The Black Stone

The Black Stone
Carlos Acózar Gómez 

- I think, my friends, that every journey in space is a journey in time but, at the same time, it implies another journey towards the interior of the traveler, a rediscovery of the self, which will return to the outside expressing a new, renewed being. , more natural in its character and idiosyncrasy, more spontaneous. Like the boulder shaped by the river of life. I see him as the explorer of new lands and even as the warrior who advances through hostile territories, always alert to any sign, to the slightest change. If you allow me the pedantry, for me the traveler, conscious or not of it, moves in six dimensions: the three spatial and three temporal: past, present and future, the latter being understood as a becoming intuitable for the human imagination. 
- It would be, Sir Albert, what is commonly understood as the initiatory journey, where not only landscape and peasantry are discovered but the traveler ends up knowing himself, in the Delphic sense of the poet of Sición: "Know yourself".
- Of course, friend Rabindranath. Odisseus, Jason or Xenophon were above all travellers, and also Herodotus, Pythagoras, Aristotle or Plato. And stateless as well, as universal men, their homeland was their body, the vehicle through which the self expresses itself and recognizes itself. Man, all of humanity, grows exponentially to the same extent as his understanding of the world expands. Do you agree Mohandas?
- Obviously, although I would never have been able to express it like you. The importance of this concept of travel, a metaphor for human existence itself, is evidenced by the wide proliferation, since ancient times and in all religions, of sanctuaries and pilgrimage centers. Already the Eanna of Sumer, temple of Anu, lord of heaven, and of his mother-wife-daughter-sister Inanna, was the object of pilgrimage, more than five thousand years ago.
- Haha...! Certainly, but it's not surprising knowing the publicity of its three classes of hetairs, apart from eunuchs and prostitutes... Something like Baden-Baden or Bad Ems but with less morality if possible...
- The House of Heaven is the first known brothel name, the firstborn!
- Surely there were long before but we have lost track of them, Rabindranath.
- Some more tea, Sir Albert?
- Of course, is it true camellia green tea or does it look like it to me?
- You have a good palate, Sir Albert, it is camellia tea grown in Santiniketan.
- As delicious as anything Rabindranath Tagore touches.
- Thank the cultivators who give me their harvest so that I can share it with our beloved mahatma, since I know little about its cultivation and care. And you know that Mohandas prefers rauwolfia.
- It has been advised to me a long time ago and it has helped me a lot when I have been weakened - and almost anemic - from prolonged fasts. Now it has become almost essential to me, like bhang to the Sivaites.
- Well, a little, very little, you resemble Shiva's disciples. I think I have heard you sing but never, to date, dance.
- You will see me dancing, perhaps, the day when India will be free and independent. 
- When you talked about the trip you reminded me of a curious experience that happened to me in South Africa, about thirty years ago. I was standing on a street corner with a bundle of the paper we published for the abused and exploited Indian community when a strangely dressed man stopped before me. Over the typical Muslim djellaba he wore a very old leather jacket, with layers of dry dirt like circles of tree trunks that recall difficult years of survival. Yet he looked as clean and freshly washed as the neat and threadbare djellaba, which he had cut off at the thighs and was stuffed into a pair of mended and patched riding boots that reached to his knees.
- Curious character.
- You'll see. While I looked at him somewhat puzzled, he smiled half a step in front of me, reading a headline from the newspaper that I held in my hands...
- In Hindi?
- Yes, Sir Albert, in Hindi. We looked at each other and, still smiling, he told me with an accent worthy of New Delhi or Baranasi: “It is true that no brilliant stone, however large or valuable, is worth the life of a man, however the smaller".
- We deduce the headline of your newspaper.
- Yes, it is easy to infer that South Africa, diamonds and exploitation always go together. Then he added: "But a dark stone like ignorance tore the hymen of our pure mother, fertilized her and because of her we are all brothers today". I hesitated thinking about the meaning of his words and, seeing me hesitate, he continued: “Heaven is merciful and, when death seems to dominate life and evil over good, the seed of new blood, of regeneration or, in today's words, of revolution, flows from its heart. So it was and so it will be". "I don't quite understand you, friend", I admitted as I offered him my hand. He shook it vigorously and told me his name: Abu Arslan Kavir Gamil.
- Turkish maybe? 
