The Send-Off. Wilfred Owen Poem. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

052. The Send-Off. Wilfred Owen Poem. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Jan 2013.  Short URL http://nut.bz/2m900dvw/

Posted in Wikinut>Essays

Jean Jacques Bebel, the Swiss historian has calculated that in the 5000 years of the recent history of the world, only 282 years were devoid of any kind of wars. Peace is the brief interval between two wars. A shot sent at a visiting Prussian Prince and his wife by a young student at Austria, and the life of millions was shattered and the way of life of the world changed for ever. Horrors of the First World War were sung by thousands but Wilfred Owens’ poems were brought hot from the war front.

The voice of the First World War passed away, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name.

Owen Send Off 01 War imminent. US Poster. Michael P. Whelan 1914.War imminent. U S Poster by Michael P. Whelan 1914

If World War First had a voice, we can say that it was Wilfred Owen, employed in active service, singing about the horrors of war and killed in action. In his brief life time, only four of his poems were published, but after his death, dozens of them were published and brought out as books. It is believed, many of them have not still come to light. Awarded the Military Cross for bravery posthumously, he passed away in poetic anonymity, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name in future. Speaking for men in the trenches under his leadership was what he did through his poems, which, it seems, were all written during the last two years of his life, 1917 and 1918.

Soldiers sitting in trains, in funeral decorations, going to war front.

Owen Send Off 02 Pre war breakfast. Ferdinand Max Bredt 1918.Pre war breakfast. Ferdinand Max Bredt.

Wilfred Owen was a British poet who was killed during action in the First World War. Insensibility, Strange Meeting and The Send-Off are his most famous anti-war poems in which he brings out the pity, realism and irony of war, reflecting his and his soldiers’ negative attitude towards war. He sees no romanticism or chivalry in war, but only death, destruction and decay. True, what else is there in war except the glory of victory for a few and the shame of defeat or death for many? But when defense of one’s motherland is concerned, opinions may vary and war may have to be justified. In the poem The Send-Off, soldiers in a mountain military camp are ordered to move out to war front, who sing their way to the railway siding-sheds and line the train with faces grimly gray, meaning faces darker than black. Decorations all white, like wreath and spray, are pinned to their breasts making them already looking like dead men clad in white, sitting in a row, all looking out the train windows. We are forced to think about the tremendous thoughts streaming through those troubled souls, someone’s father, brother, uncle, one among them certainly the poet himself. The strong sentiments these and the coming scenes create in our minds move us and carry us such away that we are forced to weep, cringe and shudder, which is this poet’s victory which he enjoys standing among the stars. How many of these soldiers will ever return?

A few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air before going to the frontier, never to return. 

Owen Send Off 03 Going to war. Johann Peter Krafft 1813.Going to war. Johann Peter Krafft 1813.

A military camp normally will be a nuisance to the local people there. So exactly there were none there to give them a proper send-off. Those people might only be glad to see them all go and never return. A few dull porters and a lone tramp were the only ones there to see them go and sorry to see them going too, for they were the ones who benefited from the camp, now losing their daily bread and jam. At least the mechanically punctual railway signals, unlike the local human beings, could have shown them a little of mercy by sparing them a few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air. But they, the unmoved signals too, nodded heartlessly, a railway lamp winked to the guard and the train began to move, all in time. They were gone.

Local girls are what add colour to mountain military camps. Farewell sisters.

Owen Send Off 04 Writing to father in war. Eastman Johnson 1863.Writing to father in war. Eastman Johnson 1863.

True, the soldiers were not soldiers but they were all hushed up heaps of wrongs and evil doings, the poet admits. They did wrong to the villagers and they will be doing wrong on the war front too. Therefore their losses in battle, limb or life, needn’t be regretted. All military movements are secret and under cover of night. So the people never heard to which war front these soldiers were being sent. As everywhere, the local girls were what added colour to the monotonous life in the upland camp. Romances might have budded and nipped. Tears and sighs might have been shed in darkness, and weeping farewells told in whispers. To meet and part, that is the soldier’s life. And they, the village girls, had jokingly asked them boys: cousins, will you ever return? The soldiers had mocked their words then, but after feeling the dead heat of the battle front, the poet wonders, whether they would still be mocking those meaningful words of the village women.

For those who return from field to camp alive, trodden paths would be half-forgotten in their semi-madness.

Owen Send Off 05 Help daddy gone to war. Norman Lindsay 1915.Help daddy gone to war. Norman Lindsay 1915.

