Love and lust
sehruh yehv geehrkuh
There was once a princess who assumed the throne of her father after he became too old to perform his duties. This was before the Christian era. She was young and beautiful. Her father had instilled in her the values of a pious spiritual life based on the ancient spiritual traditions of Armenia, arts and culture, eloquent oratory skills, knowledge of the holy scriptures and especially modesty and humility. Her name became Queen Anushik which means sweetness in Armenian.
Although Anushik was only 20 years old, she accepted the responsibility of the kingdom with the determination to carry on the legacy of her noble father, King Arevdzak – the rising sun king. The king was a pious man who accepted initiation into the spiritual traditions of ancient pre-Christian Armenia. He was king of the ancient cradle of Armenian civilization just west of Lake Van which is named as Sasun and Mus today. This was about 400 years before the appearance of Christ. During his time there were Greek, Persian, Jewish and Indian spiritual communities along with the Armenians in the area that he ruled. All the subjects of King Arevdzak respected him because of his liberal acceptance of different religious traditions that co-existed peacefully. This liberality was also very effective for maintaining peace with his powerful neighbors who were the Greeks and Persians on both sides of his kingdom. The Armenian king did not try to impose a particular religious system on the people.
The king and his family visited the many holy shrines in his kingdom that existed in his day. He prayed to the different gods and goddesses to bless his only child Anushik so that she would one day become a mother and give him grandchildren. For Anushik’s education he appointed a pious lady named Arevloiss – sunlight – who he entrusted to teach Anushik the secret knowledge of Tukh Manuk – the little dark boy. The cult of Tukh Manuk was intimate because it revolved around serving the child-god like a mother with devotion and expressions of gentle intimacy. This was especially appealing to women who had the natural propensity for motherly love. There was also the possibility for men to worship Tukh Manuk like a father and express their paternal love for him. King Arevdzak privately practiced the cult of Tukh Manuk by cultivating an intimate paternal relationship with him.
The royal family practiced their faith in Tukh Manuk in secrecy so as not to disturb the followers of other cults. Outwardly, the king showed respect for all the faiths in his kingdom in order to give an example of tolerance and respect. In the ancient world there was a chaotic assembly of gods and goddesses who seemed to possess certain powers over the resources of nature. Believers would offer libations to the deities in return for favors such as success in their endeavors. They relied on priests to be the intermediaries who supplicated the deities with the esoteric incantations so that the reply would be favorable.
The king had been enlightened by Arevloiss and other followers of Tukh Manuk to understand the difference between religious practices meant for personal gain and those that were only for serving God with love without any trace of self-motivation. Most people worshipped God as the provider or the father. Thus, they expected God to supply their every need. Tukh Manuk was worshipped as the child God who needed to be cared for tenderly and with dedication. Rather than ask for something in return for their service and offerings, the proxy parents of the child God were only concerned for caring and giving whatever was necessary for the well being of Tukh Manuk. Instead of asking Him to serve them, they served Tukh Manuk as a parent serves and protects his child.
The history of the worship of Tukh Manuk in ancient Armenia reveals the origins of the Armenian people and their original culture. It is interesting to note that most but not all of the traces and manuscripts of the original Armenian culture were systematically eliminated by the fanaticism of the foreign (Jewish, Greek and Syrian) Christians and their Armenian converts when they were able to influence King Drtad in the 4th century to become a Christian. The subsequent Armenian Christian kings continued the suppression of the ancient, original Armenian culture. The worship of Tukh Manuk became relegated to the common folk without any temples or organized religious ceremonies for fear of being killed or exiled. It has stayed until today as a private belief
away from the mainstream of Armenian life but yet preserved in the memory of the common folk as legend.
When Anushik became queen she relied more and more on Arevloiss’ counsel and teaching to tolerate the pressures of administration of the kingdom. She was surrounded by self-motivated ministers and nobles who did not always put the interest of the people before their own vested purposes. As a consequence, her faith in people was waning and she began to be suspicious of everyone who worked with her. When she confided in Arevloiss of her losing faith in the goodness of her advisors, she was surprised by her confidant’s reply. Instead of speaking in terms of political strategy and court intrigue, Arevloiss began to explain the soul’s entanglement in material nature.
