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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EPISODE XL - "MAM, KAKA, NANI" and THE SIXTEENTH DOG.


While residing on 117 Cosburn Ave, in Toronto, in 2014, I had the strangest interaction with what I first believed to be an alien visiting our planet who had taken the form of a dog; it turned out to be a real earthly dog, and a true sentient being:

"Friend, can you give me a piece of that meat?"
It was early fall. I was in the backyard of the apartment complex where I was living, trying to light up the small barbecue when I heard a voice coming from the nearby fence; the Greek neighbors I thought to myself. 

“Φίλε, μπορείς να μου δώσεις ένα κομμάτι από αυτό το κρέας.” 

I smiled and looked more carefully around me to see where the voice was coming from but all I could see was this gray shaggy dog staring at me; mouth salivating with its tongue hanging out, while its tail raced like car windshield wiper on high speed.  I started to chuckle, looking all around me once again to see who was toying with me, trying to determine where this ventriloquist was hiding.  I called out, responding in Greek: “Εάν μπορεις να γαβγίζεις δυνατά δύο φορές.” (If you can bark aloud twice?) Sure enough, the dog barked twice; my jaw dropped! 

I  moved closer to the animal, whispering so as not to be heard or be seen by anyone that I was, in fact, talking to a dog. "Who sent you," I asked, "is it, Lucy?" "Are you from another planet?" “I know not of any Lucy, nor know this planet”, the dog responded. I reached out carefully, getting closer to touch its protruding nose through the chainlinked fence. Slowly touching its moist nose, allowing it to smell my presence I moved my hand over its snout; a flashback to the Elysium began to enter my consciousness! This sudden experience was much different than any previous experiences I have had: I found myself as a spectator of a challenge between Gods! 

In the foreground, I could see God Hermes, saying something at God Apollo, while great God Zeus and the other Gods, looked on from the distance. As soon as the two Gods became aware of my presence, God Hermes turned to me and said, “Φορέας του Φωτός, αυτό δεν έχει καμία σχέση με την αναζήτησή σας, μην παρεμβαίνετε ούτως ή άλλως.” ( Bearer of The Light, this has nothing to do with your quest, do not interfere in any way!) I held back and was puzzled by it all. The dog must have sensed my vision, startled by this sudden sensation, it began to pull away while barking at me. It too had been stunned as much by the imagery or perhaps the warning I had just witnessed. Immediately thereafter, I heard this woman from the house porch, calling out to the dog, in Greek:  "Διογένη, αγάπη μου, έλα εδώ. Σε παρακαλώ έλα εδώ." ( Diogenes, my love, come here. Please come here.) Her voice was soft and almost apologetic, that the dog had barked at me. Soon after her calling, the dog stopped his bark and whisked away.

As the dog was moving back towards the house, around the bend of the apartment building,  Kiria (Mrs.) Maria, the landlady, came about. She greeted me first, “για σου ηλια” (Hello, Elias) and in the same breath of voice, immediately called out across the yard, “γεια σου, Καλλιόπη” (Hello, Kaliopi). “Nice dog”, I responded to Kiria Maria. “The devil is in him, he is possessed!”, she replied. “Why, what do you mean”, I asked? She went on to say that poor Kiria Kaliopi had not been the same ever since her husband was killed. When I asked her to explain further, she went on to relate the following:
Mr. Diogenis would come home from work each day and after washing up, he would take their dog for a walk at the park. On one such occasion, he and his dog were run over by a car driven by an intoxicated young driver. Mr. Diogenes was rushed to the hospital, his dog was taken to a local veterinary clinic. Days later, Mr. Diogenes succumbed to his injuries. Kiria Kaliopi was devastated; she collapsed at the hospital while watching her husband take his last breath. She, in turn, was kept in the hospital for observation because of her weak heart; she stayed there for some days. “And what happened to the dog”, I asked? "That is where things get strange”, Kiria Maria, went on: “The dog was sedated and kept in the back room of the clinic; he was not given much of a chance of survival. The night, Diogenes passed away, that night, the strangest thing took place.” Mrs. Maria, clinching her cheek, with her right hand, while issuing the sound, “Popo, po”. “Go on I asked”. “Well, the veterinary place was broken into, and so they assumed initially, but when they checked things out more carefully, there was no forced entry from the outside!” “What did they steal?”, I asked. “That is just it, they didn’t steal any of the expensive equipment but all the dogs, all 15 of them, were gone; except for her dog, Plato: He was unconscious because of the heavy medications that were intravenously given to him!”. "Who is Plato?”, I asked. “I heard her call the dog, Diogenes.” “Let me finish”, Kiria Maria, interjected: “After, K. Kaliopi returned home from the “sinhoremenos’ ( the forgiven)”, funeral, the dog was soon after brought to her: By some miracle, it had survived! Within a week or two, Kaliopi had changed drastically”, Kiria Maria, remarked as she pointed to her temple, a suggestion that K. Kaliopi had lost her mind. “She began to refer to the dog as Diogenes, her husband’s name. She has been talking to the dog, as she would to her husband. That dog is beginning to make human sounds. Have you heard it?” “Yes, I did, he asked me for some of my meat”, I remarked. “Pse, psi, pse”, Kiria Maria, went on, spitting lightly at her chest, so as to rid the area of evil spirits. “That dog is possessed”, I tell you! “No wonder”, she went on to remark, “Kaliopi hasn’t been to church since the sinhoremenos’, funeral.

