Nitya Teachings

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That Alone - Verse 39


Verse 39


To continue, of these forces just mentioned,

the second division, sameness, is of one quality,

while for the first, the difficult, there is no end to its qualities;

thus, these are of two kinds.


         Free translation:


Moreover, of these two powers, 'sameness' is unitive, while 'the other' pertains to that which is never exhausted of its indistinctness and begs for clarification. They are of two separate kinds.


         Nataraja Guru’s translation:


Following up further the said powers – a second division:

One of these is an attribute of the ‘same’, while the other

Qualifies the never-to-detachment-attaining harshness

Of the ‘other’: thus making two kinds of these again.


         Several class members thought it was curious that Narayana Guru is definitively distinguishing between sama and anya in this verse, since we’ve been working to bring them into accord for some time. There is a kind of pulsation here where we bring contrary ideas together but remind ourselves of their differences also. That way we don’t trivialize aspects of creation, we give them their due. This is very important. We respect them for what they are, and we don’t compress them to fit our limited personal outlook. We are working to expand our perspective to be fully inclusive of everything, not shrinking the world so it fits into the tight quarters we have constructed for our own convenience.

         This underscores the practical nature of the study. This isn’t about learning to do magic tricks, to amaze people with our esoteric skill, or to become someone else; it’s about how to live well and effectively no matter what confines we find ourselves in. In case there is any doubt, Nitya makes it perfectly explicit at the close: “Always remember: we are aiming this study at our everyday life. It is not some far-off, exotic philosophy.”

         The gurus are working to upgrade the way we interpret the world, because it has a profound influence on our lives, as well as the lives of those we come in contact with. Deb brought in an experiment that reveals the invisible influence of our personal narrative. Try this at home and you will be in for a surprise.

         Two people sit facing each other. One extends an arm straight forward, and the other lays their hand on top of it, around the forearm near the elbow. The lower arm is to be pushed upward while that person repeats “I can, I can,” while the other person pushes down against it. Then the experiment is performed repeating “I can’t, I can’t.” In the first case you feel substantial strength, whereas in the second the lower arm has almost no power and is pushed down easily. The person doing the chanting can easily feel the substantial difference in their strength.

         No double blind is required. It doesn’t matter whether you know what’s coming or not, the effect is the same. Both Deb and I when we tried it earlier had made up our minds that we would defeat the expectation, because we knew what was supposed to happen. I think we were more surprised because of how helpless we were to counteract the effect of our words. They go much deeper than we realize, handily defeating our resolve.

         Extrapolations are not hard to make. I occasionally counsel people informally. Some take my suggestions (which are wholly based on Narayana Guru’s philosophy) and say “I’ll give it a try.” It is gratifying how, if they are sincere, they invariably set forth in a promising new direction, and the rewards they encounter reinforce their resolve to keep improving. Others meet every suggestion with a plea that they can’t do it, they just can’t. It’s impossible. And so it becomes. My work is to convince them that it is indeed possible, that they are vast, brilliant beings caught in some way, convinced they are inferior. Life has foisted a crippling post-hypnotic suggestion that they can’t succeed, and they haven’t found a way to counter it yet. They can’t even believe they could counter it. It’s very frustrating.

         The old story The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, teaches children to chant “I think I can, I think I can,” to accomplish difficult deeds far above their familiar roles. Adults could benefit from something similar. It actually works.

         I have often thought back to how my father often used to say to me that great scientists and musicians were doing things that were so far beyond our modest abilities that we could never hope to reach their levels. Just what his father had convinced him of, in his turn. He meant well, and said it in an almost worshipful way, but the impact was to instill a self-defeating attitude in me that was very difficult to dislodge. I mean, isn’t it nothing but arrogance to think you can be special too? I learned to take pride in my mediocrity, and was very fortunate that psychedelics and a guru or two came along to bail me out of my self-defeating attitude that I didn't even know I had.

         Yes, this is a tricky business. We don’t want to get a swelled head. If we affirm “I can,” it should be deployed in an honorable enterprise. The most nefarious characters of human history—the really successful ones—were equally convinced they could do whatever they wanted. Their path was made easier by convincing honest souls that they were incapable of resistance. So it’s essential to direct the power of positive thinking to nontrivial and unselfish goals. That shouldn’t be so hard to accomplish, with a little forethought.