Arevloiss: My child Anushik, all beings come originally from God, our Tukh Manuk. That means we are all originally good. Just as a drop of rain while falling to earth is pure, but when it touches the earth it mixes with the soil. It may become contaminated. It is the same with the soul. We are all eternal individual souls and our origin is the Almighty God. Tukh Manuk has endowed us with limited free will. Therefore, we can either accept or refuse to follow His instructions. He never interferes with the exercise of our limited free will. If we refuse His instructions, we are placed in this material world where we can
attempt to act like a competitive god by pretending we own and control some part of material nature. As soon as the desire to own and control something for our own pleasure becomes prominent in our mind, we become contaminated by the material nature just as the rain drop touches the earth.
Anushik: Are you saying that we are all contaminated? Then there is no hope for any of us. We are all doomed to act like animals in the jungle!
Arevloiss: Not so, my child. Our Tukh Manuk does not abandon His children. He is not a God of wrath, but a merciful God who loves His children so much that when we become gentle, He accepts us and protects us so that we can intimately care for him.
The secret of life is to follow the instructions of Tukh Manuk as given in the ancient holy book called the Song of God. My Father taught the verses of the holy book to me and I shall teach you the same. This wisdom will help you cross over all the obstacles of this world and prepare you to enter the intimate circle of pure love of Tukh Manuk.
We must see this world as a temporary prison in which we are given a chance to awaken from our slumber during which lust, greed and anger possess us. We can awaken to our eternal existence as lovers of Tukh Manuk either as a loyal servant, friend, parent or intimate lover. We can choose the flavor of love that we want to share with Tukh Manuk. Such pure love liberates us from the degrading effects of living in this world of illusory pursuits.
Anushik: Please enlighten me, dear mother. I am still a child that is burdened with the responsibility of an adult. I am not sure how to guide myself in the jungle of cleaver and greedy people.
Arevloiss: My child, the first lesson is to identify the real enemy of mankind so that you can recognize its deceptive face. What begins as pure love for Tukh Manuk in the spiritual world is transformed to lust in this material world. It is the all-devouring enemy of mankind. A pious woman must have the ability to recognize the motivation of a man who approaches her and claims his love. First of all, he would not approach you directly. Out of respect for our traditional customs he would address your mother and father through his parents to inquire if they would consider him as a suitable candidate to marry you.
The difference between lust (geerk) and love (sehr) is not difficult to understand. When a person wants to satisfy his or her own senses, it is lust. If a person wants to satisfy the senses of Tukh Manuk, it is love. Try to understand this sublime difference. Becoming the humble servant of Tukh Manuk will save anyone from the degrading effects of lust. The service of Tulk Manuk is so powerful that it can transform lust to pure love. We are forced to stay in this world of misery by becoming attached to enjoying for our personal sense gratification (ahskharahyeen hahjouk). But, when we stop trying to please ourselves selfishly by directing our love and devotion to Tukh Manuk, we transfer our attachment to Him and gradually become free of lust, anger, greed, envy, foolishness and illusion. We are liberated in the present from the degrading influence of this temporary world full of illusory material desires. We are free to express our love for Tukh Manuk and share it with all others in a gentle and affectionate way.
We are all God’s servants eternally, but we have temporarily forgotten this due to lust for selfish indulgence at the expense of innocent victims. As a woman you will see this more clearly than men.
There are men who have been so corrupted by lusty desires that they exploit others abusively in their obsessive attempts for self-satisfaction. Such men are lower than animals. Our Tugh Manuk has limited the behavior of animals by the dictation of instinct. They only try to reproduce at regular intervals which for most animals is once or twice a year. Instinct is the command of God. However, God has given man limited free will by which he may obey the word of God or ignore it. Thus, by the exercise of limited free will, man can either be liberated from the cycle of birth and death by following Tugh Manuk’s teachings or stay continually in the cycle of birth and death by not following the them.
