B’omarr - A Scholar’s Perspective
The B’omarr Order has long been a fascination of mine. An ensemble of scholarly minds which dedicated its very existence to the expansion of their knowledge of the unknown, with a passionate vigour, I can certainly draw parallels with. Of course, I don’t presume to believe my own studies in anyway match that of the Monks, nor can I hope to emulate their drive and devotion to academia which far surpasses my own. I hope, however, that I can learn from their history, ethics and practices to perhaps better my own erudition and by proxy, I hope readers of this paper can too. This paper was particularly timely with the recent appearance of the new B’omarr Order (nBO), which I also touch on here.
My greatest issue with the Order is their classification as a religion. There are many terms used in descriptions of the B’omarr, though not, as far as I have seen, by the B’omarr themselves, that would lead the outsider to look at them as priests or some other religious official. During my studies, I have come to understand that although the Order is a religion, it is not one which involves faith in any deities or other religious figureheads. Religion has many definitions and that which best suits the B’omarr is “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.” The entomology of the words, Monk, those who dedicate their lives to a religion, and Monastery, a building used by those of a monastic order, should therefore likewise be free of theist connotations.Brief History
The earliest recorded mention of the B’omarr is from 700 BBY following their emergence on the planet Tatooine, however we know that their roots run far deeper, having since found older abandoned Monasteries on the planets of Teth and Danuta. It is safe to assume that the move to Tatooine was for it’s relative seclusion and reputation for being left alone by both the Empire and the Republic before it. The temple founded in Tatooine (Fig 2) appears to have been initially built from the disassembled parts of the ships the Monks arrived on, with modifications to the design following compelling events throughout the preceding years. These include the erection of a wall to guard against numerous attacks by Tusken Raiders and a large roof to account for the inclement weather common to the desert planet. The result is one of the galaxies great wonders, sat in the heart of possibly the galaxies least attractive system, an irony that its inhabitants probably pay little head to.
It is widely believed the order started out as a purely human endeavour, though as the years advanced, the species welcomed widened considerably, bringing with them a fresh perspective that perhaps humans were unable to fathom alone. It is certainly true that academia and the search for truth has been found to be enhanced not just by the amount of books one reads, but one’s life experiences too. This may be the reason the B’omarr were never adverse to the arrival of the criminal elements that later began to use the temple as a safe haven, ultimately resulting in crime lords ‘claiming’ the temple as a base of operations.
Little is really known of the true nature of the monks or if they underwent any ceremonies, save for the enlightenment process, which marked the monks progression in their ascension. Most notably, when one looks at pictures and accounts of the Monks, in studies by Mammon Hoole for instance, one sees that they sometimes dressed differently, perhaps by a rank system of sorts, and regarded their elders or more advanced with higher levels of respect. The nBo seems to have taken this concept on with its own procedures internally, having what could be termed “graduation ceremonies” for monks who are initiated into the order. The nBo, recently founded, seems to have also been more selective with wardrobe, the robes themselves are coloured to mark ones house or path, whilst the amulets and the coloured ribbon which hold them are differing to denote the individual further. The amulet is actually an interesting piece to study further with regard to B’omarr practices, which will be discussed further below.Practices of the B’omarr
The practices undertaken by the Order historically had all been in an effort to advance further the studies into the infinite. There were really four key aspects to this, the first being isolating oneself from external stimuli. This initial stage of course meant living in seclusion within a B’omarr monastery, detached from the outside world. Now, none can say that day to day life is not affected, either positively or negatively, by the media, political struggles, love, war and the like. That is, of course, unless one already lives in seclusion much as the monks did. So this form of detachment undertaken I can at least understand for its scholarly merits. The B’omarr however, not content in this, also discouraged interaction with one another for much the same reason. I personally challenge the wisdom in this decision. It has always been my understanding that the company of scholars has advanced my learning, understanding and makes me question again and again the conclusions I make. The B’omarr I believe did themselves an injustice by forgoing the value in communal academia.