Soldiers gone to war front have a lesser chance of survival and returning alive to their camp, the least in those times. Direct combat was characteristic of military operations, till this war ended, when it gave way to covert operations, carpet bombing from sky and if possible, nerve gas and nuclear attacks. But in that dawn of 20th century, war techniques had not progressed much from the primitive. Only a few of them may return perhaps, too few to receive a proper reception of bells and drums and yells. And those who do return will be invalid, silent and thirsty apparitions, not walking but creeping back silent to still village wells, up half-known roads, yearning for a place to lower their weary bodies on. Even the once-familiar roads would be half-forgotten in their semi-madness, after having gone through the unspeakable horrors of war.

Entered the services of the church, found it hopeless for the poor, and condemned it.

Owen Send Off 06 A mountain military camp entrance. US Fed Gov.Mountain military camp entrance. U S Federal Govt.

Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 and brought up in a religious atmosphere by his parents. His full name was Wilfred Edward Salter Owen. Fallen from fortune, this family could scarcely provide for the education of their four children; Owen served as a teacher-student and matriculated. Theologically trained by his mother, the Bible influenced him during this period. In the Reading University, he studied botany and old English. To earn boarding, lodging and tuition fees, he served as an assistant to the vicar at Dunsden parish, this close familiarity leading to contempt of church later. Reluctance of church to get involved in helping and alleviating the pain of the poor was what infuriated him to condemn church. Disillusioned by church, he left England for France and lived there for a while tutoring English and French in private homes when war broke out.

The mother and son stood looking across the sun-glorified sea, looking towards France with broken hearts, saying goodbye to each other.

In France, Owen staying and working near Pyrenees Mountain Ranges remained totally oblivious of war for a time. But copies of The Daily Mail newspaper his mother sent to him from England opened his eyes and he began to regularly go to a nearby hospital, acquaint with a doctor and inspecting war casualties brought there each day. At last he could no longer endure his impatience and in 1915, returned to England and volunteered to fight. He was sent again to France to fight in 1916 where from he was brought back wounded and shocked for recuperating. Before going to France for war, he and his beloved mother Susan Owen ‘stood looking across the sun- glorified sea towards France with breaking hearts, saying good bye to each other’ when the son quoted Rabindranath Tagore’s words ‘when I go from hence, let this be my parting word’. Susan Owen is known to have written a letter to Tagore when he was in England. We don’t know for sure whether her letter reached Tagore after her simply writing ‘Tagore, London’ in the address column of the envelope, but we certainly know about the reputation, efficiency and dignity of the British Postal Service, especially during the war period. 

Publication of his poems in time would have prevented Viet Nam nightmare.

Owen Send Off 07 Reconnaisance before attack. Pedro Americo 1871.Reconnaissance before attack. Pedro Americo 1871.

Enlisted in 1915 into Rifles Officers’ Corps in England, shell-shocked in mortar explosion in a trench in France, and removed of all romanticism for war, he was removed to War Hospital and brought back to England for recuperating. His romantic ideas of war faded when his soldiers and he had to go through gas attacks, sleeping for months in the open in deep snow and frost, loosing friends to death and the stench of rotting dead blanketing the earth all around. War in his eyes now became just a political equation, unbalanced. No wonder he had to be admitted in the psychiatric department of the hospital. His were the same psychic experiences thousands of Viet Nam War Veterans went through decades later. Publication of his poems and experiences in time would have prevented altogether the nightmare we called Viet Nam and resulted in the governments’ adopting a more humane attitude towards soldiers. 

Back to regiment from safety, to die with loved friends and comrades.

Even though Owen from his youth very much wished to become a poet and was impressed by the writings of Keats and Shelley, his actual writing of poems which made him world famous were written during the fifteen months he spent in trenches in the war front in 1917 and 1918. The war which once shocked him then seemed to thrill him, the reason for which can be attributed to the poetic sentimentality and recklessness to be with his loved friends and comrades in the war front in the days of their misery. Certainly like all poets or cowards, on regaining health and fitness, he could have left war and lived in security and safety after released from the War Hospital. He indeed had joined or formed an intelligent literary circle there in Edinburgh during the days of his recuperation. But instead, he returned to his regiment, to be killed days later, just before the war ended. In fact, his friends and family were eagerly waiting for his return when the news of truce reached them. The news of his death reached his village on November 11, 1918 along with the bells of armistice and peace. What horrifies us is the vain death of a brilliant poet in duty who filled his poems with the futility of war. It was the sacrifice of a poetical fame for fine citizenry. 

