Below is final chapter of the first part of Dr. Stephen Gill,s latest novel The Chhattisgarh. It has more about the theory of detachment, more about the Vedas, the more about the mythology of 5 thousand years old Dandakarnya, the more about Kalpna and more about the central character Reghu and his religious views in a world of violence.
REGHU IN RAJNANDGAON
When Kalpna’s enigma hit the literary nerve of Reghu’s creativity, he began to think of going into his basement once again to listen to the night’s calmness and the rumbling of its furnace. In his latest visit to India, he centered his hope on untangling this enigma of Kalpna, a college professor, who took two steps forward and one step back for no apparent reason and kept their affairs secret as much as it was possible. Reghu assessed her with the theory of detachment that led her to the freedom from the drama of the intensity in love relations. Reghu began to believe that India’s serious issues had strong links to the practice of detachment, expressed also as non-attachment, and had loose links to the vague theory of reincarnation. These theories or ideologies weaved a net to enslave citizens to an empty vision. He believed that an infant comes into this world with the feelings of attachment and to curb the natural font of attachment develop disorders. He had read a research that had demonstrated that lack of attachment promoted the growth of depressive dislocations until there was some kind of intervention.
After Kalpna left Raipur for her home in Indore, Reghu thought also of the days when he was madly in love with her without seeing or even hearing her voice over the phone. The exchange of their emails had heightened their love that started waning when Reghu began to realize that she was generous in making promises and miser in honoring them. He further thought she could be one of those who expected fabulous letters or were attracted to the exoticism of poets, or one of those who had been under the impression that poets in the West are famous and prosperous, not knowing that most creative artists in the East as well as in the West had cheerless marital lives.
No matter what the reasons had been, Reghu was now certain that the birds of laughers in the summer of his happiness had lost their way. He had begun to sense the approach of the evening in the orchard of his love. He began to prepare himself to retire to the hermitage of writing without a woman’s love. Their relationship could have grown healthier if she had shared also his concerns as a writer. That could have helped even her in multiple ways. He felt her attitude could be the result of some pressure from someone to disassociate her from Reghu. Who that person could be and why, had been Reghu’s
another enigma. One who could touch these enigmas was her sister Amita, but she was cleverly driven out of the picture by someone. Every time he tried to nourish his flowers, the hands of Kalpna’s detachment appeared from nowhere. He considered the heart a vessel that was nothing once it breaks. He had reminded her more than once that the vessel was about to break, but she continued walking on the path that Reghu felt humiliating to his love.
Reghu was happy to see Kalpna again, hoping that she would view the theory of detachment differently and would view favorably the theory of attachment, which was also from India. He had not given up his attempts, though he did not feel the warmth that was from the unexplainable fire of trust. He was devoid of that comforting warmth when he saw her off at the railway station, and was devoid of that comforting warmth even when he met her at Raipur for two weeks. He was not able to melt the iceberg of what had happened in Simla, again in Meerut, then in Ludhiana and elsewhere. He had questions for which she had no logical answers, particularly when she said that her husband had faith in her even if she slept in the same room with a stranger and expected the same faith in her from Reghu. To bring this matter of faith right in the beginning of their journey was not an insightful step. Kalpna had disgraced his love while at the same time talking of the higher level of the love of Radha and Meera.
Reghu mused on this in the room he had rented in Rajnandgaon with the help of Prof. Pujari. After Kalpna left, he decided to focus on his next project that was to write about the Adivasi. He believed that one of the oldest civilizations in the world must have flourished around Chhattisgarh, although it remained the land of punishment where Lord Rama had spent most of the fourteen years of his exile with his wife Sita and his step-brother Lakshman. The area, the old version of the imprisonment of today, was called Dandakarnya, the abode of the demon Dundak. It is hard to specify the exact area of Dandakarnya, but it did include Rajnandgaon. It was around this area where Surpnakha, the sister of Ravana who was the king of Sri Lanka, had met Rama about five thousand years ago and made a proposal for marriage for which her nose was chopped off by Lakshman.
