|Archetypal beings and separate space
||As we have mentioned in the previous essays, on nights when clouds drift across the half-moon, such as those depicted in Inclining Wind and Scenery and a Music Box, Kenji frequently experienced a singular state of consciousness unlike that in ordinary spacetime. He sought a key to an all-inclusive perspective for understanding in his sense of elemental time and of being able to perceive the root factor of the world in tiny particles of dust, that accompanied this state. For Kenji, these senses were pointers that would lead him to a perspective that could embrace all of the frameworks of understanding that are constantly shifting with each age.
In a similar vein is Kenji's approach to the visions he portrays in poems such as Koiwai Farm. The visions, or illusions (hallucinations), Kenji experiences in Koiwai Farm are one example of his singular state of consciousness; these visions alarm him, but at the same time he feels "uplifted" by his encounters with the "sacred beings" that appear to him.
In other words, encounters with archetypal beings that appear from the deep recesses of his mind in visions enable him to create an image of "separate space" unknowable through ordinary consciousness.
|Visions in Koiwai Farm||Koiwai Farm in Spring and Ashura Part I describes Kenji's mental state as he walked through the grounds of Koiwai Farm when he visited it on May 21, 1922. The version recorded in Spring and Ashura Part I is a long poem in nine parts, although parts five and six are blank; it begins as "I" get off the train at Koiwai station and traces what "I" feel on my walk through Koiwai Farm. The poem's arrangement typifies what Kenji describes as his "mental sketches."
Disquietude pervades spacetime as it is projected in this poem it seems queerly distorted so that Kenji feels constantly ill at ease. Another source of disquiet is the assortment of visions "I" see. While walking along the only road to Koiwai Farm, Kenji watches a carriage traveling in front of him on the road gradually growing smaller, then notes,
There's someone coming from behind me/He's wearing a long black overcoat even though it's May/And seems to be a doctor/He keeps looking my wayKenji says of this illusion, "That's an everyday occurrence/When you're walking along a straight road." This sort of vision (illusion) makes Kenji uneasy.
However, the visions (illusions) in Koiwai Farm bear a double interpretation; while some cause distress, others have a creative aspect. The latter are Kenji's visions of encounters with "sacred" beings that appear from the deep recesses of his mind. Yuria and Pempel, the beings with "giant pure-white bare feet," that appear in part nine, and the "transparent" row of "...children of Kimnara the drummer of the heavens" who follow after him, cause him to feel uplifted so that he starts whistling.
|Yuria and Pempel, children of heaven who appear in a vision||
The "...children of Kimnara..." who appear in one of Kenji's visions in Koiwai Farm overlap in his mind with the "children of heaven" "I" encounter in a "heavenly space" that "I" wander into while walking in the thin air of the Cera (Tibetan) plateau. The "children of heaven" in Indra's Net are "the three in the fresco I excavated at the ruins of the temple in Khotan" in the Taklamakan desert, wearing "gossamer robes" pleated "in the style of Gandhara." In early version A of Koiwai Farm Kenji addresses the children in his vision,
I see you are dressed in the style of Gandhara/In the Taklamakan desert/I saw an old fresco/Of ones who looked just like youSo we see that the children of heaven in Koiwai Farm and Indra's Net are virtually the same in Kenji's mind.
Yuria and Pempel appear to Kenji in one of his visions in part nine and he calls to them,
Yuria, Pempel, my far off friends/What a long time it has been/Since I last saw your giant, pure-white bare feet/How I have searched for your footprints of long ago/On ancient Cretaceous shale shoresKenji says he has searched "on ancient Cretaceous shale shores" for their "footprints of long ago," which suggests that Yuria and Pempel are creatures from the geological age. However, if we recall that the expression "giant, pure-white bare feet" in Kenji's poetry and stories is a feature of Buddha, then it seems he connected these "sacred" beings with Buddha.
