Sunday, December 20, 2009

Musings on a Sunday Morning

This morning, I woke up late, being a Sunday, and I sat of the terrace of my house in Artist Village looking at the blue Parsik Hills, that surround our little valley on the edge of a rain forest and thought how insignificant are our worries, anxieties and frustrations when compared to the inexorable march of nature and history. I was reading my favourite book – the Bible. It is a best-seller all right, and contains everything from murder, deceit, rape, harlotry, seduction, etc. I am reading Genesis, and this is part of a project to read the bible as another book, say a novel, as a progression of event that marked the coming of Christ. I read how Judah’s daughter-in-law seduced her father-in-law pretending to be a harlot. I also read how the wife of the Egyptian captain-of-the-guard of the Pharoh tried to seduce Joseph into lying with her and when he didn’t, alleged that he had tried to rape her. All too common events we encounter in life. Must say reading of the word, whether the Bible, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. puts things in perspective.

When I read the Bible as a chronicle of my faith I understand the greatness of humanity, of the written word, the propagation of faith implicit in it. But if we read only a part of it, for example, that how the daughter-in-law seduced the father-in-law pretending to be a harlot and interpret it as the gospel truth and therefore admissible in society, as a precedent exists in it, and fight for it to be legalised, then, that’s where most interpretations of the holy books go wrong. They do it. That’s where fundamentalism creepily sidles in and the zealots begin waving flags and clanging their religious cymbals. They say that since it has precedence in the holy book it is condonable by law and they demand laws passed in this advanced stage of human consciousness based on the less-intellectually-evolved social conscience of those days.

Take today’s literary world. Umbrage is taken on the contents of a book even before people have bought and read the contents of its pages. They buy a book to read a certain chapter, or a passage and start hitting out at the author. I am sure they would think otherwise if they read the entire book, starting from page one to where it says “the end.” Simple enough to say, but hard to do. We humans have a tendency to jump to conclusions, even I. 

1 comment:

ms said...

surprisingly, these zealots don't take the other stuff mentioned in holy books as truth - the honesty, the sincerity, being without sin, not taking lives, being tolerant, living austerely, following a faith without compromise. a minority was allowed multiple wives when wars left many women widowed, or to ensure continuation of the family line if the wife was barren (no such law for women if their husbands were sterile!!) at a time they could have more than one wife only if they were able to support 3 other warwidows. but who does that anymore? they are changing the law in host countries to allow them this luxury and who marries widows? every new addition is younger, sometimes even younger than their oldest child!! take the other case, brahmins were the keepers of all religious texts and thru their subjective interpretation, controlled the society. caste divisions were initially based on occupations, like modern-day govts with various portfolios. and now? your occupation defines you and dictates what your life should be, how generations are forced into a profession or way of life. just because 1000s of years ago some ancestor ended up with the short straw - sanitation worker!!