Ah, I long for the vanished gardens of Cordoba, where no thing hangs or rises up desirous to be sucked in or forced out, where all beings are sublime, tasting only the nectar of Love-Bliss in their mouths, their tongues clinging to the roof of their tooth-hood only for Happiness, without the slightest thought of self, without the slightest thought of clinging to another. Such Bliss is not heaven! It is nowhere, nowhere at all, not then, not now, not in the future. Such Bliss has never been experienced by beings at all except in their moment of vanishing when they slide upon the Light from which forms are made. .

When nothing even in the slightest is experienced or known or presumed, then there is only the Infinite Light of Bliss, the same state in which you now exist but without the compartments of your atrocious thought, without even a parcel of it hanging out. Now we are free. Then we are free. Then we were free. Then we will be free. This space of time is only a figment of your imagination. This body here is the lie by which you are bound. Be willing to give up your body, even now, even now, even now. And your mind, which is your body. Let it go.. Let it go. Cling to nothing. Let it go. This is my recommendation

Da Free John


watch/listen Ray Lynch - Vanished Gardens of Cordoba (Cordova)

Córdoba (Spanish pronunciation: ['korðoßa]; also Cordova)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the film retelling of T. E. Lawrence's heroic, autobiographical account of his own Arabian adventure, published in "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" (originally published with the title Revolt in the Desert). The cinematic "men's film" (with first-time screenwriter Robert Bolt's screenplay) is a superb character study of a compelling cult hero

Lawrence: Yes, you were great.

Feisal: ..nine centuries ago...

Lawrence: Time to be great again, my Lord.

Feisal: ...which is why my father made this war upon the Turks. My father, Mr. Lawrence, not the English. Now my father is old. And I, I long for the vanished gardens of Cordova. However, before the gardens must come fighting. To be great again, it seems that we need the English or...

Lawrence: ...or?...

Feisal: ...what no man can provide, Mr. Lawrence. We need a miracle!

In the ninth century the court of Haroun al Raschid, was a free academy in which all the arts were cultivated and enJoyed. Under the Moors, Cordova surpassed Bagdad.

In the tenth century it was the most beautiful and most civilized city of Europe. Concerning it Burke, in his "History of Spain"--a work to which we are much indebted--writes as follows:

There was the Caliph's Palace of Flowers, his Palace of Contentment, his Palace of Lovers, and, most beautiful of all, the Palace of Damascus. Rich and poor met in the Mezquita, the noblest place of worship then standing in Europe, with its twelve hundred marble columns, and its twenty brazen doors; the vast interior resplendent with porphyry and jasper and many colored precious stones, the walls glittering with harmonious mosaics, the air perfumed with incense, the courtyards leafy with groves of orange trees--showing apples of gold in pictures of silver. Throughout the city, there were fountains, basins, baths, with cold water brought from the neighboring mountains, already carried in the leaden pipes that are the highest triumph of the modern plumber.

But more wonderful even than Cordova itself was the suburb and palace of Az Zahra. lRor five-and-twesty years the Caliph Abdur Rahman devoted to the building of this royal fancy one-third of the revenues of the State; and the work, on his death, was piously continued by his son, who devoted the first fifteen years of his reign to its completion. For forty years ten thousand workmen are said to have toiled day by day, and the record of the refinement as well as the magnificence of the structure, as it approached completion, almost passes belief. It is said that in a moment of exaltation the Caliph gave orders for the removal of the great mountain at whose foot the fairy city was built, as the dark shade of the forests that covered its sides overshadowed the gilded palace of his creation.


THE CALIPHATE OF CORDOVA

[Archibald Wilberforce, Spain and Her Colonies (New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1898), 14-27]

It was in 712 that Spain, after remaining for nearly three centuries in the possession of the Visigoths, fell under the yoke of the Saracens. For some time past, from a palace at Tandjah (Tangiers), a Mussulman emir had been eying the strip of blue water which alone separated him from that Andalusia which, like the other parts of this world and all of the next, had been promised to the followers of Muhammad. The invasion that ensued was singularly pacific. The enthusiasm which distinguished the youthful period of Muhammadism might account for the conquest which followed, even if we could not assign additional causes--the factions into which the Goths had become divided, the resentment of disappointed pretenders to the throne, the provocations of one Count Julian, whose daughter, seduced by Roderic, the last of the Gothic kings, caused him, it is said, to urge the Moors to come over. It is more surprising that a remnant of this ancient monarchy should not only have preserved its national liberty and name in the northern mountains, but waged for some centuries a successful, and generally an offensive, warfare against the conquerors, till the balance was completely turned in its favor and the Moors were compelled to maintain almost afi obey stinate and protracted a contest for a small portion of the peninsula. But the Arabian monarchs of Cordova found in their success and imagined security a pretext for indolence; even in the cultivation of science and contemplation of the magnificent architecture of their mosques and palaces they forgot their poor but daring enemies in the Asturias; while, according to the nature of despotism, the fruits of wisdom or bravery in one generation were lost in the follies and effeminacy of the next. Their kingdom was dismembered by successful rebels, who formed the states of Toledo, Huesca, Saragossa, and others less eminent; and these, in their own mutual contests, not only relaxed their natural enmity toward the Christian princes, but sometimes sought their alliance.