Would Owen have lived longer if he was recognized as a published poet and also given the Military Cross?

Owen Send Off 08 Burning crops so that enemy won't eat. Emanuel Leutse 1852.Burn crops so that enemy won’t eat. Emanuel Leutse

Rejoining duty on fitness, he was delegated to lead a party to storm the enemy positions in a village in Ors. He seized a German machine gun and used it to kill a number of Germans. He was shot on the bank of a canal and killed while trying to cross the canal, only days before the war ended. He always considered him as a remarkable war poet, who he actually was, but only four of his poems had been printed by any publishers in his life time. That too was only because he happened to be the editor of the magazine The Hydra published by the War Hospital at Craig Lock hart, Edinburgh where he recuperated. And this Hydra Magazine had only a very limited circulation among the patients, doctors, nurses and staff of that hospital, a very discouraging situation for any poet. What would have happened had he not been shell shocked and admitted there but died directly in action? Would fate have changed his destiny if he had been given due recognition as a published war poet by printers…? He always sought in secret the Military Cross for his supremacy as the most talented war poet of his times, but it was awarded only after his death, in 1919. What if Military Cross had been awarded earlier while he lived…?

Personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.

Owen Send Off 09 What the other side feels. Horace Vernet 1814.What the other side feels. Horace Vernet 1814.

The citation to the Military Cross awarded to the poet reads: ‘2nd Lt, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, 5th Battalion. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on the Fonsomme Line on October 1st/2nd, 1918. On the company commander becoming a casualty, he assumed command and showed fine leadership and resisted a heavy counter-attack. He personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun from an isolated position and inflicted considerable losses on the enemy. Throughout he behaved most gallantly’. Even after this Military Cross awarded for his gallantry, the world was not willing to acknowledge his poetry. Today, Wilfred Owen is a synonym for war poetry but for having been presented with this much fine war literature to read, we owe our debt to his family. He sent 600 letters to his loved mother who kept them all safe, from which was the war front feelings, emotions and experiences of Owen were discerned later. His sister donated these letters to the University of Oxford where people can still see them. His brother collected his manuscripts and helped bringing out his poems as a book.

Writing boldly about the horrors of war was his catharsis to escape from shell shock trauma.

Owen Send Off 10 American Marines in Belleau Wood 1918 by Georges Scott.American marines in Belleau Wood. Georges Scott.

Was Wilfred Owen overly influenced by friends like Siegfried Sassoon and physicians like Arthur Brock is still a thing of debate, which they did more or less. Sassoon himself was an accomplished poet who advised Owen to abandon the old style he followed since when he was ten years old and turn to more seriously writing about the futility of war. We shall dismiss all critics’ allegations of them sharing an attachment more than manly. Arthur Brock treated him when he was admitted in the War Hospital following shell shock trauma and advised him not to try to forget the horrors of war which haunted his mind, but to go straight continuing to boldly write about them which would serve as his catharsis, a fine clinical advice in those times of Sigmund Freud. Anyway, since joining the army and fighting in the front line, we see a dramatic change in the poetic style of Owen. Every soldier who took part in the world war underwent war horrors and trauma which went untold in the chronicles of historians. With Owen putting them into words after actually experiencing them, recorded them in livid humility for future generations to see and evaluate in times to come.

World War started with liberation, and ended with cessation, annexation and colonization.

Owen Send Off 11 The Dead Soldier. Joseph Wright of Derby 1789.The dead soldier. Joseph Wright of Derby 1789.

Liberation of Belgium was the objective with which the First World War started but war politics soon turned into the objective of grabbing colonies for future which the civilians did not recognize but poets like Wilfred Owens and philosophers like Bertrand Russell did, and they reacted through their writings to rouse civilian conscience. Theirs was not blind rage against wars but mature protest against abandoning the honoured causes of war and turning to use war to grab colonies. Owen’s poem ‘The Strange Meeting’ even went to creating the extreme human situation of a dead American soldier meeting a dead German soldier whom he had killed and listening to his version of the war, the enemy finally becoming a friend.

The front line picture painted by Wilfred Owen in The Send- Off.

Owen Send Off 12 What is left of a war. Juan Manuel Blanes 1879What is left of a war. Juan Manuel Blanes 1879.