         According to Narayana Guru and others, there is an ineffable inner guidance system in our very core. He called it the Karu. Tuning into it optimizes our orientation, gives us a meaningful course of evolution to pursue. Our search is to link up with it, subsumed as it is in a tumult of argumentative voices, both inner and outer. Luckily for us, it operates whether we are attuned to it or not, but it definitely has an easier time influencing us if we are attuned, and it makes for a more enjoyable trip.

         The Gurukula gurus are helping us to find our authentic inner voice and allowing it to participate in our decision-making. It isn’t exactly a voice, either, it’s more like a tendency. It’s the guiding element that arranges events in a propitious manner, so that creative activities can take place, the happy “accidents” that further our development. There isn’t usually an explicit directive in words, though there might be. Its language is nonverbal. It's a nonverbal voice.

         Listening to our inner voice, then, doesn’t mean sorting out which of our internal monologues is the “genuine” one, since they are all the secondary speculation of our surface mind. It’s being open to new possibilities. Once our life is channeled into narrow confines, as spelled out by societies and spiritual paths and so on, we become increasingly deaf to our inner motivation. Whenever its subtle nudges come to our attention we beat them back so as to stay on course. Too bad the course is so often a lame imitation of what could be.

         Needless to say, most life paths convince us that it’s noble and even spiritually necessary to do battle with our inner urges and adhere to our “sacred duty.” So we become deaf, blind, dead. The secret meaning of Jesus raising the dead, causing the blind to see and the deaf to hear is that the spirit, when rightly honored, can still break through the crust of our intransigence. But we have to worship it, invite it in. If we’re too busy, it may knock but we don’t hear it. If we do have ears to hear its intimations, its reintroduction into our life is the real second coming.

         The degree to which any one of our inner narratives is the right one rests on how accurately it interprets the creative urge, the elan vital, rising up from inside us. Most narratives are wildly off the mark, and lead us on any number of wild goose chases. At least it makes Puck laugh: “What fools these mortals be!” And that’s one excellent hint from the Bard: often the less serious we are, the smaller the barricade against our valuable inner promptings. So we should lighten up, cheer up, and open up. And we should reassure ourselves that we are capable of virtually anything. We are among the universe’s most spectacular accomplishments, a miracle among miracles.

         It’s quite a challenge to remain lighthearted when we are under pressure, especially if our narrative is based on self-defense. It takes a measure of detachment, an important theme of this section of Atmopadesa Satakam. The class reaffirmed how detachment isn’t tuning out the world, but converting from defensiveness to openness. We become detached from our psychic colorations and prejudices. We can do it, if we try. Nitya says a lot about this in his comments, but I’ll excerpt just one small part:


In fact, our life is a continuous play, with continuous action and continuous staging. We have to get up and walk away from our roles moment by moment, but we forget. We are very deeply affected by events in our lives. We become so involved. But if we can have this little detachment, to sit back and see that this is a passing show going on, it will give us all the great strength and patience on earth. You are always just who you are. Somebody says you are good, somebody says you are bad—that belongs to the passing moment. Their remarks do not make you more good or bad than you actually are.

   Detachment enables you to have a better appraisal of the passing moment. This is not only for your final salvation, but also for your salvation here and now.


Our salvation here and now. Exactly. We get knocked off balance by events, by the meanness of people, by so many things. Then we are not able to respond appropriately, we are thrown back on our defensive narrative. We close down, and interpret the data solely in terms of our self-interest. Nitya is explicit about how we should act, that Narayana Guru “asks us to keep our mind open and vigilant so that we can release ourselves from being blindfolded by the infatuating source of the specifying thing which comes in the form of ‘other’.” If we can swallow our pride and our fear, we can be alert to investigate what the other person’s motivations really are. Very often their words (just like ours) are a kind of window dressing, designed more to obfuscate than enlighten. We have to see beyond them, below the surface, to discover what’s really going on.

         This can be accomplished only by carefully listening to the other person. We aren’t listening when our narrative is shouting out its speculative interpretations. We have to silence the roar before we can hear anything but our own side. I have recently written a piece about listening that I will append in Part III, which goes into this in more detail.

         So there is what I believe and am clinging to versus what is really happening. To bring these into accord we oscillate between opening ourself to the situation and diving into our central core, which rebalances any tilt that the encounter has imparted to us. Then we return to the situation in as neutral a state as possible.

