pleasure and pain. When you get rid of the wrong of that identification, you no longer feel neither pleasure nor pain. When you get the true knowledge, the inner self realizes its nature as self-consciousness and bliss. In one Upanishad we read:

"The wise spirit is not born nor dies. He has not come from nowhere. Unborn, immutable, eternal, archetypal not killed when the body dies. "

In the Upanishads, the eminently "connoisseur" is the Atman, identical as the "Mind" in Plato, "which although hidden, is present as a God-given spark tying bow bright soul with the eternal." It is still remarkable for the parallelism that the myth of creation, in the Timaeus, "Mind in man" has the value of the "Mind the World Soul." As for the bright arc state on MOUNTAKI Upanishad we read: "The bow is the syllable OM, the arrow is the Atman, Brahman is the target." In Taitrigia Upanishads, the self consists of five layers (koshas) which follow one another from the outside inwards and the lower and more ylovari, to the upper and thinner. These different layers or sheaths closed as in a cage, not only inside ourselves but also in general polymorph hidden Brahman must be removed one to one so that the last inner layer to be nude "like rice by the successive peels '.

In the Republic, Plato says:
"The soul resembles Glaucus, the god of the sea that is glued onto the clams, seaweed and stones, so that no one finds it difficult to recognize it."

The Platonic conception of the soul, along with the doctrine that the purpose of philosophy and of true knowledge is the cleaning of the lower layers, its symbolic gravel and clams, the exemption of that from the physical desires, "so that it can Fly Free to the world of the true. "

The many similarities with the Upanishads, hitherto mentioned, make us think of Eusebius 315p.Ch. He speaks of a "tradition" which attributes the Aristoxenos, the well-known writer "on Harmonics" and student of Aristotle, according to which Indians Sages actually visited Athens and talked with Socrates. Reference to visit Indian Elders in Athens even contained a quote from Aristotle that was rescued from  Diogenes Laertius. The time did not distinguish between East and West.

COMPARISON OF WELFARE OF PLOTINUS WITH HINDU DHARMA

A typical example to demonstrate the existence of a common Indo-European base in India and Greco-Roman thought is comparing the Hindu Dharma by Provident theory of the philosopher Plotinus. The labeling of additional common sense and structural characteristics of the philosophy of the founder of the Neo-Platonic school of Indian philosophy, shows how direct the action to likeness with the divine through metaphysical thought and moral formation of people.

 Typical is the possibility that emerged from the surveys on the Indo-European theory to determine the existence of an ancient corpus doctrines and perceptions expressed by Neoplatonism while undetected in many societies and cultures of the ancient world. An important concept that comes from this "common culture" of antiquity is the Hindu Dharma, which corresponds to the concept of Providence, as elaborated philosophical and religious Plotinus in the 3rd century AD With Dharma and welfare emphasis on respect in a world order as an expression of a divine plan, defines the duties of man in the natural and social reality. These, like other concepts from the tradition of the school of Plotinus and Indian philosophy, concern metaphysics and cosmology, based on forms of a high morality. In the Indian philosophy this one even recognizes metaphysical differentiation of people, as shown by the cosmogony of the Vedas, especially the hymn Purusha souks.

 Usually, when referring to the Eastern influence in the work of Plotinus, is noted that the thought  falls clearly in the earlier Greek tradition, especially in the Aristotelian and Platonic thought.  However, many Western scholars with pioneering perhaps William Jones, argued that it was impossible to read the Vedanta and  not believe that Pythagoras and Plato raised high theories from the same source as the sages of India. German Indology of the 18th and 19th century were bodies and followers of the ancient culture of reality that had come to them.

It is so easy to recognize similarities of the aristocratic and classical quality thinking of the ancient Indians .

A position on the matter is that the Welfare of Plotinus refers to Hindu Dharma. The Indian term dharma cannot be translated simply as piety.  In Indian thought and Plotinus the world is not a product of coincidence. As the Welfare of Plotinus, so the Dharma connect the skilled and faithful to the divine order. Celestial bodies as deities and parts of the whole as a living organism of Plotinus, reminiscent of divine entities, which the first great Indian philosophical system to study the Dharma, the Pourva Mimamsa, assumes that they exist. The meaning of dharma has a superstitious importance, such as Providence and harmony of the whole of Plotinus concerning the magical thinking, as all parts of the world interact with each other, are based on the proportions (favorite of all). Although Plotinus did not lead to the introduction of rituals embedded in these proportions, his successors and heirs will do this step .

Many of the insights of Plotinus are similar to the thought of the Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the great epic Machamparata. The meaning of Dharma often appears in Bhagavad Gita to involve various roles, such as cousin, brother, father or mother. The dilemma of the hero Arjuna is that the battle must take into account both the Dharma of his family, and his own Dharma as a warrior. For Indian thought, if you escape from the laws of dharma world becomes chaotic, and those who break the Dharma of family and caste cause the forces of destruction.

