Random Thoughts

Misuse of Myths by Foolish Fundamentalists

A lot of time and effort is wasted by people trying to date the war of Mahabharata as a means to prove the indigenous Indian origins of the so-called Aryans. Let us take a soberly critical view. There is little doubt that the great story is predominantly a work of fiction. That does not mean that the idea for the story could not have arisen from a factual battle. Can you imagine a prescient set of parents naming their royal son Vichitravirya, which translates into "Weird Semen". No wonder the poor kid could never perform as an adult! As was the local custom a half brother comes to the rescue. As he was half-black and aptly named Krishna Vyasa, he had an air about him. Considering the lasciviousness of his father and the easy virtue of his mother, he was so well endowed that the first queen closed her eyes at the site of his naked splendor and the second queen's heart went into palpitations. These resulted in Lamarckian inheritance that made the first queen's child blind and the second queen's child weak hearted and proved Darwin wrong before he was born. I wonder why the intelligent design crowd didn't cite this evidence in their US Supreme Court case?

Then the blind prince marries an Afghan woman who dutifully blindfolds herself thus doubling the handicap. No wonder our president is focused on improving the lot of Afghan women. She has the adopted familial difficulty in conceiving and seeks the help of prayer. She tires of her embryo and lacking an artificial womb puts it in a jar, ultimately divides it into hundred parts and they grow to hundred neonates all in clay not even in vitro. She is afflicted by the perverse familial trait and names most of the children Duryodhana, Dushasana etc. all meaning bad this and bad that. Talk of all these children left behind. A pity the shrub Dubya wasn't there to rescue them. By the way bandaging one's eyes gives one laser vision when they are uncovered. This vision can give invulnerability to naked human skin when focused on it or incinerate anything the lady disapproves off, as her son Duryodhana and nephew Bhim both learnt to their dismay. No wonder the Bell Labs scientist who helped perfect the laser was an Indian.

In the meantime the second prince's wife is experimenting with an artificial divine inseminator, which she uses first without prudence and subsequently with abandon including a final threesome. There's a new for "The Pleasure Chest". I wonder why the archeologists don't try to find out how this magic toy surfaced in the Middle East over a millennium later to start another scourge of humanity. Anyway blindness being the favorite pastime no one notices that she is pregnant even though she is not married at first and most husbands in the ruling dynasty are complacent and broad-minded about being cuckolded. Take that you hippie communes! You thought you invented open marriage.

Then there are the weapons of mass destruction that were used during the Mahabharata War. No wonder Bush the lesser had to give India a free pass. Why it is the only other country that used nuclear weapons besides and even before America, making it fit to join the five hypocrites of the UN Security Council. The feeding of multitudes from an "akshayapatra" or from a loaf and fish transcend reality and reason. These alone prove with certitude that we are not dealing with a factual transcript, even embellished like Thucydides "History of the Peloponnesian War".

Similarly the Ramayana is full of flying invincible monkeys and Rama walking on water (over floating stones), a common asinine myth of another religion (now walking on thin ice both literally and figuratively). Then there is the much oppressed Sita which literally means a furrow in the body of the earth as opposed to Ahalya which means untilled or unfurrowed. Talk of the overuse and under-use of wives! They maybe great propaganda for liberated feminism but do not need to be held up as models of behavior and emulated like the real Sati who jumped in the sacrificial fire of her father, to redress his lack of offering to her husband who seemed to relish being smeared with ashes and being wrapped up with snakes.

Other myths offer the reward of parting the Red Sea in exchange for a snippet of penile foreskin. This is how American ad agencies learnt that offerings of skin sells any product. Sundry prophets have hallucinated and sanctioned polygamy, intolerance and cultivated hair as a fetish. All these reveal blind dogma and faith. See the dangers of a little knowledge! The universal hope of a redeeming avatar, messiah or mahdi is doomed to perpetual disappointment as both Clinton and Bush Jr. have proven to the American voter.

Myths are meant to enthrall the reader and at best falsely but imaginatively explain some observed fact. The abduction of Persephone by Pluto led to the sadness of her mother Demeter who had to share her daughter with him for six months in a year. This is why the grieved earth is barren from fall to spring and yields a bountiful harvest from spring to fall. The self-absorbed handsome Narcissus ignores the love calls of stricken Echo who pines away, while her cries resound. The Moon god with thirty wives is extremely partial to Rohini and thus is cursed to die, but reprieved by clemency to wax and wane with death in the form of darkness, once in thirty days. The arriving Aryans unused to a compact three month rainy monsoon concoct the story of a demon Vritra who envelopes all the water and is stricken by the thunderbolt of their king of gods, Indra. The black cloud Vritra is mortally wounded and bleeds releasing the water (his blood) as raindrops. The myths were created to imbue meaning and sometimes even have morals. These like the Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Bible, the Iliad and the Odyssey are great stories and the work of creative genius, sometimes studded with morals, but have little to do with truth, factual history or the word of gods or other non-existent creatures.  


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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