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Avatar Resonates with India and the East
|by Aneeta Chakrabarty|
Beyond the soaring majesty of distant constellations, the stunning breathtaking visuals, and the 3-D trailblazing special effects, there is something else in James Cameron’s epic masterpiece, “Avatar.” Something as grand and great as life that pulsates with the rhythms of the sacred earth, and talks to the ancients in their own tongue - “All is one and all is interconnected.” Simply put, it is a marvelous tribute to Pantheism.
Set in a sci-fi universe, it is the story of a white man going native as in Kevin Costner’s “Dances with Wolves.” Instead of the remote Western frontier, there is a distant moon Pandora, populated by nimble, blue colored, 10 feet tall, agile, cat like, bird riding, arrow shooting, eco-friendly aliens called the Na’vi. To the Na’vi’s, the land is sacred, all life is sacred. They worship Eywa, “the Mother,” an impersonal, mystic force that connects all nature. Into this land of noble and tranquil people arrives a former marine who is sent to mine and exploit precious minerals in exchange for his lost legs. To survive in Pandora and breathe its air, he is transformed into an “Avatar” with a Na’vi body and a human mind. However, he falls in love with a Na’vi beauty and Na’vi spirituality and successfully fights the marines who come to plunder the peaceful land.
Rudyard Kipling, the great chronicler of the Raj, stated his famous words heard round the world, “East is East and the West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Today, we know that a new bridge connects Eastern mysticism and Western Science and many stalwarts have braved the furies of the centuries to make this happen. James Cameron’s “Avatar” is a new high as it carries with it the allure of riding with a “God is nature” banner on main street, America, and cheered by adoring masses. This is a most encouraging development for all Indian-Americans. Another famous voice adds its powerful decibel to counter the rants of Evangelists like Pat Robertson who build their case on deriding the tree-rivers-nature-worshipping Hindus.
The fork on the road is now visible and Indians can either follow the sign which points to the way of Scientific Hinduism - “Knowledge is power” and enact dynamic reform, or stay the course with a ritualized version of “feel good and forget.”
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