An Interview With Brian Taraz – Part I

brian taraz bahai.pngI’m very happy to bring to you the first interview on Baha’i Rants and it is with none other than Brian Taraz.

Brian is an actor, musician, singer, father, husband, Baha’i and much more (though not necessarily in that order everyday). You can listen to some of his music at purevolume. My favourite is ‘the prayer for the dead’. Brian has also launched an impressive personal initiative project online which he calls Kitab-i-Kuchik. For those who don’t know Persian, it means The Little Book.

So without further ado, let’s get to part I of the interview:

Hi Brian, how are you? Ready for the interview?

Hi Baquia, Thanks for the questions. Kind of weird for me to think about ?myself? so to speak.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you learn of the Baha’i Faith? when did you declare and why?

Born in NYC, 1962. Parents were both Baha’is. In fact they were both on the LSA up until my 15th birthday. That’s when I declared. The why is because I believed in Baha’u’llah and the Faith and declaring at 15 was just the thing to do.

Had the blessings of seeing and meeting folks like Mr. Furutan and Mr. Khadem, Rhuyiyiih Khanum, members of the House of Justice, Seals and Crofts, etc.

I don’t remember how old I was when we bought the current Baha’i Center, but I was part of the first crew to clean it out. It had been a porn movie theatre. I remember we found a 35 mm copy of ?The Devil in Miss Jones?.

Not to be confused with the 1941 classic: “The Devil and Miss Jones” (laugh)

Right. Went to Green Acre all the time and a Baha’i school up in Poughkeepsie, New York. Had the blessing of visiting Iran as a kid and going to the house of the Bab. Went with my parents to Haifa when I was 9 on their pilgrimage.

So – Baha’i, Baha’i, Baha’i.

Wow, that is such a blessing.

Luckily though, I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and went to A YMHA camp. I went to two different Catholic High Schools (one Jesuit and one Franciscan). Before I was ?old enough to know better?, because New York is what New York is, I experienced ?sex? stuff and drugs and – on account of being a kid and not knowing that I should have felt differently – I really, really liked that stuff.

Simultaneously, and probably the thing which provoked the ?worm? within my being, was the traditional Baha’i divorce thing. That cognitive dissonance that many people born ?into? the Faith have to deal with. I’m also half-Iranian and half-Argentinian. So New York was the perfect place for me to grow up.

Went to many conferences. Saw the shiny happy people during the plenary sessions, like in St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana, but I was restless and prone to trouble making and enjoying seeing the Baha’i ne’er do wells who were hanging out at the pinball machines in the bottom of the conference hall.

I’m just throwing out a pastiche because I think each of us as individuals is such a universe unto ourselves which, if we meditate on it, could never be exhausted if we tried to understand ourselves in that way.

After the parents split up I moved to Southern California and went to UCSD and that’s when my brain ?exploded? so to speak. Also my libido and my social desires. It was a blast and I was on the verge of being kicked out but they gave me a second chance at the school. (I had discovered radio and acting and decided that Physics and Chemistry wasn’t for me).

I attribute most of my explosion to Fredriech Nietzsche which was mandatory reading in the Humanities section of things. He was, on the surface, the complete antithesis of all things Baha’i. But everything I read was as if it was a divinely ordained mirror image dealing with the philosophical development of Western Man.

Thing is, I’m kind of smart, but not overly. I’m lazy I think. But I like reading and I love thinking and I’m addicted to pursuing the mystical experience through prayer, and by the same token I’m very much a captive of my ID (though with age and abuse it seems to be tempering itself – kind of – I guess). But no matter what wrong paths I walked, etc. I could never let go of Baha’u’llah.

But don’t get me wrong. I did much much mucking around in all kinds of wrong places. And, as I began to understand that even all the ?bad crap? was part of me, and that God is actually the ?Ever-Forgiving?, I began to frame my life of sin and reckless abandon more as a form of amusement for the ?inmates of the all highest paradise? and company.

Anyway. Dad died about 10 years ago. Mom’s still alive. I feel very blessed to have the parents I have. Even their own relationship dysfunction was a gift that allowed me, like a decadent Buddha, to visit all the worlds of God – even the so-called yucky ones.

I’m currently married. My wife is Baha’i. I’ve got two beautiful kids . . . and this brings me to ?The Little Book?.

Yes, let’s talk about your individual initiative project Kitab-i-Kuchik. What motivated you to write it and share it with the world on the web? what is your number one goal or intention?

