African Traditional Religion : Sacred Odu selected verses 1 – “Righteousness”

Discussion in 'African Traditional Religion Study Group' started by Shango Sage, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Shango Sage

    Shango Sage Member MEMBER

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    Below are selected verses from the Yoruba Sacred Odu. The Yoruba are one of our major blood line ancestral groups from West Africa located in Southwestern Nigeria and Benin. The Sacred Odu is the Yoruba holy text and its verses are written in a beautifully poetic and almost riddle like fashion. The Sacred Odu is used primarily for purposes of divination, but the Odu also provide proverbial wisdom on the Yoruba (West African) concept of righteousness, faith, courage, wisdom, character, wickedness, divinity, success, and any other kind of moral and ethical understanding according to the Yoruba spiritual practice commonly known as “Ifa.” To the children of Africa in the diaspora today, the verses of the Odu will not only provide us with incredible proverbial wisdom, but in its verses also depict the daily life of our ancestors by describing our ancestral African cities, houses, palaces, mansions, streets, roads, agriculture, craftsmanship, engineering, monetary system, business practices, clothing, jewelry, legendary ancestors, military practices, family values, and anything and everything else you can think of relating to our traditional African way of life. In other words, the Sacred Odu will not only provide you with great moral and ethical wisdom, but it will also provide you with an in depth look into the lifestyle and thought processes of our true African selves – the best kind of Black History lesson that we’ll ever receive. Ashe


    Ogbe Gunda 31:4
    The liar dies in a forest of fire.
    The wicked dies and dies on a sun-scorched savannah.
    But the righteous dies and dies peacefully,
    Leaning back against a water jar decorated with jewels.
    Orunmila, priest of the world, interpreted the teachings of Ifa for the people of the world,
    When they were creating a world,
    A world where there was no peace,
    A world where there was no harmony.
    They were advised to sacrifice.
    But only the righteous remained to practice sacrifice.

    MORAL/ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING:
    This verse from the Yoruba sacred Odu describes how the lives of the liars and the wicked often end tragically and even violently, while the righteous person will live and also die in a peaceful manner, as our ancestors say “leaning back against a water jar decorated with jewels.” The word “sacrifice” as mentioned in this verse is not referring to “ritual sacrifice” where some sort of material object (water, money, honey, etc.) or animal (sheep, ram, pigeon, etc.) is placed on an altar. The word “sacrifice” in the Sacred Odu most often refers to some kind of “work” that must be done in order to achieve success. As the Odu says, “Only work can alleviate suffering.” Ashe

    BLACK HISTORY LESSON:
    Along with this lesson about righteousness, we can also enjoy the visual images of the kind of wealth and splendor that our ancestors enjoyed. See this verse in your mind. See our beautiful, elderly, and righteous ancestor in her/his house leaning against one of her/his household possessions, a large water jar elegantly decorated with precious jewels. What kind of people are wealthy, elegant, and sophisticated enough to decorate something as simple as a water jar with precious jewels? Imagine rubies, sapphire, topaz, and onyx being used as decoration for furniture in a house. The Sacred Odu lets us understand that this is what our African life was like. This is how we lived. This is the kind of wealth and elegance that we enjoyed. And this verse in the Odu does not describe this African person as a particularly wealthy person, but simply describes her/him as a righteous person. The Odu describes people in ancestral Africa from all walks of traditional African life from the poor and wretched, to the common man/woman, to the fabulously wealthy, to persons of royalty – a real Black History lesson. Ashe


    Ogbe Ka 35:1
    I stood for a long time,
    But I was unable to reach the ishin fruit.
    I bent down for a long time,
    And I still could not reach the ishin fruit.
    But thanks to some special elders
    Who advised me to prostrate myself in respect
    And without reservation,
    I prostrate myself in respect and without reservation.
    Then, the ishin fruit dropped into my hands.
    And the ishin fruit dropped into my mouth.
    This was the teaching of Ifa for Ejika-gogoogo
    Who was going to carry Osu to the sacred grove of Ifa.
    They were advised to sacrifice.
    They heard and complied.
    May Osu stand up straight.
    May he not lie down.
    Standing firm and upright is how we must
    Always find Osu.

