I got a forward from a friend which was something like this:
"Arjuna always wondered why Rama did not build the bridge to Lanka himself and took the help of monkeys. So he met Hanuman to clarify this. Then, Arjuna had a bet with Hanuman that he would build an unbreakable bridge and if he failed he would enter the fire. Then, he skillfully built a bridge of arrows. Hanuman prayed to Rama and placed his tail on the bridge and it broke down. As per the bet, Arjuna was about to enter the fire when an old Brahmin happened to come there. He told that since a bet is not valid without a witness, they should start over again. Arjuna prayed to Krishna and constructed the bridge of arrows. Hanuman stepped on the bridge arrogantly, but nothing happened. He walked around, jumped, but no, the bridge did not move an inch. Now, the old Brahmin turned into Krishna and he said - 'The first time Arjuna thought that he was building the bridge and Hanuman took Rama's name, so the bridge fell down. The second time, Arjuna prayed to Krishna and Hanuman was arrogant that he could easily break the bridge, so the bridge stayed intact'"

I made an honest attempt to wipe that disgusted look off my face. What does the story really mean? That man's skills or abilities dont matter at all? The only thing that matters is you should attribute everything to God? I wondered what would have happened if Hanuman had taken Rama's name and Arjuna Krishna's name. Draw match?

I know where the strong theists come from. They might say that its just a moral story to convey that arrogance is a bad quality. Hey, give me a break! Arrogance, pride, ego, selfishness - all these qualities which are otherwise portrayed as bad qualities, are not bad per se. I think all these qualities are good if they are within limits. A person without ego cannot love himself. One who cant love himself loses the ability to love others. Positive arrogance helps to keep unwanted people away from you. See, these are not bad qualities at all.

I have heard of another line of argument. Compare yourselves to the universe. Universe is a huge place containing billions of galaxies, each containing a billions of stars. You live on earth, in a solar system where sun is one such star. In that, you live in India, in Bangalore, in some pathetic room that costs a fortune. Now, see your accomplishment in that big context is zero. Agreed, a man is not as big as Jupiter or Saturn, but why should you hold that against him? You cant say that a sitar player is nothing, just because a volcano has the ability to easily destroy thousands like him.

I remembered meeting the missionaries at Temple Square. The missionaries were seeing the miracles, power and grace of God. But, I could see a group of determined people who walked hundreds of miles and built a city which did not exist 150 years ago. You call me a puppet in God's hands? I am proud to be a puppet that can think about the hand that is holding its strings!

Though I dont strongly believe in God, I am no fanatic atheist. Unless provoked, I am just a nice (almost) agnostic. But, why is it that the love for God has to mean showing the man as useless and pathetic? Is the feeling "Yes, I did it!" anti-God? I dont think so! Why is it that excessive-pro-God always becomes anti-human? God, if you exist, dont you think man deserves some credit and respect?

3 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    I agree completely.
    -krupa
    Anonymous said...
    i dont agree to this completely. I dont understand why are u thinking so much which is not true at all, arjuna and hanuman, chatting and betting. many plp who read ramayana and mahabharata, start their own stories of it.
    this is just an example of that.
    but i still agree.
    Bhavana Shankar Rao said...
    I completely agree with you Vasuki.
    It is always amazing how theists build their stories with no evidence.
    I too am not a fanatic atheist like Richard Dawkins (sometimes I feel people like him are necessary), but I always argue when people say ' you should not say I, its ego'. I say if you do not love yourself, then you certainly will not love others properly. If I am not happy how can I help others?
    I liked the example of sitar and volcano. It makes so much sense :-)
    Cheers.

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