         Susan noticed the pulsation of the teaching, and wrote “Verse 38 is more about connectedness and 39 is more about looking at the this of our being and the this of the other that changes. We have learned how knower and known become one, but here there is a focus on the two in separate ways.”

         The trick is that when we continually refer outside events to our preferred narrative, we tend to shrink them to fit our Procrustean bed, no matter how generous we think our bed is. To counteract the very human tendency toward narrowness, we have to partake of the other’s perspective also. It could well be an opportunity to enlarge our spirit.

         Mick’s martial arts training addresses this in a congruent way. When you are attacked, it doesn’t help to have a strategy planned out in advance. You are prepared, but open. Your responses to an attack will be to parry whatever comes at you, and if you have plans laid they will only interfere. So you are to be ready but fully alert to the nuances of your opponent’s position in the immediate present. Nitya puts the same idea this way:


Anya is when the unitive aspect is blindfolded so you don’t see it. You only see one thing at a time, and you get caught up in it and it fills your whole mind. For a time you are fully absorbed, not leaving even a little of your awareness on your transparency in time and space and the meaning of life.


Transparency and openness are essentially the same thing. Deb put it very plainly, that we should not be thinking about what moves to make but be ready to make whatever moves the situation requires. In Nancy's words, the ‘you’ you are thinking you are is not real; everything is better when you get the you out of there.

         Moving along, Jan was dubious about Nitya’s claim that the “I” was a constant throughout our life. She has felt different at different ages, and did not have a sense of what Nitya meant. She was referring to this section:


   On some level, you have been experiencing pure knowledge all through until this moment. And what is its quality? It is just awareness, Self awareness. Within that state of awareness, two kinds of ‘this-ness’ are coming to you. One says, “This is me,” and the other, “This is what I know.” One ‘this’ pertains to the knower and the other pertains to the known.

   When you said “I” when you were two, four, ten and twenty years old; and what you will mean when you are fifty, sixty and seventy; you will always recognize as the same “I.” You go on saying “I am this,” and “This is me,” and you have no doubt that the “I” who said it yesterday is the same as the “I” who says it today. The ‘this’ does not have a varying connotation from moment to moment and time to time.

   The ‘this’ of the knower always remains constant, whereas the ‘this’ of the known can never be the same. It always changes, even if it sometimes seems repetitive.


Nitya is setting us up for a challenging discussion impending in verses 41 and 42, about ‘this’. Narayana Guru describes how This is indistinct until it is defined by a specific instance. In other words, the This is sama, general, while its predication is anya, specific. It gives the sense that both can exist together, but it is admittedly another hard nut to crack. We’ll be chewing on it soon.

         I asked the class whether they had a sense of an unchanging ‘I’ or whether they felt like Jan, continually changing. We got sidetracked fairly quickly, so I invite everyone to let us know in writing how you feel. It shouldn’t be too hard.

         Several of us have felt a continuous sense of self, but some have not. The eternal Self is close to the neutral witness we often talk about. The witness is the same always. But almost everything in our environment urges us to identify with our externals, our behaviors, attitudes and accomplishments. Our beliefs. All these are anya. Who is there to know the sama? The witness has been drawn in to a partisan position, where it is no longer what we think it is. If it isn’t neutral, it isn’t truly a witness.

         We are constrained to ignore our authentic beingness, the sama aspect. How many religions insist on a kind of loyalty oath to certain beliefs? How many parents shape their children as they see fit, little caring for their own inclinations? We quickly learn to identify with our external aspect and are given a mantra about bringing our lives in line with our intuitions: “I can’t.” Later we learn to offer a “plausible” excuse as a disguise for “I can’t,” but it amounts to the same thing. Every time a child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” it carries the message that they are incomplete and need to become something other than what they are. I well remember the misery that question caused me, not having the slightest idea of what I would some day be, and kind of wishing I could stay a child, which is what I happily was. But that was obviously not a valid option.

         Somewhere in us, hidden and neglected, is a unitive sense of beingness. Neuroscientists and Buddhists consider this an illusion, but they are talking about the constructed self, not the true Self. Vedanta and Buddhism are remarkably similar in so many ways, but here they appear to be 180 degrees opposite: Buddhism declares there is no self; Vedanta, all is the Self. And they are both right.