Publishers of his times ignored him, perhaps due to their inability to cope with or even go through the great quantity of war poetry poured in each day. He, as an acclaimed poet and as a civil servant dedicated to those soldiers under his care, wanted only for his poems to be read by all and the people to open their eyes to the futility and horrors of war. Who can say this brilliant young man who sacrificed his life for his country would try to limit the circulation of his poems by wishing not to be read here again? We think it only just and fair to include his lines here, without which this appreciation won’t be complete or contained. See the front line picture painted by Wilfred Owen in The Send-Off.

THE SEND- OFF * WILFRED OWEN

Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.
Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men’s are, dead.

Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp
Stood staring hard,
Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.
Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.

So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
They were not ours:
We never heard to which front these were sent.
Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.

Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild trainloads?
A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,
May creep back, silent, to still village wells
Up half-known roads.

______________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
______________________________

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Tags

Appreciation Studies, Armistice In Ww1, Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Poets, English Poems, First World War, Futility Of War, Irony Of War, Killed In Action, Military Cross, Military Poets, Mountain Military Camps, P S Remesh Chandran, Pity Of War, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Soldier Poets, The Send Off, Truce In World War First, War Front Action, War Poems, Wilfred Owen, Years 1917 And 1918

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Comments

Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Jan 2013 (#)

My fervent hope and prayers are for war and strife to end. Am I being idealistic? So be it! We have come thus far and we know wars kill and affect the most innocent. The heroes who are decorated for bravery also end up with mental anguish at being part of the insane violence. I believe few start wars and incite their citizens. With the help of technology the majority should unite and not fall into their vicious hands time and time again. Like a World War veteran reminisced – what use a piece of paper of peace in the end for those who are killed and maimed? Thanks for this wonderful post – siva

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

War is an unnecessary expense in which nations waste resources and innumerable units of precious time and man power. To defeat another country, we spend unimaginably huge sums of money. Most often those countries could be bought with only a fraction of this money. Such futile and waste is war because it never improves mankind. Thank you dear Sivaramakrishnan A for your informative and inspiring note.

Md Rezaul Karim
20th Jan 2013 (#)

Wow! what a nice piece of article to read, wonderfully attached paintings and pictures. Thank you Ramesh ji.

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I saw these paintings and pictures for the first time, I thought they were waiting for the right literary creation. Wilfred Owen’s Send Off suited them most. I am immensely thankful to those painters and photographers who were moved like Owen by the horrors of war, to create these masterpieces. I hope the painters, photographers and the poet would supplement each other. Thank you dear Md Rezaul Karim for caring to leave a comment.

Madan G Singh
22nd Jan 2013 (#)

A wonderful post. You have put in a lot of effort. Congratulations

PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I read your articles in Wikinut, I feel the same as you noted here. What can I say when a compliment comes my way from an accomplished writer like you? Thank you dear Madan G Singh.

Sivaramakrishnan A
31st Jan 2013 (#)

Thank you RameshChandra. It is time war and violence are removed from the face of the earth. What use making all the arms for them to fall into “wrong” hands! What use a piece of peace treaty for those killed, maimed and orphaned? Even the survivors and victors carry severe scars mentally. Politicians start the war making use of the innocent people creating hatred. And the less said about religious fanatics of all hues the better – all Gods can defend themselves, thank you! They don’t need our help! Best regards – siva.

Madan G Singh
1st Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you for the nice words, but I feel I am ordinary. But I really appreciate your writing.

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The Healing Artist. Scenes From The Life Of Jesus Christ 2. Paintings Of James Tissot. P.S.Remesh Chandran.

051. The Healing Artist. Scenes From The Life Of Jesus Christ 2. Paintings Of James Tissot. P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 31st Dec 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/31l0a4s4/

Posted in Wikinut>Essays

Healing is an art, closely associated with divinity. We consider doctors who heal our diseases as gods. It is the learning and spiritual cleanliness of the doctor that heals the diseases in most occasions. To heal the sick, we needn’t possess the required conventional medical qualifications necessarily; the qualities of ardence and purity will do instead. The science and art of healing is closely connected with the word. Word here means, and applications and manifestations of sound.

They taught Jesus the layouts of miracles in the north eastern Himalayan kingdoms of India.

