Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh My God!

Yesterday, we found out that one of our most celebrated painters MF Hussain died in London. May he Rest in peace... finally. He, who was a pioneer in taking India to the global art map, was exiled from his own homeland in lieu of his 'controversial' art. In india, a supposedly democratic country, he was denied the basic freedom of expression. What is interesting is that after his death a lot of polls have come up in Facebook regarding his exile and whether he deserved it  and the majority of users have chosen the option 'No.'

As for me, I believe that we, as a country, should be more tolerant. we have seen what Ayodhya had done to us. We have seen what Gujarat riots had been for. People get killed, blood is spilled and for what?I had read something on facebook that - "Follow God, and not their priests." and i agree with it wholeheartedly.

I believe in God & I love my country. I also think MF Hussain did not deserve to die in another country because he chose to depict something in a certain way.

I have also written a post on our many colorful God(s) and trust me... I have been in a double mind about whether I should post it or not. I know there are many religious fanatics out there (how may read my humble blog i don't know) and I know it may be taken in a completely wrong way that it has been intended. So before you read any further I must warn you - read it with your sense of humor intact. I don't mean to offend any sentiments, religious or otherwise. And if i still manage to do so... my apologies, that was not the intention.

Here goes...
India is a land of excess... negative excess, that is. There is an excess of population, poverty, corruption and Gods. I had read somewhere that there are around 33 million deities worshiped in India. No, that is not a typo, it is actually 33 million. We have a god for every season and every reason. There is no rain; we have Indra who should be worshiped! There is no money; there is Goddess Lakshmi who should be prayed to, starting a new business venture, don’t forget to bow down to Lord Ganesha... so on and so forth.

Now, I have no problem with that (although I do think 33milion is a little too much!) and I am no atheist. I believe in a super power who is watching over us. I believe in doing good to others... and I also believe in the saying – ‘To each his own’.

But, sometimes I wonder... I wonder about these many, many Gods and the colourful life they had led while on Earth protecting us all. You can choose to call them myths or history (whatever you prefer) but they have been fed into us since childhood  as tales of truth and morality... something that we should follow and these Gods are people we should aspire to become.

How many times have you heard that you should be as just as Lord Ram or that you should follow the path of righteousness laid out by King yudishthir. But were they, that is the Gods, always right? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with Lord Ram and Ravan. I am sure you all are familiar with the story of the Ramayana but let me do a quick recap. Ram was the son of a mighty king and also an avatar of the God Vishnu. When he was a prince, he was sent off to the jungles because of his step-mother who wanted her own son to be crowned the king. Once in the jungles, his wife is kidnapped by the supposedly-evil king Ravan. A fight ensues, people die, Ram finally kills Ravan and The end. When you look at it like this it is a pretty simple story of good winning over evil. But there are so many issues that have been swept under the carpet. For example, Ravan, the alleged evil king, even after kidnapping Sita (that was wrong, I agree) never once touched her or tried to rob her of her modesty. He could have forced her to marry him but he didn’t. He chose to wait.


Maryadapuroshatam Ram, on the other hand, not only made her go through the ring of fire to prove her purity but promptly left her to fend for herself after someone said something about her character. I don’t know about you, but I would have liked him to stand up for his wife. Ravan, for kidnapping sita, was condemned to be burned at the altar for all eternity but Ram, who discarded his pregnant wife, occupies the highest place in our temples.

And we, mere mortals, chose to ignore the many good deeds that Ravan did do. He made a city of gold for his kingdom. He was apparently a very learned man who had achieved many scientific feats... remember the flying pushpak viman he had at his disposal? But, who remembers that? Nobody. I mean Ram not only made Sita leave the kingdom, he didn’t even ask for her whereabouts? Out of sight, out of mine, eh? He was clueless that he had kids?! No wonder, sita chose to leave with Earth Goddess after reuniting the kids with their father.

Another case in point is that of the Lord Krishna. He, of the ras lila fame, was a married man while he went on consorting with the gopis. He was married to a woman named Rukmani (plus sixteen thousand others who he had married for a noble reason!) but we still take his name along with his girlfriend (for the lack of a better term) radha. Theirs is considered an eternal love but if the same happens in today’s society it is called extra-marital affair! And what’s more it’s frowned upon! Nobody refers to it as ras lila, anymore...!

And what about the pandavas? I agree, they were not gods per se but they were great kings. We are still asked to follow dharmraj yudishtar’s path. But, look at some of the un-dharm-ly things he did. Like the fact that the five brothers had one wife! I mean your mother, by mistake, said divide it among yourselves... but you don’t have to follow it to the T. She didn’t know it was a woman and not a piece of roti that you can share, but you knew! And if that was not enough, they gambled her away and sat there motionless while she was almost raped in front of them?! I mean, what good is having five husbands if they can’t protect you! I bet there was no feminist during that time.

Since we are on the topic of feminism, why is it that it is always a woman that is declared as the root of all problems. I have heard many people say that Ramanyan was because of sita, mahabhartha was because of draupadi... and Jesus died because of eve! Why do we fail to see the role of the testosterone in all this. Sita would not have been kidnapped if Lakshman had first, not cut off that poor devil’s nose (she just wanted to marry him after all. He is a god, he should believe in live and let live) and second, he should have obeyed his brother and not left his sister-in-law alone in the jungle. Mahabhartha would not have happened if pandanvas had refrained from gambling off their wife! And mankind would not have been cursed if Adam had the sense to not eat the apple! But all’s well that ends well.

So, these Gods were not perfect... they made mistakes but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they were indeed great in their own way. maybe it was a different time altogether and as they say it is the Kalyug ;)

Well, before any of you religious fanatics decide to send me back to my maker... I would end here and take your leave. Have a good day.

Disclaimer – As mentioned before, the idea behind this post was to spread little more smiles around... God knows we need it. Take it in the right spirit, people!

2 comments:

  1. And we, mere mortals, chose to ignore the many good deeds that Ravan did do.
    He made a city of gold for his kingdom.

    It is believed that the city was made of gold on instructions from his wife. Which version of Ramayana have you read and referencing here? Tulsi Ramayana is not history or facts btw. Neither is Ramananda Sagar's Ramayana.

    He did a lot of good deeds but you have quoted none of them here. What you have written here is mere false information.


    He was apparently a very learned man who had achieved many scientific feats... remember the flying pushpak viman he had at his disposal?

    Learned he indeed was. Being learned is not a good deed. Being learned does not mean one ends up doing good deeds. It was because he was so learned that he became so powerful, that his evil deeds could not be challenged.
    Pushpak Vimana was not Ravan's Science Lab product. He had snatched/looted it from Kuber after a war victory.
    Moreover, (FYI only), the vimana's science is well described in the Vedas. The science existed well before Ravan's time.


    But, who remembers that? Nobody.

    The answer to that question is 'nobody' also coz those are figments of your imagination :-) and not facts. Kindly quote the books you have referenced when you wrote the above and with such conviction!

    -Mayank.

    ReplyDelete

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