I Am Drunk And You are Insane–Who’s Going to Take Us Home? By Raj Ayyar

I Am Drunk And You are Insane–Who’s Going to Take Us Home? By Raj Ayyar
Raj Ayyar
To: Me (manohar@iiitd.ac.in)
Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 1:11 AM

Launching the month of December with two of my favorite quotes, one from
Rumi and the other from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas.
‘I am drunk and you are insane,
who’s going to take us home?
In this city no one I see is conscious; one is worse off than the next,
frenzied and insane.
Dear one, come to the tavern of ruin and experience the pleasures of the
soul.
What happiness can there be apart from this intimate conversation with the
Beloved?
In every corner there are drunkards, while the Server pours the wine from a
royal decanter to every particle of being.’
–Rumi ed. Kabir Helminski in The Pocket Rumi (Shambhala Publications).
‘I took my stand in the middle of the world and I appeared to them in the
flesh.
I found them all drunk
none of them thirsty.’
–Gospel of Thomas tr. Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer: The Essential
Gnostic Scriptures.
Both quotes highlight the ‘drunkenness’ and insanity of most ego-ridden
mortals, addicted to one thing or the other–could be alcohol and other
substances, or sex, fame, power, money, food, love.
Few are ‘thirsty’ for the higher joys of spirit.
The similarities between the two quotes are quite striking.
As always, Jalaluddin Rumi is a master of frame switches in the same
verse/(s). He moves from talking about the ‘drunkenness’ of those addicted
to worldly pursuits, their frenzy and insanity. Then, he switches to the
higher wine of the soul in the ‘tavern of ruin’, presumably the tavern of
ego shattering, where the Beloved pours out the wine for the thirsty. The
deft frame switch here is from ‘drunkenness’ as a metaphor for the lost,
frenzied and addicted, to a higher thirst for the ‘wine of the Beloved’.
The second quote from the Thomas gospel is very similar–Jesus talks about
incarnating in the flesh, only to find that very few are ‘thirsty’ for the
higher gnosis; most of us are drunk on one thing or the other–alcohol or
other substances, power, money, sex etc.
I love the lines: ‘In this city no one I see is conscious; one is worse
off than the next, frenzied and insane.’ So true of New Delhi and many
other cities, but in Delhi, the frenzied addiction to power grab, property
grab, sex grab and upward mobility at any cost including murder, is at a
scary extreme here and now.

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