The Dharma falling on each individual person and creature brings together a superior destiny and purpose. Similarly, Plotinus experiencing a personal experience he believed more than ever that it belonged to a higher destiny, wondering how his soul again found the body "itself." He used the last term, because he thought that the soul is like the gold in the mire, which never falls entirely from the world of the imaginary to the world of matter. Even in the Mahabharata is said that the true Dharma is hidden in a dark cave, that is in the heart. With the myth of the cave of (neo) Platonic considered mutatis mutandis that the truth is hidden from the observable universe. The Indian thought is not limited to action and Plotinus saw acting as a shadow theory. Direct contact with the incarnate-revealed wisdom is absent from the work of Plotinus, but there is in Christianity.

Still, the image of the tree in the inverted form of the root in heaven and its branches on earth describing Plotinus in his treatise "On Welfare" is similar to the Indian tradition. This picture for Plotinus symbolizes the concentration of everything in a module, which is the principle of the One. Plotinus aims to show the existence of a life of the whole that has the capacity to grow branches without losing the individual being within. The tree which was mentioned in the Indian religion was called eternal Asvatha and refers to the living universe as being an aspect of Brahman, while individual deities correspond to the branches. The experience of man immersed in this immense tree, the only possibility to drive in redemption and deified is to become the source of the whole. As Plotinus insisted on the universe of eternity which reflects the cosmic tree, thus in the Bhagavad Gita Asvatha was referred as indestructible, upturned, whose form is not broken down in the observable universe, neither the beginning, nor the end. Quite possibly the transfer of the cosmic tree is dictated by the frequent use of another transport such as sun rays.

END OF PART ONE.


PART TWO
THE "AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE» (RASA) IN INDIAN TRADITION

THE TERM "AESTETICS" applies to most of us primarily as a philosophical category, the domain of coextensive with the historic scope of the term "philosophy": a tradition rather coherent inaugurated in ancient Greek city, continues the medieval Christian world and results in the newer European -and, from a point onwards, North-American- thought. Its language is in principle Greek and Latin, with the subsequent contribution of German and Saxon languages. It is understood that other cultures, despite the undeniable contribution in various fields, did not produce something that is entitled to the name 'philosophy'. This position is now contested by many sides; certainly the crisis depends on exactly how we define the term "philosophy", however in general we can say that is wrong. If at least a part of Christian theology has obvious position on a comprehensive history of philosophical ideas, nothing prevents us to talk -for examble- for Arabic, Indian, Tibetan or Indian philosophy. The reluctance to do our due only to an implicit assumption, namely that a deficit of rationality (supposedly) paradoxically plagues all non-European peoples, which retroactively legitimizes the military, technological and economic dominance of the Europeans.

Today, that is difficult to explicitly say this without incurring the accusation of racism, this old colonial ideology has been changed in the terms of "irreducible difference ': these civilizations are in any event different, altogether foreign to us, and since the worldview presupposes given understanding concepts and ways of thinking follows that represent something hermetically impenetrable for the European consciousness - something which we in practice ignore. The concept of difference, axis of an extensive field of discussions identified with philosophical postmodernism of today, is not less metaphysical than the theological meaning of quite another, which constitutes its most direct ancestor. If we refuse to place the principle dualistic ontology of Plato, and a certain monotheistic tradition, we realize that nothing in the large community of real science is quite different to something else: nothing is absolutely identical with himself, absolutely nothing different from everything else, everything is already cracked and already complex mediated in countless ways. In the field of history this applies much more clearly. Understanding between cultures is not initiated without preconditions and especially today; the mediations are already many successively scaled - missionaries, colonialism, travel literature, social anthropologists, alternative movements with exotic spiritual research- creating a densely networked background for new comparative conceptualizations. It is also educative that for them the "others" Western culture is far from most other: African, Arab, Indian, Chinese, Japanese scholars studying intensively today western science, Marxism, phenomenology, the neopragmatism, psychoanalysis, the metastructuralism and consider self-evident that they have to incorporate them in their own tradition and in their own frame of mind. If Westerners refuse to do the same, only due to spiritual sloth this is resulting from the arrogance of their practical power.

In cultures that developed impressive artistic traditions are expected to meet some kind of aesthetic reflection, regardless of what form it is or how far it has survived to us. And when it comes to cultures also developed elaborate and centuries-old textual traditions, it becomes much more likely to encounter an organized aesthetic thinking with the meaning it has for us the term - thinking that sets similar to our own problems and oriented in related or similar answers. The Indian culture is probably the most wonderful such example.