Be that as it may, of all who had entered Spain, whether Greek, Phoenician, Vandal or Goth, the Moors were the most tolerant. The worship of God was undisturbed. The temples were not only preserved, new ones were built. In every town they entered, presto ! a mosque and a school, and mosques and schools that were entrancing as song. On the banks of the Betis, renamed the Great River, Al-Ouad-al-Kebyr (Guadalquivir), twelve hundred villages bloomed like roses in June. From three hundred thousand filigreed pulpits the glory of Allah, and of Muhammad his prophet, was daily proclaimed.

They were superb fellows, these Moors. In earlier ages the restless Bedouins, their ancestors, were rather fierce, and when the degenerate Sabaism they professed was put aside for the lessons of Muhammad, they were not only fierce, they were fanatic as well. A drop ofblood shed for Allah, equaled, they were taught, whole months of fasting and of prayer. Thereafter, they preached with the scimiter. But in time, that great emollient, they grew less dogmatic. In the ninth century the court of Haroun al Raschid, was a free academy in which all the arts were cultivated and enJoyed. Under the Moors, Cordova surpassed Bagdad.

In the tenth century it was the most beautiful and most civilized city of Europe. Concerning it Burke, in his "History of Spain"--a work to which we are much indebted--writes as follows:

There was the Caliph's Palace of Flowers, his Palace of Contentment, his Palace of Lovers, and, most beautiful of all, the Palace of Damascus. Rich and poor met in the Mezquita, the noblest place of worship then standing in Europe, with its twelve hundred marble columns, and its twenty brazen doors; the vast interior resplendent with porphyry and jasper and many colored precious stones, the walls glittering with harmonious mosaics, the air perfumed with incense, the courtyards leafy with groves of orange trees--showing apples of gold in pictures of silver. Throughout the city, there were fountains, basins, baths, with cold water brought from the neighboring mountains, already carried in the leaden pipes that are the highest triumph of the modern plumber.

But more wonderful even than Cordova itself was the suburb and palace of Az Zahra. lRor five-and-twesty years the Caliph Abdur Rahman devoted to the building of this royal fancy one-third of the revenues of the State; and the work, on his death, was piously continued by his son, who devoted the first fifteen years of his reign to its completion. For forty years ten thousand workmen are said to have toiled day by day, and the record of the refinement as well as the magnificence of the structure, as it approached completion, almost passes belief. It is said that in a moment of exaltation the Caliph gave orders for the removal of the great mountain at whose foot the fairy city was built, as the dark shade of the forests that covered its sides overshadowed the gilded palace of his creation.

Convinced of the impossibility of his enterprise, An Nasir was content that all the oaks and beech trees that grew on the mountain side should be rooted up; and that fig trees, and almonds, and pomegranates should be planted in their place; and thus the very hills and forests of Az Zahra were decked with blossom and beauty.

Travelers from distant lands, men of all ranks and professions, princes, embassadors, merchants, pilgrims, theologians and poets, all agreed that they had never seen in the course of their travels anything that could be compared with Az Zahra, and that no imagination, however fertile, could have formed an idea of its beauties. Of this marvelous creation of Art and Fancy not one stone remains upon another--not a vestige to mark the spot on which it stood; and it is hard to reconstruct from the dry records of Arab historians the fairy edifice of which we are told no words could paint the magnificence. According to these authors the inclosing wall of the palace was four thousand feet in length from east to west, and two thousand two hundred feet from north to south. The greater part of this space wars occupied by gardens, with their marble fountains, kiosks and ornaments of various kinds, not inferior in beauty to the more strictly architectural parts of the building.