My child, the body of a woman with it curves and softness can bewilder a man so much that he may forget all bounds of decent behavior and act like a crazed animal in heat. Therefore, modesty and chastity of women is most important to safeguard the peace of society. Never flaunt your feminine beauty in public. Always remain humble by remembering that God Almighty is the real sovereign and we are merely His servants. Pride and lust will undo even the most powerful person in this world.
Anushik: Dear mother, I am truly humbled by your words. Please always advise me so that I never stray from the path of Tugh Manuk. I never want to dishonor my noble family and ancestors by inappropriate behavior.
Arevloiss: I bless you my child to never forget the legacy of our ancestors who quietly followed the teachings and wisdom of Tugh Manuk. I will come to see you as often as you may desire to answer any questions you may have. A leader is only as good as the advisors he has to help determine the expediency and correctness of the choice he or she must make.
Anushik had a daily audience to which the public was invited to present topics of concern in her kingdom. One day an old man in his late sixties came before the young Queen and implored her to marry him so that he could satisfy his lustful desires to enjoy her. Her courtiers were aghast by his shameful insistence. They were going to give him a beating and ban him from ever speaking to the Queen again. But, Anushik stopped them. She spoke to the old man in a soft and affectionate voice.
Anushik: Dear sir, I am flattered by your request for my hand in marriage and your rush to enjoy my body. I will most certainly satisfy your needs for my womanly affection. Please come tomorrow at the same time and we shall join together.
The old man understood her words to mean she would marry him tomorrow and they would consummate their union. He was so thrilled that he did not ask any questions or make any more demands. He simply walked out with the intention to return the next day for the marriage and nuptials. He spent the day purchasing expensive clothes, jewelry and other gifts for his future wife.
The next day, he came to the palace in a grand horse drawn carriage decorated for a wedding procession. He was clothed as a groom expecting to get married. He was perfumed and wore elegant clothing. He tried to cosmetically mask his old age as much as he could. His exuberance made him look ridiculous. Yet, he was oblivious of his foolish airs. He was old enough to be Anushik’s grandfather. Yet, he was shameless and blind because of his lust to exploit the Queen’s youthful beauty.
Anushik had cautioned her courtiers and soldiers to greet the old man respectfully. They were perplexed by her submissiveness. But, they faithfully followed their Queen’s commands. When the old man entered the royal assembly, everyone stood up and honored his presence. He was seated in the center of the hall next to a covered object that was quite large. Aushhik continued her daily business while her suitor waited. After one hour of listening to the deliberation of the Queen and her advisors about the affairs of the kingdom, the old man stood up and approached the Queen. He addressed her,
My dear Anushik, I cannot wait any longer. Let us proceed to the marriage and our nuptials as you promised yesterday.
Anushhik smiled and said,
I said yesterday that we would join together as you wished. I have prepared my royal bed for our union.
She ordered her courtiers to uncover the large bed in the center of the hall.
The old man looked perplexed. He said,
My dear, what is this? I am afraid you are so innocent that you do not understand the procedure. First, we must be married by a priest. Then, we retire into our private quarters for our union. Why have you placed our bed in the middle of this grand hall for everyone to witness. This is most inappropriate.
Anushik smiled. She said,
Dear sir, I am simply complying with your desire. You expressed your need to enjoy my youthful body in public yesterday in front of all these persons of my royal court. You were not embarrassed to speak in such a way. Why are you hesitating now to have union with me in the same public place? You saw nothing inappropriate yesterday to make your demand in public. Thus, I don’t see anything inappropriate in satisfying your desire in a public place to be witnessed by the same people that were here yesterday!”
The old man began to tremble after hearing the shocking words from the Queen’s mouth. How could he attempt to even touch her in public in front of all these powerful me? Everyone was looking at him with threatening disdain. He cowered and slowly walked away crestfallen and defeated by his foolish attempt to violate the Queen’s chastity.
I have no one to love
A lonely person once met a holy man. He begged the saint to teach him wisdom by which he could overcome his loneliness and become content with his life. The saint advised him to love God with all his heart and soul. The lonely man said, “How can I love God when I have never seen Him. I don’t know anything tangible about Him.”