The most important contribution of Indian thought in the global aesthetic philosophy is the concept of rasa. The suggestibility of poetic form is ultimately the bond that connects the word with vision or experience - and it is precisely this experience which explains the hardly explicable term rasa. The first thing to bear in mind, therefore, is that the rasa does not name something that can be positively identified as a natural object or form, but a type of lived experience: it is not something you "know" but something that we feel. A famous saying says that a poem without rasa is like a marriage without love; and as no one can make us intentionally fall in love, in the same way cannot make us experience rasa. The second thing that is essential for this idea is that the concept of rasa is inseparably encompassed by the vision of the author, the specific power of artistic work and aesthetic experiential response of the cultured reader. Already in the Vedic era is emphasized the unity of the poet and the listener, and in subsequent discussions, the aesthetic theory of recruitment or the reader, as you would say today, occupies considerably a big part of it. The aesthetically sensitive reader, the sahrdaya, often called rasika: is one who can be identified, ideally with the poet that enliven through the whole poetic vision and poetic emotion. We can therefore say preliminarily that the rasa is identified with what we call aesthetic shiver, a mysterious and difficult expressible quality captured only by its effects; the closest equivalent in Western thought is perhaps the Kantian concept of the sublime (reinterpretation and transformation, the idea of the height suggested by Longinus in the 1st century AD ). Because of its unexpressed and fleeting character rasa is paralleled by many Indian critics -although not completely identically- with religious or generally ecstatic experiences. The Ampinavagkoupta says that if you touch it with minimal roughness, it fades and disappears like a flower, and Anantavarntana says that the best thing we can do for it is to be silent.

The first important Literature of the Classical period, in which amongst other things we owe the first extensive negotiation of rasa, has been the Bharata's. Bharata nevertheless refers to the origin of this idea in Valmiki, the semi-mythical author of Ramayana who thanks to an early modern means of denotation trick appears in the very plot of the epic. There appears to say that true poetry "is not the product of intelligent manufacturing but the spontaneous outpouring of a heart flooded with rasa». Bharata  explains this concept developping a complex theory of aesthetically mediated emotions. The question is to understand what constitutes an aesthetically mediated emotion in the Indian world. It is clear than any emotion is not a rasa unless they are stimulated aesthetically: only one emotion caused and solved by artistic means is free from pathological potential that accompanies common, derived from the unconscious layers of emotions and amounts, regardless of what kind passions are at the starting point, to pure and redemptive joy. The creator to push  at the height of this experience must be selfless and detached from any personal aiming, fear or desire, able to meditate on the peaceful life situations without being affected by them. What thus captures and transmits through his work is according to a nice wording of Bharata, "the thrill of emotion." This secondary processing of emotion is the quintessence of aesthetic experience. But is such an experience "true"? Certainly not in the way that is the ordinary experiences of life. The Ampinavagkoupta, the greatest commentator of Bari, likens it to the artistic experience of the dream. In a sense, nothing is truly happening in the outside world: it would be ridiculous to fall in love with a character of drama or to be scared by a demonic presence on stage; in another aspect, the emotion is present and cataclysmic, although transient, and once experienced is truer than anything happens out in everyday life. Like the dream, can also have a lasting and transformative impact on the psyche of the listener / viewer. This cathartic element (in the sense that we are familiar from Aristotle) is actually one of the reconnaissance effects of rasa - the therapeutic character.

The other element that is undoubtedly familiar to every western philosophical aesthetics, from Aquinas to Kant, is selfless detachment that characterizes the aesthetic pleasure. We saw how critical is this component to the experience of rasa · and this somehow makes us think of the relationship between aesthetic and moral attitude. For the Indians, as for younger Europeans, aesthetic experience cannot be first unrelated to morality since it requires selflessness and detachment and selflessness is the root of all worthy of the name of morality. The moral attitude but suggests much more than simple detachment; it is essentially active, oriented purposes and requires forms of action in the public world, which by definition are excluded from the aesthetic attitude. The sole purpose of the latter is free from all feasibility meditation - which repeatedly makes the parallels in the Indian world with the experience of yogi (which has in itself nothing particularly moral). In general, the interests of the Indian world is more than moral epistemology, and in this respect the experience of rasa described much more often akin to the vision of truth. Yet here requires a substantial mitigation: the truth is not the truth conceptually articulated philosophy but the instantaneous intuitive flare featuring the more religious-type experiences enlightenment. Identifier to these experiences is the feeling of bliss that accompanies them, a joy which no fear and no desire can not be eclipsed. Says an old Vedic saying, only the man who has defeated selfishness and confronts the highest truth is in ecstatic jubilation because they're focused will always see the glory of Brahman. Essence of this bliss is to overcome individualism and identification with the infinite cosmic reality; and until someone stand able to permanently achieve, poetry --the Art-- is the only medium offering an occasional glimpse of this ideals of later life.

