Tag Archives: Africa

Narrator – All ways lead to Rome


From the harbour of Alexandria I left Africa to never return again. I travelled by boat to Valletta in Malta and then with another boat to Rome. For the first time I was fully surrounded by water; constantly there was the cradles of the boat and the sloshing of waves. In the boat, I was again contained in the womb; I grew to a new life in another world. During day I napped in the shade and at night I watched the starry night and the moon. In silence I prepared for.

All-encompassing  Rome received me with open arms. Enclosed in the Catholic habits the afterlife was awaiting. Many habits were different than in Kenya, but for me it was a continuation of my heavenly school years at the nuns.

[1]

In that autumn and winter I did not discover the world of Rome, but Rome entrusted itself to me. Later on our quest to “Who are you”, I read in a book a short passage that reflects my life in Rome: “Is it a foregone conclusion that the discovery of the world only comes from our side? Why would not the world entrusts itself to us to be discovered?” [2]. Jalāl al-Dīn – in the Western and Muslim world better known as Rumi [3] – wrote: “Rome is always decaying and growing for You, and how should a man plead with You for the sake of a single man’s soul?” [4]

[5]

In Rome, the earthiness was linked to vanity and grandeur. During day and evening I worked in the kitchen of a posh restaurant.

[6]

In early morning I walked down the streets and I looked at the buildings from different times. During night I slept outdoors in parks and regularly there was a lover where I could stay.

[7]

That winter there was lots of rain in Rome and I saw the first snow in my life. I was astonished about the abundance of water.

[8]

The following spring it was possible to continue my voyage to Amsterdam. The roads to the North were passable again. I began my voyage from Rome to Amsterdam by foot.


[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome

[2] Bron: Safranski Rüdiger, Heidegger en zijn Tijd. Amsterdam: Olympus, 2012, vijfde druk p. 34

[3] Jalāl al-Dīn has been given the name Rumi in the Arab world, because he lived in Konia, south of Ankara in Turkey while writing his great works. This part of the Arab world was identified with Rome from the Roman Empire. Source: Lewis, Franklin D., Rumi, Past and Present, East and West. Oxford: Oneworld, 2003 p. 9

[4] Free rendering of Poem 78 from: Arberry, A,J, Mystical Poems of  Rūmī, Volume 1. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991 p. 69

[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_(stad)

[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome

[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome

[8] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome

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Narrator – away from home


Like my father, I travelled from my mother country to another continent to have a better life. I didn’t want to wander around Europe but I decided to live in Amsterdam – a city where men may love men. Finally this intention worked out exactly reversed.

Via the parents of Arjen – named Arjuna by me – I received documents and a visa for the Netherlands. I left my name Kṛṣṇa behind in Kenya. In this way I hoped to leave behind the dark pages in my life in which I lived with the hungry ghosts in hell. This was not successful: in my dreams and in my stories these pages returned for a long time.

[1]

In my passport I have listed as first name Narrator [2]; like my father I wished to have the role of storyteller in life’s story for the audience. As a tribute to my father, I provided the surname Nārāyana [3].

At the end of the school year I resigned as indwelling teacher at the school. I said goodbye to Arjen and his parents and I thanked them for all the help. One of the teachers at school introduced me to a driver who regularly travelled via Nakuru and Lodwar to Jūbā in South Sudan. The driver made contact with a colleague who drove to Khartoum – the capital of Sudan [4]. In Khartoum I could travel to Wadi Halfa, just before the border with Egypt.

My experience and instinct as a soldier were helpful at a roadblock. With yet another bend to go, the driver noticed a checkpoint in the distance just before a town. The driver could not justify my presence. In the bend I could slip out of the truck. Via a detour through the scrub I entered the town. There I met the driver again to continue our travel.

At Wadi Halfa I could start as indwelling servant on a tourist boat on Lake Victoria. This boat travelled to the North. At Abu Simbil I visited the Temple of Ramses II. Here I saw images of rulers from lost times who were venerated as idols in their hubris. On my trip along the Nile I noticed more forms of pride – as dust particles in the universe. At school I learned the first commandment according to the Catholic format from the sisters: “Thou shalt not worship idols, but worship only Me and above all love me”. This “Me” always remained for me the starry Night and the Moon. These images of idols were no match for the sight of the night sky at new moon.

[5]

In Egypt I travelled the Nile with different boats. On the way I saw several pyramids at a distance – for me pointers to the starry Night and the Moon.

[6]

I could pass the Nile delta by boat to Alexandria. In the library of Alexandria, I read all the stories of Scheherazade – the narrator of the stories from “Thousand and one Night”. Every night she came back to life like the Moon was brought to life by the God Engaï [7] in the Maasai myth.