I tried to assure Kiria Maria that there must be a good explanation for all this. That, Plato, or rather Diogenes, had been spoken to by Mrs. Kaliopi, so many times, that he is beginning to mimic the human sounds. Kiria Maria would have none of my explanations, insisting that the dog was possessed by evil spirits. This encounter also explained to me, why ever since I moved into her building, most weekends, and some weekdays, the entire building would be smoked with incense, as is done in churches to chase away the evil spirits.

After my barbecuing was done, I went to my apartment to have dinner and relax. That afternoon's experiences, would not let my mind rest, I had to consult the Elysium:
Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_Diogenes_-_Walters_37131.jpg
I found myself standing before this man, who was sitting by the mouth of what seemed to be a large clay barrel, trying to light an oil lantern; he was surrounded by dogs. I immediately knew it was the great philosopher Diogenes! For some strange reason, my sense of smell was intensified and I also felt the need of scratching my left side, which I did. As I looked down, I noticed that I was inhabiting the body of a dog! As I raised my head to cry out, the dog beside me began to transform into a being which grew larger than life, I bowed my head in reverence, it was the great father, it was the mighty Zeus! He once again spoke to me:

"Φορέας του Φωτός, μην λάβετε υπόψη την προειδοποίηση των δύο γιων μου, Appolo και Hermes. Είστε υπό τη φροντίδα και την προστασία μου: Οι γιοι μου πρέπει να καταλάβουν ότι, η γλώσσα και η διάνοια, δεν είναι οι μεγαλύτερες αξίες που έχω δώσει στον άνθρωπο. Διδάξτε αυτή την αισθαντική μορφή που φέρει το όνομα εκείνου που κατοικεί σε αυτό το βαρέλι, αυτό που έχετε μάθει από μένα εδώ και καιρό για την ύπαρξη της ανθρώπινης ζωής."
(Carrier of the Light, do not heed the warning of my two sons,  Apollo and Hermes. You are under my care and protection: My sons need to understand that, language and intellect, are not the greatest values which I have bestowed upon mankind. Teach this sentient form which carries the name of he who dwells in this barrel, what you have learned from me long ago about the existence human life.)
When I came through, I knew what I was tasked to do:
The following afternoon, I was again sitting on the small bench in the back of the apartment building, with me I had brought a treat of some mortadella, which I had in the refrigerator. Sure enough, the dog approached me. "Hello, Diogenes or is it Plato", I asked? The dog responded that Plato had died in the clinic. "Alright then, I remarked, "Diogenes it is." "What was all that strangeness I felt yesterday", Diogenes, asked? I went on to explain to him that I had been gifted with a rare source, The Light within me and that I can enter the Elysium at will. This was all strange to Diogenes but he listened intently, after, insisting that he be given the mortadella, so as to quiet his sense of smell and hunger.
When I asked, Diogenes, the dog about, his master, Diogenes the human, who had been killed, he took a long time to respond, uttering the strange words, "Mam, kaka, nani". When I asked him what he meant by this statement, he responded that this was how Diogenes, the elder, would greet him: Each time he would come home tired from work, the elder would stroke, his pet's body and say, "You lucky dog, mam, kaka, nani".  I laughed because I had used this term myself many times to address my children when they were young: In other words, "Eat, defecate and sleep" and no worries, pretty much what young babies and toddlers do. Diogenes turned to me and asked why I was laughing, and what was amusing with this statement. I now began to make the connection, to the earlier image I had witnessed during my visit to the Elysian Fields, where God Zeus, spoke to me. I knew the way  forward:
