Monday, November 13, 2017

Carpe Diem #1304 The Seventh Gate

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I was preparing this month, by reading the entire "Rubaiyat" there were several quatrains I didn't understand. Those quatrains sounded magical and mysterious. Today's quatrain is such a quatrain which I couldn't understand at first, but after reading the background on this verse it became very clear what the meaning was of this quatrain. This quatrain gives you in words a visual of the Universe as was thought about in the time of Khayyam.
Nowadays we know that the sun is the center of our Universe, but in the time of Khayyam everyone thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe. Omar Khayyam as an astronomer however had already ideas about our Universe ... in his idea the sun was the center of the Universe, so he was far ahead of his time.

The Universe
Let me give you the verse for today ... it's again a nice one, but the choice of words sounds magical and mysterious in my opinion.

Up from Earth's Centre through the seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)


Above I already gave a kind of explanation of this quatrain. I think this background (source: Bob Forrest web) will give you all a better explanation of this quatrain.

At the time of Omar Khayyam, the Earth was generally believed to be at the centre of the universe, and surrounded by seven spheres associated with the then known seven planets. In order of distance from the Earth, the spheres were those of: (1) The Moon, (2) Mercury, (3) Venus, (4) the Sun, (5) Mars, (6) Jupiter, (7) Saturn. The sense of this verse is that the Poet ascended to the outermost sphere of the universe so that he could view the whole “from the outside”, and though this journey made many things clear to him, he could still not see the answer to the riddle of human Death and Fate.

The Ancient Idea Of The Universe, The Flower Of Life

It is sometimes said that Omar Khayyam, as an astronomer, was ahead of his time, and advocated a Sun-centred model of the Universe rather than the more ‘obvious’ Earth-centred one, but this verse does seem to be Earth-centred. Of course, this is FitzGerald’s translation, and is a poetic reference rather than an astronomical one. Nevertheless, more literal translations of the Persian also seem to be Earth-centred. Thus Edward Heron-Allen gives, “From the Nadir of the earthly globe, up to the Zenith of Saturn”; and Edward Henry Whinfield, “down from Saturn’s wreath, unto this lowly sphere of Earth beneath.” 

at sunrise
birds praising their Creator
without questions

© Chèvrefeuille

Let me give you a brief explanation of this haiku. We humans are always searching for answers, we have thousand questions, we want to know everything, but birds never question their existence and praise their Creator every day again. Isn't that awesome ... !?

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 20th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.

1 comment:

  1. this is such a rich and mystical quatrain, it certain offers a wealth of possible interpretations, and trains of study - it's an incredible source of possibilities - wow!