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    If I were to choose only one story from all of Doctor Dahesh's stories that he wrote in his "Strange Tales and Marvelous Legends" (4 volumes, published in Arabic), "The Secrets of Life and Death" would be my pick. While no one story can fully represent the vast, complex, and yet subtle world of Daheshism, this particular one touches on a rather important subject (if not the most important one) : the meaning of death.

    We don't know who the translator is. This beautiful story was given to David and I (typewritten) sometime in January 1986, to include in our booklet which we then distributed during our first lecture on Daheshism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held on January 8, 1986, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1-190, as part of the M.I.T Independent Activities Period (I.A.P.) lecture series.

    Simply stated, at MIT, and for a period of one month, any student can submit a proposal for a course in just about any subject. Once approved, the course goes into to the official I.A.P. newspaper.

    I remember David coming to me and expressing his sadness at some comments that the person in charge of the architecture department expressed when David submitted the proposal on both our behalves. I remember being very distraught that a person who is supposed to exert a measure of objectivity, and who was in a position of power, would allow herself the right to judge our belief system.

    So I charged to confront her and give her a piece of my mind. I remember playing back all the things I felt like telling her, as I walked through the seemingly endless labyrinth of Higgins Hall. I finally got to the elevator and pushed, really hard, the button. The elevator came and the doors opened. Who do you think was in the elevator cab?

    She had tears in her eyes and she was holding her seemingly bruised forearm in her hand. She was shaking like a leaf.

    Suddenly, everything I wanted to say to her went out of the window... I asked her "What happened?" She explained that she suffered a nasty fall and that she was rushing to the emergency room...

    Oh the sad irony for some time prior to that event, I had run across a fellow student who had suffered a similar fate. He was riding his bike and suffered a nasty fall. I remember going to her and asking here to give me a cold pack for his bruise. She adamantly refused! I couldn't believe it!

    "Why? We just need to put some ice on his wrist before it really swells!"

    She said "I can't, I am sorry, if anything goes wrong, I could be sued! He must go to the infirmary!"

    So it was sad and ironic that she was now in dire need of a cold compress—or ice— and none was around to be found on that day. So I accompanied her to the infirmary and stayed with her... I didn't have the heart mention what she said to David...

    The lecture would go on as schedule, and many notable people from the Architecture and Planning department would attend.

    As to our "Antagonist," I must admit she and I eventually got along better and she even helped me immensely when it came to writing my thesis. I got to see that, in fact, her comments came from a good place. In her mind, she simply wanted to protect her students from (what she might have perceived) cults. But, since that time, I became convinced that the only way to dispel any fear about one's ideas is to have an open dialogue.

    Another irony was that one of the inheritors of the Dahesh estate would personally hand deliver the translations to several pieces that Doctor Dahesh wrote (among which was—to my delight—the piece I am about to share with you shortly). That person, herself, wrote a thesis in which she shed light on Daheshism.

    She, and her mother and brother, drove 4 hours to attend the lecture and gave us all the necessary support to complete our mission. Her mother even commented "now that you 2 young people did this lectures, perhaps all the older Daheshists who are sitting doing nothing would finally do something!" (After that, we heard that a Lecture in Belgium was to be given. However, no other Lecture—to the best of my knowledge—about Daheshism has ever been given in the USA since that IAP lecture.

    Why, did we then, in a six page article titled "The Riddle of Doctor Dahesh" published in the December 1996 issue of ArtNews magazine, find the following official statement on behalf of the Dahesh Museum board of directors:

    Kaplan goes even further. Speaking on behalf of the board, she denies that Dr. Dahesh founded the spiritual movement. "He didn't establish it," Kaplan says. "The fact is, these people (Daheshists), that's what they say. He never proclaimed himself anything, not a prophet, not a reincarnation. He never claimed anything that people are claiming for him. He was born a Christian, and he must have been very charismatic.".

