Harry Terhanian.com

Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • Shounuh eerehn gahmkeetz hehrou chee yehrtahl mahrtuh eerehn paghteetz

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  • shounehn ohreenahgehn tahss eemahnahl

    Once I saw a dog impatiently waiting near the bank of a lake. His eyes seemed sad and tearful. His coat of hair was disheveled and muddied as if he was rolling in the mud on the banks of the lake. It was an Armenian Gampr dog, a faithful shepherd dog that had grown old and seemingly neglected.

    The dog was looking at everyone that walked by with his sad eyes as if to say, “Are you my master. I need to find him. I have been waiting many days for his return.” The dog looked at the passing cars. He ran toward people looking at them with the hope that they might be his owner, his family. Disappointed he walked slowly away and sat near the bank of the lake with his sad eyes watering with loneliness.

    I spoke to one elderly gentleman who looked like he was a local resident. He had a walking stick and measured his pace.

    Nehroughoutioun bahron, ahrteeok aiys shouneen dehruh guh jahchnah?
    Excuse me sir, perhaps you know the owner of this dog?

    Tzahvut dahnem yeghpaiyr jan, aiys keghj shouneen dehruh kahrdash Ahvo eh.
    May your pain be mine, my dear brother, this sad dog belongs to the stone sculpture Ahvo.

    Yehrek ohr ahratch Ahvon eer shounuh huhrahnmaiyetz hohs muhnal meenchehv vor vehrahtarnah
    Three days ago Ahvo ordered his dog to stay by this lake until he comes back.

    Tuhjpahkhtahpar, Ahvon chee vehrahtahrtzav. Oor kuhnatz, oor muhnatz chenk keedehr
    Unfortunately Ahvo has not returned. We don’t know where he went or where he is.

    I looked at the dog again. I could almost read his mind. “Where is my master? He cared for me so kindly. We walked together and he talked to me. He fed me everyday and petted me affectionately. He bathed me with his own hands. Where is he? Maybe he forgot about me. I hope he comes soon and takes me with him.”

    I could see the wet eyes of the dog and his expectant gaze. There was the agony of waiting in his eyes with the fear that no one will come. There is an Armenian song that says,

    Gahrod – To long for (yearning)

    Tzuhketzeer zees aiys leejoum
    You left me at this lake
    Togheer, hehratzahr
    Abandoned me, and went away

    Agh, togheer, katzeer toun
    Oh you left, you distanced yourself
    Yehv zees mohratzahr
    And completely forgot about me

    Yehs aiys dzohv tzahvehroum
    In the midst of my ocean of grief
    Eenchbes teemahnahm
    How can I endure

    Ahrantz mehg khosk eentz uhseer
    Not one word you spoke to me
    Vohrbes tzahvehut eemahnahm
    To understand your troubles

    Ahchkuhs pahtz meechev loiys
    My eyes open til dawn
    Ahrantz kuhnahnahm
    Without even a wink

    Houzvahdz seerdus meeayn houyees
    My heavy heart has one hope
    Kez nohrehn dehsnahm
    To see you one more time

    Tzuhketzeer zees aiys leejoum
    You left me at this lake
    Togheer, hehratzahr
    Abandoned me, and went away

    Agh, togheer, katzeer toun
    Oh you left, you distanced yourself
    Yehv zees mohratzahr
    And completely forgot about me

    I could feel the dog’s yearning for his master like the words of the song. He must have been thinking of the affectionate times he spent with his master. Now, he can only wait and weep.

    The world is my teacher. In a sense, it is the dictionary of the spiritual world for everything in this world is just a shadow image of the spiritual world. The shadow of the spiritual world is reflected on the waves of lust and greed, therefore, what we see here is
    a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. But, we can still learn from it. Just as a shadow indicates that there is a real thing somewhere else. When I see the shadow of my hand, I can understand that there is a real hand.

    The sight of the abandoned dog made me think deeply about the nature of life. I felt like I am in this world without my master feeling lonely and forlorn. But, I expect him to come at any moment. Then, again feeling dejected because I can’t see him. My only recourse is to cry with thoughts of fond nostalgia. Without those thoughts and some hope, death is imminent. Yet, I hold on like the dog to hope, running here and there, looking with expectation. Has my master arrived to take me in his shelter again?

    Did I do something wrong? Is that why he left me? Have I sinned willfully or in ignorance? Is this why I cannot see my master?

    I can begin to understand Krikor Narekgatsi’s Prayers of Lamentation. He is praying for
    all humanity, penitent for all the sins of fallible men, calling from the depth of his heart for God to appear and wipe away all doubts and hesitations that have entered the hearts of men due to multitudes of sinful acts. Narek says,

    Prayer 32
    Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart
    (Book of Lamentations – keerk voghpehrkoutioun by Krikor Narekgatsi)

    All eyes turn to you, O God of all.
    Incline your ear toward the prayers of
    the weeping voices of your servants and handmaidens.
    Accept the dew of my woeful song, the tears of my sore
    eyes, upon the immaculate feet of your humanity, Christ,
    as you did when the sinner Mary washed your feet with her hair and tears.
    Let me return to you professing faith with
    the kiss of my lips upon tasting the communion of
    life’s salvation, beneficent God,
    mercifully having received union with the same spirit
    and the same compassion as the sinful woman.
    I hope for the pledge of your great gifts
    in exchange for my meager faith.
    And through the compassion of your love for me,
    your servant who proclaims your cherished name,
    may the severe winter winds become tranquil air,
    the gusty storm become a pleasant breeze,
    the misgivings of fear become great confidence,
    the meting out of punishment turn into bliss,
    the perils of grief become spiritual rejoicing,
    the tossing waves calm into placid water,
    the arm-wrenching helm turn toward a safe harbor,
    the harvest of heavy sin be transformed into
    a stipend of grace.