To be continued in part II of the Interview With Brian Taraz

(don’t worry, it is coming very soon)

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    So far, I’m reminded of a line from Mike Baldwin of Coronation Street,

    “There were girls, lots of girls. That’s what I spent me money on. That and the drink. The rest I squandered.” Listener, Death of a Salesman – Diana Wichtel.

    I’m looking forward to part two, Baquia. The music is brilliant. Gleanings CLIII is my current favourite.

    Brian, I hope you checked first with Baha’i World News Service, to see whether it wanted to interview you, before offering Baquia a scoop.

    Oh, and look, BWNS has finally broken the Vietnam story.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    So far, I’m reminded of a line from Mike Baldwin of Coronation Street,

    “There were girls, lots of girls. That’s what I spent me money on. That and the drink. The rest I squandered.” Listener, Death of a Salesman – Diana Wichtel.

    I’m looking forward to part two, Baquia. The music is brilliant. Gleanings CLIII is my current favourite.

    Brian, I hope you checked first with Baha’i World News Service, to see whether it wanted to interview you, before offering Baquia a scoop.

    Oh, and look, BWNS has finally broken the Vietnam story.

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia: I went onto Brian’s site – Purevolume.com and fell in love with the ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’
    To hear that language which was Christ’s mother tongue is not your every day experience! I will be sharing this with my devout Christian cousins.
    Thank you for bringing Brian Taraz to our attention. WH

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia: I went onto Brian’s site – Purevolume.com and fell in love with the ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’
    To hear that language which was Christ’s mother tongue is not your every day experience! I will be sharing this with my devout Christian cousins.
    Thank you for bringing Brian Taraz to our attention. WH

  • Colin Glencannon

    Yeah, I knew Brian back when he was in college. He was a lot more fun then. I mean, there was a time when he – uh, yeah, better to let those things lay. He’s pretty cool now, I guess, but he was cool then, too, and if I had to back myself into a corner, I’d say cooler. That radio thing – I think I heard that Stern copped a lot of material from him, but that may be myth. Did you know that Brian painted the Sun God statue at UCSD purple and they had to paint it back, and the artist charged them like $75,000 to do it? Yeah, he was a different guy back then. That could be myth, too, but look at the amount of myth this one man generated!

    Later. Looking forward to parts two and three of the interview.

  • Colin Glencannon

    Yeah, I knew Brian back when he was in college. He was a lot more fun then. I mean, there was a time when he – uh, yeah, better to let those things lay. He’s pretty cool now, I guess, but he was cool then, too, and if I had to back myself into a corner, I’d say cooler. That radio thing – I think I heard that Stern copped a lot of material from him, but that may be myth. Did you know that Brian painted the Sun God statue at UCSD purple and they had to paint it back, and the artist charged them like $75,000 to do it? Yeah, he was a different guy back then. That could be myth, too, but look at the amount of myth this one man generated!

    Later. Looking forward to parts two and three of the interview.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Steve,
    thanks, I had total confidence that those who are paid to write about this stuff would catch up to us amateurs, eventually. I never doubted them for a minute!

    ps because of the many links in your comment the spam filter went berserk so I had to slowly tell it that you’re ok and rescued your comment from its clutches. Next time I may not be so lucky!

    WH,
    I know! I love that one too. Brian’s talent and personality are enchanting.

    Colin,
    wow, so you’re an old friend? interesting how small the internet can be at times. Hope you can tell us some more stories.

    Part II coming very soon!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Steve,
    thanks, I had total confidence that those who are paid to write about this stuff would catch up to us amateurs, eventually. I never doubted them for a minute!

    ps because of the many links in your comment the spam filter went berserk so I had to slowly tell it that you’re ok and rescued your comment from its clutches. Next time I may not be so lucky!

    WH,
    I know! I love that one too. Brian’s talent and personality are enchanting.

    Colin,
    wow, so you’re an old friend? interesting how small the internet can be at times. Hope you can tell us some more stories.

    Part II coming very soon!

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Hi Baquia . . .
    so I’m driving around Tucson these days, the sun cooking my brain again, my almost-three year old in his car seat and I’m thinking “how bizarre” – cool, but bizarre. I’ll wait for “Part Two” to come out to elaborate but, while “in the moment” I wanted to share a for-example about the whole “anagram-wordplay” schtick that is the core of “Kitab-i-Kuchik”.

    I pulled out a “Special-ideas” flyer about “Love” which has the passage from Abdu’l-Baha “Know thou of a certainty that love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation . . . ” etc. and there it was . . .

