Sunday, October 2, 2011
A hiatus of almost 1200 years has kept Socrates, Mansour Hallaj, & us apart, I heard about these great thinkers when I was growing up, despite of their tragic ends, Hallaj's characterhas always intrigued me more because I heard from some orthodox Muslims ' do not follow Hallaj, but do not say bad words about him'. While Socrates remain as a brave philosopher from the bygone era who was forced to drink hemlock for his deeds but the tragedy of his end does not come any where close to Hallaj's. I was not taught any thing about these scholars during my school days but they remained as a part of revered memories in my thoughts. During one of my trips to Athens I tried to find the Socrates prison under the acropolis, either I read the map wrong or the information was incorrect, all I could find a small cave under a steep cliff, recently reading the account of Socrates last day in the prison this could not have been the place. That is beside the point, while Socrates drank the poison in a very luxurious way(if there is any thing luxurious about death) Mansour encountered his fate in the most barbaric way a person can think, yet he is hardly known or praised for his courage except for a few. Recently while reading a book about Socrates by Xenophon I noticed another interesting correlation between Socrates when he describes some counsel from a "divine voice" which he called Demon and another thinker Sarmad(Sufi master of Dara, Aurangzeb's elder brother) who justified his acts by saying ' Shatan quavi ust( Satan is strong)'. Sarmad encountered the same fate as of the other two although not as brutal as that of Hallaj. I wonder why so little information is available on Mansour Hallaj. I will definitely like to read the original writings of Hallaj.