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Observations placeholder

Corbin, Henry - Na-koja-Abad: a place outside of place



Type of Spiritual Experience


How to attribute this?  This is Henry Corbin's wisdom interpreting Suhrawarhi's description of what it is like being out of time.  In the end I decided to attribute it to Corbin.


A description of the experience

Mundus Imaginalis, or the Imaginary and the Imaginal -  Henri Corbin

In the tale entitled "Vade Mecum of the Faithful in Love" (Mu'nis al-'oshshaq) which places on stage a cosmogonic triad whose dramatis personae are, respectively, Beauty, Love, and Sadness, Sadness appears to Ya'qab weeping for Joseph in the land of Canaan. To the question, "What horizon did you penetrate to come here?," the same reply is given: "I come from Na-koja-Abad".

Na-koja-Abad is a strange term. It does not occur in any Persian dictionary, and it was coined, as far as I know, by Sohravardi himself, from the resources of the purest Persian language. Literally, as I mentioned a moment ago, it signifies the city, the country or land (abad) of No-where (Na-koja) That is why we are here in the presence of a term that, at first sight, may appear to us as the exact equivalent of the term ou-topia, which, for its part, does not occur in the classical Greek dictionaries, and was coined by Thomas More as an abstract noun to designate the absence of any localization, of any given situs in a space that is discoverable and verifiable by the experience of our senses. …………..

The word Na-koja-Abad does not designate something like unextended being, in the dimensionless state. The Persian word abad certainly signifies a city, a cultivated and peopled land, thus something extended. ………. this region begins "on the convex surface" of the Ninth Sphere, the Sphere of Spheres, or the Sphere that includes the whole of the cosmos. This means that it begins at the exact moment when one leaves the supreme Sphere, which defines all possible orientation in our world (or on this side of the world), the "Sphere" to which the celestial cardinal points refer. It is evident that once this boundary is crossed, the question "where?" (ubi, koja) loses its meaning, at least the meaning in which it is asked in the space of our sensory experience. Thus the name Na-koja-Abad: a place outside of place, a "place" that is not contained in a place, in a topos, that permits a response, with a gesture of the hand, to the question "where?"

The source of the experience

Corbin, Henry

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Being left handed