Society & Lifestyle
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Gold: No Wonder, it Glitters!
|by Kamal (Kam) Joshi|
It glitters and has luster, allure, shine, sparkle and its beautiful color - it is Gold - the only thing sought and adored by one and all from time immemorial. It is the hallmark of every King and every Queen. It is Gold by which athletes, the best of the best students, the achievers of all sorts are honored. It makes beautiful ladies even more beautiful and ugly men handsome. Every explorer looked for Gold and every retiree got a Gold watch. Every place of worship, every bank, every safe worth its weight is always awash in Gold. No wonder there is, like always, a new thirst for gold - seemingly unquenchable, and the price of Gold is going up by leaps and bound. The Golden Dragon is rising in the communist China and the Gold of India is being revered again and the Gold of Fort Knox - is growing in its value like the waxing Moon. It is Gold that makes nations proud and people happy. Or is it?
Because, there is another side to it; and there is nothing more cursed than Gold. An interesting story about Gold is from the historic “Katha” of the Mighty King Parikshit Maharaja. He was the emperor of the whole Universe a kind and just King, grandson of Lord Krishna’s friend Arjun. There was no problem, no crime, no unhappiness and no disease in his Kingdom. He was fearless and at the same time - humble, and was sinless. One day he saw the “Era of Sin”, incarnated as a demon, torturing a helpless Cow in an attempt to kill her - the sacred and the holy Cow. The cow was in reality a disguise of - “Purity, Dharma, Honesty and Spirituality”.
Parikshit Maharaja saw that torture and was absolutely disgusted. He wanted to punish the demon and admonished him saying, “Oh Demon who are you and why did you torture this cow? I will end your life right here and now”. As the King lifted his weapon to end the demon’s life, he, the “Era of Sin” disguised as the demon, pleaded, “I am really ashamed that I tortured ‘Dharma, Purity, Honesty, Spirituality - the Cow’, but I did it because that is my nature - I am the ‘Era of Sin’ and my time has arrived and today is the first day of my time, and this was my very first act, I had to do it because that is what I do, and it is, torturing the innocent - my job; and from now on wherever I am, that is what will happen."
Gold is such an enchanting thing that those who do not have it think if they get it they will be happy - and then they too can gamble and get away with illicit acts. One does just about anything to get Gold, like going to war and deception. Every war ends with the victor capturing all the Gold and all acts of fraud and deception are done to acquire Gold. People rush to the place where there is Gold - they forget all other purpose and just go for the Gold. If a Magnet attracts Iron - Gold attracts Men and Women alike. Everything, in their mind, is fair in Love and War and acquisition of Gold.
John Marshal lost his dream of developing a farm land to millions of squatters, the first illegal immigrants. They came by boat loads and kept on coming to “Pan” for Gold - developing a method that was called “Placer” method. And now Placer is a county in Northern California where it all started. There was nothing to support the survival of the Millions who came and found Gold and they built everything from scratch - homes, roads, schools, shops, churches, hospitals, brothels, bars, casinos and temples. They the 49ers built California with their sheer blood sweat and tear. The hand guns and saloon wars in the Gold country, lead to establishment of Law and order and Sacramento became the Capital of the Golden state, the state that trumpeted the clarion call - “Streets of America are paved with Gold’. And San Francisco became the city of the Golden Gate from where all the ships still enter the harbor and where the famous bridge “The Golden Gate Bridge” was built during the great depression of 1930’s. Most of the easily available gold in the placer county was panned and mined by 1900 and about 400 Tons of California Gold went all around the World, its value in today’s Dollars would be about 100 Billion Dollars or more. California thus became a state for the pursuers of a golden lifestyle and even today attracts millions from all around who come to California to seek Gold, no more in the Placer County, but, in the Silicon Valley.
This leads me to even a more interesting story about Gold - the story of King Midas. King Midas was also a very pious and honest King. One day, while walking in his garden, he saw an elderly satyr, a Greek mythological half man half goat, asleep in the flowers. Taking pity on the old fellow, King Midas let him go without punishment. When the ‘god’ Dionysus heard about it, he rewarded King Midas by granting him one wish. The king thought for only a second and then said, “I wish for everything I touch to turn to gold." And so it was.
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