I took this India’s Great Epics class this semester that talks about the Mahabharat and the Ramayan. As I have gone through two months of the class, I have realised how different it is to perceive these works as an Indian – as a part of our culture – and how different it is to analytically read them as a part of some text of mythology, piece of literature that doesn’t teach one how to live, but is a simple story.
Honestly, it is often annoying to me – I have grown up hearing my grandparents and my father always talking about what took place and how, what the story was, what the purpose of the text we perceive to be. As an Indian, I probably give too much credit to emotions and family values and that was something I couldn’t see in the book at all – it was so straightforward – no sappy music feels or any sort of struggle, only a simple narration. The reference of who we call Krishna (with the ‘a’ silent) as Krsnā and Arjun as Arjuna and everything else – even Mahabharat as Mahābhārata affected me more than I would like to admit. It began as a culture shock, and then came of as something that I didn’t want to embrace – I’ve seen something so entirely different being said and learnt at home!
I was having this conversation with a friend – do we believe in God? I’d say I do, but if someone would ask me if they existed, I’d like to believe that they did but we don’t really know, right? Maybe the idea of God was only created to give people hope that someone exists to protect them. But when my friend questioned me about it, I was forced to think -how can one believe in that when there’s a World War III on the brink of occurring? Ukrainian children being separated from their parents, wives from their husbands and what not. This one is fairly recent, so I suppose we should rewind. A few days ago, I read this thing about how some Muslim parents got their daughters’ vagina’s stitched and they weren’t even allowed to go to professionals to get them opened before or after marriage. We know about what happened a few years ago in India – the 2012 rape case. Not simply this, I have also been reading about democracy. All those years ago, the Black community was treated as slaves, the Holocaust happened, so many wars took place, religious disagreements and riots and what not.
I understand that bad things happen even in the presence of God, and since we were talking about the Mahabharat, let’s take this into consideration. What happened when Dushasan tried to disrobe Draupadi? We have no proof, but even if we consider it a story, Krishna came to her rescue, even if it was as a miracle. I get it, not all women are Draupadi. But when we say that all women have a Goddess in them, why can’t all of them either defend themselves or have some miracle come to their rescue? My father always told me when I had these questions in my mind, that we live in the Kalyug, or as I’ve learnt in my class, the Kāli Yuga. Bad things are supposed to happen, and there are no rules to dharma. I also know for a fact that the 10th avatar of Vishnu is still yet to arrive, and as a child, I used to fantasise an utterly handsome man in a suit riding a horse on a road full of cars – that would definitely stand out, wouldn’t it. I am so sure that if I still saw some random human riding a horse on the road, I’d be like wow he’s here.
Jokes apart, the world is in tension right now. There’s prediction that the world might drown if global warming keeps on increasing because Antarctica will melt, etc. There’s a lot of these predictions that force us to think that the world is going to end. But only the presence of these stories and god gives us so much faith and hope, right? Some people would still believe that Kalki will come to end the Kali Yuga. Well, will he?
I know I posed a bunch of very very random questions here, but these questions bother me every single day. Why do some people suffer more than some others?
26th February 2022