    And for the myriad of good things from you,
    may your mighty name be magnified, proclaimed and honored with incense.
    May the instigator of evil be embarrassed,
    rejected and persecuted.
    May the mortgage of sin be annulled,
    may the snares be cut loose, the traps removed,
    may the ties be undone, the abyss eliminated,
    may perils be lifted, deceit torn away,
    may the mortgage of sin be annuled,
    may yokes fall off, ploughs unhitched,
    and instead of the gloomy darkness of
    evil transgressions,
    and the siege of the armies of demons,
    may the sun of your glory shine forth,
    giving life, salvation and light,
    from the right and the left, the front and the back.
    And may the morning rays of the soul’s springtime shine
    upon those who await your coming.
    For you are charitable and comforting in all things,
    and all things are possible for you,
    you who want life and salvation for all.

    Narek is praying for everyone – Armenian, Turk, Arab, American, Chinese – absolutely everyone. He is crying for the mercy of the Master.

    The lonely dog will die and his master may never return. But the Lord has promised to return for the faithful. The dog is my teacher because he is waiting faithfully for the master with tears in his eyes flowing from fond memories of the master’s kindness.

    While visiting India I heard another beautiful poem about a dog (symbol of a surrendered servant of the spiritual preceptor) sung by an elderly Bengali lady. The poem was written by the Bengali Saint Bhaktivinoda Thukura.

    sarvasva tomara, carane sapiya, padechi tomara ghare
    tumi to’ thakura, tomara kukura, baliya janaha more (1)
    O Lord, I have surrendered my everything at Your lotus feet and remain prostrate in
    Your house. You are my Lord and I am Your dog. Kindly accept me as such.

    badhiya nikate, amare palibe, rahiba tomara dvare
    pratipa-janere, asite na diba, rakhiba gadera pare (2)
    Chain me nearby. I shall stand guard at the door of your house. I will not allow any
    unfavorable people to enter and will send them far away.

    tava nija-jana, prasada seviya, ucchishta rakhibe jaha
    amara bhojana, parama-anande, prati-dina ha’be taha (3)
    Daily in supreme bliss I will accept the remnants of Your dear devotees who have
    honored Your prasada (sanctified food offered to the Lord).

    basiya shuiya, tomara carana, cintiba satata ami
    nacite nacite, nikate jaiba, jakhana dakibe tumi (4)
    When lying down and sitting up, I will constantly remember Your lotus feet, and when
    You call me, I will immediately come to You, dancing in bliss.

    nijera poshana, kabhu na bhaviba, rahiba bhavera bhare
    bhakativinoda, tomare palaka, baliya varana kare (5)
    Shri Bhaktivinoda says, “O Lord, never thinking of my own sustenance, I will perpetually
    remain submerged in bhava(spiritual bliss), because I have accepted You as my maintainer.”

    The spiritual preceptor teaches the disciple how to sincerely serve God. He helps the
    disciple to weed out any selfish desires and misconceptions about how to purely render
    service.

    How can the disciple repay the preceptor? It is impossible. Therefore, with his eyes
    full of tears, he remains faithful to the teachings and patiently continues on the
    path of devotion praying always for the mercy of God coming through his teacher.

    Like Narek’s tears, the tears of love are inspired by feelings of separation from God. Everything in this world is complete except one thing. We do not see God in our daily lives. Therefore, the sincere servant of God pines after the mercy of the Lord and longs for His appearance.

    In the eternal pastimes of Lord Krishna, His most intimate consort, Srimati Radharani prays,

    “O master, O My Lover! O dearest Beloved, where are You? Where are you? Please, O mighty-armed one, O Friend, show Yourself to Me, Your poor servant.”

    Radha and her cowherd friends all pray and weep continuously. Their hope is that Krishna may appear before them. The intensity of love in separation from Krishna is so
    overwhelming that the only way they can survive is to remember the Lord and His loving pastimes with them. They sing lovely songs glorifying the Lord with choice poetry. It seems that their sorrow will break their tender hearts and they’ll die. But, even the slightest remembrance of the Lord rekindles their hope to see Him. Like the dog at the lake, they seem to be almost dead, but the glimmer of expectation that master may come keeps them alive.

    Love in separation from God with the constant expectation of meeting again is the most profound emotional state that can transport a person to the spiritual world.

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  • souhnuh vohr ahmahnchehr vahrdeek guh hahknehr

    There is another way to say this.

    If the dog felt embarrassed it would use its tail to hide its butt hole

    souhnuh yeteh ahmahnchehr kahmaguh bohtchov guh dzadzkehr

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  • Mehr shounuh aiynchahp vahrbehd eh vor alvehssuh tzahkeruh mehr hahvnotzuh tzuhkhehr eh

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  • ehsheroun joghovuh yev shounehroun hatchelluh

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  • Shounuh hachelov hachelov kayl guh pereh

    Someone who is a big mouth will attract danger (or create a dangerous or troublesome situation).

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  • Shounnuh oour oodehneh hon guh hatcheh

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