I asked Diogenes if he knew where his name came from, he responded that this was the name of the elder, his dead master. I informed him that in fact, his name was from Diogenes the great Philosopher. The dog was more puzzled than ever. What is a philosopher he asked? I explained to him that Diogenes was one of the more famous thinkers of Hellenic times, a person whose ideas and work has survived over the centuries and which has shaped human thinking ever since. I immediately sourced my cell phone and searched out the Wikipedia of Diogenes and started to read to it about this great philosopher. Diogenes the dog, listened intently, his tail wagging, while from time to time, his head would shift from side to side, to denote curiosity.
Diogenes and I spent many afternoons in the backyard exploring the philosophy of philosopher Diogenes. He was puzzled why Diogenes the philosopher, would display "dog like" behavior when he was born into a human body. He found it very amusing when I told him about, his namesake, having challenged Plato about the definition of a man as "featherless bipeds" and Diogenes brought a plucked chicken and said, "Behold! I've brought you a man." aaa53b094b620b941577c9f3043b1a1d.jpgI introduced him to other philosophers like Socrates, Lao Tzu, the Chinese Taoist Philosopher, Christ, and others. The main theme which ran through all these great men was what was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, "gnothi seauton" (Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν, transliterated: gnōthi seauton or "know thyself". Diogenes was very puzzled by this phrase and repeatedly asked me to help him understand. The more I tried, the more frustrated he became. He personally struggled with this subject because having been born a dog, he now had to struggle with qualities of being a human.  He desired to learn as much about the human world, about obtaining such skills as being able to read, write and use such devices as my cell phone, to acquire further knowledge, but that did not lead to any revelation or guidance on “how to know, thyself”. After a period of time, however, I noticed considerable frustration with Diogenes: He now was exposed to so many human qualities and strangeness that it was affecting his sleep and ability,  to "enjoy a good bone" as he described to me. One day, Diogenes arrived at our meeting very excited, uttering the word "Eureka"! "What, have you heard about Archimedes", I asked with a smile?  "Do you remember the image we saw when we first met", asked Diogenes? "Vividly", I assured him. “Well, the Gods were not arguing as you thought. God Apollo was simply giving a message to God Hermes to deliver to me, I know it was,  "Know thyself!" “Ever since I received human qualities, I have been in agony and puzzlement. I have felt strange feelings and corrupted needs, which are not part of my nature. It is only through this experience that I have come to know myself, I am content to be and live the life of myself as a dog. That is why my namesake, Diogenes, the philosopher sought the life of a dog, thinking that it was superior to that of being his nature, of being a human. Human’s are given the gift of the Gods, to have imagination, to want, to be other than themselves and to experience other lives and realities, I am blessed with that of being simply a dog, that is why my master, Diogenes the elder, praised me each day, “Mam, kaka, nani”. Many humans seek, quiet, emptiness and meditation, the way of the dog, I am a dog, I am content, I have come to know myself! Thank you for serving as my mentor, bearer of the Light, and helping me on my path to the Elysium fields. Diogenes, after bowing his head turned and walked away. From then on, Diogenes, the dog, refused, nor acknowledged the human language. His way was the way of his nature, that of the dog.  Both God Apollo and Hermes with the intervention by their father Zeus had come to a draw, neither was in servitude to the other nor was mankind or dogs, for, in all this experience, imagination had enlightened them all. My mission was complete, I had now come closer to my destiny and my just reward toward, my rest in the Elysium Fields.

 Note: At this point, I encourage you to read the book, Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis, as well as my earlier story,  EPISODE XIII - ELYSIAN FIELDS, IMAGINATION IS THE PATH.
By Elias Leousis,

(Η αγάπη είναι το μελάνι, η σοφία είναι το μήνυμα.)
Love is the ink; wisdom is the message!





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