Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Is this the Hand of God?

The recent tragedy in North India, the flood, the devastation, the loss of life in that region got me thinking about the expiration date of things. I know it sounds a little insensitive of me to put it in a matter-of-fact way but I can’t help thinking about this series of incidents from an objective angle. Is it so that everything must be destroyed and then renewed again through a new process, is it Nature’s way of saying that we went too far or are these natural calamities God’s way of wiping the slate clean to start again?

I thought about the God angle and as I thought, I saw even deeper into it and came to the following conclusion. There are many examples of floods destroying those places where evil had bloomed out of control and the people become so corrupt that it seemed impossible to remove those stains from their soul and so they were washed away or one can say that they were perhaps smitten by the Hand of God. I’m not saying that it should have happened but it seems that it did. Now, as I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, there seem to be many indications of such incidents to have occurred in the past as well as in contemporary times. I have noted only a few which came through the top of my head because I’m too lazy to research anything in my vacations.

So, first up on the list is the incident from the Bible. In Christian mythology, God washed away life from the whole planet once upon a time and just kept this man Noah alive, supposedly because he was a righteous man living in a rotten world. God, it says, literally made it rain till the whole world was flooded and people of all races and religions and languages and colour and creed were washed away because they had become corrupt and their souls could not be saved. So, apparently, and I’m just guessing here, God wanted to start things fresh but didn't want to go through the whole man-making process again, so he left Noah and his family alive.

From Plato’s work we get that the Greek God, Poseidon destroyed the island of Atlantis with a flood because the people had become too corrupt to save. There is an alternate theory that says that he was pretty pissed at the Atlanteans choosing to elect the Goddess Athena as their protector instead of him, so he caused the tsunami that in turn caused Atlantis to sink beneath the waves, but who knows? Greek Gods seemed to do whatever the hell they pleased, at least according to Hollywood movies, and you know, the fact that they were Gods… So yeah.

So this was history. Now coming back to the present. India has seen her share of floods but what happens when a pilgrimage spot is washed out? What happens when a place of worship is inundated and a lot of people who have travelled to pray – are killed? It is often hard to believe how these things happen, especially for a devout person (which I assure you, I’m not).

How can a House of God be flooded?

How can pilgrims, who have gone to pray, die?

So, you see what I’m trying to say here is that there is a scarcity of Faith, a sudden dearth thereof.
For example, when India’s east coast was hit by a tsunami in 2004, the Basilica of Our Lady of Health Vailankanni in Tamil Nadu, India, was flooded and a lot of people died too. Then came the questions that I mentioned earlier and the doubt and the questioning of Faith. But, if one were to compare what happened here with those ancient floods and the theory of corruption and the anger of God, it may seem plausible that the same may have happened here. I have been to Vailankanni and it’s a beautiful shrine, but on the other hand, I saw how the people had converted the house of God into a marketplace. I was reminded of another incident in the Bible which describes how Jesus flew into a rage and started hitting the merchants and traders sitting outside and doing business at the Temple of Jerusalem. Maybe this was history being repeated, who knows?

If you have managed to bear with me till this point, you will now notice that I've come a full circle to the point where we started. The floods in Uttarakhand may be the anger of God being directed at the place of pilgrimage becoming a centre for tourism and commerce. Everyone knows that a place of worship, especially one which is much hyped, is sure to turn into a tourist spot as well. I think everyone who is well informed knows the prices at which things are being sold in these religious places and even more so because of this calamity. With that, the ‘Marketplace in the House of God’ scene is replayed. What can one expect then?

Note: Through this post, I’m not propagating that floods at religious places should be a regular visitor. Nor am I insinuating that all the people who died or were affected by such calamities were sinners and deserved it. I’m also not inciting hatred against God (because that would be kind of stupid). These are just my musings on a flood well travelled and one of the possible reasons behind the same.

To know more about the marketplace in the House of God, I suggest you read this post by