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Explanatory Note. The Generic "Man"

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Explanatory Note

 

The Generic "Man"

 

In previous publications the following sentence: "Man - a term used to denote an individual (male or female) of the human race" was included to explain the use of this word throughout. However, recent comments on the sexist language led to the decision to elaborate much more on the subject of the use of the generic "man," "he," and "his" in this book.

 

In the Bulgarian language, there are different words for human being (both female and male) - chovek on the one hand, for a male - muzh and for a female - zhena on the other. When Peter Deunov became the enlightened spiritual Teacher Beinsa Douno and spoke the words of Wisdom, he often used chovek to address any human being; and because this word is in the masculine form, it led to the use of toj (he) throughout his lectures in case of substitutions. However, in English the word "man" is used with both meanings: as generic term for Homo sapiens and as a term denoting an adult male person. This has led to many controversial discussions regarding how to avoid the use of a word which could be considered sexist by some readers. Our purpose is to keep the language as close as possible to the original, but at the same time to make clear the exact meaning in order to avoid confusion.

 

In Garner's Modern American Usage, University Press, Oxford, 2003, Bryan A. Garner writes on page 717, "But does avoiding sexism mean resorting to awkward devices such as he/she? Surely not, because that too would distract many readers. What you should strive for instead - if you want readers to focus on your ideas and not on the political subtext - is a style that doesn't even hint at the issue." And further on: "The traditional approach has been to use the masculine pronouns he and him to cover all people, male and female alike."

 

In a similar line of thinking, we decided to include this note as an explanation in the hope that the readers will focus on the meaning and depth of the words of the Master Beinsa Douno, rather than be distracted by the words. We replaced in many places, where appropriate, man with person, someone, individual, but this was not possible to do everywhere without changing the meaning of the words spoken by the Master. And so, except where we specifically describe a female person, the generic masculine pronoun is mainly used throughout the book to include both sexes. In a similar manner, "Brotherhood" refers to Fellowship of brothers and sisters of a spiritual community.

 

"Disciples should go through Purgatory while still on Earth in their physical bodies by working on the organization and purification of the layers that some call 'bodies.' This is achieved by applying the methods of the esoteric school for work on oneself."

 

"At first, having liberated itself from the physical body, the soul feels it is enormous and as vast as the Universe. And yet, the enemies of the soul begin immediately to chase it, it begins to run, getting so small that it becomes invisible, vanishing into space. The soul then tells its relatives on Earth that there is no life after death, that nothing exists. This is how souls feel like until they find their way in the World beyond. Such souls are referred to as being 'dark.' For a 'dark' soul to escape from such a situation, it needs to remember that it abides in God, that God is Love, and will restore the soul's original form when it comes to love God."

 

"After the soul leaves the body, the body disintegrates into thousands and millions of living particles, which do not die. The body consists of millions and billions of living cells. Each cell has a soul of itself, yet the soul of the primary cell - the primary 'monad' - is in the center. The primary monad is light by itself and has attracted all the other monads. One day, when this monad of light accomplishes its mission, it will tell the small monads, 'Now I am sending you off to be free.' Then all these cells will start dispersing in space. And when the soul returns in a new reincarnation, it will attract all of these cells to itself and will form its new body."

 

Beinsa Douno

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