There are words from other languages that have got me pondering today on the way home. One génie came to mind from a poem by de Musset called Tristesse. I will put it down here or the pertinent part it came from the poet Alfred de Musset who wrote at the beginning of the 19th century in Paris. Mostly known for his romantic poems, his theater pieces and his novels, de Musset’s first collection of poems won the approval of Victor Hugo, who accepted him in his Romantic literary circle. He was the lover of the women writer George Sand (her pseudonym) who was the inspiration for this poem.
J’ai perdu ma force et ma vie,/ I have lost my will and my life
Et mes amis et ma gaieté; / my friends and my cheer
J’ai perdu jusqu’à la fierté / I have lost up until the pride
Qui faisait croire à mon génie. / that made me believe in my inspirations
from the word génie we get genius, or that’s how I remember it when I was learning english. Linguistically it’s has a slightly different meaning , and it’s very sublte. the meaning is that which is a unique spark in each person that animates them and their way of seeing things. For someone who is a genius it is so hyper developed in certain aspects like music or sports or linguistically etc. But there are those whose génie is always there and it suffuses everything they do and its cannot be easily seen, but thats another story. It must have been a terrible love affair if he doubts his own génie as a poet. To quote briefly from another one of my favorite contemporary french writer JMG LeClezio (read Wandering Star it is shockingly beautiful)
“It is, I believe, the primary charm of poetry to give the lesson of mirage, that is, to show the fragile and vibrant movement of creation, in which the word is in a certain way human quintessence, prayer.”
It’s deep n’est ce pas ( isn’t it?) What does this word have to do with Leela. The phrase “lesson of mirage” is the tie in. In Sanskrit (see I am sophisticated and clean up nice). Lila means play. This along with many other thing was explained to me on my crazy trip to India. Why is this important, well because of a deep philosophical thought encapsulated in the sacred texts I came across in my travels. I was told: the sufis say and (this was mirror in the vedantic teachings) that “God was a secret treasure and he wanted to be known (or loved), so he created a creation.” He created maya – illusion to make us think we are separate from our origin when we really arent.
There is a beautiful expression: Tat Twum Asi, which my friend told me meant “Thou art that“. I spent many afternoon looking out of my hostel window thinking what that meant. Someone quoted for me a line many years later from St Francis which said: What you are looking for is Looking ? Either way the leela is this play, this illusory play of which we each play a role. Our genie is the unique expression in this case of that spark that makes use unique, that ties us back to our origins beyond the illusion.
Heavy concepts! When I came back to the states after that trip, I felt different, not only because for weeks I lived off of coconuts as my main food source, but something awoken in me that made the world less senseless.
Two words, from two countries worlds apart but a simple experience of love brings such depth to the image created. So here is a page from my travel book, probably makes no sense and is impossible to follow. Also I don’t like being serious for too long – there are tons of inappropriate comments left to say:-)
Shout out to my secretcrushfortwoweeks and her fine self, poetically very far away but close
*** About the translation – I like loose translation that continue the emotional components of the french my translation is far from perfect but its more alive to my ears. Here is a boring translation
I lost my strength and my life,
My friends and my joy;
I lost till the pride
That made my genius believable.