In the Indian world, the individual arts represent special codes morphic irreducible directly with each other, but which at the second level communicate and are potentially translatable via a fundamental anthropological correlation. And the depth of this correlation is always found the regulatory concept of rasa. As regards an art with such different media and construction techniques from poetry, like painting, its recurrence is that notifies us about the corresponding artistic effect. It is characteristic that in Santagka work, or the six rules of painting, which transcribed the painter Ampanintranath Tagore, brother of poet Rabindranath, in the early twentieth century from an old Sanskrit manuscript, 8 in six traditional construction principles -roupampenta (principle of morphological differentiation ) pramanani (measures, proportions, perspective view), Bava (of mind), take-giotzanam (artistic freedom or individuality) santrisiam (rhetorical methods of analogies with poetry), Varna-Baga (technique of coloring) - add two Latest dominant principles: rhythm (tschanta) and rasa (which the Giulio Cayman translates as "good taste"). The rasa certainly is, as we have seen, much more ... In any case it has become clear that, at the level of technical discussions, represents a critical transition point from a peculiar morphological field  to any particular art in single experiential field that enables artistic creativity and artistic delight in general, and at whose imaginary sources are potentially translatable and / or the effects of all the individual arts.

Only thus the idea of a deeper unity of the arts together was born in the Indian culture . Although each individual art is an expressive unit field, the common structure of unexpressed whole is reflected inside it , which itself constitutes an isomorphic image.

Ancient common roots of Indian and Greek music

There are signs that the Greek and Indian music share common musical Indo-European roots. Today's adventurous musicians, based on current scientific information, inspired by the system of Vedic hymns in order to reach the ancient musical modes, whose tradition was lost from Greece.

In India, the development of music associated with the historical evolution. During Ringside-Vedic era, 3.000-2.5000 BC, the ancient Indians used to accompany their sacred ceremonies with hymns. Musicians rules regulating these hymns, recorded in Vedic scriptures and preserved until today, giving detailed reports of musical art of those times. The geographer Strabo (67p.Ch.-23 AD) argues that the ancient Greeks were the musicians how mainly in Indian music.

It is said that Pythagoras brought in Greece from the East the seven notes scales, the three octaves, like in the ancient musical system of ways. Modern scholars argue that Egyptians and Pythagoreans transferred to Byzantines and Arabs the most basic concepts of Indian music, while at the end of the Middle Ages musical concepts were known in the rest of Europe.

It is assumed, therefore, that the ancient Greek music had common roots with the Indian, or at least with the then international system of "modes", but whose delivery has maintained unchanged only Indians. Perhaps these similarities are explained by the relatively new theories, talking about immigration Dravidians  or Prodravidians tribes in ancient times by Greek territories to India.
END OF PART TWO.


PART THREE
INFLUENCES OF MODERN INDIA  AND INDIAN ART ON MODERN GREECE’S CULTURE

There are many similarities in language, grammar, mythology and philosophy of these two civilizations, such numbers' two δύο '(dva-) and' seven επτά '(sapta-), the adjectives' broad ευρύς' (uru-) and 'sweet ηδύς  '(svādu-) etc. As regards the inclination of the names in the two languages ​​have dual number, unlike other Indo-European languages ​​not available. In philosophy, the Socratic Anaximander taught the Infinite as the first and ultimate strength (or Authority) and Xenophanes the one God who creates with his will alone, while in India the Upanishads are the supreme authority of the universe unlimited and unique spirit of Brahman the will which emanates or set up. And numerous other...

The world was one and it was a good sign for the future of man that, so early in history, Greek and Indian spirituality met and left such a favorable influence each other. The world today, as yesterday, requires the synthesis of both. The goods and the Wise not distinguish man from man, people by people. Citizens of the world are an example of WORLD BROTHERHOOD.

The search of the Elders of Eleatic School (Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno) to a reality that lies behind the material phenomena is much like the search for the visionaries of Upanishads for "that which when it becomes known, are all known." One can thus choose at random if the same sayings uttered by sages in all countries and at different times, to show that all of them belong to the same spiritual family.

The performer of the Upanishads teach: "Realizing the Self» (atmaman viddhi) and Socrates said, "Know thyself."

Isokrates observes that "the Greek title belongs rather to those who share our culture than to those who have blood like us.". And Swami Vivekananda adds: "The Greeks may be foreigners, but those among them who have rooted their Wisdom is worthy of respect. When it comes to the Wisdom and the Divine, there is no distinction between compatriots and foreigners. "

Being the most eastern country of the Western Europe and due to its history, Greece was and continues to be a buffer as well as a bridge between the occidental and oriental cultures.
The Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture and Development (EL.IN.E.P.A.) is a civil, non-governmental and non-  profit-making  society that was founded in July 2003 with registration number 8591 at the Athens Court. The Society is administered by a Board of Directors consisting of nine members and has advisors and counselors.

