Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Magic pool
At one level the Song of Songs draws on very deep levels of the unconscious. The whole question of human sexuality is addressed, and ancient rites related to fertility are also evoked. Essentially, however, the Song of Songs is not pessimistic about those powerful human drives that seek passionately for life. But the ambiguity of human emotions is also recognized.
In the Mahabharata there is a chapter about the Magic Pool. Here Yudhishthira is tested by Dharma, the god of world order, who is also equated to Yama, Lord of the Underworld. Yudhishthira who has been afflicted by a mysterious thirst, comes to the pool longing to drink of its cool waters. But a voice warns him not to drink of the waters, because they are poisonous. Instead, the hero is asked to answer various questions related to the very meaning of life. Only after debating with the spirit of the pool is Yudhishthira finally allowed to drink of the waters, which now represent healing life.