 

Four thousand three hundred columns of the rarer,t and most precious marbles supported the roof of the palace; of these some were brought from Africa, come from Rome, and many were presented by the Emperor at Constantinople to Abdur Rahman. The halls were paved with marble, disposed in a thousand varied patterns. The walls were of the same material;, and ornamented with friezes of the most brilliant colors. The ceilings, constructed of cedar, were enriched with gilding on an azure ground, with damasked work and interlacing designs. Everything, in short, that the wealth and ret sources of the Caliphcould command was lavished on this favorite retreat, and all that the art of Constantinople and Bagdad could contribute to aid the taste and executive skill of the Spanish Arabs was enlisted to make it the most perfect work of its age. Did this, palace of Zahra now remain to us, says Mr. Fergusson, we could afford to despise the Alhambra and all the other works, of the declining ages of Moorish art.

It was here that Abdur Rahman an Nasir received Sancho the Fat, and Theuda, queen of Navarre, the envoys from Charles the Simple of P'rance, and the embassadors from the Emperor Constantine at Constantinople. The reception of these imperial visitors is said to have been one of the most magnificent ceremonies of that magnificent court. The orator who had been at first intrusted with the speech of ceremonial greeting, was actually struck dumb by the grandeur of the scene, and his place was taken by a less impressionable rhetorician.

Nor was it only material splendor that was to be found at Cordova. At a time when Christian Europe was steeped in ignorance and barbarism, in superstition and prejudice, every branch of science was studied under the favor and protection of the Ommeyad Caliphs. Medicine, surgery, botany, chemistry, poetry, the arts, philosophy, literature, all flourished at the court and city of Cordova. Agriculture was cultivated with a perfection, both theoretical and practical, which is apparent from the works of contemporary Arab writers. The Silo, so lately introduced into England as a valuable agricultural novelty, is not only the invention of the Arabs, but the very name is Arabic, as is that of the Azequia and of the Noria of modern Spain. Both the second and the third Abdur Rahman were passionately fond of gardening and tree-p]anting; and seeds, roots and cuttings were brought from all parts of the world and acclimatized in the gardens at Cordova. A pomegranate of peculiar excellence, the Safari, which was introduced by the second Abdur Rahman from Damascus, still maintains its superiority, and is known in Spain to the present day as the Granada Zafari.

Thus, in small things as in great, the Arabs of Cordova stood immeasurably above everv other people or any other government in Europe. Yet their influence unhappily was but small. They surpassed, but they did not lead. The very greatness of their superiority rendered their example fruitless. Medieval chivalry, indeed, was largely the result of their influence in Spain. But chivalry as an institution had itself decayed long before a new-born Europe had attained to the material and moral perfection of the great Emirs of Cordova. Their political organization was unadapted to the needs or the aspirations of Western Europe, and contained within itself the elements, not of develops ment, but of decay. Their civilization perished, and left no heirs behind it--and its place knows it no more.

The reign of Hakam II., the son and successor of the great Caliph, was tranquil, prosperous and honorable, the golden age of Arab literature in Spain. The king was above all things a student, living the life almost of a rec]usXe in his splendid retreat at A% Zahra, and concerning himself rather with the collection of books for his celebrated library at Cordova than with the cares of State and the excitements of war. He sent agents to every city in the East to buy rare manuscripts and bring them back to Cordova. When he could not acquire originals he procured copies, and every book was carefully eatalogued and worthily lodged. Hakam not only built libraries, but, unlike many modern collectors, he is said to have read and even to have annotated the books that they contained; but as their number exceeded four hundred thousand, he must have been a remarkably rapid student.

The peaceful disposition of the new Caliph emboldened his Christian neighbors and tributaries to disregard the old treaties and to assert their independence of Cordova. But the armies of Hakam were able to make his rights respected, and the treaties were reaffirmed and observed. Many were the embassies that were received at Cordova from rival Christian chiefs; and Sancho of Leon, Fernan Gonzalez of Castile, Garcia of Navarre, Rodrigo Velasquez of Glallicia, and finally Ordoto the Bad, Pretender to the crown of Leony were all represented at the court of Az Zahra.

The reign of this royal scholar was peaceful and prosperous; but kingly power tends to decline in libraries, and when Hakam ceased to build and to annotate, and his kingdom devolved upon his son, the royal authority passed not into the hands of the young Eisham, who was only nine years of age at the time of his father's death, but into those of the Sultana Sobeyra and of her favorite, Ibn-abu-amir, who is known to later generations by the proud title of Almanzor. [Al Manzor al Allah: "The Victor of God; or, Victorious by the Grace of God."]