The aim of the Society is the growth of the Indo-Hellenic educational, social, cultural and developmental co-operation resulting in the aesthetic, moral and intellectual uplift of the individual, development of the universal thought, transcultural dialogue and peaceful coexistence of the people. In order to fulfill the above objectives, the EL.IN.E.P.A. proceeds with the following activities:

Publications:
– Publishes books, dictionaries and translations on Indo-Greek and Indological subjects.
– Maintains the website and publishes photographical archives, research papers and an Intercultural forum.
– Records musical CD’s and produces scientific documentaries.
Education and Research:
– Carries out scientific research in social and humanitarian sciences in Greece and the Indian Subcontinent.
– Organizes lectures, projections, seminars and courses in relative subjects.
– Encourages introduction in teaching of the Indological and South Asian Studies in the Greek Universities.
Cultural Events:
– Organizes programs of classical, traditional and modern music performances.
– Organizes art exhibitions.
– Organizes cultural tours in Greece and India.
Aid and Development:
– Encourages the growth of the commercial and industrial collaboration as well as the establishment of the Indo-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
– Provides legal and research assistance to businessmen and immigrants through a network developed in Greece and India.
– Provides scholarships for basic education or professional specialization to financially challenged students of the Indian Peninsula.
– Provides social aid for victims of calamities, refugees, immigrants, and others in need.
Hindi songs were presented as Greek (1950 - 1965)

Although the Indian literature has not translated enough to Greece, India is known to us for its rich poetic tradition (classic epic Mahabharata, 18 odes 100,000 couplets for each song - five times larger in area than the Divine Comedy - estimated as a very important asset of world poetry scene).

I feel that the perception of Western man, completely alien to the Asian temperament and psychic origins, is a powerful obstacle to an approach and deeper connection with this kind of poetry. Characteristic of these works is simplicity (inherent in the overall spirit of the Asian culture) and the unpretentious form, images of a lively nature and the constant conversation with the natural elements personified and converse giving the appropriate transcendental material. In younger poets, though, I see there is a marked departure from the classic structures and thematic and one can recognize them the rejuvenating trend of freer glance.

The Asian field is almost completely unknown, hiding countless treasures and lessons especially for us who inhabit modern stone jungle of globalization and migration and we must find common points of reference. Apart from the need for communication and mutual understanding, which are anyway essential, there is need for learning. The emerging East with the worsening contradictions, has much to contribute to the social cauldron, ready to explode.

A cultural "invasion" of India to Greece happened in the 15 years from 1950 to 1965, full of colors, dances, music and songs. The "Trojan Horse" was the Indian cinema, which won the Greek audience with melodramatic works, full of emotion, and filled the halls. Films like the musical "Barsaat" or "Awaara" (The bum of Mumbai) and "Mother India" (Earth soaked with sweat) and artists like Lata Mangeshkar, the Raj Kapoor and Nargis charmed Greeks.

Hundred films were presented in Greece, not always the best, with social, erotic, historical or mythological themes. The songs in Indian films were not interpreted by the same actors as believed, but by famous playback singers. Top among women were the singers Lata and Shamshad famous among men was Mukesh. The composers who dominated the soundtrack of Indian films was Naushad and Shankar - Jaikishan.

What   the Greek spectators liked in most Indian films were their songs. This excited the business acumen of some popular Greek composers who remix or copied Indian songs with Greek lyrics and presented them as their own creations (officially recorded 108 songs). In this way the invasion of India and Greek music was inevitable. Surprisingly those songs throughout the Greek discography in the decades 1950-1960 although represent a small percentage of the total amount of the songs of this period became nonetheless over time, we might say, classic. They became some of the most representative "Greek" folk songs of that period. Famous examples: "This night remeinss", "my poor Heart," "A much you deserve ", etc., from singers like M. Angelopoulos, St. Kazantzidis, O. Panos, B. Palla, etc.

A book has recently released  about "Indoprepon revelation (From India exoticism in folk muse Greek) / Helen Ambatzi - Manuel Tasoulas / Ed. Path and the CD:" The Indoprepi "-" The Homecoming of Mantoumpala "- "The Song of Nargis."
Here are 3 such indicative songs with elements for each authentic Indian song (title translation, film) and the corresponding Greek (title, "composer", year, performer).
As for modern Indian poetry many books of Indian poets were translated in Greek and published in Greece by many publishing houses. You can see some of these in the catalogue below for this year’s period
END OF PART THREE.