- Certainly, like almost all of Asia. Although when questioned he smiled and stated: "Mountaineer, a mountaineer who travels the plains of the wind". The conversation became so pleasant that he invited him to have a cup of tea in my hut, which he gladly accepted. He insisted on helping me carry the bundle of newspapers, despite my resistance, and we walked in silence because the weight was considerable; people didn't read much... He read while the one above disapproving with head gestures the painful facts that we denounced there and of which you are well aware: Africans, Hindus, Chinese and Muslims were slave meat for the Dutch and British.
- And they still are.
- Especially the Africans who should own their land.
- It's the same in India. 
- And, all things considered, even in England and the "civilized" Western monarchies, all of foreign origin and related to each other. 
- It is a truth so obvious that it is rarely considered, Sir Gandhi.
-The friend Kavir told me later pieces of his happy story. He had been born in a place in central Turkey near the famous city of Konya but neither in a village nor in any house but in an ancient sanctuary carved into the rock in which large and mysterious bas-reliefs had been carved, apparently a procession of princes, kings and gods.
- It could be the famous Hittite sanctuary of Yazilikaya, only this one is in the open.
-Well, according to Kavir a terrible earthquake occurred a week after his birth and collapsed the rocky cover of the sanctuary, revealing it to the eyes of the world. 
- What an omen!
-I exclaimed the same thing, Mr. Einstein, and Kavir affirmed that a dervish had predicted the earthquake and its meaning to his parents: The child that was to be born would reveal to the world the most secret and hidden arcanes.
- Huge task, considering the magnitude of our ignorance! 
- He did not seem very distressed by her, on the contrary, he stated: "Each answer has its question and each doubt its certainty, you only have to question who knows and be broad-minded to understand the many meanings of the answer".
- Elementary, when you have someone to ask.
- For him, Sir Albert, the mouth is everywhere, waiting for the question to answer. 
- God, of course.
- Rather not, for Kavir. He openly laughed at God, just as Gautama Buddha did not conceive of the existence of a creator and even less of a guide; he spoke of "the gods of men" as one more part of their clothing, an element of temporary fashion that all rich societies experience, like a hairstyle or a female hat that is discarded and changed for a new one when it loses its attractive. For Kavir, religions were the absurd justification of the irrational power and government that dominates the world, where a few with no more merit than their fortunes, always of criminal origin due to theft, plunder, exploitation or looting, maintain intolerable privileges and titles with which they manage societies that they themselves describe as democracies and civilized at will. For these unscrupulous people, any progress in the education of the people is a serious danger to their interests, which is why their priests control the schools and the minds of their students and put so much effort into keeping education at more anachronistic and dogmatic levels. what scientists. 
- I must admit, to my regret, that your friend was right.
- I also had to approve his words and reflect on them afterwards, mahatma. Perhaps it was he who inspired me with the idea that would germinate in my novel Gora. 
- You are right. I felt that existential doubt in Gora when I read his magnificent narration.
- Thank you, Sir Albert... Kavir was a great traveler and knew many remote places in Asia, as well as many of its languages and traditions. Like the storytellers of the old bazaars and souks of Samarkand, Basra or Kashmir linked a story with another anecdote that in turn led to another mysterious square and a new literary spell.
- Treat us to some, please, Rabindranath.
- I remember one from the valleys of Ferghana, where the horses of heaven and the Syr Darya, a river that feeds the Aral Sea, are born. In one of his stories, from the pure ice crystals of the high peaks, the first men who were luminous and transparent, like drops of light, were born. They danced through the air floating freely, at will or at the mercy of the winds. His words were rays of light and sound, vibrations emanating in all directions of the world, beautiful and brilliant, and more than defining or qualifying, they communicated the very essence of what was described, its emotion, acting like music directly on the spirit. They developed and filled the space, differing as the colors of the rainbow are distinguished from each other, feeding on the gases that surround the earth. Thus they became pregnant and occupied oceans and landscapes mixing their sounds, shapes and colors in an infinite range that today can be distinguished and admired in the skin of each man and each woman, in the notes of their voices, in the irises of their eyes, in the forty shades of green that dress the earth from the summit to the valley.
- Thus, each human being is a work of art made with the effort of all the generations of beings that preceded him and is a unique and unrepeatable piece, the result of experience and adaptation to the exact environment in which he develops his existence after 13,700 million years of evolution.
- Every human being, every fly and every fish, Sir Albert. We are all the result of that adaptation, of that same evolution. We believe we are the most complex piece, the head of the species, and perhaps we are the neurons of mother earth or her generating sperm, but it could also be that we are just huge viruses, parasites that the planet must eliminate in order not to perish. .
