posted on May, 19 2009 @ 02:01 PM
i was reading something totally unconnected and came across of all things something with regards to bees which may or may not be of interest.
Not so long ago I found myself walking through a mulberry grove in what might have been an English garden — if one did not look upwards to the
frowning crags of the Hindu Kush, or at the robes of the monks of the Sarmoun community.
Established here in North Afghanistan for many centuries, the brotherhood (and the sisterhood with which it is affiliated) maintain this settlement as
a sort of country retreat, where aspirants are trained in the ancient arts of service and self-discipline characteristic of the cult. Elderly monks
and lay members, perhaps from as far afield as Tunisa or Armenia, make their last pilgrimage here, to the Shrine of Musa the Patient, the pilgrimage
The Sarmouni (the name means 'The Bees') have often been accused of being Christians in disguise, Buddhists, Moslem sectarians, or of harbouring
even more ancient beliefs, derived, some say, from Babylonia. Others claim that their teaching has survived the Flood; but which flood I cannot
Like their namesakes, however, members of the order are not argumentative, being concerned only in discharging the terms of their motto: 'Work
produces a Sweet Essence' (Amal misazad yak zaati shirin).
With only one break — at the time of Gengiz Khan's irruption across the Amu Daria to the north, when he destroyed Balkh, the 'Mother of Cities'
not far away — they seem to have lived here for so long that no records remain of their origins.
Theirs is a good life, as much of it as I was allowed to see. Many of the devotional exercises, such at the communal 'Zikr,' or Remembering, are
held in private. The Brethren, numbering no less than nine hundred, mainly lived in the hill-settlements called 'Tekkies,' artistically sited
oratories surrounded by vines and patches of herbs.
Each monk is specialist of some sort: in gardening, local medicine, herbs, mathematics as known to them, calligraphy or even falconry. One of the
planes they grew most carefully was Chungari (Herb of Enlightenment); this I was not able to see, nor could I obtain a sample of it. According to
Afghan folklore it has powers connected with mystical revelation.