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Desire, The Cleaver Of Unbreakable Bonds

Cleave has the unique distinction to belong to a group of words named auto-antonyms. Cleave is defined in the dictionary to mean adhere closely or stick and also divide or split. Such words are also called Janus words after the two faced Roman god from which is derived our first month January, named in his honor.

I am going to christen contradictory statements made by political leaders like Obama and others, Janus Talk. Our esteemed phoney stood in front of the AIPAC convention and reassured American Israeli supporters that unified Jerusalem would be the sole capital of a greater Israel and when in Cairo recently, promised a Muslim audience, a separate Palestinian state with a capital of Jerusalem. He wanted to be elected president and could not have succeeded by alienating American Jewry's financial support or vote. He had learnt the lesson of Bush Sr., who went on national TV to criticize Israel and deny guaranteeing Israel's loans for increasing West Bank settlements, and thus lost his reelection. The success of his son, the shrub, in winning two terms by blindly supporting Sharon's atrocities was not lost on Obama. Obama seems unaware that the shrub's behavior was partly attributable to his marked paucity of neurons and synapses, which limited his actions to two single word orders, 'Sit' and 'Fetch' from Israeli supporters. The shrub in turn not having learnt any other words, rationally salvaged his ego by treating Blair in similar fashion.

Americans have an aversion to learning history or profiting from it and recently have elected presidents who share this ignorance of history. The shrub didn't know the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia and had never heard of Sunni and Shia, when he invaded Iraq. Such was not always the case and to show you the sagacity of the first American president who had only a high school education and a tendency to misspell words, below is an excerpt from his farewell address.

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a  nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and  passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place  of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one Nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill will and resentment sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to  projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister  and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the Liberty,  of nations has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions: by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base of foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens), the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.

But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real Patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

`Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that `tis folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. 'Tis an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.'

Obama is intelligent and to be successful and win a second term, he has tried to be all things, especially hope, to all people. That is why he said in Cairo that the bonds between Israel And America are strong and unbreakable, contrary to Washington's wisdom above. Obama's critics say he is all soothing words and no action. His actions to right the financial crisis clearly show him to be beholden to the fraudulent banksters who brought the US economy to its knees. His appointment of Geithner, Summers etc. show him to be a Clinton clone. His appointment of Hillary, Rahm Emanuel who fought in the Israeli army and Dennis Ross whose partisan pro-Israeli track record makes him a poor choice as an Iran envoy, belie his words as a genuine broker for peace. His actions in Iraq, Guantanamp, Bagram and Afghanistan reveal betrayal of the peace loving and the left. Rothkopf's description of his policy is playing the violin. Mostly you hold the violin in the left hand and play with the right hand. His Machiavellian admirers say his strategy is to goad a public denial by the Likud to halting settlements and a two state solution, which will give him the bludgeon to threaten Israel and neutralize American Jewish support for Israel's self-destructive policies, because of strident anger of the non-Jewish American electorate. Once again his love for Israel is love of himself and his prospects.

For that I quote the ancient sage Yagnavalkya's dialogue with his wife Maitreyi in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad below.

'Everything is the Self, O Maitreyi !

Yajnavalkya said:

"Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the animals, my dear, are the animals loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the Vedas, my dear, are the Vedas loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
"Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.

"Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be realized'should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self, my dear, through hearing, reflection and meditation, all this is known.

"The brahmin rejects one who knows him as different from the Self.
The kshatriya rejects one who knows him as different from the Self.
The worlds reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The gods reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The Vedas reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The beings reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The All rejects one who knows it as different from the Self.

This brahmin, this kshatriya, these worlds, these gods, these Vedas, these beings and this All'are that Self.

"As the various particular kinds of notes of a drum, when it is beaten, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the drum or the general sound produced by different kinds of strokes is grasped;

"And as the various particular notes of a conch, when it is blown, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the conch or the general sound produced by different kinds of blowing is grasped;

"And as the various particular notes of a vina, when it is played, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the vina or the general sound produced by the different kinds of playing is grasped;

"As from a fire kindled with wet fuel various kinds of smoke issue forth, even so, my dear, the Rig'Veda, the Yajur'Veda, the Sama'Veda, the Atharvangirasa, history (itihasa), mythology (purana), the arts (vidya), Upanishads, verses (slokas), aphorisms (sutras), elucidations (anuvyakhyanas), explanations (vyakhyanas), sacrifices, oblations in the fire, food, drink, this world, the next world and all beings are all like the breath of this infinite Reality. From this Supreme Self are all these, indeed, breathed forth.

"As the ocean is the one goal of all waters (the place where they merge), so the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch, the nostrils are the one goal of all smells, the tongue is the one goal of all savors, the ear is the one goal of all sounds, the mind is the one goal of all deliberations, the intellect is the one goal of all forms of knowledge, the hands are the one goal of all actions, the organ of generation is the one goal of all kinds of enjoyment, the excretory organ is the one goal of all excretions, the feet are the one goal of all kinds of walking, the organ of speech is the one goal of all the Vedas.

"As a lump of salt has neither inside nor outside and is altogether a homogeneous mass of taste, even so this Self, my dear, has neither inside nor outside and is altogether a homogeneous mass of Intelligence. This Self comes out as a separate entity from the elements and with their destruction this separate existence is also destroyed. After attaining this oneness it has no more consciousness. This is what I say, my dear." So said Yajnavalkya.

Then Maitreyi said: "Just here you have completely bewildered me, venerable Sir. Indeed, I do not at all understand this." He replied:

"Certainly I am not saying anything bewildering, my dear. Verily, this Self is immutable and indestructible.

Through what should one know the knower?

"For when there is duality, as it were, then one sees another, one smells another, one tastes another, one speaks to another, one hears another, one thinks of another, one touches another, one knows another. But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should he see and through what, what should he smell and through what, what should he taste and through what, what should he speak and through what, what should he hear and through what, what should he think and through what, what should he touch and through what, what should he know and through what? Through what should one know That Owing to which all this is known?

"This Self is That which has been described as 'Not this, not this.' It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It never attaches Itself; unfettered, for It never feels pain and never suffers injury.

Through what, O Maitreyi, should one know the Knower? "Thus you have the instruction given to you. This much, indeed, is the means to Immortality."

Having said this, Yajnavalkya renounced home.'

The sad reality is that death is final, there is no soul or rebirth. It is Yagnavalkya's desire for immortality that leads him astray. For that he sacrifices his only life in the hope of an immortal one in the future. He thus inadvertently becomes a victim of his desire.

It is such combinations of desire, ego and lack of consideration for others that brought the curse of 'Sati' to Indian culture. It is the psychopathological basis of bankrupt persons in desperate straits killing their spouse and children before committing suicide. The spouse and children may have a miserable life after the main breadwinner's death, but again they may not. It is the deranged ego and the possessiveness of the failed individual that motivates their killing.

In early history wives and attendants of the kings were buried alive with their dead bodies. Time, wisdom and decency changed that to terracotta images of soldiers and wooden images to be buried with the king in China and Egypt. Earlier Vedic sacrifices were done with farm animals but these were replaced by coconuts, betel-nuts and grain. Its other perverse psychopathological version is killing innocent unknowns before committing suicide.

The same ego, desire for collective revenge motivates suicide bombing of innocents on the grounds that their silent assent or election vote makes them benefitting oppressors as guilty as the perpetrators. It is also the reason for justifying the rapes and tortures in Abu Ghraib, Iraq and aerial bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo.  Desire is the root cause of evil but also of good when it is satisfied with due consideration for others. It can thus cement or break (cleave-the autoantonym) unbreakable bonds.         


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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