Archive for war

Bhagavad Gita

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2012 by javedbabar

“Why can’t we do proper stories?” said Danny. He was still unhappy about Tao Te Ching being forced upon him last month.

Maybe his mind is totally rational, thought Sophie, and this stuff is too wacky for him. But there was more to it than that.

He said, “It’s another piece of religious propaganda. Myths I am okay with, as nobody treats them seriously. People think of them as meaningful stories, but don’t insist they are the word of God. I don’t believe in supernatural agencies, full stop.”

He is becoming more troublesome, thought Sophie. I could fire him but he’s such a great technician. I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

“Going back to your original point, Danny, this is a proper story. The Bhagavad Gita is part of one of the greatest stories ever told, the Mahabharata, which is ten times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The Gita is its essence.”

There were regular battles between Danny and Sophie. She liked working with people who brought positive energy to tasks. Danny’s endless negativity was tiresome and it affected other crew members. To pull off multimedia spectaculars at QARY, the converted old quarry, she needed a tight team. There was no room for cowards and traitors.

Sophie wasn’t against conflict. It was a way of sizing up opposing views, integrating, and hopefully transcending them, to a higher form of thought. Could she do that with Danny? He would need convincing. It was her leadership test.

She said, “Gandhi called the Gita his spiritual dictionary. Within it he sought the answer to every difficult question, and its teachings inspired the Indian independence movement. Do you practice yoga? You don’t? Okay, what about other people? Ah, most of you do. The Gita contains the essence of yoga; it details Karma, the yoga of action, Bhakti, the yoga of love, and Jnana, the yoga of knowledge, and promotes a positive philosophy of life.”

Danny was grinning, so Sophie asked, “What’s up?”

“I thought you would try to overwhelm us with stuff like this, so I did my own research. The whole story is about a war. The prince, Arjuna, is caught up in a huge battle; his brothers are on one side, and his cousins, uncles, teachers and friends are on the other. He doesn’t want to fight at all, he wants to make peace, and if he can’t do that, he would rather die than kill others.

“But his charioteer, Krishna, tells him to fight. He says it is his duty to fight. He has to do the best he can, regardless of outcome. And the Gita speaks highly of the caste system, and about women as lowly. Why do you want us to promote these ideas?”

Sophie was furious. Danny was trying to derail her project. She said, “I am sure you know it is symbolic. Sure, a war analogy is problematic. It can be misinterpreted, but it can also be used to show the ethical and moral struggles of life.” She decided to cut short her sermon and practice Karma Yoga instead.

They ran through the production’s practical aspects and then discussed the climax, where Krishna reveals that he is the ultimate cause of all material and spiritual existence, and his cosmic form, Visvarupa, is unleashed, a theophany facing every direction.

Sophie said, “So we will need one thousand projectors to emit the radiance of a thousand suns, and one thousand mirrors to contain all beings in material existence. Danny you are in charge of procuring those.”

“But I won’t be able to get so many so quickly.”

Sophie gave him a hard look and said, “Well just do the best you can. That’s the message of the Gita.”

Breeding and Feeding

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by javedbabar

Dimpy (Dimples) asked Jamali if he’d done homework. He said, “Yes, Miss Kashi, I have done it.” The whole class was amazed. It was the first time ever in Spatial Studies class that a student had done homework. What was going on?

The course had no fixed subject matter, just a desire to fill the gaps in thoughts. It was less about education, and more about expression and entertainment. Even Dimpy couldn’t recall what task she’d set the class last week.

“Please remind the class of the homework assignment.”

“The assignment was, ‘Write a page about the biggest space in your life’.”

“And that’s what you’ve done?” The surprise in her voice was obvious. “Will you please read it to us?”

Jamali looked down. “What’s the matter?” said Dimpy.

“I thought you would mark it at home,” he said. “I didn’t think people in the class would hear it.”

“But these are your classmates, Jamali. You all learn together. That’s the idea.”

He was a quiet boy, she’d noticed, but other students were really nice to him always; unnaturally so. They began calling out, “Go on Jamali! Read it out!”

“You’re the only one who’s done it!”

“Make us proud!”

He had his eyes closed, and then opened them and nodded. “Okay, I will read it out.” He cleared his throat, opened his eyes and began, “My father is a scientist in Salistan.” Where was that? Dimpy wondered. Was she meant to know? “He is a university professor with PhD’s in both biology and psychology. He says that all knowledge is connected, and it’s not how much you know, it’s how well you fit it together.”

Ah! Thought Dimpy. That’s what I’m doing here with Spatial Studies, trying to fill the gaps between thoughts.

He continued, “We travelled all across the country, seeing and exploring. There were such wide valleys and plains that we spent days crossing them. Such big spaces that I thought they must be inhabited by giants.”

That’s some space, thought Dimpy.

“When the war began in Salistan, my father said it was inevitable. Human warfare is like animal warfare, he said; it is mainly about control of territory for breeding and feeding. It is also affected by psychological maladjustments and complexes. These lead to frustrations and fears, which are exploited by aggressive leaders, who have maladjustments and fears of their own.”

Dimpy thought, boy, he’s good.

“Furthermore, dysfunctional socioeconomic systems lead to the disproportionate influence of special interest groups such as capitalists, the military, and industry. My father believed that humans had developed their outer world substantially but not their inner world adequately. They remained selfish and aggressive, and were unlikely to change. Their long term solution lay not on a shrinking planet. They must disperse through the universe. Go to outer space.”

A student whistled, and others nodded.

Jamali continued, “Being a scientist, my father was not allowed to leave Salistan, but he managed to smuggle me out of the country and I came to Canadia. I promised him that I would always be a good boy and do my homework. So I’ve done it.”

Dimpy said, “Thank you, Jamali. Your father would be very proud of you. When did you last speak with him?”

He looked up at her and said, “I haven’t seen him since I left Salistan. That is my space.”