What makes some people capable of doing things which others consider impossible feats and miracles? Some people have the ability to foresee future and know about what is going to happen in the far distant future, near future, or at the next moment, but knowing about future is a heavy knowledge, unbearable to man, something an ordinary man cannot bear. If two persons sit at one place and one of them describes in a song whatever are happening there around them, beginning with what were happening at that place in the past, yesterday, today, and then coming to what is happening around them at that very moment, and then nearly coming to describing what are going to happen at the very next moment, he cannot complete the song for the other person would have passed through a phase of alienation from his self and swooned. First he would suffer nausea, then his knees would weaken, limbs stiffen and then everything would be darkness. We will be bewildered at the power of the word. We cannot even do this as an experiment because what will we do if the other person does not recover but passes away? Human corpuscles are unable to pass through the barriers of time, even for a short while, even while in an experiment. Once we know about what is going to happen next, we will loose our normal self, which is tuned and aligned to a state of knowing not much about the future. Ignorance of future is the bestial bliss which makes possible for life to continue, along with the power to forget, the safety valve which saves the brain from overcrowding and collapsing.

Touch, smell, hearing, sight and taste are not the end of senses; we will gain more as evolution progresses.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 01. He Heals the Lame. James Tissot. 1886-1894He heals the lame. James Tissot.

Knowing about future is a faculty like touch, smell, hearing, sight and taste. When man first made his appearance on earth, he certainly was not equipped with all these five senses. The first amoeba could not certainly see and listen. Senses were gained one by one from mother earth through Aeons as the first inanimate element evolved into an animate organism, then into multi cellular organisms and then into beings with fully developed body systems. During these stages of evolution and development, each capability of sense came our way gradually. Thus we now have five senses. Who believe it is the end? More senses or faculties would be released to us as and when we become riper enough to bear them safely and usefully, after passing through higher stages of many more evolutions. Materials for more exotic senses or faculties are resting in the ground earth for their time to come before they could be passed on to humans and other beings that would inhabit the earth in the future.

If human corpuscles and soil could be brought to the medium of sound, faculties could be exchanged from earth to human body.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 02. The Resurrection of the Widow's Son at NainResurrection of the widow’s son.

Suppose a man, through his perseverance or gift, gains in advance any of these future faculties. It may be the ability to walk above water or see into the future or heel a person in distress. Our normal tendency would be to deny the existence of that very faculty. It is like a blind man sure denying the existence of sight or a deaf man denying the existence of hearing. What we do not have experienced, we tend to deny existing. How can a blind person know that the swan and the milk are white, and how can a deaf person normally know that music is sweet? So, when we hear that a man has walked above water or that a man has seen the Sun enveloped in thick icy clouds, moving lonely through the expanse of the universe in a future time, we will say that it is just his imagination, that he is having fits of delusion, or even schizophrenia. Philosophers and scientists have always believed that, if soil and human corpuscles could be made to come into a common medium, at least for a while, senses and faculties could be gained, taken in or released, exchanged. Many ancient Indian philosophers believed that that common medium is sound, the basic medium upon which the construction of this universe, stone, grass and human body is based, and they, accordingly, even formulated appropriately synchronized sound systems in the right, desirable modulations and frequencies in the form of Mantras, the application of which evidently gained for them those rare unexplained faculties, with which to successfully treat incurable diseases, raise the dead from the grave or take leisurely walks between the realms of space and time. It is also true that every kind of matter, in its final analysis, reveals rapid motion of particles, and that what is on the other side of such rapidly moving particles, functioning as a base for the existence of those particles and also functioning as the prime constituent in the construction material of those particles is sound. Every religion in the world believes that the universe originated from sound. The Indian philosophers went further and even defined that sound which in their opinion is ‘Aum’ which actually has no exact beginning or end as it should be. Long meditations in the still and silent Himalayas might have helped them find this ultimate truth.

Pain, fatigue, fever, irritation and itching make us incapable of calling out energy from reserves and attend to the single task of healing.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 03. The Healing of the Officer's SonThe healing of the officer’s son.

When lame men walk, blind men see, dumb men sing in the presence of holy men, we would consider those as miracles, but to those holy men, these people have just healed. They are here in this world to deliver relief and the only thing the sick and disabled need to have in their conscience is faith. Faith is what gives the ailing person the positive energy to call out all reserve energy from the different parts of the body and soul and move them forward like an army towards the sole objective of correcting the system error and healing the person of his ailment. Numerous distractions such as pain, fatigue, fever, irritation and itching make one incapable of concentrating and commanding all energies from their reserves to get them engaged in attending the single task of healing. Speech and word is very much involved in the healing of the sick. Jesus very much liked to talk and be always with people, possibly always to remain in the middle of them. Travelling through Galilee, talking about the principles of goodness, staying in their synagogues and wayside inns, he moved the minds of peoples to confidence and belief. Crowds came to him bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and the many others, laid them at his feet and he heeled them all with just his kind words and touch. Once they prayed fervently with their soul with concrete belief for their healing, deliverance came their way and the miracle happened. It is their faith that heal them, not actual divine interference.

