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From Brasov to Shamballa with Johann Martin Honigberger Thirty-five years in the East an allotropy of the exotic journey Lector univ. dr. STEFANIA CUSTURA.

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Presentation on theme: "From Brasov to Shamballa with Johann Martin Honigberger Thirty-five years in the East an allotropy of the exotic journey Lector univ. dr. STEFANIA CUSTURA."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Brasov to Shamballa with Johann Martin Honigberger Thirty-five years in the East an allotropy of the exotic journey Lector univ. dr. STEFANIA CUSTURA Universitatea Sapientia Miercurea-Ciuc, Romania 1

2 Johann Martin Honigberger linked his name to homeopath science, being known as the European who introduced this therapeutic science in Asia. Famous botanist, pharmacist, archeologist, military expert, numismatist, Martin Honigberger illustrates the paradigm of the European traveller, avid to discover, in the nineteenth century, a story of evasion, that strenghtens the belief in the world of beyond. Honigberger was born in Brasov, on the 10 th of March1795, became a pharmacist and started early in exploring the East, being convinced that here all the arts and sciences have their origin, his adventurous spirit being supported by the knowledge of nine foreign languages. He lived a large part of his life away from his country (he made five trips into the East), being an explorer indeed. In 1816 he reaches Constantinople, then Anatolia, Syria, Liban, Egyt, Afghanistan and India..

3 His archeological discoveries are written down in 1837 by The Asian Society of Archeology from Paris, but he becomes famous not as an explorer and traveller, but as the healer of the plague (the Nile Delta) or of the cholera (in Calcutta, India). He becomes the physician of some personalities of the Indian society, of the governor of Tokat or of the maharajah Ransitit-Singh, from Lahore. During the second trip in the Casmir region he laid the foundations for the first three hospitals in the region, a hospital for the poor, one for mental problems and one for inmates. The curiosity that brought him to India incites him to numerous trips to Libya or the Himalayas, where Honigberger will carry out a series of botanical research. At the same time he writes a medical-botanical dictionary in 9 languages. The overwhelming diversity of the environments he researched triggers the instinct of writing down impressions that are born out of contemplating places, of the contact with mentalities, people, habits, of contouring a horizon of change. Honigbergers fundamental work appears in 1851 and in 1853 in Vienna, with the name Früchte aus dem Morgenlande, made up of two segments: the first one contains travel impressions, after his first two trips in the East. The second segment, Materia Medica, is the basis of Honigbergers theory, according to which medicines must be a meeting between the allopath and homeopath science. Publishing Martin Honigbergers traveler's diary by Polirom Publishing House in 2004, by the name Thirty-five years in the east constitutes the premises of rediscovering Honigberger-the historian, of the travelling persona, of the explorer and his inner motivations, (un) fortunately shadowed by the famous short story by Eliade, The Secret of Doctor Honigberger

4 After Honigberger-the fictional travelled round the world, fueling the belief into a sacred land, to which only the initiated had access, time has come for Honigberger the historical being to come to light. Martin Honigbergers travellers diary is an eclectic writing about exotic wonders, journeys, healings, recipes, the confessed purpose of the writer being that of surprising the oriental character, the text contributing to shaping the image of the East in the European collective consciousness. The reading from the perspective of change fixates the superior look of the European in the face of a modus vivendi considered to be primitive-oriental, the pharmacists ironic attitude with doctors talents, who calls the local doctors barbers and unskilled. (Honigberger, 2004). The natives are uncivilized dwellers of Asia(Honigberger, 2004),the Europeans interest being excited by happenings such as burying alive Haridas or venom tolerance of a fakir.

5 Martin Honigbergers diary is related to the species considered minor, for the time being, of diary, the text being attractive to debate the ratio between identity and ipseity, taking into consideration that the identity built inside is forever different from that built outwards and is the sum of all identities generated by the exotic vital spaces.. The kaleidoscopic vision, mosaic like, the fragmentary, the eclectic, the literary/ non-literary mixture are arguments of a modern vision avant la lettre. Also, the memoir writing allows the definition of Change, of the meeting with the Other, a protean one, that triggers into the consciousness of the diary writer a true Erlebnisstrom. The experience of the journey is a limit- experience, comparable to the erotic or to that of death.

6 The research from the point of view of Oriental studies does not have to be absolute or mythical about Martin Honigbergers Indian experience. From the point of view of reaching the depths of the Oriental spirit, we would find more appealing an analyses of the relationship of the Saxon pharmacist with another traveller of the time, the szekler Csoma Sandor of Körös, an enthusiast explorer of Tibet, author of the first Tibetan dictionary and the first Tibetan grammar for the use of British settlers. Declared boddhisattva, meaning a person who reached spiritual completion, he was worshipped as one who could get beyond. Csoma Sandor, and not Martin Honigberger, left behind some writings about the magical land of Shamballa, opening to the curious European the gates of the supernatural Orient. The manuscript of Honigberger does not deal with the interest shown by the author for the yoga practices or for supernatural personal experiences

7 The meeting of homo viator with the East has a shaping effect on his spirit, and triggers the process of renunciation of the previous determinations, it exhausts the traveller, it reduces his being to minimum, generating irreversible transformations. Martin Honigbergers experience is related to the experience of many Romanian, Hungarian or Saxon explorers of the Romanian environment, for which the journey and meeting with the Other had acquired therapeutic- shaping virtues. Bibliography: Honigberger, Martin, Thirty-five years in the East, Polirom Publishing House, Iaşi, 2004

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