Part II


                  Neither This Nor That But . . . Aum:


         All experiences of the wakeful state are knowledge of one form or another. The dream state is also knowledge. The recalling of the deep sleep experience indicates the latent aspect of knowledge in deep sleep. When a yogi sits in a state of absorption, transcending time and the knowledge of all names and forms, he still has knowledge of a certain kind. Sometimes knowledge is indescribable, and there is no need to communicate it to anyone. In that state also, it is knowledge. The knowledge in all these cases has only one quality, it is its self- luminosity. It shines by itself and it illuminates all objects of knowledge.

         When light illuminates something, it does not change into anything other than light. Similarly, when knowledge becomes an experience, it does not become anything other than knowledge, even though in that process it looks as if the one is becoming many. No one can say how many objects light can illuminate. In the same manner, there is no end to the capacity of knowledge for making things known. We only have one mind with which to know everything. It goes on arguing with endless reasons on countless issues. Its observations are infinite. The data it gathers and installs as memory is fabulous. It is capable of sharpening its wits to mathematical precision, and it can also accumulate clouds of confusion that can make its owner go crazy. Thus, its indiscernible nature qualifies itself in infinite forms.

         If we turn away from objects of knowledge to the knower, we see a shimmering consciousness there which, as it goes on, alternates between its two modes. It continuously says, “This is me,” “This is what I know.” When it says, “This is me,” what is the “this”? That is knowledge. When it says, “This is what I know,” what is that “this”? That is also knowledge.

         From childhood's first articulations to the very end of life, one will go on saying, “This is me.” Will there ever be any difference in that subjective recognition of me? No, it will always be the same. Is it the same that is known on different occasions? No, it is always different. Is it not strange that one's knowledge remains changeless throughout one's life, and yet it is changing all through?


*         *         *


         Nataraja Guru’s commentary:


THE more detailed analysis of the two primary tendencies in consciousness referred to in the previous verse is undertaken here. ‘Sameness’ and ‘strangeness’ – which have been distinguished as one that spells peace-giving equality, as its counterpart spells otherness – are further specifically characterized. Natural attachment to specific attributes or actual things will be operative in consciousness in respect of values that are horizontal in import. The two primary divisions have thus each a second division, so that we have to distinguish four in all. How these four limbs - two of them generic in status and two others specific – are integrated together into a whole which makes up the global Self-consciousness, is a matter that will become clearer only with the next verse. Meanwhile we are here to gain an insight into the structure of the tendencies, both generic and specific, that go to make up the totality of consciousness in a static manner before arriving at a more complete psychophysical dynamics of the same, to be discussed in the next verse.


The static view of psychophysical truths is that of intellectualised versions of reality which one has to translate into dynamic terms and relate organically with one’s own inner experience. This has to be accomplished stage by stage, and this verse lays bare the structure and the frame of reference within whose four walls consciousness, whether objective or subjective, lives, moves and has its being. The Guru really takes us into a domain hardly describable in the words of ordinary language. He, however, attains to a great measure of clarity in the analysis of consciousness, and although the language is still elusive when treated intellectually, when one tallies it from the pole of proto-linguistic thinking with the help of the two axes that we have suggested here and elsewhere, the meaning becomes sufficiently simplified and transparent.


The complete picture of the psychophysical dynamism of Self-consciousness is contained in the three verses to follow. Here the generic and the specific aspects of the two main categories of tendencies within consciousness are merely named and marked out as already defined psycho-statically.


It is true that tendencies in consciousness are not capable of simplified treatment because of the complexity of psychic or mental phenomena. This does not however mean that what we can know of them under their main categories, pictured in a simple manner as in a map with longitudes and latitudes which are merely aids to understanding, should necessarily be complicated. The outline of a country in actuality could be as irregular as it likes, but it is still capable of being referred to by its latitude and longitude. Modern and ancient philosophers, whether Kant or Aristotle, have relied largely on such categories. Philosophy itself relies, as does mathematics, on abstraction and generalization; and even when we speak of cause and effect as related, we are making an abstraction and generalization on which all reasoning rests, whether in physics or in metaphysics. Here we have a way of analysis which relies on a methodology of its own and on an epistemology on which the Vedanta itself is a superstructure. In reality analytical and synthetical methods go hand in hand here.


Part III


         Susan sent along a relevant and lovely poem:


Red Brocade


by Naomi Shihab Nye



The Arabs used to say,

When a stranger appears at your door,

feed him for three days

before asking who he is,

where he's come from,

where he's headed.