Reghu was convinced that Surpnakha was disgraced by Lakshman, an Aryan, because she was an Adivasi, aboriginal. Even if she was driven by her physical hunger, the act of cutting the nose of a female, particularly when she was a guest and alone, was not the expression of heroism.
Reghu also mused that Rajnandgaon was the home of Kamleswar Das, a prominent member of the local royal family and a human rights activist, who studied at Rajkumar College in Raipur and later at Cambridge University in England in the Sixties. Reghu liked Rajnandgaon because it had libraries and was not far from Kaligarh University and Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. At the same time Professor Pujari was around.
Reghu read that Rajnandgaon was carved out of Durg, and the founder of the state of Rajnandgaon was Bairagi. In the beginning it was called Nandgaon. Nand refers to Lord Krishna, and its ruler at that time was Krishna Upasaka. Later, the word raj was prefixed. In 1948, this state was merged with the Union of India. Its first ruler was Mahant Digvijaydas, who died in 1958. The Adivasi’s proportion of the population was around 25 percent, and their social structure was like the tribal structure of Bastar. They lived far from the city. The area was prominent for national and international sports personalities, particularly in the area of hockey.
Reghu had never been in the far off regions of Rajnandgaon where the Adivasi, the aboriginals, led a life which existed for Reghu in myths and government pamphlets. He believed that there must be people who could help him to meet them. Academicians around universities were little interested in Reghu’s pursuits. Once in a while, they promised to find another historian who had done some work on them, but nothing more than that. Even those historians lacked the first hand knowledge about the Adivasi. Universities and colleges had been interested in his lectures about his own writing and showed the least interest in connecting him to the Adivasi culture. They did not extend his stay at their guest houses for more than three days and did not encourage him to visit their libraries. He felt he will have to try other means to pursue his interest with the help of Professor Dr. Pujari. There were two scholars who could help him. One was Sulekhna who was doing her doctorate on his works and another was Sittal, a teacher and also a doctoral student. Both had been helpful as was Sittal’s husband.
Raghu’s studies had convinced him that nearly all the aboriginals of the world considered the earth as their mother. Governments in most nations exploited nature in the name of progress to set up industrial complexes or for other projects. Reghu believed that the earth had been there long before the religious texts were written and therefore earth was the original text of every religion. Religious texts should be put on the shelves for some time to read the original text and that original text was nature. This was the time to swim in the fresh waters of common wisdom to restore health to the earth, because the demise of the earth was the demise of every culture.
Breathing in the morning of such views, Reghu planned to live in Rajnandgaon for a while to study and write about the Adivasi. He needed a place that he could call a home away from home. He could stay with his niece in Noida that was close to Delhi but was far
away from Chhattisgarh. To bother a relative again and again even for a couple of months was not advisable. In the 60 years since he had left India, the country was becoming more and more new to him. He argued that India welcomed the money of diaspora without keeping their comfort in mind. Indian governments could learn from China in this field, he argued further with himself.
One Sunday when Reghu was enjoying the warmth of the sun rays coming from the window, he saw Prof. Pujari coming with his usual relaxed appearance glued to his cell phone.
Sitting on the chair next to Reghu he said in his usual soft tone, “I have been reading your Chhattisgarh series with interest. I am certain that readers would like to know more about Reghu. There is not much, except that Reghu had been an Indian diaspora writer in Canada.”
“Professor Pujari, you know that Reghu is a follower of Jesus.”
“I know because of our friendship and because I am the guide to Sulekhna, a doctoral student on you. Reghu is not a Christian name, in any case.”
“My name was John Paul. I have changed it to Reghu in Canada for my identity.” “You do not mention it anywhere. ‘’
“The whites thought I have changed my name to John Paul, a Western name. I was considered a Hindu because of my appearance and accent. It was hard to make them understand that I was Christian. Once I had to call police for some reason. When the officer began to write his report, he asked my name. He was adamant to know my real name. I told him that John Paul was not a Western name—it was a Biblical and my real name. I also told him that when English people used to live nude in jungles, there was Christianity in India and it was there long before Christopher Columbus discovered the territory called Canada now. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, brought Christianity to India. It is a historical fact.”