The second key practice was meditation. I have been a firm advocate for the use of meditation as part of academic studies for many years and understand how clearing ones mind of all distractions allows a higher level of thinking on a subject. The Order help this practice in high regard. Aside from scholarly pursuit, meditation also allowed the monks time to practice the necessary skills to give up their 5 senses in preparation for enlightenment. One might even notice that the architecture of the B’omarr takes this key practice into account. A visit to any of the B’omarr monasteries will show tower structures around the outside of the main building. Inside of these, the monks built what they called meditation stairways (fig 3). It was fundamentally a spiral staircase where monks could walk, concentrating on their steps to clear ones mind. The decor was plain, in order not to break ones concentration and they were dimly lit for the same purpose. Focus on the repetitive, such as steps, was a fundamental teaching for meditation. The amulets mentioned earlier seem to have been tools to achieve the same level of assistance. The repeating pattern shown in one (fig 4), and the ridges in the back of the other (fig 5) both seem to be used for focus, the monks running their fingers unconsciously across them to clear the mind.
This ascension was a long process to achieve fully. The monks next would forgo the use of language, instead learning to communicate with just pictures and single words, able to convey complex ideas through these simple expressions. It was another step in the removal external stimuli with sight, sound, taste, smell & touch each providing their own distraction in that endless quest for the infinite answers.
Of great interest to me was the next step, which seemed to be the personal development of telepathy. It is a concept I struggle with. We know of course that many species have evolved a natural telepathy, such as the Iktotchi, Anzati and Zeltrons, but this had been through countless years and I have yet to study any group of beings who in their lifetime became telepathic without the ability to manipulate The Force. It draws many questions;
- How did this discovery first come to pass?
- Have others groups in the galaxy shown this ability or is it a secret held only by the Order?
- Is their an aspect of The Force inherent in the Enlightenment of the B’omarr?
Certainly the latter of these questions I believe to be most interesting. In none of the teachings of the B’omarr does it mention The Force as a component of enlightenment and though it is likely that force sensitives have been members of the order, it is not a pre-requisite, as the doors were open to all. It is my reckoning that enlightenment may be the process of learning how to manipulate the force, though not recognised as such by the B’omarr. If this is the case, it would be ground breaking indeed. I believe that this theory alone requires further study to establish whether there is fact in its conclusion, although time has not permitted me to do so on this occasion.
Following “enlightenment”, the last stage of the monks ascension is to remove all stimuli altogether. This, rather gruesomely, involves a process unique to the knowledge of the B’omarr, where the monks brain is removed from the body, and placed within a preserving fluid filled jar. The brain is then able to continue to ponder the infinite without the distraction of a body. Having learned to use telepathy, they can manipulate either other monks to program a BT-16 perimeter droid, or some interface designed to be controlled by telepathy on the droids. Unfortunately, the exact method this is done is not know. The BT-16 then loads the jar onto themselves, and moves as instructed, allowing the monks to continue to utilise tools such as the meditation stairway. These brain jars are kept in an area known as the Room of Enlightenment, an area off limits to all bu the order, where all enlightened monks ponder as one.
The brain is required to have undergone the enlightenment process to be ready for the removal procedure. There are cases recorded which have shown early removal of the brain can result in the brain “screaming”, sometimes for days on end. B’omarr of the far past would never experience this, as enlightenment was a requirement for the procedure, but as time progressed and the order changed, so did the practice, which we will explore a little later. Interestingly, this process of brain removal has been recorded as being reversible, and not only to the brain’s original body. Cases have come to light where the transfer of the brain into another body is possible, though the procedure is incredibly risky, with failure rate very high.Corruption
As with all things pure, it can only take one rogue element to corrupt its state. The B’omarr, it would seem, were manipulated with time and used as spies and sometimes worse, setting aside there previous relinquishment of the material for monetary gain. Like the ripples on a pond, one action affects the next and the B’omarr slowly lost the ethics their predecessors had established and somewhere along the line, any real direction at all. As history has it, rumours of great riches in the temples, following the death of its most recent crime lord occupant, drew scavengers and thieves in to try and pillage what they could find. The B’omarr at first fought back, claiming the temple for themselves, then in time instead started forcing those they captured into life within the order. This decision is something I have yet to fully understand, as the monastic lifestyle and pursuit of knowledge is one of choice. One does not gain anything from forcing others into the Order as they will not further any understanding or academic study without the will to do so.
