Sejl mig ud der øst for Suez, der hvor sidste mand er først,hvor de ti bud ikke gælder, og hvor folk kan føle tørst.For nu kalder templets klokker, og jeg ønsker kun, jeg låved den grå Moulmein Pagode og betragted´ havets blå.Ak, den vej til Mandalay, hvor flotillen tog den vej,med de syge under solsejl, da vi gik til Mandalay!Oh, den vej til Mandalay, fuld af flyvefisk i leg,og hvor solen brød som torden frem bag Kinabugtens kaj!
"I love the Burman with the blind favouritism born of first impression. When I die I will be a Burman … and I will always walk about with a pretty almond-coloured girl who shall laugh and jest too, as a young maiden ought. She shall not pull a sari over her head when a man looks at her and glare suggestively from behind it, nor shall she tramp behind me when I walk: for these are the customs of India. She shall look all the world between the eyes, in honesty and good fellowship, and I will teach her not to defile her pretty mouth with chopped tobacco in a cabbage leaf, but to inhale good cigarettes of Egypt's best brand."Kipling claimed, in fact, that when in Moulmein, he had paid no attention to the pagoda his poem later made famous, because he was so struck by a Burmese beauty on the steps. The attraction seems to have been common among the English: Maung Htin Aung, in his essay on George Orwell's Burmese Days (those days that produced the novel Burmese Days) notes: "Even that proud conqueror of Ava, Lord Dufferin, although he was received with dark looks by the Burmese during his state visit to Mandalay early in 1886, wrote back to a friend in England, extolling the grace, charm and freedom of Burmese women.
Hvis man tænker på alle vores egne kristusfigurer der er sømmet op og hænger og lider rundt omkring i kirkerne, så er det dybt provokerende at se sådan en hellig mand i kæmpestørrelse - ligge ned og slappe af.
Og det er altså størrelsen der gør det. Effekten er lidt hen ad den fornemmelse man kan få ved mødet med skulpturen 'Boy' - kæmpdrengen i indgangen til Aros kunstmuseum i Århus:
Shwe Thar Khaung-Pagoden i Bago. Den er "kun" 55 meter lang, men til gengæld er den altså over 1000 år gammel.
Besøget var om aftenen, og oplevelsen var både overvældende og stærkt betagende - det var ren visualiseret eventyr og mystik:
Og noget er der om det. Over en periode på omkring 1000 år har stupaer, pagoder, templer stort set bevaret stilart, udsmykningsformer og visuelle skabeloner.
Gammel eller moderne, det er variationer over et mønster. Ligesom de danske landsbykirker - eller de europæiske gotiske domkirker.
Det der er det utrolige og fascinerende her, er at de har fastholdt kontinuiteten stort set siden vores vikingtid og op til idag.
Det perspektiv er lige til at blive lidt ydmyg og stille over.
Fundamentalt set består en stupa af følgende elementer:
- en kvadratisk base
- en hemisfærisk kuppel
- et kegleformet spir
- en halvmåneformet "bule"
- en rund skive
Og hvor er det nu jeg synes jeg har set den slags før - 'deja vue' - noget fra vores egen tid og nært på?
From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.From 1044 to 1287, Bagan was the capital as well as the political, economic and cultural nerve center of the Pagan Empire. Over the course of 250 years, Bagan's rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in an area of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in the Bagan plains.The prosperous city grew in size and grandeur, and became a cosmopolitan center for religious and secular studies, specializing in Pali scholarship in grammar and philosophical-psychological (abhidhamma) studies as well as works in a variety of languages on prosody, phonology, grammar, astrology, alchemy, medicine, and legal studies. The city attracted monks and students from as far as India, Ceylon as well as the Khmer Empire.The culture of Bagan was dominated by religion. The religion of Bagan was fluid, syncretic and by later standards, unorthodox. It was largely a continuation of religious trends in the Pyu era where Theravada Buddhism co-existed with Mahayana Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, various Hindu (Saivite, and Vaishana) schools as well as native animist (nat) traditions.
Den anden helligdom vi besøgte den dag, var Swe San Daw-pagoden fra hvis terrasser man havde smuk udsigt til solnedgangen - den første af en række tempel-solnedgange på turen:
The pagoda's bell rises from two octagonal bases which top the five square terraces. This was the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the pagoda itself. This pagoda supposedly enshrines a Buddha hair relic brought back from Thaton.
Dhammayangyi Temple is the most massive structure in Bagan which has a similar architectural plan to Ananda Temple. It was built by King Narathu (1167-70), who was also known as Kalagya Min, the 'king killed by Indians'. The temple is located about a kilometer to the southeast of the city walls directing Minnanthu.After murdering his own king father, Narathu ascended the throne of Bagan and due to that, he built this temple. It is said that Narathu oversaw the construction himself and that masons were excecuted if a needle could be pushed between bricks they had laid. But he never completed the construction because he was assassinated before the completion. It was said that he was displeased by the Hindu rituals and one of them who made those rituals was the Indian princess who was the daughter of Pateikkaya. So he executed her for such reasons. The princess's father wanted revenge for his innocent daughter and sent 8 officers in the disguise of Brahmans and assassinated Narathu in this very temple.
Jeg googler lidt på landskaber og bybilleder fra science fiction og fantasy.
Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be --
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
On the road to Mandalay, Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!