“Does it mean you have changed your Christian principles?” Prof. Pujari asked politely looking around.
“John Paul is not a Western name—these are Biblical names. The followers of Jesus can use any name. His followers in Africa use African names; his followers in Russia, use Russian names; his followers in Muslim nations, use Muslim names; and his followers in India, use mostly Indian names. Christianity is not based on names though some use Biblical names for identity.
“There is no such thing as a Christian name as there are Hindu names, such as Ram Lal, Sunil Kumar, and Madan Mohan or Muslim names, such as Abdullah, khan, Ali, Mohammed or Sikh names, which end with Singh. There are no Christian foods either or Christian language or clothes. The Christians who are born in Africa have African names and their language is their national or local language. So this is as well with the Christians born in Russia and Muslim nations. Christianity is the conversion of the interior, not the conversion of the exterior of an individual. The Ten Commandments, the base of Christianity, came directly from God and Christ kept them because they are the core of the unconditional love that Christ practiced. Just for the sake of my national identity, I changed my name.”
“So your name given at birth was John Paul?”
“Yes, I appear to be from India and preferred to keep an Indian name. I believe that like Christians in other parts of the world, Christians in India should keep their identity by keeping the structure, at least the outer structure of churches, in the manner of Indian architecture. There are no set Christian prayers or marriage ceremonies. Christians are not fussy about what to eat and what not to eat. A Christian can pray any time and in any way. It does not make any sense to complicate customs, which are already complicating life.
“Christianity is not based on clothing either. Women in India wear sari and other local dresses, and in Africa, Christians use their national dress. The Bible has been translated in most languages of the world and Christians are urged to read it in their own tongue. Christians in India read The Bible in their local languages, as Christians in other nations read it in their mother tongue. The God of Christians does not expect His followers to read His word in a particular script. Christians do not have a religious language, as the Hindus have Sanskrit, and the Muslims have Arabic. The language of their nation is their language. The salutation of Christians in India is namesty, the salutation of the most of the Hindus.
“Christians do not have restriction on their foods either. There is a large number of Christians in Canada who are vegetarians and against alcohol and cigarettes. Christian nations had been the first to ban cigarette-smoking. Christianity does not expect their males to grow beard and females to use veils or scarf. In Russia, they have Russian architecture and in Egypt they have Egyptian architecture. So in India, the places of worship should follow the Indian architecture. Inside of the church ought to be adjusted. There should not be any force, though. The hymns of Christians in India are in local languages. I believe that the form of worship and altars should be also in Indian ways.”
“One thing I wanted to let you know badly,” Prof. Pujari asked.
“What is that?” Reghu was curious.
“It is about Kaligarh in your early Chhattisgarh stories.”
“What is it?” Reghu asked in a more curious way.
“Mythology needs to be straightened.”
“Most information came from Dr. Jha, and Dr. Jha is from the priestly class and the priestly class was close to royalty. He is also on the faculty to teach. “
“Priests had been to win the favor of the subject for the ruling class who fed them.” Pujari said. “Often they fabricated their own myths or interpreted old myths to win the favor of the public or royalty or both. The mythology of Chhattisgarh is vividly colored and has many interweaving threads of imagination. There are stories within stories and more stories within them and it continues. New interpretations have complicated them. In any case, let us forget mythology for a while and concentrate on Reghu. There is almost nothing in your fiction on him. I believe that readers would like to know more about Reghu.” Prof. Pujari suggested again.
“Reghu is everywhere. What more would readers want to know?”
“Kalpna came to see you in Raipur. You both were not seen publicly in any conference either. I never heard anyone talking about you both, as Indians usually gossip. Even in Raipur you both were not seen together anywhere, not even at the Kaligarh conference. What kind of love is this?” He chuckled. “In India it is said that fragrance and love cannot be concealed, but you have been able to conceal it.”
