Is anything defying solution in your life? Legend has it that all you need is a visit to Ile Ase, the Temple of Wisdom, inside the palace of the Ooni of Ife
Ile-Ife now in the present day Osun State of Nigeria is generally believed to be the ancestral home of the more than 30 million Yoruba race. That explains why the University City is also referred to as The Source.
The ancient city lives up to this appellation any time and any day. In its bowels lie many historical sites, symbols and artefacts. Perhaps, the one singular place that has the largest concentration of these is the Palace of the Monarch, Ooni.
Hardly would one sight any monument or structure in the ancient palace that does not have a very rich history and cultural/ religious attachment. It is indeed a bastion of these sites. Out of this long list, one of those that stand out and most symbolic is the Ile Ase. Literally, it means the House of Authority or House of So-Shall-It-Be.
However, the bright and colourful signpost that stands before the modern structure that harbours the most ancient and first foundry in the world simply reads “The Temple of Wisdom” Now flocked by tourists, then it used to be crowded by the patrons of Ogunladindin, the first blacksmith. Ogunladindin, it was who, brought the art of blacksmithing into the world.
One of the myths surrounding the personality of Ogunladindin Alagbede Akoko, has it that the renowned smith was sent by Olodumare to cast and make iron implements for humans. He always came every five days.
And no matter the size or complexity of the work, he would charge a uniform price. Humans then were so fascinated and satisfied with his products that they wished to have him with them permanently instead of a sojourner. They devised a way. The great smith was offered a woman as wife. With this he had no option but to stay and cohabit with humans.
With time he took in apprentices whom he taught the science of blacksmithing. With their notorious penchant for impatience and deceit, his head apprentice believed he had learnt enough and so could be on his own despite the warning of the great Ogunladindin. The said apprentice left and set up his own foundry.
To his chagrin, his patrons soon all returned to Ogunladindin as they found his inferior to his master’s. Unable to live with the shame and humiliation, the former apprentice concocted a plot to which Ogunladindin’s human wife was party to. At the discovery of the treachery Ogunladin ascended back to Isalu Orun (heaven) where he was from greatly annoyed and feeling betrayed and disappointed.
He, however, did not ascend to heaven through a great chain without making some pronouncements which came to pass almost instantly. Hence, the place got its name Ile Ase, a place where whatever is said comes to pass. The belief in this myth is still persistent till this day.
Many, from all walks of life, come to the Temple of Wisdom to seek for their life ambition. Inside the temple is a different ball game. The reporter’s guide, an Ilari Oba, warned strictly that photography is prohibited in the confines of the building. And that should anyone do it, the product would be blank. The reporter’s attempt to try this out and experiment was, however, discouraged.
The ancient foundry of Ogunladindin still stands. Slightly off to the right, the tip of the chain through which the great smith ascended to heaven in anger still protrudes. Further off is a place where one is forbidden to reach. However, the shrine is white. A white foundry! A lot of people were entering the temple and praying: many loudly, but most, reverently and quietly. This is however after they must have dropped some money.
The belief that whatever one asks for in the temple will be granted is still very strong. Such is the faith of the believers that even foreigners are not left out. Many Caucasians at the place also followed suit and probably even more reverently than their African counterparts. “Many politicians come here especially before elections and during electioneering campaigns.
Their prayers are always answered. Women in search of the fruit of the womb have been known to return with their children later to give testimony. They come with gifts and many things for the shrine and the priest,” the Ilari explained further.
But why is such an ancient shrine wearing such a modern look from the outside? The Ilari replied: “Most of the structures here were renovated when the current Kabiyesi came on the throne.
Being a widely travelled man before coming on the throne, he believes that these places must look attractive and appealing. So he approved funds for the facial upliftment of these structures.
“You have been inside. The modernisation has not taken anything away from its efficacy and potency.” Why the name, Temple of Wisdom? “Isn’t it a wise person who would come and make supplication here?
Is it not only the wise that would learn from the story of Ogunladidin? Everything that surrounds the temple radiates wisdom,” the reporter’s guide pointed out. If you want to go there and heap curses on your perceived enemy or bear evil intention against your fellowman, you need to think twice.
“Anybody who comes there to curse their fellowmen will not get home safely. They will die before they get home. You must come with a clean heart and only ask for things that will beneficial to you or your fellow men,” the Ilari warned.