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Posted at: May 15, 2019, 6:24 AM; last updated: May 15, 2019, 6:24 AM (IST)

In the name of another God

In the name of another God

Maninder Bains

When I first saw the Pantheon in Rome, it was raining that day. I stood in the damp air and marvelled at the oculus at the top of the temple. It is said emperor Hadrian wanted it to let the light come in, and also to reveal to us both conditions: how we stand exposed to the infinite sky and still remain enclosed in its shelter. For me, it was a spiritual experience which one can go through at any place. God’s blessings are not confined to particular places. The circular opening in the roof stood as an appreciation for the mystery that surrounds and stands at the centre of our lives, and is the heart of religion.

But people fight for temples and mosques to be built at a particular place to go through a spiritual or religious experience. They’re ready to illuminate one another. I never understand the discord based on religion, caste and creed or colour. The atmosphere of hate has caught the pulse of fundamentalists who feel only they are religious, they are close to the gods, and only they know the right path. The secular fibre is missing. We hear news related to lynching, killing, molesting and other forms of crime. Even calling names, swearing, hate speeches and communal acts have become common. 

These reactionaries have missed Nicholas of Cusa’s point: the name of God ‘Theos’ in Greek means to ‘see’ because God ‘looks on all things’. Kindness, peace and love have no need for a mosque, church, religion or borders. It’s absurd to believe that there is only one gate to paradise. But the ghosts of brutalities haunt every heart and shed the blood of innocent. Innocence is the aching art of divinity where adoration whirls in circles and exhales a prayer unfolding her limbs in the same way as the lotus assumes its posture. Alas! The world has forgotten those people advancing the alchemy of love. Aristotle’s ‘political man’ has lost his character in the ‘diabolic man’.

Dr Faustus’ relevance is pertinent even today. People seek quick money, fame and power, even if it means a pact with the devil. The tragedy of the modern times is, as Nietzsche puts it: ‘God is dead, and we have killed him, you and I!’

Peace is a word forgotten. A woman is now a whimper of life as clouds of molestation and rape wash her rainbows away. All those facing turbulent tides must lift their spirits, soaked in the stained moon waxing with painful reveries, and step out of the ring of lamentation with strength to fly to new horizons full of love, joy and endless possibilities. Marcus Aurelius stated that one must be like the promontory against which the tides continually break and stand firm and also tame the fury of the water around it. 

You carry in you all the ingredients to turn your life into joy. Mix well!


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