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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vengance shall be mine . . . righteous living.

aboru aboye aboshishe,

One topic which is not often discussed is that of righteous living, specifically as it relates to the idea of ultimate payment for our actions here on Aiye (earth) or in the afterlife in Orun (heaven). While seeming a judeo-christian concept, these are in fact ideas which permeate many religions, including Ifa. For instance, Ifa says;

Ogunda bede (Ogunda Ogbe)

Eke a pa elekee
Odale a pa Odale
Oun ti a ba se nisale ile
Oju Olodumare nii too
Dia fun Amookun-se-ole
To ni oba aye ko ri oun
Bi oba aye ko ri o nko
Oju Olodumare nwo o

Lying (gossiping) will kill the liar
Betrayal will kill the betrayer
Whatever you do in a hidden place
Almighty Olodumare is aware of
These are the declarations of the oracle to
And he says nobody takes notice
If worldly kings did not see you
Almighty Olodumare is looking at you

Certainly, here we are left with the clear idea that although our transgression may not be viewed by the authorities, there is a divine authority, Olodumare, which will take notice and exercise justice in the end. Though I have not yet found Odu regarding the gate of heaven where we dig our "pit of sorrows" as noted by Chief Elebuibon in "The Healing Power of Sacrifice", I do believe that there is a link to between our earthly activities and our digging and subsequent filling of our pit of sorrows. I believe it's in the pit of sorrows that we dig for the transgression that we have committed in earlier incarnations, hoping to avoid those problems again. And finally after our digging and filling, we are allowed to incarnate on aiye once again. The idea of incarnation is clarified for us in the Odu Ika Ofun, which states:

Aje bori ogbon
Otosi so opo oro
A bu ni lole omo oun ti nse'ni
A kunle a yan eda
A dele aye tan
Oju n kan gbogbo wa
Eda ose pada loo yan omiran
Ayafi bi a taye wa

Wealth surpasses wisdom
A poor person utters ineffective words
Those who castigate us as being lazy do not understand our predicaments
We knelt down and chose our destiny (in heaven)
While on earth
We are all in a hurry
We cannot go and change our destiny
Unless we re-incarnate

And so Ifa clearly creates a link between our incarnations and those deeds which we make. But while our own Ori can only be blamed for our wrong doing, Ifa reminds us that Olodumare is watching our every move. Further in the Odu Ogbe Ate, Ifa states:

Bi iwaju ika ba dara
Eyin ika ko nii sunwon
A kii fi ika di eru ko gun gege
Dia fun otito-inu
Omo otite afitele tireletirele
Olodumare lo ni ile
Olodumare lo ni Idajo
Esan ni ti Olodumare
Oba mi yoo san-an-fun onikaluku
Gege bi ishe owo won

Even if the lifetime of wrong-doing is pleasant
the end of wickedness will not be good
we can not use evil to secure goods and expect them to be anchored firmly
These were the teachings of Ifa for the upright one
the offspring of the initiated one who treads the earth with humbleness
Olodumare is the lord of the land
Olodumare is the owner of judgement
Retributions belongs to Olodumare
The king of the world will reward everyone
precisely according to the work of their hands.

This last Odu is particularly interesting because it has a rather biblical tone to it. Some might say that perhaps this was a biblical influence on Ifa. However, others might say, perhaps Ifa had an influence on the Bible? Certainlly we know Ifa is old enough... And yet others might say it's mere coincidence, since these seem to be themes that are shared across many religions including those of non-judeo christian origin.

I certainly believe that the idea of a just God that is the eventual judge and jury can be the production of a logical mind. If we are the weak, it gives us hope that we might in the end receive justice. If we are the strong, it too has logic, in that it stops those that might be more powerful then us, that they give pause when trying to do wrong to us, as there is almost always someone who is more powerful ...

Ifa as a corpus, I think is meant to reflect all the possibility in people, and reflect those traits that can help people as a race survive. Ifa is, in essence a guide to self preservation, created by Olodumare for man . . . only the Yoruba called it, aligning yourself with your destiny. For if preservation of the race is not our destiny, we can only be destined to die. And that's no good.

Marcos Ifalola Sanchez

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