"Beings with giant bare feet" also appear in Aomori Elegy. Kenji wrote the poem Aomori Elegy the year following his sister Toshiko's death; he sets down his state of mind while traveling on a train at night during a journey he took to the north that summer in pursuit, as it were, of her shadow. Kenji gives a detailed account in the poem of the paths he feels his sister has traveled and the place where she has gone. In one passage Kenji describes inhabitants of the heavenly realm where Toshiko has gone,
Creatures with giant bare feet/Wearing jeweled necklaces and enchanting gossamer raiment/Quietly come and go without changing placeWhile Kenji uses the term "creatures," these "Creatures with giant bare feet" are also "sacred" beings just like Yuria and Pempel.
In other words, we know that Kenji depicts heavenly realms and other (separate) spaces in his poems and stories based on images of his visions of archetypal "sacred" beings that appear from within the deep recesses of his mind, and these archetypal images guided his imaginings of beings in the heavenly realms.
|Kenji's conflict over his visions||Kenji has exhibited a dual approach to the "sacred beings" of his visions; we see this fluctuation between the concluding passage of Koiwai Farm in Spring and Ashura and its early version. In early version A, when Yuria and Pempel and Kimnara's children appear, Kenji thinks out loud and answers his own question, persuading himself of the "reality of his visions,"
Hey, don't let yourself be fooled by visions/Visions you say? If they're visions/Then the visions I'm experiencing are reality/What's wrong with that!However, in the final version of Koiwai Farm in Spring and Ashura, after describing his uplifted feeling on encountering "sacred beings" in a vision, he switches his orientation,
That's all settled...don't go there again/None of these are right/They emanate a sour stagnant light/Tiredness has changed the form of my belief in youA little further on, Kenji insists that anyone is able to see such visions,
Come on, open your eyes/Stand up straight again/Out of the reality of these phenomena/That can be seen by anyone/And precisely follow the laws of physicsThese lines seem to negate his idea of "reality" as it pertains to the "reality of visions" expressed in early version A.
Thus we see that Kenji experienced violent conflict about how he should regard the archetypes that arose from the chaotic state of his mind.
|Yuria, Pempel and the geological age||As we have seen in the essay Poetry Encounters Science (2), Kenji makes ingenious use of geological metaphors to describe the spacetime aspect of mind. One especially significant metaphor is the "excavation" of fossils and relics sleeping in ancient strata, which he places parallel to his visions of archetypal beings that appear from the deep recesses of his mind.
The vision of Yuria and Pempel, however, has a connection with excavation that is more substantial than metaphoric in Kenji's mind. When Kenji addresses them,
How I have searched for your footprints of long ago/On ancient Cretaceous shale shoreswe see that he senses Yuria and Pempel are at the same time creatures of the geological age and sacred beings with "giant pure-white bare feet." That is, he does not associate Yuria and Pempel with the geological age because they are archetypal images from the deep recesses of his mind; for Kenji, creatures from the geological age and sacred beings from a "separate space" are both attributes of the archetypal image itself. Creatures from the geological age are linked with sacred beings in Kenji's mind.
Thus Kenji's visions of archetypal images that appear from the deep recesses of his mind are a key to imagining an order of spacetime different from that we perceive in an ordinary state of consciousness.
|Excavation and a dramatic transformation in spacetime||In the story The Wild Goose Child, the relationship in a past life between the wild goose child and Suriya Kei is clearly revealed when a fresco of children of heaven is excavated; Kenji believes this event is the cause of a dramatic transformation in the sequence of karma that forms the order of spacetime. In the same way, when he addresses Yuria and Pempel, "How I have searched for your footprints of long ago/On ancient Cretaceous shale shores," he is expressing his belief that archetypal images from the deep recesses of his mind are keys enabling the transformation of the order of spacetime.
Introduction to Spring and Ashura also contains an image of "excavating" the present two-thousand years from now,
For all I know in two thousand years from now/A much different geology will be diverted/With fitting proofs revealed one after another from the past/And everyone will surmise that some two thousand years before/The blue sky was awash with colourless peacocks/And rising scholars will excavate superb fossils/From regions glittering of iced nitrogen/In the very upper reaches of the atmosphere/Or they might just stumble/Upon the giant footsteps of translucent man/In a stratification plane of Cretaceous sandstoneWe can interpret this as another example of Kenji's use of "excavation" as a metaphor for the dramatic transformation of the order of spacetime.
From Spring and Ashura in The Complete Works of Miyazawa Kenji Vol.1, Chikuma Bunko