Imam Khomeini was egoless and invincible

Imam Khomeini was egoless and invincible

Robin Woodsworth Carlsen met Imam Khomeini during his third visit to Iran since the Islamic Revolution. The following comes a brief account of his historic meeting.

The night of February 8 it was announced that those invited to the conference would be addressed by Imam Khomeini at his residence in North Tehran.

As soon as I heard the confirmation of what had been tentatively scheduled for any one day during the several weeks when the conference was in session, I immediately sensed the significance of this event for myself, for finally I would have the chance to measure the worth of this man directly; he would be held up to the scrutiny of my critical spiritual sensibilities, ... for although one cannot judge the inner state of consciousness of an individual, one can at least decide if there are some signs of a personal performance that would lend some credence to the nation of having achieved a state of 'liberation' from the narrow boundaries of the ego.

Now I had the opportunity to judge for myself.

Once on our way by bus to the Jamaran residence (the hall where Khomeini was to speak was connected to his house) there was the buzzing excitation that indicated something powerful was about to happen.

Since it was guaranteed that we would see the Imam, the bus ride contained the reality of that meeting, and therefore the potency of this reality flowed into the present experience of riding towards our destination. In a sense I felt that all of my speculations, hunches, concepts of the revolution would dissolve in the face-to face encounter with the leader of that revolution. I was not disappointed.

I secured a seat at the front of the hall; Khomeini's chair, draped with a white sheet, was situated on a stage above us at least fifteen feet from floor level.

There was no mystery about why he was so loved by millions of Iranians and Muslims throughout the world and he demonstrated, to this observer at least, the empirical foundation for the notion of higher states of consciousness. Yes, the severity, the humourlessness, the absolutist judgement was apparent; yet given the circumstances within which he was placed, there was the affirmation of appropriateness in his every gesture and aspect. This was the most extraordinary person I had seen.

At first he did not speak; another religious leader addressed the audience, Khomeini sitting in a kind of immaculate silence and perfect equilibrium. He was motionless; he was detached; he was in an ocean of peacefulness; and yet something was in pure motion; something was dynamically involved; something was ready to wage constant war. He dwarfed all those people whom I had met in Iran; he dominated the stage even while the other mullah spoke.

All eyes were on Khomeini, and there was not the slightest trace of egotism, of self-consciousness, even, if I can say it, of inner dialogue or random thinking. His whole being focused relentlessly yet spontaneously on the point of concentration that aesthetically and spiritually fitted into the dramatic scene we were witnessing. Despite the fierce intention, the absolute sense of uncompromising rectitude, there was yet the sense of something perfectly effortless and smooth that dictated the manifest movements of his hands, the sound of his throat clearing, the focus of his attention.

Here hundreds of patriots and Muslims had shouted his greatness, had sworn their love, their absolute adulation; yet while receiving all this he remained within himself, he remained unmoved; he remained in the dignity of some imperturbable inner state that was beyond the boundaries of a causation that I was familiar with.

The reader may wince at the extravagance of my description of this man; he must know, however, that despite everything that I had heard, despite the contradictory evidence I had received before (the seeming violence of the rhetoric, the lack of creative playfulness and so on), the actual and immediate impression of what Imam Khomeini was had nothing to do with some sort of idea or concept.

The experience was too overpowering for that. Imagine for a moment the pushing of the body of oneself out of one's mother's womb, or the moment when one might awaken to the fact that one was being created inside a foetal body, or the moment when one was conscious of dying, or the moment when one first discovered the power of egos: these experiences have as their basis a primary determinant outside of the frame of reference the individual; what is dominant is the intrinsic nature of the reality which is giving birth to the experience.

Such is what happened on the morning of Wednesday, February 9th, 1982 in North Tehran. The subjectivity of the experience seemed to be objectified by something that was at the very basis of my consciousness; I transcended the mode of experience that normally determined what sensations, thoughts, feelings constellated into my awareness of self. Khomeini was that powerful; Khomeini was that strong; Khomeini was that egoless and invincible

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