Saturday, October 4, 2008

One source (the best sauce?)

I have long enjoyed the way similar, or identical stories about saints trickle down in different faith traditions. For example, I read a book called Tzaddik in Our Times, by Simcha Raz, about "The Rabbi of The Prisoners" - Reb Aryeh Levine, a saintly man who helped Jewish guerillas who were resisting the British Occupation of Israel. Many of the sayings attributed to him I found repeated in a book "by" Papaji (Sri Harilal Punjaji) and there attributed to Saint Kabir. What is comforting about this is not the lack of veracity in the attribution of authorship in these different faith traditions, or that the nuggets of wisdom contained in these stories and sayings generally seem to have to be attributed to a figure who has been clearly "identified" with that faith tradition (and not someone from without it), but the fact that these traditions make the message hearable to their audience by attributing it to someone who is "within" and not "without" the tradition, and therefore is both unthreatening and speaks with a certain authority. In this way the receptivity of the target audience is 'guaranteed'...more soon

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