“It is Kalpna who wants to keep it that way because of her fears. She does not want to be with me in any picture that is likely to be displayed publicly. In her talks, she never acknowledged even my presence. She is extremely discreet though not when it comes to her husband and daughter.”
“Which way?” Prof. Pujari chuckled again.
“You know why a child develops his or her love for mother?”
“It is because she takes care of his hunger.
“And what is the hunger of a writer?”
“Writing. In Kalligarh, the first story in your Chhattisgarh series, you talk of the hunger of a genuine writer.”
“Writers also need appetizers or promoters.” Raghu added.
“Interesting-- tell me more,” he asked a little louder this time.
“These are the common interests that keep the friendship together. We both are friends because you are also a writer and have helped me in writing by giving information and inviting me to your conference. There are several professors around Chhattisgarh. Reghu is friendlier with you than with them because of our common interests. This is true also in marriages. A unity that is based on just physical attraction is doomed to be failure. What keep a couple together are their common tastes. I am attracted to writers because they satisfy one aspect of my soul. Kalpna never came in the open to profess our affairs or to support my writing. ”
“Why did she get into this affair then? Do you think that she may have similar affairs with others and wants to hide it?” Prof. Pujari asked.
“I don’t want to comment.” Raghu began to look outside, adding slowly, “It is obvious that even when there were possibilities, she did nothing to support me. She went to Simla for her refresher courses and writing. She could have asked the librarian that she needed those books by Reghu in the library for her research. I asked her repeatedly to do that. She did not show active interest in that. I wonder why?”
Prof. Pujari who had been listening to Reghu patiently, abruptly asked,
“When are you going to visit India again?”
“My visits used to be after every ten years or so. They became frequent after I met Kalpna. It may be my last visit. ” Reghu became emotional while uttering the last visit.
“Why?” We love to have you here. It is a joy to hear your talks, and chat over teas. You are a scholar and it is pleasing to invite you to dinners.”
Reghu scratched his head, smiled and said, “In Canada, when we invite someone who has no ride, we pick that guest from his house and see that he or she had also a ride back. Here even if the host has a car, would not use it to bring or ask someone to give the ride. You once said that a guest is an athithi in India who is a representative of God.”
“Athithi is not an invited guest. This refers to someone who appears suddenly at the door.”
“Now I know why visitors do not have the courtesy to phone when they plan to go to anyone’s house. It may be an acceptable practice in mythological age, but it is nuisance in the industrial age. As you have told me, the literal meaning of the word athithi refers to the guest who appears without an invitation. This means that the host provides a place to sit, says sweet words and offers at least a glass of water.”
Prof. Pujari added, “One example is Drupadi who could offer a grain of cooked rice to Lord Krishna when he was hungry. Pujari said. “It is the extension of universal brotherhood, exemplified in Vasudev Kutumbakam that is to live in harmony with all.”
“It is ok if once in a while a person receives a guest under unexpected circumstances. Such athithis have moral obligations to inform the host if they have cell phones. Moreover it is in their own interest. The host may be in the hospital or out of town. It is also dangerous to open doors at the dead of night. The host may have to get up early in the morning for an interview or may have to catch a train. Have you read the episode of Sudarshna and his wife? Is it an example to follow?
”Another example is Surpnakha, who had her nose chopped off by an Aryan host for expressing her right to make a marriage proposal. In the case of Sudarshna, the guest was a Brahmin. In case of Surpnekha, the guest was an Adivasi, though from a royal family. Both had different welcomes. I believe that India should tailor its traditions in modern ways, especially in the sector of tourism.”
“You have detailed the episode of Sudarshna in Kalpna in Raipur,” Pujari said.
