صورة ورؤيا زاهد من سري لانكا / Portrait and Vision of A Sri Lankan "Saint"



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أوبيسيكارا, جناناث; Obeyesekere, Gananath; النوحي, إيمان; El-Nouhy, Eman

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The translation covers the last chapter of Gananth Obeyeskere's Medusa'a Hair, entitled "Epilogue: The End and the Beginning." The research that went into this essay stemmed form an incident at Kataragama in 1973 whence Obeyesekere was awed by the view of an ecstatic woman worshipper at the shrine, with matted hair, which recalled medusa, and in turn Freud's essay "Medusa's Head". In his epilogue, Obeyesekere goes on to recollect an incident which occured to him at Kataragama in 1979, six years after he had seen the fire-walking "Medusa," when he saw what he believed to be a Sri Lankan Sinhala "saint," a hair. Obeyesekere presents a biographical sketch of this man, Sada Sami: He was born in Galle in 1909 and his father died five years later. He was raised by his mother and his older brother. He left his home town for Tammuttegama after a violent encounter with his sister, and there he was hired as a shop assistant. Extensive reading made him quite religious and, consequently, he grew sick of his job, and commenced his own business twenty years later - an endeavor which he ultimately abandoned as well. In 1951 Sami acquired the "gift" of matted hair as a result of an anonymous person pouring water on his head in a dream and a subsequent fever that ailed him. Years later, he was instructed to conquer Mahasona (the strongest of demons), which he shrewdly did, and, as such, was no longer obliged to offer dola to the gods. His fame became wide spread (the working of the gods) and he went to Matara where he practiced rituals for healing the ill. His main objective, however, was to reach nirvana. In commenting on these experiences, Obeyesekere states that these dreams are recognized as dreams per se by Sada Sami, but indeed dreams, for Sami, are merely a reality which prevails in a different dimension. Sami has, as Obeyesekere contends, constructed images which correspond to his culture and its symbols. The author labels Sami's dreams as "myth dreams." He further hypothesizes that Sami's case suggests that myths may have originated in the "hypnomantic consciousness." He concludes that "the myth conditions the dream as the dream conditions the myth." Obeyesekere then provides his readers which some interpretations of the symbols which appear in Sada Sami's dreams, and their relation to his culture.]

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