From Alexandria I left Africa. As my father never returned to India, I never came back in Africa. My mother was not able to come to Amsterdam, because she could not leave her herd. I dared not to ask my father, because I was afraid that he would never go back to my mother: I could not inflict that on her.


[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hel_(mythologie)

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrator

[3] Nārāyana means in Sanskrit: “”Son of the original man”. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[4] In Sanskrit “Su” means amongst others “supreme, good, excellent, beautiful, easy” and “Dān” means “to be, making straight.

[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboe_Simbel

[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza

[7] According to a Maasai myth the God Engaï gives cattle to the people and he brings people to life after their death and each day he lets the Moon die. After a sin wherein an opponent was desired death, Engaï lets people die and each night he brought the Moon to life. Source:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

Narrator – my origin


Unimaginably long ago I arose from the sound of falling rain in the blowing wind and the clattering of tumbling pebbles. With the rain the rhythm was created, by the wind my voice arose and with the tumbling pebbles the applause started. Stories emerged from the rhythm and the wind. Esteem started by the applause with the urge to seek the attention again and again.

My entire life I tell stories about life and death, about wars, greed, courage and loyalty, about love, revenge, honour, glory and wrath, icy wrath that brought countless horrors.

Since I was saved by Carla Drift from a dream in which I almost slipped to another world, I tell stories for improving discussions and insights on the interfaces between philosophy, literature and religion. Thus, I hope to contribute to a better world, peace and happiness for everyone and everything. This is the summary of the biography of my life.

In this summary my first remembrance is missing in which I heard my father singing in a language from the country from where he had left to Africa. This song sounds so familiar as if I already knew it  from the beginning of time. My father has told me that this chant is called the īśāvāsya [1] upaniṣad or the Isha Upanishad [2] in his country of origin. When I was four years old, my father taught me the text while I sat beside him [3].

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥
ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः॥

Ôm, Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate;
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameva Vashishyate.
Ôm shanti, shanti, shanti

Ôm, that is overall. This is overall. Overall comes from overall.

Take overall from overall and thus remains overall.

Ôm peace, peace, peace.

The chant of the  īśāvāsya upaniṣad can be listened via an annex to this post on the website of the publisher: http://www.omnia-amsterdam.com [4].

My father is dark as the night. He was born and raised in a poor southern part of India. At school he fluently learned Sanskrit: the language of the Gods in the world of women/men. All my grandparents and grand-grandparents spoke this language. As a young adult man my father travelled to Kenya in Africa to wander as storyteller and to have a better life. In this country he met my mother.

My mother is a proud woman from the Maasai nomads tribe. She does not know any borders; all the land is for everyone and the cattle needs food and care. She met my father as a young woman. He was starving and she took pity on him. Between them a love arose that transcends our existence. They go together through life; my father remains wandering as storyteller and my mother gives care and shelter when he is passing by. Here-from I came on Earth.

My first name is Kṛṣṇa [5] because I am dark as the night like my father with my black blue skin and because I was born during the dark period of the moon. My parents expressed the hope that I may awake every night again like the Moon and may not die like all other people [6]. Later in my life I changed my first name in Narrator, because I wish to belong to the mortals. My family name from my father’s side is Nārāyana. This means in the language of my ancestors: “Son of the original man”. [7]

[8]

Around my sixth year, my father brought me to school. There I learned to read and write. I never ceased reading. I read Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey, Mahābhārata, Shakespeare in the last classes of school while the other students played warrior. Many of my stories stem from this time.

[9]

Until my 16th birth day I stayed at school. Then stark dark pages came into my life.


[1] Īśa means among others in Sanskrit “God in the heaven of the Gods”, “one with almightiness”. “Avāsya” means “putting down”. Hereby īśāvāsya can be understood as a description of God in the heaven of Gods. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[2] A literal translation of the Isha Upanishad in Dutch can be obtained via the following hyperlink: http://www.arsfloreat.nl/documents/Isa.pdf

[3] Upanishad literally means: “Sitting down near”. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

[4] The author doesn’t know the origin of this mp3 file. When the owner makes her-/himself known to the author, the post will be amended to the wishes of the right holders in this question.

[5] Kṛṣṇa means amongst others “black”, “black blue”, “the dark period of the moon cycle”. Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[6] According to a Maasai myth the God Engaï gives cattle to the people and he brings people to life after their death and each day he lets the Moon die. After a sin wherein an opponent was desired death, Engaï lets people die and each night he brought the Moon to life. Source:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

[7] Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[8] A Maasai woman. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people

[9] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasa%C3%AF