    “love”. And what is the famous Qu’ranic passage? 24:35 The Surah of Light. His love is a niche . . .etc. with the passage ” . .. a blessed OLIVE tree neither eastern of western”.

    “Olive” anagrams into “I.Love”. And what does it say in 1 John? “God is Love”. And what would the combining of the AKJV Bible and the Koran amount to? A tree (the pages are made of wood) that is neither of the east nor of the west because it is BOTH. Of the east and of the west.

    And then one goes back to that particular passage and re-reads it in that light, with the “keys” given by the Hand of the Blessed Beauty via the Kitab-i-Iqan, and all of a sudden its a totally different ball game.

    Anyway . . . at the risk of totally painting myself as a “nutcase”, I thought I’d share this before you publish Part Two. I like Steve’s link to the NZ show and this gentleman “Collin” . . . I appreciate your discretion in not sharing so much about my college days. :-)

    But in going with the “interview” (which my ego is thrilling about) it is my hope to put my “earthly” self, and all its decadent colors, in service to the 4th Candle of Divine Unity. That is to say that, it is only “Baha’is” – whether enrolled or otherwise – that have even the ideological or theological “virus” of an idea that the Religion of God is one.

    And that thing which is “peculiar” about me is not “smarts” or “charm” or even the silliness of my shortcomings – but that I had the great good luck of being sufficiently “lumpenproletariat” to sing that entire ouvre – the Bible, the Koran and Selections of the Bab- and as a result, like a crazed scientist – witnessed that thing which I share in the Kitab-i-Kuchik.

    Its certainly not for “everyone” – but then again . . . . why not?

    Thanks again for thinking enough about me and the book to share with others.

    Hamlet, my son, is telling me to get off the computer.

    I look forward to Part Dieu (or is that Deux)?

    Peace,
    Brian Taraz
    aka
    Nah??m

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Hi Baquia . . .
    so I’m driving around Tucson these days, the sun cooking my brain again, my almost-three year old in his car seat and I’m thinking “how bizarre” – cool, but bizarre. I’ll wait for “Part Two” to come out to elaborate but, while “in the moment” I wanted to share a for-example about the whole “anagram-wordplay” schtick that is the core of “Kitab-i-Kuchik”.

    I pulled out a “Special-ideas” flyer about “Love” which has the passage from Abdu’l-Baha “Know thou of a certainty that love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation . . . ” etc. and there it was . . .

    “love”. And what is the famous Qu’ranic passage? 24:35 The Surah of Light. His love is a niche . . .etc. with the passage ” . .. a blessed OLIVE tree neither eastern of western”.

    “Olive” anagrams into “I.Love”. And what does it say in 1 John? “God is Love”. And what would the combining of the AKJV Bible and the Koran amount to? A tree (the pages are made of wood) that is neither of the east nor of the west because it is BOTH. Of the east and of the west.

    And then one goes back to that particular passage and re-reads it in that light, with the “keys” given by the Hand of the Blessed Beauty via the Kitab-i-Iqan, and all of a sudden its a totally different ball game.

    Anyway . . . at the risk of totally painting myself as a “nutcase”, I thought I’d share this before you publish Part Two. I like Steve’s link to the NZ show and this gentleman “Collin” . . . I appreciate your discretion in not sharing so much about my college days. :-)

    But in going with the “interview” (which my ego is thrilling about) it is my hope to put my “earthly” self, and all its decadent colors, in service to the 4th Candle of Divine Unity. That is to say that, it is only “Baha’is” – whether enrolled or otherwise – that have even the ideological or theological “virus” of an idea that the Religion of God is one.

    And that thing which is “peculiar” about me is not “smarts” or “charm” or even the silliness of my shortcomings – but that I had the great good luck of being sufficiently “lumpenproletariat” to sing that entire ouvre – the Bible, the Koran and Selections of the Bab- and as a result, like a crazed scientist – witnessed that thing which I share in the Kitab-i-Kuchik.

    Its certainly not for “everyone” – but then again . . . . why not?

    Thanks again for thinking enough about me and the book to share with others.

    Hamlet, my son, is telling me to get off the computer.

    I look forward to Part Dieu (or is that Deux)?

    Peace,
    Brian Taraz
    aka
    Nah??m

  • http://www.wi5productions.com EyEz99

    I love Brian Taraz. He is one of the grooviest dudes I know. You must check out his scripture rock. I’ve never heard anything like it. Respect

  • http://www.wi5productions.com EyEz99

    I love Brian Taraz. He is one of the grooviest dudes I know. You must check out his scripture rock. I’ve never heard anything like it. Respect

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