That way, he'll have strength

enough to answer.

Or, by then you'll be

such good friends

you don't care.


Let's go back to that.

Rice? Pine Nuts?

Here, take the red brocade pillow.

My child will serve water

to your horse.


No, I was not busy when you came!

I was not preparing to be busy.

That's the armor everyone put on

to pretend they had a purpose

in the world.


I refuse to be claimed.

Your plate is waiting.

We will snip fresh mint

into your tea.


*         *         *


         I think I’ve mentioned that I’m contributing to a blog on chamber music here in Portland. My first two entries were about listening, and some of you might find them amusing, especially the second one. This is specifically about music listening, but it certainly applies to all sorts. Musicians have to be good listeners.

         Several fine writers are contributing to this project, here: .


I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance. e.e. cummings


         For those of us not naturally gifted with a superb ear, it can take a long time to become expert in listening. While a few are born with exceptional hearing, most of us require a lot of concentration to develop the requisite circuitry. Despite this fact, listening is generally taken for granted, so people don’t necessarily realize if they are poor listeners. Happily, the pleasure of listening to music draws us right in, and the more we perfect our ability to listen the more joy we reap from the experience. It’s a very positive feedback loop.

         Music is a kind of language, and as with language learning most of us gradually lose our innate flair for assimilating new musical concepts as we age. For this reason music’s attractions may be less compelling to older newcomers. The vast majority of lovers of classical music were exposed to it early in life, and probably the primary reason for its decline is the lack of exposure in the mainstream society. It is a language that demands and rewards careful listening, and the decline in listening ability in the culture runs parallel to its replacement with less nuanced genres.

         Unlike spoken language, music lacks specific connotations, unless words are added to convert it to song. Because of this it conveys different meanings to different people, and if it is complex enough it may even strike us uniquely with each hearing. Of course, many people prefer habitual comforts, but one of the attractions of composed music is its ability to lift us away from prosaic expectations to introduce us to unanticipated scenery.

         Our favorite music is a compelling presence that calls us out of our habitual mindset with its myriad concerns, to truly listen to what it has to offer. It’s a dynamic vacation from the demands of everyday life.


         Each of us has an inner narrator that talks to us constantly, describing and interpreting our surroundings, and it is so familiar we may not realize how much its chatter drowns out other voices and sounds, and how much we substitute our own thoughts for what others are trying to communicate to us. Our capacity to listen well is directly related to our ability to turn off the inner narrator and open our ears to input from outside.

         In the ordinary hours of our life, we are inundated with a constant stream of sights, sounds, and other experiences. As adults we become more or less proficient at coping with the torrent, but it demands our full attention. In the process we are using only a small percentage of our capabilities, and the semiconscious awareness of that fact can make us feel as if something essential is missing. The modern mania is to keep piling on more stuff, which paradoxically takes us ever farther away from a sense of wholeness. Serious music, on the other hand, affords us the opportunity to take a break from the torrent of impressions, and in the process regain contact with many of our more subtle qualities. The immense and inexplicable contentment that fills our corpuscles as we leave the concert venue is related to our renewed contact with grand—at times seemingly divine—aspects of our own being that are given short shrift in our daily routine.

         The ability to shut off this continual narrative, our “inner chipmunk” so to speak, is a critical factor in how well we listen. Meditation is a direct way to work on this talent, but it can be hard going, because often enough it is the inner narrator that is trying to engineer its own stillness. It can be a bit like whack-a-mole: once a train of thought is stilled it pops up nearby, and as we pounce on it there it comes up somewhere else. The very energy we use to suppress it pressurizes another outburst.

         Happily, we have music to come to our rescue. In music we love, little effort is needed to bring our full attention to it. One of the great joys of music is its ability to free us from the tedious and limiting familiarity of our own voice. It is easily apparent when we lose the thread of its smooth flow and eddy into our personal reflections, and all we have to do to reclaim it is open our ears again. It is for all the world like a river or bubbling stream we float down, where our thoughts only accost us if we step out on shore. The stream doesn’t wait for us; it plunges ahead, beckoning us to follow as closely as we are able. Craving the immediacy of the experience, we dive back in, listening for all we’re worth.