The saint asked the lonely man if he loved anyone. He answered, “I have no one in my life that I love. My only comfort is the companionship of a little lamb that I care for because its mother was killed by wolves. For some unknown reason, the wolves left the lamb unharmed.”
The saint said, “Love the little creature with all your heart and soul, and remember that God spared the lamb. The saint left.
The lonely man pondered the words of the saint. He tended the lamb with care and affection convinced that God spared the life of the lamb to fill the void in his life. After five years, the saint returned to find the lonely man again. He was curious to know if he was satisfied with his life. The man greeted the saint with a contented smile and warm greetings. He honored the saint with kind words and offered him food and drink. The saint noticed that the man seemed transformed. His eyes were no longer sad. He spoke with a joyful tone.
The man explained he was no longer lonely because he followed the saint’s instructions. He cared for the lamb as he would his own child and meditated on the miracle of how the lamb escaped the fate of his mother. He thought about the mysterious ways God arranges events in life. Eventually with his changed temperament he developed faith in the protective hand of God. He began to thank God everyday for filling the terrible void in his life. His continual recognition of the grace of the Almighty evolved into a genuine feeling of love for God. After all, it was God who provided him with the helpless lamb which opened his eyes to the Divine’s mysterious ways.
Without love, there is no compassion and empathy
Ahrantz seerehl seerd chee gah
Love brings tears, suffering words
sehruh guh lahtzuhneh (ahrtzounk), tzahvuh guh khosatzuhneh
A true lover does not seek to gain anything but the beloved.
Once a handsome young man fell in love with a king’s daughter.
She was also madly enamored of the young man. The princess
begged her father to announce publicly that whatever her beloved, whose name was Haik, desired he should be allowed to take from the shops of the capital. Her father would pay the shopkeepers from his treasury. The king agreed and ordered his town criers to make the announcement.
The shopkeepers were all anxious for Haik to take merchandise from them. For his part, Haik had absolutely no longing for any merchandise regardless of its value. He was consumed with his longing and deep love for the princess. He remained in a state of contemplation and ignored the criers announcement.
However, every greedy person in the city took advantage of the announcement and pretended that they were named Haik. Hundreds of Haiks took merchandise from the shops. The merchants informed the king that many hundreds of men presented themselves as named Haik and took merchandise. They asked, “Will the king honor his word and reimburse them?”
The king was perplexed. He summoned his daughter and explained the fraud perpetrated by hundreds of greedy men calling themselves Haik. He was upset. “What do you suggest I do?” said the king. His daughter reassured him that she would quickly dissipate the confusion and fraud. She requested her father to entrust to her a detachment of his fiercest soldiers with an experienced commander.
She instructed the commander to send his troops to every part of the royal city preceded by town criers and drummers to announce that tomorrow the princess will go throughout the city and have her beloved Haik stabbed to death by the soldiers and the merchandise seized.
When the announcement was made, all the merchandise was returned by the next day, the false Haiks recanted the name and only the one true Haik remained. He won the love of the princess by proving his only interest was her love and not any merchandise.
A true lover does not seek to gain anything but the beloved.
Love gives value – sehruh ahrjekuh goudah
The Prince was asked to go to the market by the King
To ask quotes from different merchants for a precious ring
Hide his identity, present himself a witless soul
To beg for just price and truth under each merchant’s control
“Take it first to the seller of earthy roots and fruits
The value he’ll say whether treasure or worthless newts
The green hawker looked at the thin round marvel once twice
Thought it less than an old potato, offered no price
Then the spice dealer whose fragrant wares tantalized the nose
Damask rose, the cardamon pod, clove, cumin, all he knows
But ring with no scent, no cooking use, left him obtuse
He offered a pittance, petty remittance, no excuse
Off to the wheat grinder, grain dealer, dusty shopkeeper
Stone on stone sounded a din, crushed the grain of the reaper
The noise and powdery cloud covered the ring by a shroud
One bushel of fine fresh grain was all the payment he vowed
Disheartened, disillusioned, Prince returned to the King
Merchants busy cannot judge a fake from the real thing
Busy making a living, they grade all things by their trade,
Concerned with niggling affairs, snub the true price to be paid
The king said, ” See who knows the value of precious wares
The gold merchant and diamond Jeweler supplies millionaires
He will know the real worth and offer a fair amount
If honest, he will give the exact details of the count”
Alas, we, who are in the mortal frame, weak of firm will
Exploit the trust conferred on us, refine our cheating skill
Enticed by the rogue of undue profit, deign to commit
Misleading and mendacious acts that defraud the wit
With expensive magnifier, scales, training and fine tools
The Jeweler examined the king’s ring adorned with jewels
Eyed the boy more than the ring, to assess risk of a sting
“The best I can do is offer 1000 coins for this ring.”
