Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Traveler,The Peasant and The Brahmin

A traveler, Muslim by faith, passing through a predominantly Hindu village, pleaded for shelter to a peasant of moderate affluence. The peasant was aware of the difference in their faiths, he knew that stranger standing before him was a beef-eater, one who called him a kaafir and prayed to his Allah. But he also saw a hungry man; he could relate to his tiredness as someone who has plowed his own fields, the traveler’s weariness was no stranger to him as one who was at the mercy of agents beyond his influence, factors beyond his control. The drooping beard, the disheveled hair and the pangs of hunger on his sweaty face appealed to the human in him. In his heart of hearts, he wanted to help this man. But he was hesitant. So, he decided to consult the priest of the village, a shrewd and learned Brahmin. The Brahmin scoffed at the idea of him helping a musalman and threatened him with dire consequences if he did so. He used his learning and eloquence to explain what a grave sin he was going to commit. He reasoned with the peasant, whether he actually wanted to give shelter to a cow-killer? The Brahmin smiled, inwardly, when the peasant left with a squarer jaw and a flinty look in his eyes. The Mohammedan was given the boot, no surprises there. The Hindu was saved from desecrating his dharma. He was happy, even proud, of his actions, considering it a step closer to Heaven.

Now, why did the Brahmin inspire the peasant in such a way? It was not because he actually believed in what he preached. Oh No! He was well versed in his shastras, he was aware of his first and foremost duty as a human, as a member of the family this World is. Vasudeva kutumbam was what his sacred texts had taught him. Had he been in a similar pickle, he would have actually cooked for the poor traveler, as he knew that, Atithi Devo Bhava. He had no objection to his being a Muslim, for he truly believed in Sarva Dharma Sambhava. But his knowledge did not deter him from doing what he did. Because it did not help him. The good will that the peasant would have earned was of no use to him. The control he had over the peasant, and his kind, was more important and beneficial to him. If the peasant somehow came to know, that his natural instincts and his common sense kept him on the morally and ethically right path, that he did not need the Brahmin’s wisdom, for what Life taught him was through its myriad ways was enough for him to live with his head held high, that he could reject the Brahmin’s wisdom if it did not appear wise to him; the Brahmin would lose the power he wielded over him, and subsequently the others. In an indirect fashion, the priest also influenced the Muslim’s lives, by ensuring that he was not sheltered. His one word could have been the difference between life and death for the traveler. Power was the most sinful delicacy the Brahmin had ever tasted.

But he forgot, that the power he acquired through gaining the good will of such Hindu peasants and Muslim travelers was purer, whiter and not easy to vanquish, as compared to what he wielded through control, deception and obfuscation. The surrender of the peasant and traveler to his will may or may not be a natural result, unwilling and half-hearted, but the good will of a fellow man cannot be forced out of him.

We all condemn Divide-and-Rule, but we all indulge in it, I think, if not consciously, then sub or un consciously. We all have been the Brahmin, the Peasant or the Muslim once.

The Brahmin could have been a Mullah,a Padri and the traveler a Hindu or a Sikh. It would all be the same. Humanity is so hell bent bickering , waging wars against each other , fellow species and Mother Nature , that it forgets why we are humans in the first place . An intelligent life form must have a higher purpose other than mere existence , at least not the way we exist now . Is it too much to expect this from Gaya's most intelligent child , to live with all the possible imperfections , but in a way which ensures that life itself is not threatened ?

Creative Disclaimer - No disrespect or mal intent intended towards Muslims , Non Brahmin Hindu peasants or Brahmins , in general . It is just a story , please treat it like one .

23 comments:

ramblingsbybones said...

Human nature is such that we are not happy with what we have - we want more and we want control so that we get more...Greed is the bane of our existence...

Vinod_Sharma said...

Nice story. Is it not ironical that while we are all human, we use the word of our respective gods to divide and kill?

I have never, ever understood, and never will, as to how the supreme GOD behave just like a petty chieftain and say that those who owe alliegance to other chieftains are "infidels" or need to be "saved", that is, brought over to his camp! If he is supreme, he is the boss of all of them and resides in and with them all. Is it not?

Therefore, I am of the firm opinion that this "come to my camp" call is not of God at all and has been created by his followers to get other into their human camps for increasing their power, wealth and influence on earth.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Pardon the typos.

Ordinary Guy said...

classic dude....

I loved this line:
We all have been the Brahmin, the Peasant or the Muslim once
----------

you are actually right. As much as I think that I am unbiased (not only religion), I also commit mistakes like this.....
Greed, human nature.....is all I can say....

but yes, dude..classic one.... seriously.....

Winnie the poohi said...

Beautiful story!

And yes I want to repeat what Vinodji said..

manju said...

