Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fighting the Gods

The disaster that has taken place in the state of Uttarakhand makes me continually wonder, "Are we fighting the Gods?" This state is also known as "Devbhumi", which means, Land of Gods. The tourist spots were closer to the plains - Nainithal, Musoorie and Dehradun, to name a few. The dwelling of Gods were mostly in the snow-clad mountains. People traveled on spiritual journey, not expecting to return back home! Yes, I am correct. People did not expect to return back home, when they were on spiritual journey. The other day one of my companions, Ms. Divya Gupta said that still people in some clans conduct a kind of funeral service for those planning to leave on pilgrimage to some of these places like Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri. That is because, they thought that these were on their journey to moksha (roughly translated as "liberation" or "heaven") and if they return, good; if they do not, they have reached moksha. 
Picture courtesy: La Journal International

But, what have we done with the land? We have tried to behave exactly as do in the plains. We want high ways so that cars can ply at over 50 miles on hours on the steep mountains, we wish to have uninterrupted power supply and water supply at our door steps. What about uninterrupted tele-connectivity? We get upset if our mobile phones don't work --- and we blame the tele-service provider for poor connectivity. Young people move in hundreds and thousands only to provide service to the hundreds of thousands who flock to these and other temples, throwing away all along plastics from the fast food, cool drinks, water bottles, and packets from several brands of chips. The vehicles carry pilgrims and those on pleasure trips, leaving enough of CO2 that in their whole life time cannot undo. It is simply a tourism, centered around religious faith of people. Over exploitation of Gods for commercial reasons have probably been one of the biggest errors of all times. But religion and commerce are strange bed fellows - they openly speak against one another, but cannot live without the other.

The concept of development cannot be the same for all geographical locations, at all time. There is a need to leave many of these hills to remain just the dwelling places of gods and divine men. Remember that the Gods have remained intact in spite of the disaster, although the disaster killed thousands and destroyed much of livelihoods and buildings. Carrying worldly life of the plains to the spiritual life of the mountains is a dangerous proposition. God's will hit us back!

After all, all of us climbing up the mountain to seek God is not required, and not the right thing! One must truly be holy to climb up the mountains to see the face of God. I thought of ending it up with the first few verses of Psalm 24 from the Bible which is aptly titled, "The Earth is the Lord's":
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, (my comment: money, power: new age idols)
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.