Monday, February 28

The Gods that used to be crazy

Another one month, and I'm back with a new one.. Read on..

We used to wonder at many things in our childhood. Many of us used to wonder what happens in the skies every night, why the moon changes its size every night, where the stars would go in the day, how some objects show magnetism and why the sea roars with waves. We also used to wonder why medicines are bitter, why doctors are always fond of syringe and needle and why parents, unlike us, don't go to school and get beaten by teachers. We reason out at some, and experience some, providing answers to our questions and thus stopping the intrigue within us. Even then, there are still many wonders lying out there for us to ponder and rejoice.

During the summer vacation after my fifth standard, I got this book "Trojan war" from my senior batch. This book was the supplementary reader for the sixth standard english. Not to mention my fascination towards mythologies, I started reading it right away and re-read it some 6-7 times during my vacation. I loved that book. It's an epic. The men were audacious, women were blonde, hot and sexy, the Gods were crazy, the Goddesses were jealous of one another and bribed men with chicks. I used to get dreams where I would watch Ulysses coming out from the trojan horse, Achilles killing Hector and Paris running away with Helen. 

But one thing that fascinated me the most was their pantheon. Zeus, Neptune, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Apollo.. the list has no end. I would get introduced to a new God in every chapter. He would screw up the war by favoring one side till the men on the other side offer princesses and maidens (I dunno what's the fetish of virgins in every faith) as slaves to him. He accepts them and keeps quiet. Warriors like Achilles would also ask for maidens as they are children of the Gods. And when they don't get the maiden slaves they withdraw from the war. I think this craziness of mortals and immortals brings good element of surprise to Trojan war and makes it an epic mythology.

Now coming to the real reality, I used to think that the ancient Greeks were mad praying to those Gods. I would rather not welcome Zeus, Neptune and Venus into my life (even though Venus would offer women like Helen to my disposal) as I had my own set of Gods whom I felt were more sensible and realistic. Yes, I thought my pantheon was "realistic" and "divine" and I still dunno the reason for it. Even though I used to compare some of the Greek pantheon to the RigVedic pantheon, I felt the latter was more divine and realistic. I think the reason for not questioning why I thought so might be the fact that I'd been following this pantheon since my childhood without asking any questions.

Later in my schooling days, I visited some churches as I was interested to know how a church would look like from the inside and how a mass would be performed. I loved cathedrals with all the paintings, sculptures and stuff. I used to stare at the ceiling, walls, hangings, candles and decoration in the church when everyone else was busy praying deeply and some crying in ecstasy. Sometimes, the bishop would bless people who were sick and some would weep bitterly taking a cross into their hands.

All that time, I never understood what made them so ecstatic when english verses (I used to think it was some poetry written by Jesus Christ) are read loud from a neatly bound big book. I never understood how the sick could believe that a simple english verse from the big book and water smeared in the shape of cross on their forehead would heal them. But one thing, I never thought these people are crazy doing all this stuff. I think my reason behind this was that since many people follow this faith, it must have some sort of divinity or something.

And on the other hand, I never wondered why I would recite the same "suklam bharadharam", "saraswathi namastubhyam" everyday even though they're simple verses. Well, the only difference is that they're written in sanskrit. I also never wondered why people would wear talismans and walk around a tree 108 times just because it's in the premises of a temple. The reason for this might be the fact that I'd been following this faith since childhood without asking any questions

Now coming to ancient Greece again, why should one think the Greeks were mad? Or their entire pantheon was silly and stupid? Is it just because Zeus and his entire lot are jobless now? Zeus and co., is no ordinary lot. Some of them are notorious (read as miraculous) enough to stop winds when Agamemnon's army was sailing. Their mercy and grace favored Greeks and made them win the war. Their wrath and curses apparently caused tornadoes, hurricanes and famines all over Greece and Rome. One would be very cautious not demean any one of them in those days. Such was their might, will and power. It's irrational and senseless to claim they don't have divinity just because there's no cultural, traditional, social and political significance to any of them in the contemporary world

Alright, now one might agree that the Greek pantheon is great, divine, realistic and can be worshiped. Now what about Amun-Ra and co., from ancient Egypt? What about Thor, Balder and co., from Germany? Why should Greeks have all the fun? Even though Hitler was from Germany and Germany had Thor as God in the past, is it fair that the entire German pantheon shouldn't be respected? Does unemployment and failure in wars and politics make these Gods worthless of even acknowledging their existence?

So what can we say about this? One thing is for sure. All these were the Gods that used to be crazy. And even today, the God(s) are crazy, but their name(s) and the civilizations that worship these God(s) are different from those in the past. And as the comparative theologians always say, all the religions are qualitatively one and the same, and all the God(s) are also one and the same. Hence following the assertion, the contemporary faiths are also crazy (BTW I really hate to deduce things out of theological assertions)

If this is the case, then why are we so keen, sensitive, religious and devoted about the God(s) that are in our pantheon? I would say it's just the authoritative indoctrination and self-assertion over a period of time that makes us have blind faith in many things around us, including religious faith. It's this very lack of indoctrination and assertion that makes a christian not to have faith in hindu Gods and it's the same thing that never made me realize the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sins of the entire humankind starting from homo antecessors to those who are gonna live till the next doomsday event.

And ironically for most of us, it's sheer accidence that we get born into a family of a particular faith that chooses the doctrine with which we get brainwashed all through our life. We never get a real choice in deciding this for ourselves.

And most of us remain in that sightless vision (as I call it) for the rest of our lives rejecting anthropology, history, reason, logic, and sometimes even common sense !!

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Srinivas DMS said...

What made you think gods crazy! I did not get it from your post, but the post is well written, except for you pre-decided the title and wrote on it I guess.

More over, gods are the creation of humans, contrary to the humans as creation of gods. So what you must consider is the case of human faiths to the deeper extent to understand their gods is what I feel.

pavank said...

Hey dude, do you still have that book "the trojan war"?? it was one of my favourite and plan on obtaining it again. Pls do reply.