Ibn-abu-amir began his career as a poor student at the University of Cordova. Of respectable birth and parentage, filled with noble ambition, born for empire and command, the youth became a court scribe, and, attracting the attention of the all-powerful Sobeyra by the charm of his manner and his nobility of bearing, he soon rose to power and distinction in the palace; and as Master of the Mint, and afterward as Commander of the City Guard, he found means to render himself indispensable, as he had akvays been agreeable, to the harem. Nor was the young courtier less aceeptable to the (:aliph. Intrusted by him on a critical occasion with the supremely difficult mission of comptrolling the expenditure of the army in Africa, where the general-inehief had proved over-prodigal or over-rapacious, Ibn-abuamir acquitted himself with such extraordinary skill and tact that he won the respect and admiration, not only of the Caliph whose treasury he protected, but of the general whose extravagance he checked, and even of the common soldiers of the army, who are not usually drawn to a civilian superintendent, or to a reforming treasury official from headquarters. The expenses were curtailed; but the campaagn was successful, and the victorious general and the yet more victorious Cadi shared on equal terms the honor of a triumphal entry into the capital.

On the death of Hakam, in September, 976, Ibn-abuamir showed no less than his usual tact and vigor in sup pressing a palace intrigue, and placing the young Hisham on the throne of his father. The Caliph was but twelve years of age, and his powerful guardian, supported by the harem, beloved by the people, and feared by the vanquished conspirators, took upon himself the entire administration of the kingdom, repealed some obnoxious taxes, reformed the organization of the army, and sought to confirm and establish his power by a war against his neighbors in the north. The peace which had so long prevailed between Moor and Christian was thus rudely broken, and the Moslem once more carried his arms across the northern frontier. The campaign was eminently successful. Ibn-abu-amir, who contrived not only to vanquish his enemies but to please his friends, became at once the master of the palace and of the army. The inevitable critic was found to say that the victor was a diplomatist and a lawyer rather than a great general; but he was certainly a great leader of men, and if he was at any time unskilled in the conduct of a battle, he owned from the first that higher skill of knowing whom to trust with command. Nor was he less remarkable for his true military virtue of constant clemency to the vanquished.

In two years after the death of Hakam, Almanzor had attained the position of the greatest of the maires du palais of early France, and he ruled all Mohammedan Spain in the name of young Hisham, whose throne he forbore to occupy and whose person was safe in his custody. But if Almanzor was not a dilettante like Abdur Rahman II., nor a collector of MSS. like Hakam, he was no vulgar fighter like the early kings of Leon or of Navarre. A library of books accompanied him in all his campaigns; literature, science, and the arts were munificently patronized at court; a university or high school was established at Cordova, where the great mosque was enlarged for the accommodation of an increasing number of worshipers. Yet in one thing did he show his weakness. He could afford to have no enemies. The idol of the army, the lover of the queen, the prefect of the city, the guardian of the person of the Caliph, Almanzor yet found it necessary to conciliate the theologians; and the theologians were only conciliated by the delivery of the great library of Hakam into the hands of the Ulema. The shelves were ransacked for works on astrology and magic, on natural philosophy, and the forbidden sciences, and after an inquisition as formal and as thorough and probably no more intelligent than that which was conducted by the curate and the barber in the house of Don Quixote, tens of thousands of priceless volumes were publicly committed to the flames.

Nor did Almanzor neglect the more practical or more direct means of maintaining his power. The army was filled with bold recruits from Africa, and renegades from the Christian provinces of the north. The organization and equipment of the regiments was constantly improved; add the troops were ever loyal to their civilian bevefactor Ghalib, the commander-in-chief, having sought bo overthrow the supreme administrator of the kingdom, was vanquished and slain in battle (981). The Caliph was practically a prisoner in his own palace, and was encouraged by his guardian and his friends, both in the harem and in the mosque, to devote himself entirely to a religious life, and abandon the administration of his kingdom to the Hajib, who now, feeling himself entirely secure at home, turned his arms once more against the Christians on the northern frontiers; and it was on his return to Cordova, after his victories at Simancas and Zamora in 981, that he was greeted with the well-known title of Almanzor.

In 984 he compelled Bermudo II. of Leon to become his tributary. In 985 he turned his attention to Catalonia, and after a brief but brilliant campaign he made himself master of Barcelona. Two years later (987), Bermudo having dismissed his Moslem guards and thrown off his allegiance to Cordova, Almanzor marched into the northwest, and after sacking Coimbra, overran Leon, entirely destroyed the capital city, and compelled the Christian king to take refuge in the wild fastnesses of the Asturias.