Taking a calculated chance, hoping the boy was a dumb wit,
Like all sly thieves that bargain their risk on cheating a twit,
Jeweler tendered a pittance as if to deplete his coffer
Of a thousand rude coins, claiming it a generous offer
Dazzled at first by the number of coins, the young Prince
Chose prudence over rash decision, feigned wise ambivalence
Told the crafty Jeweler he would ask his Father’s advice
Took leave and went home to cull counsel, and a new device
Oh, how greed has no boundaries and shares not any mercy
Subjects innocents to lengthy payments and usury
But ignorance is the bane that causes the most pain
With dullness and laziness combine to make our lives vain
The King wanted to teach street wisdom to the callow youth
With foreknowledge, ready to test others, he learned to sleuth
Ignorance and expert deceit is difficult to perceive
When one is untrained, lacks experience, worldly naive
Jeweler, who has knowledge, expertise, and respected
Showed his twisted mind with lust and boundless greed infected
Humanity is shocked, good morality corrupted,
The development of human dignity disrupted
The King was determined to show decency is not amiss
Amongst the humble, poor, simple morality exists
So the Prince searched haphazardly for a modest soul
Found a elderly lady, carrying a sack of coal
“Dear Lady, can I ask your advice about a ring’s price?”
She laid down her sack and smiled while giving him advice
“I, poor woman, alone, forlorn worked hard all my life
I know not ring or price, I’ve had only misery rife.”
Still he showed her the ring for with age comes experience
She weighed it in her hand, marveled and gave a look askance
“Young man, beware carrying such an expensive jeweled ring,
Its weight and splendor is proof that it is fit for a king.”
Beauty is subtle, judged only in truth by a lover
As true love purifies the heart and let’s one discover
The value and beauty inherent in all things alive
For the lover of life will give all to all and ‘ever thrive
The treasure of opulence is in the depths of our heart
An ocean vast and deep, rich passion, a true work of art
Gift this ring to your love, she’ll reveal the true worth thereof
Through boundless affection, faithfulness and eternal love
The Prince was humbled by her deep wisdom and common sense
She had no ruse, no profit, no fault or hint of pretense
She spoke from the heart, enriched by the tested skill of years
In contrast with those who are blind or want to cheat their peers
Real Love expresses the truth whether in old age or youth
Don’t expect less from your lover or more from the other
In the heart plant the seed of love – seerduh serrhuh guh tsanehs
serrhuh seerduh guh tsanehs
meedkeen tzahvuh guh hahnehs
In the heart plant the seed of love
Mind will be free of pain thereof
aghpehrjan, serrhuh seerdeen guh tsanehs
meedkuh mahkour guhlah aghavnee bes
Brother dear, in the heart plant the seed of love
your mind will be clean like a pure white dove
paree tsanehs pari khaghehs
aitbes badeevov ahprehs
Plant the seed of goodness, you’ll harvest goodness as the fruit
All will praise and honor you as a man of good repute
Do good and receive good
With honor live you should
plant the seed of goodness, you’ll be rewarded in kind
vadehs ahnoum ahpsosehs
lahvehs ahnoum, misht pailoum ehs
Evil deeds you will regret
Good deeds you’ll shine with no sweat
One who sincerely loves will chide (or correct)
sireleen guh hanteemaneh
This is a paraphrase of a biblical statement that follows:
For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
( How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding. )
The light of your eyes, is the end of your heart.
achckeen louissuh, seerdin verchuhn eh
Another way to translate this saying is: The light of your heart or the person you love the most, is the goal of your heart’s desire.