Indigenous Knowledge and Oral Traditions of Western Iran: 34
From the Premier to the Eternal Body: 4
the Home of the Heart
Poetry In Persian, Kurdish, German and English:
and Persian translation of three poems by:
Joachim S. Hohmann
Regarding the Home of the Heart
With the defeat of the Sassanid dynasty that ruled in a large part of the Orient, much of the written materials about ancient Iranian philosophy must have been destroyed by the invaders. Therefore, in addition to some dispersed non-objective information in the writings of the Greeks, a part of ancient Iranian philosophy was revived by the twelfth century philosopher, Shahab al-Din Sohrawardi, who paid for it with his life at a young age. It was only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that some texts in Avestic and Pahlavi languages were discovered in India among the Parsis.
Moreover, in these texts some vague reflections of the above-mentioned philosophy have survived. In these sources I came across two concepts in the general context of ancient Iranian philosophical thought. There I believe to have discovered an ancient philosophical idea which is at the same time very modern. For a long time I was not sure whether this idea in this form had existed or whether it was my own interpretation. I have sometimes come across a rather similar idea in the writings of Sufi Mystics like Rumi. The traces of this idea are also to be found in the thoughts of such philosophers as the above-mentioned Sohrawardi. This philosophical concept is in any case based on the structure of ancient Mazdayasnan or Zarathustrian philosophy and its natural outlets.
The mentioned concepts are called something like “Erimary Home or Homeland” and “Last or Eternal Body”. I am hoping eventually to be able to write down my interpretation of these concepts in a founded analytical paper. But before beginning to write such a paper, I would like to try to present the same idea in a completely different form. The motivation for doing this is based on the fact that I think my interpretation has also indirectly to do with my personal life experiences and biography. This in the language of the mystics is just a struggle of a “part” to be trained to understand the “whole”. As any part or particle is always struggling to join its origin, as believed by Iranian mystics.
My biography certainly goes in that direction:
I was born in Harsin, a small Kurdish town in a mountainous region between the Mesopotamian Lowland and the Iranian plateau. My paternal ancestors for generations were engaged in the political life of the region. My grandfather, though inheriting the political position of his ancestors, was not only an outstanding calligrapher, but also had a great interest for Persian and Kurdish literature. Not typical of the time, my mother was not from the same town but from Kermanshah. For that reason, she literary forced my father to move to that city at the time I was about seven years old.
Leaving the beautiful nature and wonderful fruit gardens of Harsin; I felt as if I had been thrown out of paradise. Destiny had it that a child like me who up to then was loved and protected inside of a big and respected clan, suddenly found himself in a harsh environment where I had to learn to protect myself at a very early age. For years to come, as a child I kept some earth and water from Harsin in a corner of our house, renewing them each summer whenever I went there on a visit. While still in the tenth grade I left Kermanshah, to live in Tehran. There, while working, I visited evening school and was able to finish high school before doing my military service in the same city.
Then, after working for about a year in a car factory in Tehran, I decided to go to India. In Poona I started my university studies. From there I went to France and then went back to India, as that country had awoken a great love in my heart. Even after another love had taken me to Germany, it was not strong enough to control my feeling pulling me for a long time towards India; which had become another type of home for me. There I remained until I finally received a PhD title from the University of Poona.
However, due to some existential factors I was forced to leave that country and returned to Germany again. Not knowing what better to do, I continued my scientific researches and in a short time received a Dr. phil. title from the University of Augsburg. A year after that, I finished a Post Doctorial course at the University of Kassel. Finally, I started a long term research as “Habilitation” while moving between India, Iran and Germany.
During all the years spent with scientific activities, I always felt that I had another “home” which I was carrying on my shoulders wherever I went:
Since my childhood, art and literature had always been my last resort; where I felt I was understood and protected. I practiced painting, photography, learned a musical instrument and for many years practiced the difficult art of Persian traditional singing. Moreover, from a very early stage of life, I was interested in literature. This was not at all normal; in a surrounding in which several of my comrades either never went to school or had given it up. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that I was not able to develop any interest to share my love for art and literature with others. It was only for a short period of time while living and working in Tehran, that I had contact with someone who had the same type of interest.
Therefore, art became a private and holy sphere for me, in many years to come. It was only much later in my development that I, whether wrong or right, even felt obliged to publish some of my writings. Therefore, as most of my writings were in Persian language, I went to Tehran at the beginning of the 1990ies and published an anthology as well as a novel one year later. Now, after much time has passed, with the same motivation I have decided once more to publish my writings of the last years.
On the basis of the above-mentioned ancient Iranian philosophy, five collections have been prepared. Each of these are related partly to where and what I have once felt to be my “home”. Once because, whenever I tried to go back to these homes, they were no more there. Thus these writings show my long journey through temporary homes to go back to what may be called the “first and last divine home”. This also shows the way I have understood the concepts of “Primary Home” and “Eternal Body”; without directly speaking about them.
These writings are accompanied by photography and paintings in order to add a physical space to the content of the words.
From the Premier to the Eternal Body: 4
The present collection is called “Regarding’the Home of the Heart'” and includes writings of lyrics of an emotional nature. They are illustrated with the paintings of Lisa Wehrmann. These paintings reflect a moving biography of an old and dear friend. Her biography shows very well how her paintings can be related to the idea of this collection:
Lisa Wehrmann was born in Michelstadt (Odenwald), Germany. As a child, she moved with her parents to the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. She lived in several countries of Latin America, before going back to Europe. Her last station was Switzerland, before starting her work at the University of Augsburg in Bavaria. It was here where for me, a valuable friendship began and continues to the present day. Also for Lisa, art has been a private holy sphere since her childhood.
Her mother was a wonderful musician. She was willing to move to South America with her husband, only on the condition that her husband accepted to let her piano is brought by ship from Europe to a little Caribbean town. Lisa attended various art courses in Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and Germany.
Despite my belief that poetry is the most expressive artistic form, it seems that it does not have the universality of painting or music as poetry needs the difficult task of translation. I feel that the type of space created by the pictures and paintings, in combination with the existing emotion of the writings, have helped to somehow come near to the ideas behind these collections. As they are supposed to bring together what which has always been seen to be antagonistic, namely art and philosophy. Here it is going to suggest that even pure rationality cannot be without emotion.
Moreover the fact that this collection includes writings and paintings of an emotional nature, does not mean that my other four collections have nothing to do with such matters. For me, the type of rationality which is based on different human capacities can actually come closer to the reality. Still these are mainly anthologies and do not need to be understood only from a certain philosophical point of view; although everything in life is philosophy. I believe that in the way art is capable of expressing philosophical matters, it can in certain cases surpass an analytical paper.
Even rationality and mind is not without emotion. Perhaps even art can help to free philosophy from the monopoly of a very small minority. But unfortunately the deeper art and literature become, the smaller becomes the scope of their communication and the number their lovers or followers. It seems that modernity has turned thinking and emotion into such rare luxury goods which even the rich and privileged cannot afford.
wiedersehen Auf : From the Premier to the Eternal Body
Perle in der Schalle von Fariborz Hamzeh’ee 20. Juli 1996
Toter Aprikosenbaum von Fariborz Hamzeh’ee 2022