I think that the hardest thing about being good is that you have to be so belligerent all the time.
You are either fighting off the bad people or you are fighting bad deeds. Or, as is more often the case with common people like me, one is constantly fighting theurge to wade into the muck to get even with evil. That is the worst scenario of all. You emerge from such enterprise neither a winner nor a content person. And there is a lot of dirty washing to do afterwards which is tedious and unpleasant.
Actually come to think of it, there is another even worse impediment to being good and that entails the crime of “maintaning peace” “being diplomatic” which in effect means, “play along with the bad” . Pretend it isn’t bad. Or just do what bad does, smile when your heart is crying, say nice agreeable things when what you actually wish to do is to scream, “this is not FAIR!!!! You are evil”.
Sometimes it is tiresome to try to stay “good” …
Anyway, this postis mainly about Sex and the lies Indians (dot, not feather) are made to believe.
The other day I was told that Indians are averse to talking about sex and that sex has never played an important role in our lives and culture, as it has in the West.
Is that really a fact?
What about the Mahabharata?
It has been called the national epic of India…in very much the same sense that the Illiad is the national epic of Classical Greece. The Mahabharata is the story of a great war that ended one age and began another. The story has been passed down to us in a classical canon of Sanskrit verses some 100,000 stanzas long; that’s about 12 times the length of the Western Bible….the earliest layers of the epic were composed between 2500 and 3000 years ago.
The Mahabharata contains virtually all the lore and legend of the Classical Hindu Tradition – which is also, in typical Hindu defiance of simple-minded historicity – very much a living tradition. Here are the great creation stories – Manu’s flood, the churning of the ocean, the descent of the Ganges. Here are the favorite myths and fairy tales. Here are the jokes. Here are the codes of law – moral, ethical, natural. One of the best things about the Mahabharata is its wonderful richness of episode and detail.
But Mahabharata is not a random collection of tales, like the Medieval gestes (to further prove the habit of thinking Eurocentrically). Every digressive bit of the Mahabharata is there to shed light on a central story. The core event of that story is the great battle that was fought on the field of Kurukshetra between the five sons of King Pandu and their allies on the one side and the hundred sons of King Dhritarashtra, with their allies, on the other side. The battle was the culmination of a long history of struggle and diplomatic maneuvering, and it involved virtually every tribal king and every powerful city-state in Central and Northern India at the time.
It was a tragic war, that pitted brothers against brothers, sons against fathers and uncles, brave noble men against brave noble men. And it was devastating. Nearly all of the best men died in the long battle. The Pandavas, the sons of King Pandu, survived, but there was no victory, for the war had destroyed the world that they knew, and the emptiness of what they had won colored the rest of their lives. (WM Blake)
WM Blake’s account is one of the best and most informative and lucidly written accounts of the great Indian epic I have read so far.
As he points out the Mahabharata is a living tradition in India – but is it?
For example, let us consider “sex”.
Isn’t half of what is in the epic, about politics and statecraft and the other half of The Mahabharata really about “sex” in all its manifestations in a (modern) society?
Marriages were defined and conducted, based on lust and sexual preferences of men and women. Governements relied on sex and sexual relations to stay in power. Father son relationship gets defined and subsequent history is influenced by the sexual urges of one man (Santanu).
If Vishma had not committed to never marry, and if he had children, would the Mahabharata have been what it is?
Vishma is called “vishma” because he had made this terrible vow to his father’s would be wife’s father: I shall never take a wife to ensure your daughter’s son is the regent to the throne of Hastinapur.
King Shantanu, Vishma’s father, lusted after this beautiful woman called Gangaand in his middle age went so far as to stake the claim of his legitimate heir to get what he wanted.
What about Prince Pandu? Why is he called “pandu” ?
The term means someone that is weak and cannot bear the excitement of sexual acts. He had married early and because he liked both the dark and light skinned Princesses that were shown to him, he married them both and lived so recklessly for the first few years of his married life that he became ill. Later, he was advised to abstain so he could live and rule.
But he needed an heir.
So, the kulo-purohit or the royal Priest and their court advised them to use sperm donors to get children.
In those days you had to fly in the donor so he could mate directly with your wife. They could, for obvious reasons, not do it at the palace. You know the common people. They are insensible to the ways of statecraft and they might not understand. So the King and his two queens, Madri and Kunti were chariot driven to the forests.
In those days women had rights.
So, the King asked the queens to decide who they wanted to be donor for their children. Kunti and Madri together, had chosen the Sun God, Indra the ruler of Heaven and Earth, and three other Gods with specific powers and endowments to donate sperms for them.
Indra and the Sun are both known to be tall, fair skinned, strong and good looking men with sharp features. Probably they were white men – Caucasians. Arjuna the ace archer was sired by him.
Bheema was dark skinned and the strongest of the five brothers (but had the kindest heart and the one that really truly loved Draupadi). The books say “Vayu” or “Pavan Deva” – the ruler of the winds – could have been a Sri Lankan or Dravidian.
Yudhistira was fathered by Dharma. Nakula and Sadeva were sired by the Aswin twins, the Gods of Medicine – doctors basically and known to be very good looking. These brothers could have been from the Eastern part of India judgiung the description of theway the princes looked and even the way the Aswins are described.
Yudhistira, Bheema and Arjuna – the eldest three were the sons of Kunti, the fair skinned, doe eyed Princess. Nakula and Sadeva were the sons of the olive skinned and sexy siren Madri.
But we could go back further – to Ramayana, the other epic, that is made the basis for the militant Hinduism today.
How was Rama and all his brothers born?
The King of Koshal (capital city Ayodhya), had been married for years and happily – he had three queens , Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. But they had no son.
So, the royal Priest advised they perform the great puthreshti yagna (yagna = a fire rite) , for which the King had to go personally and inviteMuni Rishyasringa. Later from the fire of the sacred rites, emerged a beautiful deva, that offered a little saucer full of what is called “payesam” to the King and directed him to feed it to his queens.
They did get sons – four of them: Rama, Bharat (yes, this is the Bharat whose name is actually what the Indians call India, “Bharatbarsha”), Lakshman and Shatrughna. This could be a symbolic way of hinting at using a sperm donor for childbirth.
And how did women get married in those days?
Before Manu slapped his terrible repressive rules on the women of India, women had swayambhar sabhas held for them when they were of marriageable age.
The family of the lady invited all the eligible bachelors and she was briefed about who is who and then she was ushered into the sabha or the gathering with a garland in her hand. She would out it around the neck of whoever appealed to her the best.
Manu had clapped the rule of marriage and marking, because when he was a boy he had watched his mother walk off with a sage that requested her favour. It was permmitted. Because sex was not a dirty act or a dirty word back then. It was a sensible, serious business and one that was a matter of choice and consent.
It was common among the sages and Princes to have consensual sex with who ever they liked. When they wanted to, they approahed people and they asked, it was never a “wham, bam, thank you Mam” searing, tearing act of violent deed or a taboo.
People were civilized about it. They wrote about it unabashedly . They celebrated it, acknowledged children born out of love or lust and took sex seriously.
I wish I was born then instead of now. We seem to have lost so much with “progress”. In so many ways, India, aparently, has actually regressed.
I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there…