“I did. Tourism has not been exploited properly. Small nations like Turkey and Singapore are better organized, but then they do not have mythologies as India has. The beauty of Chhattisgarh prevails in its Adivasi areas. There is no need to uproot the Adivasi to establish business complexes. The Adivasi should be encouraged to make use of the traditional ways to treat tourists. The Chhattisgarian traditions and its folklore and historical sites can be marketed without destroying the local culture.” Raghu added.
“What prevents you from coming to India often?” Pujari asked.
“A central place to stay, where I can leave my luggage and have freedom to entertain my friends.”
“The Vice Chancellor has extended an open invitation to stay at Kaligarh University whenever you visit.”
“I am thankful to her. I am sure you have read my short fiction Kaligarh and also Lizard.”
“I have. I agree with you, but it is India. I understand inconveniences.”
Reghu thought for a while and said, “When you talk of athithi, you talk of food and a place to sleep. My writing is my staple as I have mentioned in Kaligarh and elsewhere. I need at least a computer. I can bring one from Canada, but I cannot bring a provider to get an internet connection. Universities have those facilities. It is a matter of understanding. Also look at other inconveniences.”
“You can stay with Kalpna.” Prof. Pujari suggested.
“She can provide anything in her promises. Unless something happens miraculously, I will not come in the near future. It is really inconvenient. Think of yourself if you go to Delhi or Bombay for a month and the hardships you may face. I wanted to make a home also in India and build a personal library to keep my computer to come back again and again. Shiv told me several times to visit my mother often, but I find no place to be with my mother. I thought I will be staying with Kalpna, but sincerity is vital in any relationship.”
“Then what is the problem? Maybe it is because of her husband.”
“Her husband is kind and friendly, I believe. “
“Perhaps it is her daughter.”
“She is supportive.”
“Then who else can be there. I know her sister is supportive.”
“She is in Raipur and very supportive. I suspect there is someone else, but who that could be, I cannot pin point. Often I suspect her brother. He is in the army and has the thinking of an army officer. She does not go anywhere freely with me in such a large land of Krishna, Buddha and Gandhi. She has fears. She cannot talk freely even over the phone. She kept creating personal accounts for our confidential emails and kept canceling them with no excuse. There are professors and doctoral scholars who are proud to be with me in pictures and suggest posting them on my sites. On the other hand, Kalpna wants to continue meeting me discreetly. She has expressed her fears without telling me much about them.”
“Which fear?” Pujari asked with a faint smile.
“If a woman is successful as a poet or a novelist, academicians think she may had affairs. Men in India are not open to recognize a woman’s skills and hard work, she says.”
“Nonsense. There may be some buggers in the close circle of that successful woman who may presume that way. India has produced women who have been prime ministers, premiers, ambassadors, businesswomen, teachers, poets and novelists. I never heard like this. It is nonsense. Her love should not be that fragile. Mostly transparent affairs mature. ”
“She has other fears also.” Reghu added.
“She told me that men in India think that the women who are in love are easily available for anyone.”
“That is nonsense too. It may be true among the teens, but Kalpna moves around mature teachers. You know Amrita Pritam, a prominent Punjabi poet and short story writer? She was in the situation of a love triangle as is a character in The Coexistence, a novel in which Reghu is the protagonist. Amrita was unabashed about her passion for Sahir, though she was married to Imroz, a painter, who loved her. She was proud of her love to Sahir, and Sahir, an Urdu poet, loved women madly and there had been many of them. She was a Sikh, and Sahir was a Muslim. Nothing tragic had happened to them because of their religion or their triangle. In mythology, Radha took a bold step to leave her husband to live with Krishna who was already living with his wife. If you want to know love legends, go to Sanskrit literature that portrays a plenty of sensuous relationships of gods and goddesses.” Prof. Pujari paused for a while to continue,
“In that case, find another Kalpna who can provide a home, is mature to move around with you when you are in India, is loving and helps you in your writing in some way. I feel your pains. It is not easy to live in hotels for two or three months with the entire luggage. You need a place to relax, to move across India, and to write with an easy access to online facilities. Above all, you need the love of a woman.”