Life can be called back before the soul finally decides to disentangle from the body. 

Tissot. The Healing Artist 04. The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-lawThe healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.

Raising dead men from the grave is an easy thing, for those who know how to do it. It is thought to be possible to call back the fleeting life before the soul finally decides to disentangle from the body. Sometimes the life would not have left but have plunged into an unrecognizable coma, the soul sitting on the narrow ledge between life and death. Most often, a strong vocal command or a shake would only be needed to call the life back, provided the voice or shake resembles that of a close person of long intimacy. Doctors who are very kind, considerate and deliquescent to their patients would have many such stories to tell you. Sometimes death deprives a woman of double privilege. A woman who looses both her husband and her son to death is thrown to destitution and poverty with no one to take care of her. While travelling through the city of Nain, accompanied by a great crowd, Jesus saw another crowd coming out of a town carrying the coffin of the only son of a widow. Her grief was such great and uncontrolled that Jesus was moved in his heart and said to her, ‘do not cry woman’. He went up to the coffin, touched it and said: ‘Young man, I say you to get up’. The young man did sit up and begin to talk as if he had not died. Jesus gave her son back to the grief-stricken mother; the first resurrection done by Christ in his earthly life.

Word sent through the wind will reach the target and heal. 

Tissot. The Healing Artist 05. Suffer the Little Children to Come unto MeSuffering little children come unto me.

When the mighty Roman Empire fell, the world rejoiced because such unjust, haughty and cruel was their administration. The famed Roman Justice was nothing but the political and economic suppression of heathens, pagans and other civilized nations and races. No empire since then has been successful in this world in saving itself from falling, for they were all based on and founded upon unkindness. But occasionally in history, here and there, we see officers with good intentions and better understanding, employed by these administrations. Many of them were noble and brave men who believed that Jesus was a saviour. Seeing the sufferings of Jesus during his trial, judgment and crucifixion, we shall not think that all Roman officers took part in them with pleasure. One such officer, a Centurion, walked 20 miles to request Jesus to come to his house and save his dying son, some say it was his slave. 20 miles was not a short distance one way. Jesus had come a second time to Cana of Galilee from Judea, the first being when he attended a wedding there and turned water into wine. The officer pleaded Jesus to come to Capernaum, his village, and save his son. Jesus just told him, you may go, your son will live, do have faith, and that he is not coming. While travelling back, the noble man’s servants met him on the way and informed him that his son was recovering. The time he began to recover was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him that his son would live. Jesus told the man and his disciples that miracles alone would make them believers and so let it be happening.

God does not allow complications or intricacies, which is why he and we resemble children.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 06. The Healing of Ten LepersHealing of lepers in the mountain.

Once, the Disciples of Christ came to ask him who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is. His answer was, unless we become like little children in their humbleness, we shall never be any where near the path to the kingdom of heaven. Children are the most like god, resembling him most in their humbleness, purity and radiance. The many thousands of children who never have heard his word or name also are equally beloved to him. The line ‘suffer the little children to come unto me’ is a most misquoted and misunderstood one. It does not mean, make children suffer so that they can come unto me, but let all suffering children come unto me. God does not allow complications, or intricacies, that is why he most resembles children.

Mary was the person who healed the person who healed all people. 

Tissot. The Healing Artist 07. The Sick Awaiting the Passage of JesusThe sick awaiting the passage of Jesus.

Mary of Magdalene is believed to be a very chaste woman who led so chaste a life that ‘the devil mistook her to be the one who was to bear Christ into the world’ and he sent seven demons to trouble her and spoil her. She represents the age when Christianity and Church were matriarchal before a Pope was appointed to turn it into patriarchal to suit Romans. In ancient icons, she is portrayed with a pot of ointment, balm for the distressed, and as a wound healer. Actually she was the person who healed the person who healed all people. She was the intelligence against which Christ grinded and sharpened his convictions before preaching them to the world. What Christ lacked in worldly experiences, emotions and feelings, she possessed in plenty, the eve in the garden.

