Tay'ma [peace], friend, in Ralanon'Dara ["House of Name" or "Name House," arranged in standard grammatical order, with Ralanon for name and Dara for house or home].
I jai [pray] on your behalf, "Jia kasha tren tolaren lapur ila nekos ina," a Bajorai [Bajoran (language)] uranak [prayer] to the Bentel [the Prophets whom, as my fundamentalist friends believe, exist in the wormhole outside of linear time] to look after and protect a loved one or to grant favor. In Bajorai ideograms, it is rendered as:
When I, Vedek [head of a Bajoran religious order] Pagh [life-force, or soul, from which one gains strength and courage], was fourteen-years old, only a day after my itanu [confirmation ceremony], I became an acolyte [noviciate] and subsequently worked my way up to rongen [monk], prylar [head of a shrine or temple], and, most recently, vedek.
The first version of this epistle had confidently asserted, "... Following a pagh'tem'far [prophetic vision], ... I adopted a radical, mystical approach to Bajoran theology ...." Then, "Should, the Prophets willing, I some day become kai, I would globally reveal what I believe to be the archetypal, symbolic, and mystical existence of the Bentel [Prophets of the wormhole], and of the orbs [messengers] as forms of what, on earth, the Tantric Hindus and Vajrayana Buddhists call yantras [diagrams used for meditation, such as mandalas, that is, the macrocosm as microcosm]."
In the years gone by, I have abandoned an essentialist ontology and adopted one closer to what, on earth, has been referred to as nominalism, social constructionism, and poststructuralism. Moreover, while perusing through the words I had, in the past, penned to this essay, I was humbled upon realizing that I no longer acceded to most of it. Please take this revision purely as a characterization of my current thinking. Considerable time has elapsed since I abandoned notions of absolute knowledge or truth.
Following a second pagh'tem'far, through which I have assumed a deconstructive approach to Bajoran theology, my pedagogy has once again placed me into an intractable conflict with the kai [religious leader of all Bajorans and head of the Vedek Assembly].
I presently believe that the Bentel are orlinga [spiritual] entities of some sort, not corporeal beings or, as the earthers say, "wormhole aliens." The nomenclature for the Bentel and the orbs, their physical messengers, have been abused as devices, not to shakal [prophesy], but to centralize the construction of knowledge in a religious power elite and to advance a particular, as the humans say, governmentality [Michel Foucault's term for the social construction of knowledge through power, i.e., "power-knowledge"]. As a result, Bajor has remained in walnami [darkness].
While some experiences of the Bentel through the orbs are, undoubtedly, a result of spiritual inspiration, others are likely a consequence of being suggestibile to the dominant constructions, or naming conventions, of the Bajoran hierarchy. We should, in my view, mass produce these orbs, with our replicator technology, for any citizen who wishes one. Thus, I advocate a populist approach to meditation and mysticism.
Furthermore, I regard the Prophets' basic message, or keyalla [religion], as calling for, in shakalaka [prophecy], a unity, in ital [light], among all Bajorans and with the Fed'rayzun [Federation], and an understanding of the tul [five] conditions of shu'shay [power] within the pagh [soul]: inner pagh'tem'far [vision], the faculties of the inshena [mind], coordination of the body, the free but naz'gul [unknown will], chandali orlinga [spirit of faith or, literally, faith spirit].
Pagh'tem'far atamay [this is a holy time]. I have now, thankfully, obtained kejal [freedom] from all desire for apotheosis, to become kai, preferring the life of an itinerant teacher. My hope, however, is that matters of state be vested in a civilly elected elected legislature, from which the kai would be exempt, that all Bajorans will enjoy a freedom of religious conscience, and that the kai becomes occupied solely with religious concerns.
For these reasons, and more, I remain, regrettably, a threat to the established social order.
Peldar joi [Bajorai greeting].
Ralanon'Dara™ and Vedek Pagh™ are allegorizations of
Unities of All Things™ and Mark A. Foster.
© 1997- Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.