PART FOUR
RABINDRANATH TAGORE

The enlightened teacher RABINDRANATH Tagore, was one of the most brilliant figures of the modern era - a multifaceted genius, at once poet, painter, philosopher, Nobel Laureate and above all a humanist. In Poetry and masterful prose RABINDRANATH Tagore transfers to the outside world the inherent properties of our close relationship with nature, the search for truth, and a sense of solidarity and community that transcends and debunks the conceivable barriers of religion, race and language. It was many years ago when I met Tagore. Scurrying to the municipal library of my city, looking for treasures buried in the dust.

I fell on the strange name: Rabindranath. It was a small book, entitled "Lampyrides" (fireflies in Greek). I read a few lines and left with three books on my arms. The first contact with this Indian genius was shocking, although I had read oriental philosophy and Hermann Hesse. When the Western world first met him in 1912, he knew very little about this other way of thinking. So Tagore won Europe and the US within a year. Tagore's family belonged to the highest caste. He was starred in "Bengal Renaissance" as he dubbed the flowering of arts and letters in that province of British Empire. Most of the thirteen brothers of Rabindranath were intellectuals, artists, musicians and writers. (Only one became a football player). He was a homo universalis, a polymath who dealt with every science, every art and philosophy. 

In 1912, when he was fifty years old, he had gained recognition in India, but the rest of the world was waiting for him. That year decided to accompany his son to England to study. The trip lasted two months aboard and Rabindranath wrote lyrics in English during that trip.
It was like poetry quotations small lampyrides, fireflies, which seemed to contain in a few words all the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita (some of them you can read at the end of the text). 

When they arrived in England the suitcase of Tagore, along with notebooks and poems, was lost or stolen. He was indifferent to the loss. But a few days later, the suitcase appeared unexpectedly. I would like to believe that the thief read his poems and repented, but it would sound very fictional. Tagore gave his notebooks to some English friends. They went to the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (known as WB Yeats)

"These poems shook my blood as nothing else for years," said Yeats. Some of those poems were published immediately. What followed resembles the mania for the Beatles. Tagore became a pop idol, even before they introduced the term "pop". The Ezra Pound compared Tagore with Dante. Andre Gide, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Boris Pasternak translated his poems into French, Spanish and Russian. In Germany he praised Thomas Mann. A year after his meeting with the Western world, in 1913, Tagore received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first, not only Asian but the first non-European who received this distinction. His fans in Europe and the US, were waiting at the train stations, to see him, to kiss his hand. Some fainted from emotion. One of  Tagore’s black moments were his meeting with Mussolini in Rome in 1926. Tagore said that Benito was undoubtedly a great personality and that he seemed to have come out of a painting of Michelangelo. Moreover he said that fascism was a glittering Renaissance in Italy. It was not the only one who committed this error. The Futurists like Marinetti strongly supported fascism.

The same happened with Ezra Pound, the great American poet, who resulted in a cage when his compatriots invaded Italy. And let's not forget Heidegger, who supported Nazism. Sometimes the darkness is so dazzling that resembles light. In 1915 he was honored by King George of England with a knighthood, which declined in 1919 to protest the slaughter of innocent people in the city Amritsar from the English army. He was interested in education and pedagogy and in 1901 founded the Valmpour, 150 km away from Calcutta, a free teaching faculty, which in 1922 changed into an international university. 

From 1924 onwards he traveled a lot and visited several countries, among them Greece. His works were translated into many European languages. Characteristic features in his poetry is the secrecy and sensitivity. Tagore was not only a poet. As we have said was involved in every science. And is philosophical relics meet  with the man who established the physics in the twentieth century, another pop idol, Albert Einstein. The journalist who recorded the first debate between them writes: "It was very interesting to see them together. Tagore, the poet in  the head of the intellectual. And Einstein, the thinker in the head of the poet. To  an observer they seemed like two planets who were engaged in a friendly chat."

The New York Times had published a photograph, subtitled: "A mathematician and a mystic meet in Manhattan." The ultimate scientist, Einstein, believed in some god who does not play dice, although declared atheist. The god was the Truth, which exists outside of man and without him. Tagore, the adept believed that the truth, the reality, can only be understood in terms of our mental interpretations, based on what we think and we grasp. Something similar was also claimed by Bohr, the founder of quantum mechanics: "The objective existence of the world has no meaning independent of " the human mind ". Deep wells of mind. Quantum mechanical showed that the observer affects the observed (see the living dead cat of Schrödinger). But whoever claims to have understood quantum mechanics, has not understood. It works, but in some incomprehensible way. Tagore, the adept, seems to be approaching more modern science than Einstein, the mathematical. "God not only plays dice, but he throws them and places them where we do not see," said Hawkins. There is a picture, from the office of Einstein, the day he died. If not deterred from the chaos up there, you'll notice a philosophy volume on the right. Albert sought the truth everywhere, it was his god. Tagore had understood that we cannot separate the intuitive than logical, mathematics than poetry. The spirit progresses as it seeks untold.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge has no limits."