After a short pause Reghu said, “A human is born in the image of our Lord.”
“What is that image?” Pujari asked pouring tea in the cup from the pot.
“To love and be loved. God expresses his love by giving rain, air, sunshine and other objects. Unconditional love becomes meaningless when the love of one partner is not in action. Unconditional love is in actions.” Reghu paused. “I have no time to find another Kalpna. Writing would remain my Kalpna now. I don’t want to sacrifice my Kalpna at the sanatorium of self-pleasure. Then Reghu spoke slowly and seriously, looking straight into Pujari’s eyes, “A sensible woman may find her half in me.”
Pujari was almost abrupt. “I would like to know why does she go back and forth, as you have mentioned even before. I know some women do, but Kalpna is above those average women considering her age, education and profession. Incidentally, have you ever proposed her to be a follower of Christ? I just want to know the reason for her behavior.”
“It does not make sense to make such suggestions. We never discussed religion. I was ready to go to any place of worship with her. I believe there are more differences in some Christian denominations than there are between the Hindus and Christians.
“Moreover, I will neither gain nor lose anything if Kalpna becomes Christian. Yes, at one time, maybe in a joke, she proposed to marry in a church, whereas I proposed a Hindu temple.” Reghu answered.
Pujari reflected for a while to say, ”in these jungles of Rajnandgaon, which is known for sages, there was one who was greatly respected. He had a long hair, flowing white beard and a calm appearance. Once a man in his forties went to him and asked for his blessings and a cure for his miserable life with his wife. Because of her this man was in hell. He asked the sage for a solution. The sage looked into his eyes, smiled and said,
“Son, if I knew the answer, I would have been still with my wife. There was no need to be a baba.”
“It seems to me that even Buddha who abandoned his throne, wife and his child had the same problem. We do not know much about Buddha’s domestic life. A question arises
why a person should abandon his luxuries. Buddha could have served God by serving people as their kind ruler. The Chhattisgarh area was considerably under the influence of the teachings of Buddha. The town of Sirpur, not far from here, dates back to 5th to the 8th centuries A.D. Its historical temples represent the beauty of the precise construction. There are historical Buddhist shrines around this area. The thick jungles of Chhattisgarh must have witnessed the sojourn of the yogis and babas who sought refuge from their wives.”
Pujari smiled. “We were talking about love. I wonder why you had to come all the way from Canada to develop love with a woman in India?”
“It is a question of identity. I wanted to go back to my roots. It reminds me about Shiv. I have mentioned him in Kaligarh and Noise. He encouraged me to visit my mother often. I had changed my name also. I was happy to find a mate of my dreams. Slowly I discovered that she wanted to keep the whole matter secret. This gave me the impression that she was not proud of our relations. It was an affront to the dignity of my love. India is the home of Krishana, Radha, and Gandhi who had been open and unblocked. Why to hide something that is neither a crime nor a sin. There are times when I feel sorry to be in an illusive romance…Let us forget both the Kalpnas for a while, and talk about the Adivasi.” Reghu suggested.
“Both Kalpnas?” Dr. Pujari was surprised. “What are you talking about?”
“I mean the Kalpna from Indore and the Kalpna of my writing from the soul. Let us talk about Kamleswar Das, a human rights activist, who was born in Rajnandgaon and rose to the world fame. Another famous personality was Ghasi Das. There is a university after his name in Raipur where you teach. In spite of their presence, there are human rights issues of religious nature in Chhattisgarh. How come?” Reghu asked.
“I know what you mean. Any individual can convert to any faith in Chhattisgarh; only compulsion and inducements are illegal. Hindus had been forced and induced to become Muslims in the Mughal period.” Pujari spoke academically like a historian.
