art prose & rhyme

Mushtaq Bhat

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Psyche, Venus & Cupid

Acrylic on Hard Board
100 x 80cm. 2008

Psyche, Venus & Cupid

What gods propose, the Fates dispose

Of  Beauty, Love and their constant companion the Jealousy.

Trust some materialistic oriented so-called Neo-Darwinist to come up with a to-certain-extent plausible explanations, when perceived within the universe of a reductionist' almost one-dimensional epistemological perspective, for the phenomenon of Beauty and its functions; and some equally vulgar materialistic biologists, psychologists and sociologists to come up with rather far fetched theories concerning jealousy, the all omnipotent and almost constant companion of Beauty. Psyche was beautiful. Bio-Symmetry you will say? Although the color of her eyes or the look therein have more to do with Physics and your brain and your upbringing! And every one was jealous. Not least her own sisters, who incidentally carried the same Genes, or maybe her mother secretly consorted with the gods, in which case the jealousy would only verify the selfish gene-pool theories concerning competition and altruism, but at the same time prove that gods exist! Anyway she was so beautiful, that even the super star of the Universe got jealous. Probably because of the scheming of Venus, Psyche remained unmarried till an advanced age. So her father was forced to consult the oracle as a last resort, and the Oracle (an institution equivalent to our governmental and corporate ventures with a staff of experts, who play around with statistics and Graphs in the modern world) prophesied, manipulated by Venus that she was destined not to have mortal for a husband but a horrible dragon and that she should therefore be exposed dressed as bride to this monster on a hilltop, where Venus planned to send her son, Cupid to throw his arrow at her heart and in a Pavlov-Konrad-Lorenz-Style stamp her soul with a love for a monster. So indeed did the goddess of beauty propose, but the Fates, or the Parcae or the Mandelbrot Karma or karmic Mandala decreed otherwise, fortunately in a much more benign way, than the goddess! As Cupid saw her, her mortal arrow pierced his own godly heart, long before he could get his arrow out of his now-quivering-with-sensations quiver.

Cupid's whole body was shaking in a libidinal-adrenalin ecstasy. He fell in love. And he ordained that Zephyrus, the god of the west wind should carry her off to a palace that he presented to her as a wedding gift, with which he offered her his hand in marriage but under one single condition, that she never ever request him to show her his face. She would have Zephyrus to fulfill any wish she had and the palace was hers. Psyche realized that she was not married to a monster but to some Lord with a palace, and so they lived happily for a while, without Psyche feeling any urge to see Cupid by the light. Now however she wanted her sisters to come and visit her. And you may guess why? She was a family girl to the core. All her woes of youth, the petty jealousies of her sisters, and the fact of her not finding an appropriate husband (she was probably a princess or a lady from birth) she bore without complaint. Also she obediently accepted her fate as her father offered her to a monster. This all she did out of love for one single person, she loved above all. Her daddy. And her misery was actually only the suffering that this state of affairs was imposing on her Dad! What would the people, the neighbors and the Kings and Lords all say? Her father seemed to suffer under the burden of the social consens extremely, although they were otherwise happy and the old man could consider it a great fortune to have had this lovely child with him longer, if she did not freely want to leave. Good Lord, a spinster at home! No! So instead of that they consented to give her rather to the dragon!!! Crazy rites. She however complied without protest, out of love for her dad. So one may rightly assume, it was her feelings for the family, the family instinct, that made her invite her sisters to her palace with a great desire to share her happiness with them. The father had probably died after having fulfilled his duty as a father, in having got his last daughter married and having left no spinsters at home, due lack of beauty or Dowry. So she invited the rest of the family brood to share her luck! But you never know? It may also have been in order to make them jealous, that she invited her siblings with the names Cidippe and Aglaure. They were apparently too willing to oblige in this respect and no sooner in palace, they seemed all of sudden to have lost their peace of mind. Restless and cursing, they devised soon a deceitful scheme, which they assumed would bring their sisters downfall from these Olympic heights. They told their rather trusting sister, that it was no prince or lord but a monster and a villain, whose victim she had become. He must be a very ugly creature or an impostor, for why would he otherwise hide his face from her? She should try to see him, when he falls asleep by the light of her lamp. And the sisters left her soon after. And thus with curiosity aroused, she did just that what her sisters told her. She turned on her lamp on the sleeping Cupid! The rest is legend. The fact that she did listen to the treacherous advice of her sisters, only proves that she was a homely gal and she certainly did not invite her sisters to make them jealous, for in that case she would have probably not followed so promptly their suggestions. Psyche was sure enough a heroine, like any one in literature or on Celluloid. And she had now in an naively innocent way eaten the fruits of the knowledge, banished darkness from her vicinity and broken the taboo and unlike some similar incidents in some holy books and other mythologies, she would however not be banned from the paradise for that. No in fact in contrast she would gain access to Olympia and become immortal and is now a friend of her mother-in-law Venus. This speaks tons about forgiveness, so normal in Greek civilization and although taboo breaking was associated with punishment, no gods really appeared unforgiving, in fact they were often changing their views, just like the humans.

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