Even when John had confidence in his betrothed, they did not have.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 08. The Ointment of the MagdaleneThe ointment of the Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene was one of the two persons who guarded the tomb of Jesus, the other being his mother, Mary the Virgin. She was the first mortal to witness the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and also the first person authorized to tell the apostles of the resurrection. She spent her last years with Jesus’ mother and her remains are contained in Constantinople. Hers is the life of equality with men, in its holiness and greatness. We know, Pilatos was under authority of the Roman administration. Mary after the death of Christ straight went to see Emperor Tiberius in Rome and made a formal complaint about the cruelty and distinction he showed to Jews. The emperor was convinced Roman justice was denied to Jews in Israel as a result of which Pilatos was recalled to Rome, recalled to what kind of Roma justice we needn’t to know just like we needn’t to know about what Judas did to himself after giving back the money he received for pointing out his master. Mary walked the earth with Jesus, his companion, soother and inspiration. As a grown up Aramaic youth could not walk alone, she served as his answer. She was the beloved, betrothed and the bride of John the Evangelist who, when he became a devoted preacher, ordained his bride on a godly mission. There were stories of Mary was Jesus’ wife but John denied it as a false story. We know, it was not John who betrayed Jesus but Judas Iscariot. In the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries and throughout middle ages, Mary was considered and worshipped as the apostle to the apostles since she was sent to inform the apostles of the resurrection, as confirmed by John’s words. In the early church, an apostle was a person who was delegated to tell the world the good news that he would come again. Mary emerged as the greatest visionary and leader after the death of Jesus. Equally intelligent and dedicated as Jesus in god’s services, Mary but considered him as her master and teacher, the fact which drew John’s admiration that prompted him to make her become the most ideal student and follower. Gospel of John stands out alone as a lasting monument to the intellectual achievements of this trio.

Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Martha at Bethany is the Jewish Roman equivalent of the Greek school of thought. 

Tissot. The Healing Artist 09. Mary Magdalene at the Feet of JesusMary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus.

Like Mary Magdalene, Jesus and John constituted a historical trio in Christianity, Mary, Martha, Jesus and Lazarus constituted an unforgettable quartet. These sisters of Lazarus whom Christ resurrected from the grave, who were born in the village of Magdalene in Galilee and lived in Bethany, marks the women’s work behind the strongest philosophy in the world. They were the furnishers and providers for the travelling ministry of Christ. Both were Christ’s pupils, often competing with each other for his attention and for their positions. While Mary was the philosopher, Martha was the practical who fed the philosophers. Because they were poor, their life was not recorded with care in the chronicles of those times. Martha’s home at Bethany became the usual haunt of Jesus and his followers, for there they would get at least food to go on with their endless debates and philosophic speculations. Martha welcomed, boarded and fed all journeymen missionaries as well. She was a church unto herself. In those times, their culture was a mix of Roman, Greek and Jewish, all male-dominant and considering claiming to be god a heresy, warranting death by burning at the stake. Martha was the first person who boldly declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the saviour whom their prophets and their patriarchs claimed would liberate Jews from yokedom. When all male followers of Christ ran away for fear of arrest during crucifixion, these women were those who stayed, fearlessly. It is not strange to notice that these women’s and Lazarus’ devotion to Jesus was above everything usual and normal for that time. The reason was, it originated from the reverence of healed people to their doctor, which if seen in that sense, anyone in the modern day world can understand. They indeed had problems, and Jesus healed them, and hence their extra ordinary belief, allegiance and loyalty. Once enlightened through Christ’s own teaching, there were none more enlightened than them. It was that simple.

If twenty long centuries failed to understand the meaning of a woman’s act, what can one century of totally fame-thirsty academicians do?

Tissot. The Healing Artist 10. Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha at BethanyJesus, Mary Magdalene and Martha at Bethany.

