Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ajarn Wu Hsih writes

"Veiled Being"

Not a settler but a cosmic stream I am,

A process in progress of feeling the ideal love.
I come and I go from sight to site
In search of You, Maharliiná,
To taste the surge of honeyed passion
In the banks of temporal cyclic flow
And to sniff the flowers of life
That decorate Y....our Being
Veiled with beauteous adjectives.


  1. According to Ajarn Wu Hsih, citing Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti, "Maharliiná" is the same as "Maharliiká," Sanskrit for "she who is potentially great." (Others translate it as "great creation" or assert that it implies small yet great in potential.) In various Indo-Malayan languages (including the languages of the Muslim areas of the Philippines) the cognates mardika, merdeka, merdeheka, or maradika mean "freedom" (as opposed to servitude). Maharliiká has been proposed as a new name for the Philippines (derived from the name of Phillip II of Spain), disdained as a reminder of their colonial past. Ramon Devora, former President of Mahárliká Movement, wrote that the term is a compound of
    "mahar" (a variant of "mahal," great, beloved, noble, or high-born) and "lika" (a contracted form of "likha," creation, work). "Thus, to be called ‘Mahárliká’ Republic is to connect and identify the people and the country to a noble, great and precious origin, nature, condition, and state.... To empower ourselves, we can draw from our rich cultural wisdom and heritage which this particular word embodies and then retrieve its ancient meaning and re-claim it for our times. The word ‘Philippines’ could not be a rallying point for the nation’s harmony. It is, in fact, one reason why our Muslim and Lumad brothers and sisters resist being called ‘Filipinos’ and think of separating from the Philippines." In the 20th century Ferdinand Marcos, the country's dictator, falsely claimed that in World War II he was known as "maharlika," the most bemedalled anti-Japanese Filipino guerrilla, the commander of the Maharlika Unit. During the "New Society Movement" (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan) era he used the word to uphold Filipino nationalism, incorrectly claiming that it referred to the ancient royalty and advocated changing his country's name to Maharlika." As a result it became a trendy name for streets, edifices, banquet halls, villages, cultural organizations, a broadcasting corporation, and the reception area of the Malacañan Palace.

  2. Pre-colonial Filipino societies generally had a three-class social structure, consisting (in Tagalog) of the Alipin (commoners), the Maharliiká (warrior nobility), and the Maginoo. Only those who could claim royal descent were included in the Maginoo class. The datu were Maginoo who ruled over a single community (a dulohan ["corner"] or barangay ["boat"]) or were part of a larger settlement (a bayan, "town"); but they were subservient to a paramount chief, referred to as the Lakan or Rajah. Generally, the closer a member of a Maginoo lineage was to its royal founder, the higher the status, but prominence also depended on the fame of ancestors, wealth, or bravery in battle. The datu served as leaders and judges; they received tributes, taxes, and gifts from their subjects, and they controlled trade; they were often skilled craftsmen, hunters, blacksmiths, fishermen, and warriors in their own right. The title Panginoon was reserved for particularly powerful Maginoo who ruled over a large number of dependents and slaves, owned extensive property, and had an impeccable lineage. While they had limited power over other member datu of the chiefdom based on their renown, they had no direct control over the subjects or lands of the other datu. The Maharliiká were the warrior class whom the Spanish called "Hidalgos" (freemen) or "libres" (freedmen). Like the Timawa of the neigboring Visayan peoples, they were free vassals, members of the lower nobility related genetically to the datu, who were untainted by slavery, servitude, or witchcraft. (They were usually descendants of the children of a datu and a secondary wife.) They were exempt from taxes and tribute but were required to provide military service and weapons at their own expense, in exchange for a share in the spoils, which they subdivided to their own warriors. They were also occasionally obligated to work on the datu's lands and assist in projects and other community events. While they could change allegiances by marriage or by emigration, they were required to host a feast in honor of their former datu and pay a fee before they could be freed from their obligations. As the Spanish extended control over the Philippines they formally allowed the datu to retain nominal suzerainty but in reality employed them as mere encomenderos or tax collectors. The result was the failed Conspiracy of the Maharliiká of 1587–1588, led by Agustín de Legazpi, the grandson of Miguel López de Legazpi himself (the islands' conqueror). The leader was hanged, and beheaded, his properties were plowed and sown with salt so that they would remain barren; others involved were exiled, becoming the first Filipino settlers in Mexico.


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