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Varanasi,Dawn Mahabalipuram Mount Athos


Examples of the treatment of religion being used as a form of escapism (whole of ... Overall Concerns of the 3 Poems. Finding our own individual space (Home) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Varanasi,Dawn Mahabalipuram Mount Athos

Varanasi,Dawn Mahabalipuram Mount Athos
Varanasi, Dawn
  • famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of
    the river Ganges (Ganga) in Uttar Pradesh
  • a major cultural and religious centre of
    Northern India
  • the site of the holy shrine of Lord Kashi
    Vishwasnath (an incarnation of Lord Shiva)
  • the name Varanasi was derived from 2 tributaries
    of Ganges one in the north end of the city,
    called Varuna and the other in the south end,
    called Asi (now reduced to a water-drain)

  • ghats the banks of a holy river, and often, at
    Varanasi, steps are built to facilitate bathing
  • Mother Ganga called the Holy Ganga, is
    personified in Hinduism as a goddess Maa Ganga
    (Mother Ganga), the foster-mother of Karttikeya,
    son of Shiva and Parvati
  • it is believed that taking a dip in the river
    will wash away one's sins, and that having one's
    ashes disposed of in the Ganga after death may
    improve one's next life or even allow Moksha
    (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth)
    to be attained sooner
  • Kali the Dark Mother is a straightforwardly
    benevolent mother-goddess
  • home to 2 species of dolphin the Ganges River
    Dolphin and the Irrawaddy Dolphin

  • Concerns
  • Religion is questioned as a relief, an entity to
    which we find solace and comfort in.
  • The means in which whether religion is used as a
    form of escapism.
  • How experience gained through travel can widen
    our perspective and dawn realization on the
    existence of life, through which Journey is a
    search for a place where we can call Home.

  • Religion here is treated as some form of
    novelty. People go on pilgrimages to cleanse
    themselves of their sins.
  • Thus seen as escapism, and therefore spiritual,
    holy places like Varanasi have become
    desecrated because the people no longer connect
    with the place and rituals become more of a
  • Going on a pilgrimage is one trying to cleanse
    oneself, yet death brings us back into the life
    cycle where the mortal sins exist. Hence, a
    continuation of the rituals and pilgrimage has
    lost its meaning since we are nudged back into
    the cycle.
  • Examples of the treatment of religion being used
    as a form of escapism (whole of second verse
  • the bodieshave returned,/clinging to the
    human realm, afraid/to start over again.
    They are nudged/back into the cycle,
  • Make/a few comebacks, brave the swamps/of
  • come back this far when it is over

  • the use of contrasting images of life and death
    is effective in showing us how by gaining a new
    experience, we become truly alive/in the midst
    of death.
  • It then links to how we find our Home, a place
    where we feel at total ease. The traveling motif
    represents the search in finding our true selves,
    leading to the Home lying spiritually in
    ourselves, and therefore, the world is home.
  • Examples of imagery of life and death
  • tiny flames flicker by in cupped leaves,
  • Mother Ganga vs Kali,
  • dolphin cleaves the water/in a dance of
    light, in counterpoint/to our sorrowful
    music and inscribing its bright
    notes of life against/our ground note of defeat

  • a port city
  • named after demon king Mahabali or Pallava king
  • various historic monuments built largely between
    the 7th-9th century, constituting the early
    stages of Dravidian architecture with Buddhist
    elements of design

  • We are shown the calming influence of spiritual
    places on us,
  • the gradual lost of faith in religion and the
    distorted purposes of religion in todays
  • and how despite religious retreats being places
    where we seek comfort and reassurance, it is but
    temporary and we still need to find our
    individual place of spiritual balance in order to
    achieve some form of self-peace.

  • In Existentialism, a Home is not a physical
    space, but rather, an individual space within us
    where the sense of personal truth reside in.
  • the importance of searching for a Home, e.g. when
    the way to find true enlightenment might not
    possibly be through religion, but through the
    understanding of existence, which is constantly
    being there, out in the open/when everything
    conspires to put out the little light we
    possess,/that we discover the stillness in the
    storm, since enlightenment is neither ephemera
    nor eternal.
  • This idea of the religion being unable to grant
    us our personal truths can be further found when
    the people are stunned when they view the
    temples, not for religious purposes such as
    pilgrimages(Not by the heavens eloquence, nor
    the surge/of inspiration from the oceans
    depths), but rather, concerned with the physical
    appearance of the temples instead.

  • Thus, the journey to this spiritual space can be
    seen as a quest to seek a Home, a personal
    spiritual enlightenment within oneself (discover
    the stillness in the storm).
  • The sage is admired and revered by people and
    they now commemorate that occasion, for the
    sage was brave and courageous enough to have
    carved his insights boldly in stone , making
    evidence of his learning and permanence of it.
    It encourages others as a role model to embark on
    a journey to search for their personal Home and
    by being true to their honest self.