- I must recognize this possibility, Mohandas, and it is something to prove yet. In many ways we take for granted the most dubious hypotheses, not just God or the straight line, but the very conception of time as something linear and immutable. Many times I think that there is no straight line in the entire universe, rather I see it as an undulating network, waves of an endless and expanding sea, linked in an indeterminate number, perhaps infinite in its dimensions, both spatial and temporal. It would be the same concrete adaptation to the environment of our species, its integration into the geographic-cultural ecosystem, which makes it impossible for us to physically reach spaces that our molecular structure would not support, although thoughts, considered entelechies of pure energy, should not, theoretically, be subjected to to these limitations.
- Basically that is the essence of yogic meditation or prayer in many religions. A thought that transcends physical barriers and reaches universes that our human nature can barely imagine.
- I agree but I feel that the only one capable, perhaps, of hearing us is Mother Earth, and I fear that the thunder of the cannons will prevent the rumor of prayers from reaching their destination. I think it will be like the radio that is always confused with the crackling of the pan in which they seem to cook their programs. But continue your interesting story, friend Rabindranath.
- Thank you, Sir Albert.
- And stop calling me sir, please, make me feel like one more Lord Mountbatten!
- Nothing further from our hearts, Albert. Kavir also wanted to tell me a story that had particularly moved him, that of an Arab cowherd... 
- Are there cows in Arabia? 
- Ha! There are, there are, Albert, at least one.
- One?
-Yes, this shepherd had only one cow, as old as he was, and her name was Bakara.
- “Cow”, in Arabic, very original.
- Yes, Mohandas. The shepherd fed Kavir his milk when they met in some inhospitable place on the road from Baghdad to Mecca, which the cowherd was traveling in fulfillment of the prophet's mandate, and clarified that it was tradition in his family to wait for the forces to weaken for old age to undertake the journey, hoping to fulfill his dream: to die right before the black stone.
- For what purpose?
- I know, from Muslim friends, that, just above the Kaaba, there would be a celestial Kaaba, what we would say the sukhavatti of the Buddhists or their Christian paradise, called Sidrat al-Muntaha, the Terminus Tree that, like a celestial navel or axis universal, unites the upper world with the lower, like the Apollo of the Hellenes, which was, in addition to the farmer's furrow, the celestial axis and the stellar vault itself.
- In fact, their God name, Dieu or greek Dios, which is the genitive case of Zeus as Dia is the dative, and derives from the Indo-Aryan Dyaus Pita, in our Sanskrit Dyos, the Shelter Heaven. It was believed to be a stone vault -because meteorites fell from the sky- and for this reason it was called asman, "anvil sky". And it originally meant sky and day. And "dhi" is thought, idea. It is even possible that the term dharma or doctrine is a contraction, so natural in Sanskrit, of Dhi-arta-tama: the most upright thought.
- So the Kaaba would be a place where space-time would curve, communicating its dimensions... The idea is very suggestive, sires, worthy of careful and broad-minded study!
- No doubt Albert, but our pastor went further. In fact, he was some kind of heretic because what he really wanted was to die before the black stone, which he called the mother stone, in order, in the words of Kavir, to penetrate with his spirit into the interior of the stone itself, where they would inhabit the prophet and all the sages of the world before and, of course, the ancestors of Kavir who kept the secret to get rid of the many reincarnations necessary to achieve virtue and wisdom. A kind of shortcut to sainthood. And he told her a cosmogony that matched Kavir's own. 
Thus the brilliant beings developed, many became pregnant and joined, by the attraction of their own colors, in related worlds. The blues became aquatic beings; the yellow ones are the sand that, emerging from the sea, created the dry land; the red ones are the burning lava of volcanoes or the flame of bonfires. From their union all beings arose, the first ones being vegetables, from the blue of the marine beings and the yellow of the sand, and for this reason they are green in nature. The selfishness of some beings made them denser and heavier compared to their peers, and this attracted the weak who served them as food and soon an abyss was created between the transparent and the dark, and horror, for the first time, filled the world. living world. Seeing him, the sun suffered such fright that he closed his eyes and turned his face away, a great darkness falling over the earth. The cold grew swift as the north wind and froze the entire planet, submerging its entire surface under a great cover of ice. Cold and darkness banished life and turned the land into a desert over which only an endless terrifying and deadly storm roared, magnifying the height of the glaciers. 