*         *         *


         Paul also sent two original poems inspired by the class:




i ~ in becoming…am the confinement of Liberation ~

i ~ in Being…am the Liberation of confinement ~

i ~ am an awareness…of an awareness…of an awareness ~

I ~ am the Knowledge…of ‘The Knowledge’ That I Am ~

I ~ am Consciousness…of ‘The Consciousness’…of I Am That ~



~ Dancing Leaves ~


…the leaf does not flutter…

…to justify the Being of wind…

…the fluttering leaf hears Music…

…and is Dancing within…


*         *         *


         Jake’s commentary:


         Plato cites Socrates as observing that the unexamined life is not worth living, an axiom commonly repeated by many but rarely explored beyond its nominal meaning.  In this verse, as he does in all the others, the Guru moves us deeper into what it means to evaluate our existence, how to go about the task, and why we should.  In short, both the he and Nitya once again take those who are interested further down the road to self-awareness that is common for those of us living in an America suffocating under layer after layer of superficial rationalizing.

         As Nitya made so clear in the preceding commentary, maintaining a detached perspective while centering on our Absolute within affords us the opportunity to exist in the world but not be swept away by it into “wand’ring mazes lost.”  In the present commentary, Nitya approaches this same point by first examining the movement of our knowledge as we move through our lives.  Periodically centering on the Absolute, as we do during deep dreamless sleep, sometimes skipping from one object of interest to the next (as we do continuously in conscious wakefulness), and sometimes creating fantasies out of that wakeful consciousness (as we do in the dream state), our minds, writes Nitya, move as if they are creating a wheel with spokes, resting momentarily on each as the wheel continues its course.

         As this process spins on, it is driven always by what Nitya calls a “dark instinctive pull” or will to life as Schopenhauer phrased it.  The drive to continue our existence here follows two general paths, that of the existential unawareness and that of the aware.  Most life forms (which in Nitya’s estimate includes what we narrowly term inanimate) follow nature’s instincts and proceed through life unencumbered by the future or the past.  When a bird makes a nest, for example say Nitya, it doesn’t worry about building schedules or plan for a future nest.  It simply does what it does when it is supposed to, and if disaster strikes, say in the form of its eggs being destroyed, the bird hops around for a brief while and then moves on.  Regret and worry never enter the picture (in spite of the American film and fiction industry’s mighty efforts to Disney-fy nature generally and animals specifically).

         Human beings aren’t as “fortunate” as birds are in being unaware of their own mortality.  Although many folks attempt to live an unreflective life, people establish relationships as they grow and, as a result, create obligations, responsibilities, and so on.  The entanglements we create are legion.  Our awareness of them and our position in the cosmos combine to present us with the burden of conscious self-awareness.  At the same time, the “animal force” of mechanical life, writes Nitya, is strong enough to offer sanctuary from the demand that we recognize our true condition, and many seek such a refuge in which the particular of manifest reality becomes the focus of our attention and life generally.  Caught up in anya, such individuals come to resemble the then soon-to-be demon, Mammon, walking the golden streets of Milton’s Heaven, unable to tear his gaze away from the glittering substance of the road bed and completely unaware of the divine sama or oneness in which gold is but a flickering spark.

         Recognizing ourselves as sama, as that whole Absolute, is our beginning of wisdom and opens for us a path beyond the circular demands of the cyclical world of nature and samsara.  That constant center, writes Nitya, has been consistent within us always and is the same now as it was on our birth days.  Upon reflection, we all know this sameness to be true about each of us in spite of what the photographs of our physical selves tell us over time.  That pure knowledge at our core is that which we consistently associate with I at any age we happen to be.  This self-awareness observes the passing show of our own consciousness.  Whenever one of those experiences captures our emotions and concentrates them on a particular, we are forgetting our true self and position.  By detaching from that anya and staying at rest in the stabilizing of our sama, we can participate in life and at the same time see it for what it is, a passing show:


No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is only once removed from the true world.  At the door of the hovel where I lie, there stands the plank on which the dead are taken away. . . . The grave waits and the worms are hungry. . . . When the time comes I will go joyfully.  Whatever may be there, it will be real, without complication, without ridicule, without deception.  God be praised: there even Gimpel [the fool] cannot be deceived. 

(“Gimpel the Fool,” by Isaac Bashevis Singer.  Qtd. In Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 3rd. ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, 1983)


Part IV

Scott Teitsworth