    MORAL/ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING:
    This is a teaching on self-surrender and mastery of the teachings of Ifa as a foundation for success and achievement. Here the contrast of standing and stooping to achieve is contrasted with an effortless prostration in respect. The teaching is that sometimes outward self-assertion regardless of what level – high (standing) or low (stooping) – does not yield desired results. Once, then, must turn inward and in profound respect for the wisdom of the ancestors as expressed in Ifa, surrender oneself to study and reflection. Having done this, one is then prepared to stand upright and step forward with a fresh energy and profound insight.

    The metaphor of prostration in respect is an important one. It is at once a call for self-discipline and self-surrender. It is rooted in the Yoruba custom of bowing to the great, those great in age, great in wisdom, or great in status. And thus, carries with it a need to recognize those who have achieved these positions of greatness. But in a deeper sense, it teaches us to be humble, to be willing to make oneself low in order to attain heights, to submit to instruction in order to learn and then be able to teach, and to open oneself in order to be filled. Ashe

    BLACK HISTORY LESSON:
    When I visited Africa in 1998 I discovered that there are a great many fruits, vegetables, herbs, trees, and plants that are unique to Africa and exist nowhere else in the world. Many of them don’t even have an English name, and are only known by the names in our ancestral tongues. I remember a particular kind of fruit that grew naturally in the forests of Ghana (not far from the Yoruba in Nigeria.) This fruit looked a lot like an apricot, but was larger and shaped differently, and because it was very sweet the local people liked to make juices out of it. This fruit grew in very tall trees, making the fruit unable to be picked by hand, and because the seed of the fruit was very large and heavy, the people would simply wait for the fruit to ripen and fall to the ground instead of braving a very difficult climb up a very tall tree. I do not remember what the local Ghanaian people called this fruit, but I sometimes wonder if it’s the same fruit that the Sacred Odu calls “ishin fuit” that the Odu speaks of is the same as the fruit of the tall tree that I saw in Ghana. Aside from the stories of kings, queens, palaces, mansions, grand cities, and markets in ancestral Africa, it is our little personal experiences with things like “ishin fruit” that help to truly bring us home to our ancestral mother land of Africa. Ashe


    Ogbeate 41:1
    Even if the beginning of wrong-doing is pleasant,
    The end of wickedness will not be good.
    We cannot use evil to secure goods and expect
    Them to be anchored firmly.
    These were the teachings of Ifa for the
    Upright one.
    The offspring of the initiated one who treads the
    earth in humbleness.
    Olodumare is the lord of the land.
    Olodumare is the owner of judgment.
    Retribution belongs to Olodumare.
    The king of the world will reward everyone
    Precisely according to the work of their hands.

    Oludumare is the name of the Almighty God in Yoruba, otherwise this Odu verse speaks for itself.




    Okanran Rosu 130:1
    Knowingly doing evil is not good.
    If a person who does evil apologizes,
    The matter will be resolved.
    Everyone forgives those who do wrong unknowingly.
    This was the teaching of Ifa for the one who confronts matters,
    The courageous one, Mebelufe.
    Whose name means “I will not beg
    Even the king.”
    Everyone was continually complaining about him.
    If he would just apologize, people would
    Say the matter is finished.
    Then, one day it happened.

