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Monday, April 28, 2008

Character and sacrifice

Aboru aboye aboshishe.

I have seen the wicked go to Ifa, to make sacrifice so that they may succeed in their wicked ways.

I have seen the Ifa priest, accept that empty sacrifice duped by the veil money has laid upon their eyes.

I have seen the people of my faith expect their problems be solved by throwing sacrifices at them without for one moment thinking about the role they play.

I have seen person and priest alike sling mud so that their dirty clothes might seem brighter

What good is it all without character?

Ifa says in the Odu Irete Oyekun:

Orifusi, father of Elu, was searching for a way to avoid death
So that death would no kill him, his children and his wives
They said: If you want to avoid death
You must sacrifice and follow the teachings of Ifa
Ifa will teach you the conduct and character
Which will enable you to avoid death
They said when you sacrifice, you should begin doing good from this day on more then ever before
For your sacrifice is in vain, if your character is deficient
Therefore, you should take the sacrificial pigeons and chickens home
You should release them
You should not kill them
You should give them food if they come to eat at your house
And you must not kill anything whatsoever from this day on
For one who does not want death to kill him
Should not kill anything whatsoever

Orifusi baba Elu nwa ibi a ba ye iku
Si ki o ma le pa oun omo re ti aya re
A niki bi e ba wipe ki iku ma le pa eyin
Ki e rubo ki e si wa te Ifa
Ifa yoo ma ko eyin, ni ise ati iwa
Ti kii jeki a ku
Won ni bi e rubo
E beresi rere-ise lati oni lo ju ti atehin wa.
Lasan ni e rubo, bi e ba din iwarere
Ki e ko awon eyele ati adiye lo si ile eyin
Ki e ko won dasile
Ki e ma se pa won
Ki e maa fun won ni ounje bi won ba je wa ile
E ko gbodo pa ohunkohun lati oni lo
Nitori eniti ko fe ki iku pa oun
Ki o ma se iku pa ohunkohun si.

Clearly Ifa tells us that it is character that can trump any sacrifice made, and that no matter the amount of money, food or goods offered to the Orisa, if one does not have character, that sacrifice is made in vain. Characterless existence is the doom of those who’s tongues breed hate, who’s hearts breed distrust and whose hands work only for their own furtherance, and not that of the community. Without character, we will only be eaten by our own greed and avarice, and if we surround ourselves with these things, whether in our choice of friends, our choice of “clients” or our own actions, in the end, we will be outcast, with no remedy to make right that which is wrong.

Ifa says in Okanran Oworin

Letting people practice cruelty supports the cruel person
Allowing people to do evil sustains the evil person
The was the teaching of Ifa for those who would not listen
Who said that Orunmila was giving too many warnings about wrong doings
And that they would do what they wanted
They were doing evil
They were committing acts of cruelty
And things in life were going well for them
People went to report this to Orunmila
Orunmila said that regardless of how long it may be, the one who rewards and punishes will come around again and again
He will relieve people of their burdens in the end
He will go about his work quietly
And when he comes, all of them will run
They said we should sacrifice
So that permissiveness towards cruelty and allowance of evil
Might not get an opportunity to become a part of us
And so that our companions and peers might no deride and show contempt for us in the end

Jeko Seka ngbe osika
Jeko Seka ngbe asebi
A difa f’awon afoigbo
Ti wipe Orunmila nkilo oran ju,
Ti inu awon li awon maa se
Won nse ibi
Won nse ika
Ohun aye ndara fun won
A lo wi fun Orunmila
Orunmila ni: bobapetiti elesan nbowa ayika gbirigbiri
O tumo l’eru kale
A se jeje sise
Bi o ba de gbogbo won a sa
Won niki a sebo ki “Jeko Seka” ati “Jeko se bi”
Ma le raye bosi ikun eni
Ik awon egbe ati ogba ma ba fi wa rerin eleya ni igbehin

Ifa clearly warns us of the age-old adage Quien con perros se echa, con pulgas se levanta (sleep with the dogs, and you’re going to get fleas). Slowly and insidiously, if you surround yourself with evil and cruelty, it will inevitably affect your mind, your decisions and your life. Character is something to be thought about, contemplated and nurtured. Without this attention, it will slowly die, and in the end leave us without community, and without recourse, since without character, our sacrifices remain empty offerings.

So if character is our responsibility, and we know that if we surround ourselves with evil and corruption, we will eventually become corrupt, is it not important for us to understand who our true friends are, so that we may create a community around us that will support us equally in sunny or stormy weather? Certainly Ifa tells us in Ogbe Ate:

Let us close our eyes and pretend to be dead
So that we may know who will mourn for us
Let us walk unsteadily and pretend to stumble
So that we might see who will express concern
It would not be a bad thing, even if we could count on only one person
But who will remain is difficult to determine
This was the teaching of Ifa for Orunmila
When he was going to make people think that he was dead
So that he might know who were his true friends
He was advised to offer sacrifice
He heard and complied
Orunmila who was said to be dead, was not dead after all
He discovered that their mourning was a mourning for themselves
And their fasting in sorrow was a fasting for themselves
Only his true friends remained to mourn him and help his family

K’a diju, k’a pe a ku
K’a m’eniti yoo sunkun eni
K’a burin-burin k’a kose danwo
K’a mo eniti yoo seni pele
Ko ni buruburu bi ko ma kenikan pere mo ni
Sugbon eniti yoo ku l’a o mo
Difa fun orunmila
Nigbati o nfi iku tan won je
Ki o mo eniti nbe ore oloooto re
Won niki o rubo
O gbo; o rubo
Orunmila ni e pe a ku ko ku mo o
O wa rip e ekun ara won ni won nsun
Pe aruwe ara won ni won ngba
Awon ore oloooto re nikan ni nbe l’ehin ti nsunkun ati tin ran awon ara re lowo

Ifa tells us without good character, nothing is sustainable. Without good character, sacrifice is empty. Without good character, we are meaningless.

Aboru Aboye Aboshishe
Marcos Ifalola Sanchez


Ifatoyebi said...

aboru aboye abosise O

I definitely appreciated this one.

sweetness said...

aboru aboye

this reminds me of something one of the priests in my ile recently mentioned: the TRUE ebos are the things we do in trying or difficult situations...that anyone can kill a chicken or bring some cowries, but when we show that we're willing to sacrifice in life and do so with iwa pele, that's when the blessings truly flow.


Anonymous said...

Aboru Aboye Abosise O;
thank-you for this,I it so important to connect life w/life and to thank our ebos for their energy and Ase's for our life, place where Orisa wants it place.
true that. odabo Iya Esubi Olorisa