  • The strong sense of energy in the first verse
    paragraph shows restlessness, energy and thoughts
    needing to be released and/or spoken but it is
    not accepted, when the words were rebounded from
    the page.
  • Examples of energy portrayed
  • worked at a feverish tempo,
  • flung into frenzied dance,
  • wild-haired, pounds its hearts furies,
    out- thundering/the march.
  • the release of energy and unspoken words are not
  • tapping out words/which rebound from the
  • a Beethoven trying to hear himself.

  • Temples are described as being like anchors of
    faith and are personified (meditative poise),
    appearing to be tying us down when the storm
    of the first verse paragraph appears to have
    swept us away. Example
  • temples are unmoved
  • temples firm presence
  • Inner peace is achieved through the awe of the
    temples(We are stunned, lightning flashes
    through our souls) and the calming effects it
    brings. Example
  • neutral zone of quiet between the warring
  • gentle breathing of the towers

  • through the use of vivid imagery and
    onomatopoeia, the sheer sense of energy conveyed
    in the first verse paragraph is felt deeply we
  • The personification of the temples better enable
    the poem to exude this calming influence.
  • The idea of the journey as a metaphor is used to
    show the pilgrimage to the temples as that of
    self-reflection to search for ones own Home.

Mount Athos
  • Mount Athos means Holy Mountain in Modern
  • Only monks are allowed to live on Athos and the
    current population numbers around 1,400.
  • semantron a wooden or iron plank suspended from
    above and struck with a mallet a traditional
    Orthodox device for announcing the time of prayer
  • cyclamen a genus of 20 species of hardy
    flowering perennial herbaceous aestivating plants

  • Concerns
  • the distortion of the purpose of traveling to
    spiritual places.
  • how do we feel towards religion now
  • the commercialization of spiritual
    places as mere tourism spots

Simono Petra
  • With the advent of modernization, religious
    spaces have become commercialized and
  • The actual purpose of visiting such places have
    been distorted, instead of a pilgrimage to
    cleanse sins or finding themselves through
    religion(idea of Home), people are merely
    visiting these places as some kind of novelty,
    showing a distinct lack of respect and
  • Examples of distortion of spiritual spaces
  • Simono Petra
  • Once mighty fortress, now only talk of
  • the monastery is personified as a resilient
    old man with frail frame,
    weatheredbody, arthritic bones and
    rickety legs.
  • Now has to fight off tourists(modern
    infidels) which are doing more harm
    then the elements wearing it away.
  • Tourists personified as pirates bent on
    plunder to show the extent that rather
    to worship, their inability to admire and
    savour the treasures for they go
    unpraised by human touch.

  • Examples of distortion of spiritual spaces
  • Iviron
  • Sarcastic tone where Father Gabriel gives up
    fishing for a sober career and is now
    baited for life in order to attract the
    tourists to the monastery.
  • Hints that he is not home with a harvest of
    peace, seen when his spirit slipped its
    moorings to journey back out to the sea.
  • people have to be reminded of the mass by the
    sounding of the semantron, supposedly religion
    needs no reminder to hear and believe
  • Father Gabriel probably represents religion, and
    how by personifying religion we understand the
    contextual situation of religion in life and how
    it has lost its real meaning, being unable to
    inspire the modern infidels any longer
  • Coda
  • devout men are seen shuttling/like an
    alien craft/between these islanded monasteries.
    Sense of detachment from religion and that
    religion has lost its real purpose, devout men
    used as sarcasm.

  • Overall Concerns of the 3 Poems
  • Finding our own individual space (Home).
  • Religions and its places of worship misleading us
    from attaining true Self-Discovery.
  • Boey is concerned with the idea of Self-Discovery
    through traveling, with journey as a metaphor.

  • Staying neutral, neither disbelieving nor blindly
    following religion as a mean of Self-Discovery
  • Not misled nor guided in any particular direction
    and to seek true Self-Discovery through journeys
    to open new perspectives of life
  • Varanasi, Dawn
  • the quiet glow on the water is enough to
    tell us that we are home, for the world is
  • though the bodies had already floated out,
    it clings to the human realm,/afraid to
    start over again.
  • Mahabalipuram
  • words/which rebound from the page nothing
    follows a fixed rule and we need to seek our
    own solutions
  • Beethoven trying to hear himself against
    the out- thundering march orchestrated by
    the gods above who try to prevent us from
    truly knowing and understanding ourselves

  • the journey to Self-Discovery is experienced
    through traveling and journeying itself, for that
    is when we find the stillness in the storm,
    rather than engaging in pilgrimages for the sake
    of cleansing oneself and religious practices not
    strongly believed in
  • Through visiting spiritual spaces we gain more
    knowledge, enhance our experiences, and enables
    us to be at Home (spiritually, and experience
    emotional balance), which is why the world is
    home, for we are constantly gaining experiences
    and new insights into Life in general.

Wei Zhong
Fang Zheng
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