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Of Gods and Asuras
|by Bhagwat K. Shah|
Once upon a time, the Gods and Asuras decided to churn the divine Shir Sagar to obtain the nectar of immortality. Though blood brothers, they had been fighting each other since the dawn of history, and hoped that by obtaining the divine nectar, they could end their wars forever.
It was a long and arduous process. It was a long and painful journey of discovery, both for the gods and the Asuras.
India's recent history is nothing less than a mirror of its great Puranic past. After much soul searching, India and its masses fought for independence from its colonial masters. With great effort and diligence, they sought the goodwill of many powers-to-be and eventually won the right to free themselves from the shackles of imperial slavery. With Herculean effort, they managed to move the than greatest power on Earth - the British Government to recognize the rights of the Indians.
Satyagrah of Mahatma Gandhi and his monumental efforts to free India and all its inhabitants from its Imperial overlords is the stuff of future Puranas. His insistence on winning through non-violence is no less a feat than the great feats of the sages of ancient India.
Unfortunately, like the ancient story, the blood brothers of India divided into two camps. This time, not gods vs. Asuras, but Hindus vs. Muslims. Born of the same soil, sharing a unique heritage, the sons of Bharat fought each other with greater vehemence than their mythological counter parts. Both parties wanted the ultimate prize of freedom, peace and prosperity. Both saw theirs as the just and ultimate cause. As in our ancient history, the two sides churned the minds and souls of the masses for the nectar of "ultimate peace". Alas, first poured forth the poison of partition. The sages who originally wrote the great Puranas would have been shocked and embarrassed by the atrocities brothers performed upon brothers. Even the gods and Asuras did not fight with such cruelty ! Yet, this was but the first thing that came out of this "churning of India".
Since that monumental day in August when we won our independence, we have churned the ocean of time incessantly. Apart from the horrid poison of partition, we have since obtained various "gifts" as reward for our efforts. We are self-sufficient in most things. We have made huge strides in achieving a better standard of living for the masses. Boundaries between caste and creed are blurring and people are finding it easier to improve their own situations.
Yet, we are unable to live in peace. With all the great things that we have and will have, we can never live in peace until we can learn to live with each other. The Asuras and Devas are one and the same. They were brothers. Yet, they did not learn to live in peace. If we want to live in peace, we need to learn to live with each other - otherwise, like the Devas and Asuras, we too will fight till each of us till we are utterly exhausted.
Let us learn from our past. These sages did not write the scriptures to while-away the time in the forest. They wrote these to teach humanity how to live. They wrote these to teach us the consequences of our actions - positive and negative. Let us learn from this - for our sake - our children's sake.
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