Wise is the one who is trying to learn, and is conscious of his ignorance. Anyone who claims to own the truth is either a charlatan or idiot or politician.

Fireflies.

The one without the other is emptiness, the other makes it true.
The burden of self is lightened when I laugh at myself.
The weak can be terrible, because they try furiously to appear strong.
The world is the ever-changing foam that floats on the surface of a sea of ​​silence.
The sea of ​​danger, doubt and denial around man's little island of certainty, challenges him to dare the unknown.
I leave no traces of wings in the air, but I’m glad I have had my flight.
The world knows that the few are more that the many.
Love is an endless mystery for it has nothing else to explain it.
Beauty knows to say, «Enough». Barbarism clamors for still more.
I am able to love my God, because he gives freedom to deny him.
The greed for fruit misses the flower.
Truth loves its limits for there it meets the beautiful.
Between the shores of Me and You, there is the loud ocean, my own surging self, which I long to cross.
True end is not the reaching of the limit, but in completion which is limitless.
My last salutations are to them who knew me imperfect and love me.
When death comes and whispers to me,
«Your days are ended», let me say to him,
«I have lived in love and in mere time».
He will ask, «Will your songs remain?»
I shall say, «I know not, but this I know, that often when I sang
I found my eternity »

Through his writings, he expressed again the wisdom of  ancient India meeting the pace of the modern times.  RABINDRANATH Tagore visited Greece in 1926, when traveling in Europe. 'The logic and metaphysics, without which there can reflect no man of the West, were incorporated into the spiritual baggage of humanity" said Tagore about the achievements of the ancient Greeks. The great poet has in generally the thought in Greek poetry as it influenced the same way the whole world. Many books of the poet were translated in Greek, there were many articles and researches from Universities ,  ELINEPA  and others on Tagore’s excellent personality which reflects many of the Indo –Greek influences generated among the centuries as previously have been analyzed. 

Here’s a small video of a simple Greek person who translated poems of Tadore and mad of them a video.

The Indian Council of World Affairs organized an International Conference on “Rabindranath Tagore – Envoy of India: His Vision of India and the World”.  The Conference was held on 9-10 May, 2013 at Sapru House, New Delhi. The outline of this conference was a commemorative volume on Tagore’s travels and his vision of India and the World. The Conference provided a forum to scholars from the 34 countries  that Tagore visited for discussion on his global legacy as an envoy of India, highlighting his vision of independent India in a peaceful and unified world free from strife and conflict. Two scholars and members of ELINEPA attended the Conference from Greece, Dr. Dimirios Vassiliadis, who spoke on “Tagore’s historical journey to Greece” and Dr. Andreas Katonis who spoke on “Tagore and the Delphic Idea”. The Conference offered the opportunity to improve our understanding of Tagore’s contemporary relevance. This included an exploration of his travels to countries ranging from Japan to Argentina and the extent to which he succeeded in creating an enduring legacy. It also demonstrated the extent to which Tagore’s journeys influenced his own views of the universal Man and the world as a whole. How was he influenced by the culture and traditions of the countries he visited? How did his thoughts impact the overseas audience? How did these voyages contributed to his philosophy of internationalism, humanism and spiritual unity and religion of man? Since then many tribute to Tagore had organized at lieast by ELINEPA. Celebrating the 150 years from the birth of Rabindranath Tagore, the EL.IN.E.P.A. organized in co-operation with the Indian Embassy in Athens two events dedicated to the National Poet of India and Bangladesh.

The first event took place on the 5th February at the Cultural Center “Floisvos” of Municipality of Palaio Faliro. In the beginning of the event the Ambassador of India Mr. Tsewang Topden released the  commemorate volume on Tagore’s 150th Birth Anniversary that was published by EL.IN.E.P.A. After Ambassador’s introductory speech on life and work of Tagore, the President of EL.IN.E.P.A. spoke about Tagore’s philosophy and Prof. Andreas Katonis on the common vision shared by the poets, Tagore and Sikelianos. Ms Panagiota Koronia, a student of Hindi, presented Tagore’s poems. After the speeches, the documentary “The Story of Gitanjali” was screened and the program ended with Kostas Kalaitzis who presented songs of Tagore. In the event participated numerous artists from the Artistic Association Technosphera who had exhibited their works in the hall of Floisvos and made a suitable atmosphere for the whole celebration.

The second celebration took place a few days later on the 22nd March at the Hall of the Youth Center of the Municipality of Chalandri, Athens where a photo exhibition was presented by the Embassy of Bangladesh. In the celebration spoke the Ambassador of India, the Ambassador of Bangladesh and the Mayor of Chalandri Mr. Giorgos Kourasis. The event continued until late with Kostas Kalaitzis’ songs and Nektarios Mitritsakis’ ragas in Sitar.

