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Zeynep Oral's Books:

                           MY FAR EAST

Chapter 1: They existed first

Chapter 2: Journey To Infinity

Chapter 3: A Chinese Fairy Tale

1. They existed first

They existed first.

They always existed in the most passionate loves and dreadful hates, in boundless freedom and helpless captivity, in shining bravery and miserable cowardice, in hope and helplessness, in acceptance of fate and challenge of fate, in wisdom and innocence, in intellect and emotions, in kindness and wickedness.

All the emotions of the earth could be phrased with their existence, their adventures.

They were countless. Their strength was infinite. I saw them first.

I saw most of them in Burma and Thailand. I saw many in Cambodia and Laos. I saw them in Vietnam, in Bali… I saw fewer in Indonesia and Malaysia. In China, Hong Kong and Singapore I saw more.

I saw their pictures: sculptures on stones and in the soil of steamy lowlands, lush hills, green mountains and dripping forests, decorating walls, hand-written manuscripts, colorful canvases, clothes, banana leaves, bamboo stalks, tree trunks, palm leaves, and the palms of hands.

They were in magnificent temples, in the poorest houses. They existed in the timid looks of little girls, the rebellious manners of young men, the nobility of the elderly.

They were in all things, in all forms. Not only in pictures, sculptures, stories, poems, tales, and epics that were passed from generation to generation, they existed in theatre, music and dance. They existed in every heart.

They were the Gods.

They had existed since the creation of the universe. They were the creators of the universe. They were strained through Hinduism and Indian Mythology, their characteristics brewed, their accumulations distilled, and they crossed to Buddhism.

They were too many. Their images crowded their world. Their strength was infinite but their enormous power was metamorphosis.

They changed each time they passed through circles of life, death rebirth and death again (they call this samsara). Their appearances changed, personalities changed, their eminence and powers changed, their places in the divine hierarchy changed, their adventures changed.

What did not change was the conflict of good and evil inside them.

Their efforts to reach perfection did not change.

Their striving to find answers to the universal questions by humankind did not change:

"What is the meaning of this chaos we call planet earth?"
" Who am I?"
"Where did we come from?"
"Where are we going?"
"Why are we helpless against death and pain?"
" Why are we living?"

They appeared suddenly before me everywhere I went in Far East. The more I was aware of them, the more I knew how little was my knowledge. The more I asked about them, the more their relations and adventures shot out obscure branches. The more I learned about them, the more I felt lost in labyrinths, bottomless wells, dead end corridors of different worlds. I embraced people so as not to get lost. And people never tired of explaining. With patience, tolerance, interest and love they taught me of their Gods. It was the people who did not let me get lost in the endless labyrinths, bottomless wells. I owe them endless gratitude.

The world of the gods was complex, chaotic. The complexities grew, I discovered in Indian Mythology, with its stories that are more fantastic than modern fantasy, surrealistic people beside whom today's surrealism pales, and kings and gods whose adventures force imagination.

What seemed like complexity to me was order for the Far Eastern people. It was harmony. It was the way of life…Finally, I started watching those god statues, reliefs, figures that appeared suddenly at my every step, as if they were pieces of art. That ended my confusion and I saw the harmonious.

I became friends with some of these gods, goddesses and holy creatures, which I met often in this order. I went on trips with some of them. And with some of them I had great chats. Did I say order! That is impossible, what kind of order! When I was watching the Moon God in Bali, I was thinking of a moonlight stroll on Heybeli Island . When I was examining the wall reliefs in Angkor Temples, I was reminded of the fights in the Turkish National Assembly in Ankara . Jumping from one country to another, the beds I slept in changed, but not my dreams and nightmares.


The first god I saw was Brahma (I do not know if it was a dream or it was real). He was created first and he created everything. He could be considered the guardian of the earth.

He had four hands, four heads. Four heads, looking in four directions. There was no escaping him. Anywhere I turned I felt his eyes upon me. I tried not to turn the wrong way. Rumor is that Shiva cut off his fifth head. To be frank, I was not missing his fifth head.

In some places the story was that he had been hatched from a cosmic egg; in others, he was born from a lotus flower that came out of the abdomen of the God, Vishnu. I prefer the latter. In my opinion the lotus flower is the prettiest flower on earth.

Brahma is the God of Intelligence. It was natural that I wanted him to be beautiful, but not practical. I do not know about the gods, but is it not intelligence that makes people beautiful! Either way, Brahma was linked to Vishnu and Shiva, together the three most important gods.

One day Brahma fell in love with the girl whom he created from his flesh, and he married her. This girl, known by the names Satarupa, Savitri, and Saravasti, was both his daughter and his wife. In time, she was accepted as a goddess. She is praised as the Goddess of Fine Arts, Poetry and Music.

The last time I saw Brahma, he was flying to the sky with his wife/daughter on a swan with magnificent wings.

I was on top of the Ta Phrom Temple in Cambodia.