Meanwhile, at Cordova, the power of Almanzor became year by year more complete. Victorious in Africa as well as in Spain, this heaven-born general was as skillful in the council chamber as he was in the field. The iron hand was ever clad in a silken glove. His ambition was content with the substance of power, and with the gradual assumption of any external show of supreme authority in the State. In 991 he abandoned the office and title of Hajib to his son, Abdul Malik. In 992 his seal took the place of that of the monarch on all documents of State. In 993 he assumed the royal cognomen of Mowayad. Two years later he arrogated to himself alone the title of Said; and in 996 he ventured a step further, and assumed the title of Malik lCarim, or king.

But in 996 Almanzor was at length confronted by a rival. Sobeyra, the Navarrese Sultana, once his mistress, was now his deadly enemy, and she had determined that the queen, and not the minister, should reign supreme in the palace. Almanzor was to be destroyed. Hakam, a feeble and effeminate youth, was easily won over by the harem, who urged him to show the strength that he was so far from possessing, by espousing the cause of his mother against his guardian. The queen was assured of victory. The treasury was at the disposal of the conspirators. A military rival was secretly summoned from Africa. The minister was banished from the royal presence. The palace was already jubilant.

But the palace reckoned without Almanzor. Making his way into Hakam's chamber, more charming, more persuasive, more resolute than ever, Almanzor prevailed upon the Caliph not only to restore him to his confidence, but to empower him, by a solemn instrument under the royal sign-manual, to assume the government of the kingdom. Sobeyra, defeated but unharmed by her victorious and generous rival, retired to a cloister; and Almanzor, contemptuously leaving to one of his lieutenants the task of vanquishing his subsidized rival in Africa, set forth upon the most memorable of all his many expeditions against C!hristian Spain.

Making his way, at the head of an army, through Lusitania into far away Gallicia, he took Corunna, and destroyed the great Christian church and city of Santiago de Compostella, the most sacred spot in all Spain, and sent the famous bells which had called so many Christian pilgrims to prayer and praise to be converted into lamps to illuminate the Moslem worshipers in the mosque at Cordova.

Five years later, in 1002, after an uncertain battle, Almanzor died in harness, if not actually in the ranks, bowed down by mortal disease, unhurt by the arm of the enemy. The relief of the Christians at his death was unspeakable; and is well expressed, says Mr. Poole, in the simple comment of the Monkish annalist, "In 1002 died Almanzor, and was buried in Hell."

In force of character, in power of persuasion, in tact, in vigor, in that capacity for command that is only found in noble natures, Almanzor has no rival among the Regents of Spain. His rise is a romance; his power a marvel; his justice a proverb. He was a brilliant financier; a successful favorite; a liberal patron; a stern disciplinarian; a heaven-born courtier; an accomplished general; and no one of the great commanders of Spain, not Gonsalvo de Aguilar himself, was more uniformly successful in the field than this lawyer's clerk of Cordova.

Hisham, in confinement at Az Zahra, was still the titular Caliph of the West, but Almanzor was succeeded as commander-in-chief and virtual ruler of the country by his favorite son, his companion-in-arms, and the hero of an African campaign, Abdul Malik Almudaffar, the Hajib of 991. But the glory of Cordova had departed. Abdul Malik indeed ruled in his father's place for six years. But on his death, in 10029, he was succeeded by his half-brother, Abdur Rahman, who, as the son of a Christian princess, was mistrusted both by the palace and by the people; and the country became a prey to anarchy.

Cordova was sacked. The Caliph was imprisoned; rebellions, poisonings, crucifixions, civil war, bigotry and skepticism, the insolence of wealth, the insolence of power, a Mahdi and a Wahdi, Christian alliance, Berber domination, Slav mutineers5 African interference, puppet princes, all these things vexed the Spanish BIoslems for thirty disastrous years; while a number of weak but independent sovereignties arose on the ruins of the great Caliphate of the West.

The confused annals of the last thirty years of the rule of the Ommeyades are mere records of blood and of shame, a pitiful story of departed greatness.

On the death of Hisham II., the Romulus Augustulus of Imperial Cordova, Moslem Spain was divided into a number of petty kingdoms, Malaga, Algeciras, Cordova, Seville, Toledo, Badajoz, Saragossa, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Murcia, Almeria, and Granada. And each of these cities and kingdoms made unceasing war one upon another.

From the death of Hisham, if not from the death of Almanzor, the center of interest in the history of Spain is shifted from Cordova to Castile.

 

See more: Caliph of Cordoba (Cordova)

 



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  Adi Da, Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda, Shridi Sai Baba, Upasani Baba,  Seshadri Swamigal , Meher Baba, Sivananda, Ramsuratkumar
"The perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no difference between us"
Tripura Rahasya, Chap XX, 128-133

 

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