    MORAL/ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING
    This is another Odu verse about being overly proud. In this verse a good man did wrong unknowingly. His pride however prevented him from admitting his mistake and apologizing. His actions caused the people stress until he finally humbled himself and apologized. There are many verses in the Odu about the dangers of pride and the necessity of prostrating oneself to wisdom. Our ancestors were exceptionally righteous people, but pride is the customary vice among good people. It was a common vice among our ancestors, and still today it is largely the result of our pride that prevents us from attaining the wisdom, power, and strength of our traditional African selves. This verse of the Sacred Odu is as true now as it was when it was written. We must prostrate ourselves to the wisdom of our ancestors and the ones that carry the torch of this wisdom today. Ashe

    Ika Wonrin 156:1
    The wicked do not weigh their conduct
    Before they act.
    This was the teaching of Ifa given to Alabamo,
    The one who regrets afterwards.
    They said he should practice sacrifice,
    So that he might do good things continuously.
    He heard but he did not sacrifice.

    MORAL/ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING:
    One of the main ideas of the Sacred Odu is the concept of “weighing and measuring.” This phrase is used to describe the process that one should take to examine one’s character and action. The Odu explains how we should constantly “measure the length and breadth of things,” meaning that we should carefully analyze the possible consequences of our actions before we decide to act. It is a common saying among our Yoruba ancestors that “the head is always first,” meaning that we should never follow or desires, passions, feelings, instincts, impulses first. We should always use our mind to “measure the length and breadth of things” and ascertain the likely consequences of our actions. It is only then that we will begin to understand the wisdom or foolishness of our actions based on this mental assessment.

    It is the human body (subconscious brain) that produces emotions, feelings, instincts, impulses, and desires, and it is the mind (metaphysical/spiritual consciousness) that allows us to decide wisely on the best course of action to take. Following our emotions (feelings) is how we make foolish mistakes. Sometimes it’s ok to follow our feelings, but we must use our mind to decide exactly when those times are. For example, as our beloved ancestor we call MJ, the King of Pop, once stated, the art of dancing requires once to empty their heads and let our bodies interpret the music (or something to that effect.) In other words, although most activities in life require the use of our logical/conscious minds, dancing is one of the activities in life where it is best to shut down our conscious/logical minds and let our subconscious brains (emotions, feelings, instincts, etc.) take over. But before we engage in such emotionally driven activities however we must first use or conscious minds (metaphysical/spiritual self) to ascertain if it is wise and appropriate to do so. Despite what popular media tells us, we should never simply “follow our feelings” and let our emotions dictate our actions. Our ancestors tell us that we must always “weigh our conduct” and “measure the length and breadth of things” using our conscious/metaphysical minds before we decide to act if we are expected to live a pleasant and successful life. Ashe
     
  2. Shango Sage

    Shango Sage Member MEMBER

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    Hello everyone.
    I have been following the threads on the Sacred Odu by Awo Dino and others and I am immensely impressed. Awo Dino in particular has brought an incredible esoteric understanding of this beautiful work and I am glad to be able to learn and benefit from such posts. I have personally been reading the Sacred Odu for many years and have developed a moral/ethical/proverbial understanding of the Odu as well as a historical one. I was initially going to post in Awo Dino's thread but decided to start this thread on the Odu verses with a moral/ethical and historical understanding of the Odu to go along with the brilliant esoteric understanding being provided by Awo Dino. Everyone is welcome and invited to add their own proverbial and historical understanding of the Odu verses, and if any Awo would like to add an esoteric understanding to these verse that would be most welcome also. We are all hear to learn, grow, and share. Ashe
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    :hello: Shango Sage ... Welcome Welcome Welcome ... :wave:

    Thank you for joining and sharing with us!

    Please make yourself right at home, because you are!

    Much Love and Peace.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. KingSango

    KingSango Banned MEMBER

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    I love the Odu sent down by the Ori as a guide for how we can live on Earth, fulfill our destinies and seek universal perfection as the Supreme God's creatures. Respect to Elegba.
     
  5. azagidi

    azagidi New Member MEMBER

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    Can someone please tell me the meaning of ifa odu osa owonrin please.
     
  6. azagidi

    azagidi New Member MEMBER

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    Can someone be so kind to tell me a few verses of ifa odu irete osa. Thank you have a bless day.
     
  7. Babasola

    Babasola Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    specifically which ese?
     
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