Later, the monks also started to push these criminals quickly to the stage of enlightenment, with the removal of their brains sometimes within 2 days of their arrival. Again, the motivation for this course of action was somewhat strange. Not only would the brains “scream” for days, but it seems the Oreder’s definition of enlightenment somehow changed with the ethical shifts. At this stage of the orders history enlightenment was no longer the state of mind one reached before the brain’s removal, instead, the definition changed to enlightenment being the removal of the brain. Corruption it seems ultimately meant the downfall of a once great order, which now keeps it's doors to the Tatooine Monastery firmly locked to all who might try and visit, with a single monk posted outside to try to give loose explanations.Splinters and the New B’omarr Order
The most interesting development of late within the B’omarr, is its splinter groups which until recently operated independently of one another. The new B’omarr Order (nBO) has united some of these groups, recognising their innate ability to offer something different to it’s continuing Studies. The four orders now present within the scope of B’omarr are the Orthodox, Nailati, Sai’da and Grimpen.
The Orthodox Order follows the rules of traditional B’omarr, choosing isolation from others to help them focus on these goals. The NBO see these monks as best to find the truth in the divine, the infinite and the spiritual, as was their predecessors goal. They tend to study, though not exclusively, religion and philosophy, spending much of their time meditating in silence. They also still look to reach enlightenment, seeing this as an ascension to an almost god-like existence, perhaps more so than the monks of history.
The Nailati Path follows the direction taken by former monk Evilo Nailati, who although reached “enlightenment” in the eyes of the monks, dedicated his time to furthering his wider base of knowledge, rather than seeking answers in the infinite as his colleagues did. Nailati B’omarr are scholars of academia who choose to study the world of fact and conclusion. The NBO chooses these monks primarily for studies in subjects such as science, medicine, history and geology though again, not exclusively. Nailati also tend to be chosen as NBO Librarians.
The Sai’da Path follow the direction chosen by former B’omarr historian Sai’da, who later switched disciplines to contemplate subjects such as companionship, humour and bravery. Sai’da monks do not choose isolation like the Orthodox house, nor do they consider family or love a distraction, like the Nailati. Many Sai’da have families, a stronger sense of community and tend to be humorous beings, or, they at least find themselves funny. The NBO finds these monks better for studies in the Arts, such as stories and music, but also looking for truth in love and the courage of beings.
The Grimpen Path holds a collection of undesirables within the Order who have been repurposed, so to speak. The name comes from the most well known of the old monks who sold his services as a spy and criminal. The studies undertaken by these Monks include military tactics, politics and subterfuge, though in the nBO, their uses have been somewhat different. Noticing their skills, they have tended to be employed as the security arm of the Order, as well as its eyes and ears in the galaxy. They are trained in hand to hand combat, weapon use and as incredibly competent fighter pilots. They are given study leave from the duties infrequently however, in order to uphold the Order’s prime goal, which is the advancement of knowledge.Conclusion
We have seen governments fall and rise again, planets change hands and indigenous species pushed to the brink of extinction. The B’omarr, it seems, are just as resistant to destruction as these, a resilience one cant help but admire. The nBo is born from the ashes of a great tradition and seems to be trying to regain the strength the Order once had, not only physically, but academically too. As a scholar, I can take on some of the B’omarr practices myself, such as meditation and relative seclusion, though not anywhere close to the degree of the orthodox path. If I were to choose, I would personally class myself as Naitali B’omarr, though not in any official capacity, as it is my pursuit for knowledge which drives me.
I would like to study further the enlightenment process, in particular, the development of telepathy, which is truly fascinating. I can only assume without further study that manipulation of the force is somehow at work here, but if this is also undertaken by those not traditionally classified as force-sensitive, then this is truly amazing. I will perhaps undergo another study into this.
I will also look to build a meditation stairway myself at the guild. I hope this will be seen as the tribute to the B’omarr academia it is, as well as an asset to scholarly members, in their own pursuit of knowledge. I will watch, with close fascination, the new B’omarr Order’s progress going forward in the galaxy.