25 February 2014

Did you say hello to Errol Abu al-Mughith Husayn Mansur al-Hallaj Alphonso?

[This was written almost four years ago.  The original title was 'Say hello to Errol Abu al-Mughith Husayn Mansur al-Hallaj Alphonso'.  He's passed on. I remember him often, this wonderful man who taught me so much.  I want to share him with those who did not know him. Hence this re-post]

Mansur al-Hallaj Alphonso
Abu al-Mughith Husayn Mansur al-Hallaj, a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and teacher of Sufism was condemned to death for heresy at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir and was duly executed on March 26, 922. His crime was the uttering of the blasphemy, ‘An-ul Haq, An-ul Haq’ (‘I am the Truth, I am the Truth’, interpretable as ‘I am God, I am God’). Mansur was merely proclaiming a total disavowal of self in the throes of his sublime spiritual ecstasy, some say. He could also have been merely noting the simple truth that if God is indeed omnipresent, then God must reside within him as well. 

I am an atheist and convinced that ‘god’ and ‘devil’ are human and social constructs that have fairly clear-cut functional purposes, and are but metaphors that have got waylaid by the manipulative and thereafter invested with powers and values beyond original intent. I believe that the true and final residence of god and devil is self, that the human being is in the final instance the refuge of both good and evil, of right and wrong, teacher and student, hero and villain, lunacy and lucidity, wise and moronic. Mansur was killed for saying this. We live in happier times.

It is 5.26 am right now. Mansur came to my thoughts at this pre-dawn ungodly hour because I had seen him the previous morning. I see Mansur all the time and you can see him too in every person you meet on your way to work, in your co-worker, your child, your employer, your employee, your loved ones and your detractors, enemy and friend. The Mansur I am speaking of comes to me as word and comment almost everyday via the internet. He has another name. Errol Alphonso.

Abu al-Mughith Husayn Mansur al-Hallaj aka Errol Alphonso, aka Errol Abu al-Mughith Husayn Mansur al-Hallaj Alphonso, is not on death row, although he does claim that Death Row is the name of the home for the elderly he has been living in since February 2001. He was 60 years young then and is even younger now. He claims that a woman, according to him a nymphomaniac, who has been harassing him in one way or another for years and years, almost got him a quick ticket out of that living/dying hell within six months of his entry.

His words: ‘This woman, together with the eighty something man who was her drooler here, and continues to drool in his bed elsewhere now at middle ninety, and several of the other supposedly sane women in residence, worked up a good enough head of steam to give me a whumping big cardiac blow within six months of entry. My insanity brought me out of it with 60 percent of my heart left in San Francisco. I haven’t had any cardiac check since then, and take the drugs prescribed at that time, which were meant until death do us part.’

See, Errol knows words. He doesn’t know mincing. I got to know Mansur Errol about a year ago. He commented on something I wrote. Since then we’ve met several times and have had wonderful conversations. In the main, though, it’s been mostly an edifying e-mail communication experience for me. Mansur Errol comments. Corrects. Points me gently and without appearing to be teaching towards things I am ignorant about. I read him carefully. I learn and learn and learn.

He is 69 now. He’s had a wide expanse of experience in mass communications and marketing. He has been rated ‘the best’ by Sri Lanka’s Dean of Broadcasters, the late Livy Wijemanne. He has done his hours in advertising, ground up. He’s a ground-up person in all things, I might add. A voracious reader and a veritable super-sucker of what the internet offers and at rates that one would usually not associate with someone of his age. Errol has seen the world. He’s been to Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Hamamatsu, Kofu, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Idar-Oberstein, Beirut, Kuwait and Tehran. He’s come home, like all prophets, to find the truth (of his heaven and hell).

One of these days, Mansur Errol will die. Like all of us. He is conscious of his mortality. He is a rationalist (on his door is pasted a copy of the ultimate Charter on Free Inquiry, the Kalama Sutra). 

He will pass on and no one will know. His story will die with him.
He is alive now and I wish him a long and healthy rest-of-your-life full of engagement, resolve, colour and the soft ways that have made him the hero that he is, the divine entity whose knowledge and lucidity astound me all the time.

Errol Mansur Alphonso has an Aristotelian hope; that someday the best flutes will finally go to the best flute players, and that he’ll end up, consequently, with a swank shop laptop. You might never have seen him, but he might have touched you through Fanfare for the Common Man, The Unimportance of being Blind, Shakespeare was a Scriptwriter, Contemplations on a Cardinal Sin, Making Love in Many Languages and Geneva Ticks!

There’s an Errol you are going to be passing a few minutes after reading this. Nod your head in acknowledgment. You are going to be him/her a few years from now. Well, perhaps not a fraction as worthy and (hopefully) not having to suffer the agonies of residency in an institution run by the vindictive, insensitive and petty, but hey, who can tell in these things, these times, there where and why of our being and dying!

Go well, Errol. Carry your immortality light on your shoulders. 



Anonymous said...

I've read this before. And the next article on him too. But still I cannot help being touched.

Also, your poem on the other Mansur and his execution is one of the most beautiful you've written.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

which poem?

sajic said...

Read before. Still relevant. Excellent.

Sum said...

Why believe No God, No Devil? How do you know for sure? Why not give the benefit of doubt to the gods and devil - just in case they are there :)

Malinda Seneviratne said...

why not give the benefit of the doubt to godlessness? and of course devillessness? :)