Indian Mythology is replete with stories of reincarnations and birth of ‘Gods’ into the realm of humanity to solve man’s never ending problems. Man lives everyday bathed in one ‘sin’ after another, and when the accumulated ‘sinning’ becomes too much for the balance of the universe to handle, the big daddies intervene. Essentially, Indian mythology is one of redemption and several second chances, of the light that shines in every one of us. After all, like Sirius Black said, ‘There is light and dark in all of us, it is the side we choose to act on that shows who we truly are.’ We are all terrible human beings, albeit with redeeming factors.
Divine sanction has been used since time immemorial to justify several events, establishments or institutions. Just like the Roman Catholic Church declared itself the custodian of the state and imposed itself on the people, and much like what the State ofIsrael is using right now to justify taking away land that is rightfully someone else’s. Indian mythology, to say the least, is complex and its stronghold over religion is one that must inspire awe, for Hinduism is essentially a philosophy, a grand philosophy that has been given the name of religion by people who could not have possibly differentiated between the two.
The Hinduism (that we see today), and its manifestations in public and private spheres that we see and hear about are essentially one of a religion. What started out as a collection of rules to let law and order prevail(‘Manusmriti’), and as a brahminist doctrine of sociological stratification (‘Varnas’), collection of epics to describe the spirit and glory of the Indian Kings of the ‘Suryavansam’ (‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’) were all classified under the philosophy of Hindusim for the lack of a better uniting factor.
Thus, what one calls being Hindu today is indeed a far cry from what being Hindu meant in ancient times. Bathing and visiting temples and indulging in rites and rituals does not make one ‘better’ in the eyes of the higher power, if any. If you ask me, philosophy is defiled by being called religion because while philosophy involves logic, hypothesis and knowledge, religion is a mere doctrine of belief. Anything can be religion today (Exhibit A; scientology), and the stories that formed the core of this ‘religion’ of Hinduism have been long forgotten by those who play the charades of chastity.
The interactive session with Mr. Haridas was to begin with, interesting. Stories of Indian Mythology, and theories of the origin of the state of The Hindu Philosophy have always kept me interested. In my opinion, there is a lot to learn from these stories, especially for those who intend to write stories themselves. The element of conflict, the prolongation of the conflict without losing the interest of the audience and finally, the resolution, with all its grandeur that leaves a palpable impression on the minds of the audience long after the story has been told. Isn’t that why we remember The Ramayana? Or are as amazed by the stories of Shiva? Us Indians have a glorious ancestral history replete with gifted writers, and sometimes in the haste of criticizing our incapable machinery of religion, forget that these stories were stories before they were turned into religious propaganda.
Read the rest of the story in the next part – The ‘Gondhal’ Story (Coming Soon)
Author – Anitha Krishnamurthy
Come. Drum. Be One