“Kalpna once told me that Muslims from India had plotted to increase their population by enticing Hindu girls into marriage. Somehow the Hindus came to know this plot. Still several girls had been caught in the net. When I spoke at Kaligarh University, I met some Hindu women who had Muslim husbands. They also had children. How can you control such manipulations with laws only?” Reghu asked. “I have noticed that all the citizens of India are not treated equally before the law. One is the quota system for minorities. It should be abolished to give equal opportunity to everyone to work harder to compete openly for jobs. Under democratic system, governments do not represent any faith. Also the marriage and divorce laws should be the same for all. This is what we have in Canada. It poses no problem in our multicultural and multi-faith environment.”
“No matter what laws are there, some will find loopholes. Pujari said. People say that the British Raj was better when it comes to equality and justice. They brought Christianity, as well as, looted the wealth of the nation.” Pujari emphasized.
“Christianity was brought to India in the first century by Saint Thomas, a disciple of Jesus. It is a historical fact. Christianity in Kerala is from that century. The roots of Christianity are also in The Vedas. Christianity is not a foreign religion. I have made references to the Vedantic roots of Christianity in my previous chapters. Christianity is rooted in unconditional love and The Vedas endorse it. The extreme asceticism of certain earlier Christian sects reminds the asceticism of Jains and Buddhist sages. Their rituals included the modern day use of the Holy Water. The Christian use of the word Amen reminds the Hindi and Sanskrit word OM used for God which is Omega for God in the Bible. Even the use of the bells in churches is like its use in the temples of Hindus and Buddhists. Additional similarities include the use of the incense, the sacred bread, called Parsadam by the Hindus, and the Holy Trinity of Christians -- God, Son and the Holy Spirit -- remind the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
“I would ask Christian pastors to adjust their rituals and the structure of churches according to the Indian culture and architecture. At the same time, I would ask the Hindu political and religious shepherds to view the message of Christ in the light of the centuries-old message in The Vedas. Christianity has roots in The Vedas, which have prophesized the birth of Christ. Sri Aurbindu and Sri Ravi Shakar have indicated that Christ did visit India and Tibet before starting his ministry. I have books on this subject. But whether Christ came to India or not is not the issue here. The issue is that The Vedas envisage Christianity. No matter how Christianity is examined, it is Indian in spirit and it is the spirit that matters. A body without spirit is nothing. Christianity is cosmopolitan and Indian spirit is also cosmopolitan.
“The fear of the Hindus that India may become a Christian nation is baseless because Hinduism itself is a culture. When the British left, Christians in India had been less than 2 percent and now after the freedom they are around 5 percent of the population. This increase has not caused any tsunami for the security of India that has produced Christian army chiefs and defense ministers. I would conclude that India should be grateful to the British Raj.”
Pujari was puzzled. “Why?”
“Because the British Raj prevented India from becoming a Muslim nation.” Reghu was confident in his tone.
“You have said it before somewhere.”
“What is there to remember?”
“The British Raj took power from the Muslims and handed it to non-Muslims, and…”
“The British Raj handed this power to the Hindus without a single fire shot.”
“But they divided India.”
“India divided itself. History provides the mounting evidence.”
“And the loot. They left India poor.”
”The British Raj is not to be blamed entirely for it. India is poor partly because of the Second World War in which India participated and partly because of the latter wars and the present preparations for wars. The society that makes preparations for war becomes impoverished and is poisoned socially and politically. Corruption is an abnormal growth in every fabric of India and this is also the outcome of the theories of detachment and reincarnation which clamor increasingly to be reinterpreted under the new skies of the democratic set up. These theories have served the purpose of autocrats and those days of autocracy have gone. India does not need the engrained notions of more laws. India needs the placebo of new therapies to use against corruptions that have grown to epic proportions. The loot by the British Raj was much less than the loot of India by Indians after the freedom. Forget the black money that has been deposited in the foreign banks after the freedom. I am talking about the black money that has blackened the carpets of the most political elites of today. The ideal strategy is to wash these carpets with the inborn water of attachment.”
“For my master’s degree I had to read The Book of Job that was prescribed in our syllabus. What else do you want to add about Christianity?” Prof. Pujari asked.
