Lesser known mystics of South Asia – III

A repost from way back when (Oct. 2013)…

Gathering just-a-bit-o moss

Abu Tukh Al Malanga

Abu Tukh claimed royal lineage from the Pharoah Hatshepsut. His most famous quote was to ‘do unto yourself as you wish yourself to want to do to unto the other.’ He was a perplexed soul, and his perplexity touched souls far and wide. There were not many in the tiny town of Raiwind in mid-thirteenth century who would (or could) lay claim to the Hatshepsut’s lineage, and that was unfortunate since a bit of extra lineaging wouldn’t have done Hatshepsut an itty bit of harm.

It is reputed that Al Malanga wanted to leave behind some sort of a miracle as legacy. Nothing moon shattering, just something to keep the conversation warm when camps of weary travelers settled down in the evening and exchanged tales of ribaldry and zest. He would have liked that. But this offshoot of Hatshepsut’s progeny was to be denied this legacy, and…

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“1 The world is everything that is the case.” (1)
In case you were wondering it was otherwise. In
Any case, it follows that the contrary is
Contrariwise to the wisdom of the unwise:
Ipso factum dictum potus collapsimus.

“1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.” (2)
And that is a god-honest truism, with the
Mathematical oath of truth tucked under
The collar of airtight proof and water
Borne disease: such are things and facts.

“1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts.” (3)
Not a single factotum logicitis is to
Be left out, for that would be blasphemus
Homologus, an isomophic isotope of hydrogen,
Not unlike air, as opposed to water. Yes.

“1.12 For the totality of facts determines both what is the case, and also all that is not the case.”(4)
Here you go, case closed. The ipsonessess
And factotum alumni sit in closed spaces
Where atoms of flair carry out conversations
In vacuum. There is much disagreement & air.

1-4: The first four statements from Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Why stop the goddess in her tracks?

There is a void in the effluence of
A metaphor broken, a folktale eulogized, a
Myth taken for fact; the earth-yearning
Goddess balks in her tracks – not good.

“Fie then,” it follows. Fie then upon the
Track-stopperers, the metaphor-brokerers.
Refill the jars now, make them reek of
Praise, scream out “the goddess is thus and

Also thus.” You need a thousand and one tales
Of forgiveness for one insolence, you blasphemous
Lout, you un-carer of myth, you track stopperer
You. Counterpoint needs point, dialogue ogue.

Context: This started off as a somewhat serious commentary on the darker aspects of the fallout of the modern quest for identity: when the stories, folktales and songs that have been informing us for millennia have been stultified or forgotten. But then as the poem progresses, it acquires an irreverent tone (in line with one of the functions of folklore as explained by A.K Ramanujan).