    Until this mystery is solved, I present you with Doctor Dahesh's story.


    I was overcome by sleep so I went to bed. Soon I was lost in the bright world of slumber roaming its paradise. I wandered in a magic wood with strange flowers, clear waters and shady trees where colored birds sang to thrill the ear. I sat before a clear lake where butterflies flew round the flowers whose scent filled the air with magic.

    I was sitting in the shade of a tree with drooping branches, fascinated by the rich scene before me, when I heard a faint rustling. An enchanting fragrance filled the air which I avidly breathed in. Then I saw a wood-nymph come to me, smiling. Her beauty bewitched me. Tongue-tied I rose to greet her as though hypnotized, staring at her feminine charms and her supreme beauty.

    She spoke to me and her voice was like the enticing song of canary, and I knelt in front of her. She took my hand and made me stand up.
    "You kneel only to God, sweet love," she said.

    I stammered: "And who are you, incarnate divinity?" I asked in a feeble voice. "I am not a divinity," she replied. "I am only a girl who lives in paradise where I sent my fluid. And you are the elect of my soul. I have been ardently waiting for you, and how you have come to my world where I dwell."

    "Oh God, what to I hear. Are you the girl of my dreams? Are you the one I talked to before I knew you? Are you she who I knew I would meet one day? Are you the secret wish of my heart? Are you the one for whom my heart beats? Oh God I am so happy, I could die! All I have longed for has come true."

    He took her in his arms and kissed her passionately, and she returned his love. God the bestower of life, the sender of hidden love, only knows how long they remained in each other's arms.

    Days, weeks, and months passed, and the years followed fast upon one another, their love growing ever day.

    "Godamia, you, who I love best of all the women of paradise, your love flows in my veins. I wish I could give you the happiness you gave me. You are the lyre on which I play the tunes of my deep love. Your happiness is mine, and your misery is my death. Dream of my heart, I am you, and you are me, and you are the answer to my longing."

    The fruit of this legendary love affair was a fair made whose parents named Rahadia. She possessed all her mother's beauty, charm, and fascination.

    Their house was made of roses and bright flowers from paradise, for spring is eternal in that heavenly kingdom. Winter and old age do not know their way there, they cannot penetrate that impregnable world. All the inhabitants of that paradise live in perpetual happiness. Their food is the luscious fruits. There is a pair of every tree; no sooner are fruits picked that the branches get completely refilled. Vegetables and cereals grow in abundance, and the land is never dry.
    Everything that is picked grows back again immediately.

    People live in brotherhood like one family bound by everlasting ties of loyalty. They do not know envy, and jealousy does not exist in that happy world. The greed for money is unknown in that world, so far from the greeds of Earth. Happy is he whose spiritual fluids have made him reach that sphere, basking in everlasting joy.

    "Godamia, my love, our child Rahadia has grown into an attractive young woman, now. She cannot marry a boy from paradise for she must marry the man who was her lover in a previous existence. He is still on Earth. Until now he does not possess the spiritual fluid which would enable him to enter our world. What can we do to make her as happy as we have been?"

    "Oh Sodiam, my beloved, I do suffer for her. How I wish she could be as happy as I have been with you. But what's to be done? Her lover and husband failed to send any spiritual fluid up till now. Therefore he cannot reach our heavenly kingdom in his dreams at all, or he would have joined her whenever sleep carries him on his dark wings, and spend hours with her so long as he is asleep/ And then he would return to Earth forgetting that he had been with his beloved."

    Sodiam was leaning his head on Godamia's breast when suddenly he stopped talking. She guessed that he was about to wake up, and if he does he would find himself on Earth, in his bed and his fluid would return to his body immediately at light speed, that is at 300,000 kilometers per second, then he would wake up.

    She was horrified at the thought. "I cannot bear to live if he leaves me alone in paradise," she said to herself.

    (Continued in the Members Only section. See "Doctor Dahesh's Writings)
    "Fail, to succeed."