What can a young lady do before her worshipful master is sent to death? We know what Plato did before his master was given hemlock to drink in the prison was weeping, cursing the authorities and pledging to take revenge. Mary also did what she could do at that moment, in her femininity, with the resources available to her which was washing his feet with precious ointment and drying it with her unbound hair, with the whole male population of the town looking, before going to storm the emperor’s gates in Rome with accusations of injustice done on Jews by judge Pilatos. It was her kind of homage to her master who stayed in her home. She truly represents the kind of people Jesus attracted. Learned scholars have inappropriately and unnecessarily gone to the extreme absurdity of finding this woman’s hair as a symbol of her sexuality, and her gesture, a last attempt to seduce Christ. What was this young woman ought to have done as her last service to her loved master who was saying farewell to the world, lying there nailed and pinned to the cross, with the angry throng of emperor’s soldiers yelling for his blood all around? Leave him there, run to the house and bring clothes and water to wash his blood and sweat running from his nailed organs, before sending him clean and presentable to the other world? Pronouncements of many modern day researchers and writers look like Judas Iscariot and Judge Pilatos are reborn every day. Mosquitoes, even below a cow’s milk dugs, will look for blood only.

21st century scholars are now unrolling newly discovered papyrus rolls to prove that it was a wife’s send-off, not a beloved disciple’s, probably some papyrus rolls hidden by the chauvinist church for the exact purpose of to be rediscovered and revealed in modern times. Why is it Christianity still have only male ministers? We have yet to see a matriarchal pope or even a bishop or a vicar. If twenty long centuries failed to understand the meaning of a woman’s act, what can one century of totally fame-thirsty academicians do? Mother Mary and Saint John had confidence in their son and bride, but they do not have!

If Mary seems to get the full credit for saving Christianity, create another Mary and halve her credit.

Tissot. The Healing Artist 11. The Blind in the DitchBlind leading the blind to a ditch.

We know, when we are a child, we are washed by the closely related women in our family, not by men in the family. When we grow up and are able to look after ourselves, they absolve themselves of this responsibility and make us begin to wash ourselves. When they outlive us and we are dead, we again become their child and they wash us before we are cremated. The same thing happened with Jesus also. After lowering from the cross, he was washed by the women of his family, including Mary Magdalene of course, but our learned rabbis in the modern western world, find this as a proof to establish that Mary was Jesus wife, not adopted sister of the family. They adore the mutually respectful associateship of Sartre and Madame Bowery but not Christ’s sacred associations because, new theories for disparaging these ancient philosophers and educators are their stepping stones to instant fame. As a last trick, based on texts which never were written by contemporaries, they tried to prove that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were two different persons, so that credit due to Mary for saving Christianity would be halved. Actually Bethany with the assemblage of Mary, Jesus, the twelve learners and the numerous visiting journeymen scholars under the patronage of selfless Martha was the Jewish-Roman equivalent of Plato’s Academy in Greece, gone to full swing five centuries earlier. They would even question the relationship between Plato and Socrates, even not considering the existence of Xanthippe as the master’s wife, but considering only the usual male relations prevalent in those times. They never understand philosophers and revolutionaries, male and female, but think those sets of minds are calibrated like their’s. Only those who get exhilarated at the intellectual pleasures of indulging deeply and freely in ideological battles going around them would know about the magnificence of psyche ruling over physique. Academics and scholars of 2000 years strove in vain to defame the philosophic brilliance of this Jewish school of thought but they forgot the single fact that it was western, fraught in the ascetic cast of the east, come to the world to stand. Remember what Jesus spoke in the temple of Jerusalem: god’s intentions are not understood by the learned and the clergy, it is revealed only to the ordinary laymen and children.

We are indebted to two great repositories for keeping these pictures for people’s viewing.

The First Part of this series, Rise Of A Star. Scenes From The Life Of Jesus Christ 1, can be read here.

The next parts will soon be published.

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Pictures Courtesy: First and foremost we are to thank those citizens of Brooklyn City who took a public collection and kept these pictures in public custody. We are immensely indebted to those two prestigious Institutions Wikimedia Commons and Brooklyn Museum for magnanimously making available these pictures to the public. And our thanks and respect goes to James Tissot for rendering these paintings beautifully for posterity.
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Link to Brooklyn Museum: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

Link to Wikimedia Commons page:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Category:The_Life_of_Jesus_Christ_by_James_Tissot

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Bloom Books Trivandrum, Christ Pictures, Jesus, Jesus Manifests His Power, Jesus Paintings, Jesus Pictures, Jesus Teaching, Jesus The Christ, Jewish Roman School Of Thought, Life Stories, Mary Magdalene, P S Remesh Chandran, Paintings Of James Tissot, Photo Essays, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, True Stories, Water Colour Paintings Life Of Jesus Christ

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Comments

 Madan G Singh

8th Jan 2013 (#)

An excellent post and very illuminating as well.

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