Kislay- as long as the common people let these self-proclaimed representatives of God have such influence over them, this story will be repeatedover and over again.

Even worse than priests/ Mullas are today's 'Godmen'.

I am sickened by the way they con their followers into giving them large sums of money/ jewellery.

The only remedy for this is to go straight to the source. I do not know about other religions, but from what I have read, Hindu scriptures nowhere teach us to go against our conscience/ or to discriminate between fellow human beings.

Now so many scriptures have been translated from the original Sanskrit into other languages, they are easily read.

There are, of course, genuine scholars who only explain the scriptures and do not colour the explaination with their personal opinions.

lifeismystery said...

Very nice story..
You are right, we have all been there in their shoes once atleast...
We all are against the divide and rule policy but at the same time, we follow it knowingly/unknowingly...
Well written

Charakan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charakan said...

I fully agree with Vinod Sharma Most of the so called religous leaders are power hungry They promote hatred of other religions for their own interests Anyone crying hoarse their religion is in danger if someone sneezes or draw something or write something and those political parties who support them are having their narrow interest in gaining political power and nothing else

BK Chowla said...

This hindu -muslim identification is a creationof the neta class.Their survival depends on all this divide.I may have been a similar position sometime but I would do whatever it takes to ensureI remove this man's pain...to whatever extent i can.

vimmuuu said...

Boy O boy, this was good. You should seriously consider making atleast short documentaries with these scripts. You could add in a lot more with the visuals.

While reading it, even I felt bad for the traveller and hated the priest. But then towards the end, you also made me realise that I just one among them. Kudos Boss !

venkatesh said...

"An intelligent life form must have a higher purpose other than mere existence , at least not the way we exist now"

Shall we scribe this on the golden sheet?

Chrysalis said...

Lovely. Vinod ji said it all.It has been said in our scriptures that different religions maybe needed to sut different needs...people, races, regions. We are all part of the smae whole ...so whats the fight?
Truly said religion like all the other things is a victim of human weaknesses...greed for power, money, position. All the result of an infalted ego and a sense of ownership.

indyeahforever said...

Humanity is so hell bent bickering , waging wars against each other , fellow species and Mother Nature , that it forgets why we are humans in the first place . An intelligent life form must have a higher purpose other than mere existence , at least not the way we exist now .
my thoughts exactly..

I would echo OG's words here and say the same..

we constantly strive to be unbiased..the best of us falter ..no surprises there..many a time I find myself teetering on the edge..

but yes its the ones who can come back from the edge..those who can take a step back ..those are the ones who keep humanity alive and kicking...


need I say a brilliant story? :)

Vinod Sir too has said it eloquently..my thoughts are echoed there as well..

AnjuGandhi said...

this is the root cause of most of the problems of our country.
I people start followig humaniy as their religion. our country or rather this world would be a much better place.
nice story and enlightening views

Child Of Adam said...

@ Kislay

It is in our nature to be greedy, and never be satisfied. The learned people and the wise sages will never say that God loves me more than He loves you.I think religion has been (mis)used by the politicians and God men, one time too many for their vested interests? So much so, that religion has been rendered a dirty word. It has been politicized, it has been turned into a dirty game and poor God has been left in the corner to nurse his own wounds.

People who don't question, are the ones who blindly follow whatever their priest says, citing some chalisa or quran or bible or anythin... Those who begin to ask questions are the ones who are looked down upon by the others, coz "Dude, you are going against what the Lord says!!"... Funnily, even the God men have no answers. Religion is such a tool which wields an incredible amount of power.

Solilo said...

Kislay, only if all of us could really think like this.

We are human with all our vices.

destinationinfinity said...

Just wait to see the same kind of things happen with Science too. All people want is control. Let them have it - the process they follow to have it is troublesome and difficult. Sometimes I wonder, if all the trouble is worth the paltry control they get in the end!!

Destination Infinity

wordsndreamz said...

That was so beautiful! And you said it so well with
'We all condemn Divide-and-Rule, but we all indulge in it, I think, if not consciously, then sub or un consciously. We all have been the Brahmin, the Peasant or the Muslim once.' So true..

' An intelligent life form must have a higher purpose other than mere existence , at least not the way we exist now ' So true again..

BALVINDER KUMAR said...

Excellent article indeed. Informative and thought provoking.

J P Joshi said...

A really beautiful story and the analogies therein. Enjoyed reading the story, and the message.

indianhomemaker said...

Loved this story Kislay.

And it was also good to read... "first and foremost duty as a human, as a member of the family this World is, Vasudeva kutumbam" is one of my favorites beliefs.

We live in a power hungry world, and religion is an easy route to power for most...

Chikki said...

Awesome post..!!