For one who has conquered his mind, it is his best friend; but if he has failed to do so, the mind remains his worst enemy.
meedkuh pahrehgahmnehreetz lahvakouinn eh ayn mahrtou hahmahr, ohv eesskhoum eh nuhrah vuhrah: sahgaiyn,ohv tzahkhaghvehl eh ayit kohrdzoum, eehr meedkuh tahrnoum eh nuhra ahmehnamehdz tuhssnahmeen.
By learning to control the mind, one can focus it in order to accomplish tasks effectively. Concentration of the mind is necessary to successfully achieve a goal in life. Success in life requires that one can control the urges of lust, anger, greed, envy, rash behavior without considering the consequences, and action prompted by a deluded state of mind. An uncontrolled mind that easily succombs to the above six urges becomes an enemy that subverts one’s ability to follow nature’s first law of self-preservation.
When one lives on the mental level, the mind accepts or rejects based on sensual perceptions, not on rational considerations of longterm good or bad for oneself. It is a natural and innate quality of a human being to follow the order of a superior. As long as the mind remains an unconquered enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, greed,etc. But when the mind is conquered (controlled by superior intellect of the person), it voluntarily abides by the dictation of authorities that one may recognize. For example, if a person is sick, he or she may approach a doctor for help. If the doctor prescribes a medicine, the patient will most likely get the prescription filled and follow the doctor’s advice to heal their sickness.
During one’s life, there are many levels of authorities one may choose to follow. When one voluntarily accepts the authority of God (or His saintly messengers) and agrees to abide by His divine instructions, he or she completely conquers the flickering mind and becomes free of all degrading influences. Thus one can deliver oneself from unnecessary problems in life with the help of the controlled mind.
The mind can be trained not to be attracted by the glitter of material objects whether they are things or persons. When the mind is affected by the desire to control and exploit something or someone in this world for personal satisfaction, it becomes entangled. For example, when a man sees an attractive woman dressed in tight, suggestive clothing that reveal curves and bulges of her body, his thoughts, emotions and behavior may be affected. Thus, the more one is attracted to the objects of the senses, the more one is entangled in material existence.
In the Vedic Upanisad Amrita-bindu, it is said: “For man, the mind can be the cause of bondage and it can be the cause of liberation. The mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and the mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”
One is freed from the bondage of material objects by learning how to use everything in the service of God. This requires voluntary acceptence of the authority and guidance of genuine spiritual teachers who give the knowledge of how to employ everything properly in the service of God. For example, to help control the mind from impulsive sexual attraction that may lead to irresponsible behavior, holy marriage is recommended by spiritual teachers. In such a union of man and woman, there is the development of respect, commitment, true affection and love solidified by the vow of marriage. The stability of society depends to a large degree on maintaining the vow of marriage by which the parents stay together and cooperate to educate their children, work responsibly by abiding by the laws of a country and gradually develop skills that enable them to contribute to the well-being of others.
This is one essential formula for success in one’s own life and for the entire human society.
The tongue of the fool is always long
ahnhounahr mahrtee lehzoun yehrgahr guhleenee
The dog cannot go farther than his leash and man from his fate
Shounuh eerehn gahmkeetz hehrou chee yehrtahl mahrtuh eerehn paghteetz
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.
Cotton is fine and silk is expensive. Both are fruits of humble origin.
pahnbahguh ahzneev mehdakssuh suugh, khohnahr duhngotz yehn bouduugh
Don’t lend an ear to useless topics
ounaiyn pahnehrou ahgahnj mee gakhehk
Try to understand the beginning and the end of every endeavor
kohrdzeen uhssgeezpeen ou vakhjahneen naihyehtzehk
The lazy one tries to lift a mountain on his back
dzouiluh lehruhn eh shalgehr
This saying is used when a person tries to lift an object that is much too heavy for him to bear. He does this to demonstrate that he cannot do the task a second time. It expresses the irony that a lazy man with little motivation and skills attempts to do an important task that requires hard work and perseverance.
He preaches to one and praises another
meghoun guh kahrozeh, moiyssuhn guh lolozeh
The implication of this saying is that a person does not treat everyone equally.
It may also be used for two-faced or deceitful persons who say one thing to someone and something else to another for their personal advantage.
Our home will be trashed by letting crazies in to crash
mehr dounuh pohs, ouhr vohr khehnt gah hohss
A good home will be disrupted by letting crazy people live there. In fact, any endeavor will be
disturbed by the involvement of crazy people. Crazy people can be extended to include anyone who acts irresponsibly.
He can’t taste the difference between something good and something bad
pehrahneen hahmuh chee keedehr
When a person does not have the ability to differentiate between good and bad, this saying is used.
May you never see the devil and may your eulogy never be read
vohch sahdanahn dehss yehv votch ahl huhrahjahreemkuh gahrtah
This is a pari maghtank or good wish that a person not meet with death.
Be afraid of the man who always looks down (or avoids your eyes by looking down)
vahr naihoghehn vaghtzeer
Eye contact is important for communication. It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul.But, one who avoids eye contact by looking downward has something to hide. It may be due to a guilty feeling for having done something that they are ashamed of; or it may be because they have a sinister plan.
There is saying in Armenian ahck ahckee, seerd seerdee, eye to eye, soul to soul – two people communicate with their eyes and hearts(souls). Another saying is seerdeh seerd jahmpah gah- from heart to heart there is a way(a connecting path).
There is a famous song by Shehram, an Armenian minstrel, entitled “Naz Ahckeek – Pretty or Charming Girl.” The song’s refrain is the following.
yeghneegee nuhmahn mahn kahlut
With the searching eyes of a deer you gaze (longingly)
gahkahvee nuhmahn bahr kahlut
You (gracefully) come dancing like the partridge
suhrtounkut lahl ou mahrjan eh
Your delicate lips pout with the grief (of separation)
naiyvadzkut hohkee guh hahnneh
Your bewitching eyes impel my soul to run to you (take my soul out)
Shehram’s poetry expresses the power of a beautiful woman’s glance.
Do you know about the bald-headed blind man?
kohr-katchahl ghaboul yehss?
This is an ironic saying spoken at the time of the marriage ceremony. At the high point of the ceremony the bride and groom are crowned and their heads touch each other. The priest says to the groom “dehr ehss? – Are you the Lord or Master?” And to the bride he asks, “huhnazahnt ehss? – Are you obedient (to your husband)?” Obviously, they both answer yes.
The best man or anyone close to the bride and groom may say jokingly, “Do you know about the bald-headed blind man?” kohr-katchahl ghaboul yehss?” This is a Turkish saying that portrays the irony of a blind man who cannot see that he is bald. Similarly, the groom may not know that his bride will really be obedient to him in the future. At the marriage ceremony he can’t see into the future just as the bald man cannot see his bald head.
This was a humorous saying to evoke the fact that often the new bride is very obedient to her husband, but, as the years roll by she may use her wiles to make her husband obedient to her wishes.
The Armenian equivalent to the Turkish saying is “goueeyr jahghahdeen bahdmoutiounuh keedehss? – Do you know the story of the bald-headed blind man?”
He knows where the snake sleeps
ohtzeen bahrgadz deghuh keedeh
This implies that the person is very smart and has enhanced powers of perception