The documentary “The Story of Gitanjali” on the Life and work of Tagore (30′ English with Greek subtitles prepared by the students of EL.IN.E.P.A.) was screened sometime later by the Kontra TV channel.

The last one such event about Tagore happened this year Sunday, April 26and it was about Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore – Founders of the Modern Indian Thought .

Anyway Internet is full of posts about Tagore in Greek. I think his poetry is very near the spirit which still pervades modern Greek intelligentsia, the ancient Greek Spirit. We enough analyzed above how the cultural origins of the poet connect with this Spirit through the centuries. Furthermore a quote of the great poet is “ I believe in the true come together of West with the East.”

To conclude let’s pay attention to the old and beloved book by Rabindranath Tagore, "The Religion of the poet."

Culture, according to the Greek dictionary of Babiniotis is the combination of physical and spiritual achievements (or products of action) of a society. But Tagore does a lot less technocratic approach to the concept of culture and of course, much more poetic.
Culture, says Tagore, is the crowning of good manners!

In his time, a hundred years ago, someone could talk about good manners! In our time, no. We shake off the oppressive education, of how it is appropriate to treat others in order to feel that we honor and respect them. And it almost doesn't concern us,  if they treat us accordingly. Or when we are concerned, we respond in a way not at all  civilized.

It is very difficult, being able to have the measure of our acts.

"In seeking freedom, we reach the promiscuity, seeking democracy we end up in the misuse of ideas and the operation of " opponents ".

But, according also to Tagore, to reach culture in a comprehensive level requires "patience, composure and a comfort atmosphere."

But we will get patience only when we cease to have desires, because "our desires are always rushing to meet, rushing pushing one another, they are violent and brazen. They do not know rest and have no patience to achieve their purpose." All this is well known in our modern lives.

For the poise, the ability ie of self control in order to maintain a metron in our aims, as it is clear, we do not possess it and will not obtain, as long as our culture rests complacent in history and every modern achievements dedicated 'in Greece' are personal, individual creations of some persons who have set targets, mastered their self and imposed to him the minimum "comfort" to express their creative talent.

The comfort is a concept that wants particular attention to understanding. Because usually the economic, political or social comfort, enhance the desires and our culture is confined to superficial social rituals of politeness.

The greatest creations were made in times and conditions tight and hard.

When appropriate external conditions do not exist, are replaced by the internal discipline of the creators. Then the spirit seeks the inner atmosphere of freedom, it installs it and creates.
The atmosphere of comfort  for Tagore though refers in a transcendent behavior which it should adopt gladly someone to confirm "good manners" . Because "the real courtesy (as friendly and caring disposal) is a creation, such as painting and music.

It is a harmonious combination of voice, gestures, movements, words and acts, with whom expressed a polite behavior. "

So culture according Tagore is this constant mood of kindness, which "reveals exactly the man and has no other another object than him."

All other achievements and activities of "civilized" people is culture, to the extent based on harmonization of mental courtesy of persons forming a specific society with feelings of mutual respect, solidarity, mutual acceptance and responsibility.

This love is what makes a man civilized and it is the foundation of a civilized society.

It is certainly a very deep and meaningful view on culture, a penetrating gaze of the Indian Nobel Laureate Poet P. Tagore, who still had the sensitivity to say, that "For someone to write a really unsettling book, it is very likely to be considered as energy risky. On the other hand however, be silenced may be a sin. "

As you perhaps know I am a poetess, a Greek poetess and Tagore often inspired me, as I meet him often through poetical exchanges between me and my  Indian and Bangladeshian fb friends. One of my poems, in which his words inspired me, is the poem below. A Tagore’s quote is its title.

MIND ALL LOGIC  IS KNIFE ALL BLADE, HAND'S BLEEDING~(RABINDRANATH TAGORE QUOTE)
Sometimes I fear that
I avoided reasonably nothing and never
which I tried to avoid.

Nothing of what I
extirpate in fury doesn't just stay aside to
wither quietly.

How many times I
rejected you! How many times I said “This is the end.
I won't go crazy !”

Feelings have different
specific weight between people, so different
between me and you.

I sink because of
them, you float just by not confronting them.
We are not alike !

How would I solve this ?
Love doesn't get cured by a different love, it always  fakes
playing hide 'n seek ...

I sit idly by ,
waiting... Life comes swinging herself pretty fancy
and I ignore her!

Logic, sharp dagger!
How you stab me ruthlessly , you annihilate me! Ach!
Wish I was mindless!

Damn me! I did all
in my life consciously, I never had the trump
of mental lightness ...
END OF PART FOUR.
©CHRYSSAVELISSARIOU2013

SOURCES:

[CHRYSSA VELISSARIOU]



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