Reghu looked around, then at the desk fronting his chair, and said,”The Book of Job is in the Old Testament of The Bible. It was written about 2000 years before the birth of Christ to demonstrate the unshakable love of Job for God for which he was rewarded.
“You have mentioned Christ’s message. That message is nothing but unconditional love in action. Christ preached and practiced his message for three years within the radius of not more than a hundred miles. We know him through his witnesses who had been his disciples and had lived with him most of the time. Christ did not author his gospels to thread an aura of mysticism. He never headed any army, never held any political office 14…reghu in rajnandgaon and never owned property. The flocks and fame of the most brilliant minds in history are abating, though they preached for decades and in more than one geographical region. On the other hand, the flock and fame of Christ is on the increase in spite of his warning to his faithful that they shall be hated and persecuted because of his name. It is not an exaggeration to add that if the influence of all the scientists of every age, of all the thinkers of every culture, of all the theologians of every vision, of all the rulers of every nation, is put together, still their influences will not come closer to the influence of this single mind that preached and practiced unconditional love for three years within the area of not more than a hundred miles. This is what had confounded the adversaries and followers of Christ when he walked two thousand years ago and has been confounding them even today. It is not accidental, he prophesized these happenings.
“Just for three years and walked within a hundred miles only. Prof. Pujari said slowly. I am also confounded.”
“Moreover, all his prophesies have come true with the exception of one that will also come true as the situation of the world indicates.” Reghu replied.
“Which is that prophesy that is to come true?” Pujari asked in a deeply serious tone.
“We know the Hindu belief in OM Shanti Shanti Shanti Om that means God is peace. This Shanti was reincarnated as the prince of peace, but the prince of darkness could not recognize this stunning soma of amazing empathy. We are living in The Age of Untruth, called Kalyug that will continue in an increasingly ugly shape. While some will reach the pinnacle of richness, there shall be nightmarish famines, armed conflicts, earthquakes and calamities. There shall be chilling ailments, storms, thunders and fears. The earth shall experience grisly and unspeakable turmoil that it has never known. Seventy to eighty percent of the population will be wiped out.
“Nuclear tests and warfare will stage the last melodrama of the maniac messiahs who will be guided by the rules of violence to establish the state of terror. From the stage of this melodrama shall appear The Satyug -- the Age of Truth -- that shall bring peace and joy. Christ repeatedly called himself Truth. The multitude was attracted to him because he showed them the way to the peace that comes through peaceful means and is beyond understanding. Truth is the Way that sets human free to see the source of the unconditional love and this source of unconditional love is the effulgence of health and prosperity. In the Hindu scriptures this age is Satyug and in Christian scriptures this is the second coming of Christ. I have elaborated these elements in The Coexistence.”
“You are the prophet of the Satyug.” Pujari whispered, looking far into the horizon from the window. He suddenly became serious. Looking above at the circling fan that made some noise he asked, “Where will these maniac messiahs show up?”
“Most messiahs have shown up in the Middle East and in the continent of India and Pakistan and anti-messiahs have also shown up in these regions wearing different apparels. You have read about the Garden of Eden and about Adam and Eve. The Garden of Eden was somewhere around the modern Iraq. According to The Bible human civilization started from there and according to Reghu it will end from there.”
“It is frightening.” Pujari said.
“I am convinced that some favorites of the Almighty who believe in shanti shall be saved in some way. Shanti, a Sanskrit word, is shalom in Hebrew and salaam in Arabic. The word refers to safety, health, completeness and prosperity. In English it is close to the word peace and by peace I mean the absence of war. ”
Offering his hand to shake and promising to come the next day to take him to his house for supper, Pujari added, “We will talk further about Satyug and the enigma of your Kalpna.”
“Kalpna is an enigma for sure. My tour to India this year was also to untangle this enigma.”
“Have you untangled it?”
“I find this enigma as baffling as I find the genealogy of 5000 years old jungles of your Chhattisgarh.” Reghu responded slowly and with calm.
©copyright Stephen Gill 2014