Then the other planets cried out to the sun with great sorrow and begged him to return life to the earth and the sun condescended but, as the seed born from the earth had disappointed him, he decided to send a seed that would bring greater balance and justice to the new beings. For this reason he sent from his heart a pure stone that fell on the great frozen crust like the fist of the creator, breaking the ice as if it were a glass cup. The volcanoes and the terrestrial magma thus found a place through which to escape the tremendous pressure and woke up, launching their fiery tides and undoing in hot waves the deadly chill. They generated new forms, daughters of the sun and the earth, forever separate and complementary, only united by the vital force of love, capable of transcending barriers, impediments and limitations, capable of achieving balance and harmony between opposites.
- Beautiful metaphor. Terrible at the same time for its resemblance to the reality that surrounds us.
- Yes, Mahatma, life as a result of the union of matter and antimatter. The energy resulting from the disintegration would be the germ of the subatomic particles, the six quarks. And, from the tiny to the immeasurable, from neutron stars to giant blue stars. This would suppose an eternal universe in continuous expansion, infinitely, in the microcosmic and the macrocosmic, both inwards and outwards. 
- Being according to when and where. Each form of existence adapted to an ecosystem, to a space-time, where to fully develop.
- And when it is uprooted, it suffers, it transforms.
- It mutates, it evolves.
- I, like Darwin, am in favor of adaptation.
- Why not? And when adaptation is not possible, it dies.
- "Among all they killed him and he died alone", says the proverb. What happened next with Kavir and our pastor?
- Kavir decided to accompany the pastor, since he had not yet fulfilled the mandate and considered the meeting an invitation and the occasion and the company excellent. They walked at the slow pace of the cow and Kavir was very surprised because they seemed to follow a narrow green strip of small bushes that they did not leave despite crossing arid and torrid scree, scorched by the high temperatures and the absolute lack of shade, or the hot sandy dunes like embers. 
At the end of the day, when the sun disappeared, dyeing the blue in rubies and emeralds, the cow stopped at lonely oases where only the three of them enjoyed cool nights. They could wash themselves properly and recited the Tahajjud prayer in the light of the stars, when others sleep, which is one of the three excellencies that Allah revealed to the prophet during his journey to the heavens, along with feeding the hungry and spreading peace. . 
At the end of the fourth night, Kavir asked the shepherd if he knew the way they were walking. The pastor laughed with amusement and replied:
- I do not know anything. It is she who leads us, she is my guide to my destiny.
- And how do you know where we're going?
- Because I told him, of course.
- Does the cow speak?
- Kavir insisted incredulously: “Al Bakara tatakalam”, the shepherd replied smiling.
- Which, in Arabic, would be: "the cow speaks".
- Exactly, Mahatma. Kavir remained doubting the seriousness and good judgment of the shepherd, but they walked through cities and villages until finally reaching the holy city. He left the shepherd to the cow as one leaves her mother, with sobs, hugs and kisses, and they marched with the human current towards the zazam, the well where the pilgrims drink. In the enclosure of Mecca, they stoned the evil one like the other faithful and followed the flow of the human current towards the tabernacle of the Black Stone, the Kaaba proper. 
Arriving at the Hatim, the low, thick semicircular wall that surrounds the sacred tent to the northwest, the ranks tightened and Kavir saw to his dismay that they separated him from the shepherd without his being able to fight the enormous wave that carried them almost in flight. They thus reached the Hijr, the space adjacent to the Kaaba, separately. 
The herdsman reached the Black Stone twenty or thirty pilgrims before Kavir and he saw that before her, suddenly, the herdsman burst out laughing, clutching his belly with great fuss and grotesque grimaces, twisting and stamping the ground, hitting his thighs and convulsing before the astonishment and fear of the other faithful. 
There was a tremendous silence around him. The faithful pilgrims looked at him terrified by the blasphemy, first with murmurs of disapproval, then with insults of disapproval, pushing, shaking, hitting and, finally, unloading their anger on the shepherd with the same stones that had served to stone the devil, they took his life right there, where he yearned, next to the Black Stone. 
Kavir managed to get to his side just to hug his head regretfully and hear his last words: “See, friend, how he knew how to get to her? Now I return with my blood, with my family, to my world...”. And he died with his face red with blood and his eyes full of joy.

July 2003
Carlos Acózar Gómez

Dialogue between Rabindranath Tagore and Professor Albert Einstein, on the afternoon of July 14, 1930, at Professor Einstein's residence in Kaputh, Berlin.


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