Every religion has it’s myths. Christianity swears by a Jesus who walked on water, brought a dead dude to life and turned water into wine. (Jesus chose the wrong profession. He should have taken out a lease on a bistro instead).
Likewise, every religion has it’s accompanying myths. Myths seem fantastical but they are meant to create symbolisms.
Take Hanuman, the half-ape, half-man demi-God in the Hindu epic “Ramayana” who was known for his blind loyalty to the capo-di-tutti-capi of Gods, Rama. Rama is an exiled God king.
Oh yeah, Hinduism likes it’s messiahs and Gods to be members of the elite, unlike those of the Abrahamic faiths which have strictly blue collar messiahs who fit the narrative – fighting oppression. Jesus was a carpenter, Mohammad a camel washer in a caravan and old Moe – just a dumb bearded nut with a stick who wandered around the wilderness for forty years, mumbling to himself over and over…”Where the fuck am I?”
In this little anecdote, Rama, the exiled heir to the throne at the kingdom of Ayodhya, returns to claim his crown after 14 years in the wilderness. If you are not a Hindu, you’d want to know why Rama took off on his decade long camping trip, but it is a wierd Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings story. You’re better off not knowing why, trust me.
Rama’s triumphant return from the hills and coronation is a grand affair. On a certain level, it bears some similarity to the marriage of Connie Corleone in ‘The Godfather’. Custom dictates that the bride and groom have to award gifts and boons to the help. So, Rama’s wife, Sita, gifts her priceless sapphire ring to Hanuman as a reward for his blind loyalty to Rama.
Hanuman takes the ring, pops the sapphire from it’s setting and scrutinizes it as if he was looking for something in it. When he sees nothing but a dumb sapphire, he chucks the ring into the dumpster. This annoys Sita. Understandable. If you gift someone a priceless jewel and he destroys it in front of your eyes, you’d be pissed too.
Rama is perplexed too. He asks Hanuman what the eff he was trying to find in the ring. Why did he pop the precious stone and throw it away? Hanuman replies, “I am trying to find my Rama in the ring. Anything that does not have Rama in it, is of no use to me.” (I have to say, Hanuman sounded a bit like Mike Pence there).
You’d think Hanuman is bonkers but there’s a symbolism in his words. In our race for material comforts and luxuries we have forgotten God. We have begun believing that there is happiness and peace without Him. Life and it’s pleasures and desires is the sapphire ring that Sita gave Hanuman.
But in spite of it’s priceless value, the ring failed to attract Hanuman because he didn’t see Rama in it, meaning thereby that whatever may be our possessions and attainments, we shall never be able to attain the ultimate nirvana if we are not devoted to the Supreme.
What puzzles me though, is the fact that it was the divine Sita who tempted Hanuman with the ring. Had Rama orchestrated the whole thing? Did he make Sita give Hanuman the ring to test his devotion to him? One never can tell. Trust me, Gods can be nuts too.
There are parallels to that inexplicably petty act on part of the divine, in other faiths as well. The Christian/Jewish/Islamic God’s ‘test’ of Abraham’s faith comes readily to mind, when an egocentric and insecure God forcibly orders Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, not bothering to tell him why the kid has to die. Of course, God – through his own version of Sarah Huckabee Sanders – tells Abraham to stop at the last split-second, when Abraham’s arms are raised and about to strike. What a display of vicarious, macabre cheap thrill seeking!
Let me tell you something. If someone I am devoted to asks me to kill my son, I’ll tell him to go fuck himself and if I see him again I’ll kill him with my own bare hands, plain and simple, God or no God.
Is it small wonder that I am an atheist?
The divine Sita, presenting Hanuman with the sapphire ring. I have no idea who that black broad (right foreground) is.