September 04, 2009

Satan, The Son of God and The Son of Man

When I look back, I often find that two distinct theological ideologies shaped my childhood beliefs. While liberal Bengali Hinduism encouraged me to seek for truth both inside and outside, the strict catholic missionary education made me read up The Bible in as much detail as a school going kid could. I went deeper and very early in my life I realized going deeper into anything could just leave you more confused but at the same time, it is intoxicating.

Mythologies followed next. Greek, Norse, African, the entire list. Patterns began emerging. I continued reading. The Mother Goddess and her oblivion through male dominion were clear and simple to follow like all great cons by men. Folk Tales followed. And somewhere when I just started getting into Folk Music I decided to put an abrupt end to it all.

Somehow, the concept of God always intrigued me. That had resulted in an academic paper letting go of other important matters. That is another story. The point is that spirituality has always been an important part of The Search.

A insisted a few nights back that we should have our own Ganpati in our house. Given that our sinful lives take a great toll on our mental peace, it seemed like an extremely awesome idea. But as we started preparing, I began to realize how far away the kid from Calcutta had come away from anything remotely Godly. In fact, post the nights outside Temple Lawns in the Rajasthan Village, the connection has just become weaker.

It was a difficult transition. The childhood memories of performing a Puja at home were hazy. None of us knew exactly what was to be done. We just knew we wanted to do it. It was like a calling. It always is.

Then Swati saved the day for us. An amazing woman, she deserves a separate post on her own. She invited us over to our house, helped us with our preparations, scolded us when we were slacking away and stopped the entire thing from becoming a good intentioned farce,

On Friday night, I returned to a dark home. The lights were out. Only a small lamp was lit in front of the idol and the surroundings seemed ethereal. And I sat and thought. About Good and Evil and God and Satan.

Suddenly it struck me; in Hindu Philosophy, the concept of Evil is extremely strange. While the religions arising out of the Middle East believe in the Opposite of Good being present in the universe as much as Good itself, The Indus religions believe in One Supreme Good and various manifestations of evil. Both have hell. Yet while Satan or Iblish rules Hell in one, A God is the Gatekeeper of another.

The forgotten ancients also grappled with this confusion. Was Loki Satan? Or Hades the Greek Yama?

I looked at myself. Sometimes being evil is just about stopping to be good for most parts of your life. When I was a kid, I thought ourselves to be images of God, the supreme being or whoever that dude up there is. The scriptures agreed – Tat Tvam Asi

The lights came on and the trance was broken.

Saturday was Visarjan. Standing chest deep in the dirty waters of Juhu with the idol on my head I felt a part of the Visarjan Microcosm, vibrant, euphoric and full of life. People around me were ecstatic. They led hard lives and yet for this one moment they were moving their bodies to an eclectic mixture of Bollywood music, Bhajans, political propaganda and drums.

Just then it dawned on me. We are sons of Man, unable to stick to the extremes of righteousness and that made us so unlike our Creator.

And while their children frolicked in the carcinogenic wastes and Swine Flu Scares, She and He had a hearty laugh upstairs.

(This post was originally 3 pages long. Had to cut it short)


Bihag Bhatt said...

Whoa.. Whattay post dude!

It has all the elements of a Bollywood hit. The flashback to childhood, coming-back-to-the-roots moment, fumbling, a helping hand, a dash of philosophy and voila - a twist and a revelation!!

Add a beat or two of Banjo music and you have got it made. :)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

:) Thanks Bihag. Will search for a director then :) How have you been? Didn't know you had a blog