Friday, January 15, 2016

The Original Sin

This is the last part of Chapter 1, 'The Original Sin,' of the novel, Black Hole.

The story so far in the briefest summary:

In 2013, Kailash Public School in Delhi is donated to Devlok Ashram by the owner, Sitaram Rana.  Devlok was founded in 1930 by Kailash Baba whose nondescript quest found its fulfilment in spirituality.  Two of his prominent assistants will be Amarjeet Boprai, his nephew whose inability to master English literature is motivation enough for him to turn against the British government and then find a better opportunity in Devlok, and Mahendra Rana whose discontent in personal life is his spiritual trigger. Carrying the light of his Lord Jesus Christ, Aaron Matthews also arrives at Devlok from London.  In addition to the ambition of bringing the light to pagans, Aaron also was driven by an increasing distance from his wife, Rachel, who, according to Aaron, is an embodiment of reason and passion - what Christianity hates the most. 


Kailash Baba’s sermon on orifices had ended.  The devotees paid homage by touching his feet and making financial offerings.  The Baba blessed the devotees by holding out his right palm above their heads.  The donation boxes beside the Baba were overflowing with coins bearing the images of King George V.

Aaron Matthews was followed close behind by Amarjeet Boprai and Mahendra Rana as he approached the Baba after the devotees had all left.  It did not take much time for Amarjeet to rise to the occasion and become the interpreter between the Baba and the Firangi. 

“God has no nationality,” declared the Baba embracing Aaron.  “He has only to smile, and the sleepy, weary eyes of the entire universe will be awakened.  And when He laughs, the entire universe dances in ecstasy.”

“God has no nationalism,” translated Amarjeet.  In Amarjeet’s interpretation God’s smile made the people of the world rise up in some vague revolt.  Matthews understood more than what Amarjeet translated.  In fact, a great understanding between the Baba and the missionary was just taking root.  That understanding did not require a language.  Rather, it created its own language.  A language that transcended the pidgin which was being born of the mating between the master’s Hindi and the disciple’s English.

Neither Amarjeet nor Mahendra could digest this unholy understanding between the east and the west.  Both of them had no doubts that every white man was an enemy of India.  “The horror!  The horror!”  Amarjeet heard a strange echo in his heart.  Conrad’s Kurtz conjured himself up in Amarjeet’s imagination.  Mahendra thought that he was condemned to move from one disillusionment to another.  From Gandhi to Kailashputar.

“Why do these great people fail to recognise their enemies?”  Mahendra wondered aloud.

“There’s no greatness without some blindness,” philosophised Amarjeet.  “Don’t worry, we’ll make the Baba see the light.”

They hugged each other, Mahendra and Amarjeet, as if they were signing a secret pact with the sweat of their bodies.

The Baba was delighted to welcome his nephew as well as his friend along with the foreign disciple to share whatever accommodation was available in the ashram. 

Amarjeet soon appointed himself the accountant of Devlok while Mahendra assumed the role of estate manager.  Together they hatched plans to expand Devlok into a proper monastery with pucca structures for the sermons, the meditations and bhajan recitals as well as residences for those devotees who wished to stay with the Baba for a few days.  Devlok was expanding into a vast complex with the labour and funds pouring in from the increasing number of devotees.  

The Asola forest lost more trees.

Kailash Baba was aware of the expansion of his ashram into a little kingdom under the entrepreneurship of his nephew and his friend though most of his attention was taken away by the discussions that Aaron Matthews engaged him in.  Aaron was compiling the Baba’s teachings into a gospel.  The Path of the Master, he had titled it tentatively.  Amarjeet was happy to lend his assistance as an interpreter whenever the language of mutual understanding turned insufficient during the protracted discourses between the Master and his disciple.
 
“Voltaire described religion as the solace of the weak,” Aaron pointed out during one of the private discourses between him and the Baba.

“So it is,” answered the Baba.  “Aren’t we all weak?  Aren’t we all rendered sick by the darkness that inevitably envelopes the world?  Aren’t we all blind or deaf or dumb or sore-ridden one way or another?  No one escapes the infirmities.  Of darkness.  Pain.  Grief.  Shudodhana could not keep that fact a secret from his son much as he tried.  When the fact stared at him in the face, Siddhartha Gautama went out, filled with compassion, to seek a remedy.  Every individual must seek the path for himself, and walk upon it himself.  The Master is only a guiding light.”

“Saint Augustine called the darkness ‘the original sin’.  Man is born with the darkness of evil in his soul which has to be purified by the grace of God.”

“Evil and the good, man is born with the potential for both.  What is evil but the absence of the good?  You can remove an evil not by pointing out the evil but by showing the virtue whose absence appears as the evil.  You can’t strip a man of his cruelty by pointing out the evil to him but by showing kindness to him.  Goodness is not taught but caught.”

Aaron was distracted for a moment by what Rachel had said once when he mentioned the original sin.  “Yeah, it was indeed an original idea by which Augustine transferred the whole onus of his own lust to Adam and Eve.  Concu-piss-ence,” she made it sound comical and distorted her lips as much as she could as she uttered it.  “What an invention!  Men and women throughout the ages have been fucking one another because of the concupiscence that entered the viscera of Adam and Eve through an apple they ate.  Original, indeed!  Original idea it was.”

What sets the Master apart is his rising above the good-evil polarity, explained Kailash Baba.  The Buddha and the Christ, every Master struggled with the polarity just like a mountaineer struggles with various challenges on his path.  Every Master reaches his own peak.  And then becomes the light that shines from the peak.  Blessed are those who can see the light.

Aaron Matthews made notes.  He was writing a new gospel.  When the disciple is ready, the Master appears, thus began the gospel according to Aaron Matthews.  The Master is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. 

Amarjeet Boprai and Mahendra Rana were writing their gospels with bricks and cement.  Devlok Ashram was becoming a gigantic complex with various concrete structures.  

The gospels competed with each other.  The gospels had their own hunger.
 
It was a relentless hunger.

A time would come when Amarjeet and Mahendra would write their own gospels more powerful than the ones in bricks and concrete. 

Gospels have to be written.  They demand to be written.  Irrespective of the time in which one lives. 
 
Ishan Salman Panicker had begun to feel the tongues of the hunger of the gospel licking him.

Ishan was a teacher at Kailash Public School that was being donated to Nityanand Baba, successor of Amarjeet Boprai, by Sitaram Rana, son of Mahendra Rana.  Ishan had begun to write a gospel himself though he was one of those whom Sitaram Rana called “the immoral louts.” 

Gospels cannot be suppressed.  They are the original sin in black and white. 



*

PS.  Here ends Chapter 1 which is titled 'The Original Sin.'  For the sake of the Blog, the chapter was divided into 6 parts including the one above.  For those who may like to read those parts, the links are given below:




7 comments:

  1. Quite intense! And, thanks for the links! They are quite helpful. :)

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    1. I accepted your suggestion. In fact, I realised that more than half of my readers come via the mobile phone and on the mobile phone the right side panel is not visible...

      And, thanks for being a regular reader of this. I hope more people find the patience :)

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    2. I agree that it's difficult to maintain patience, but if things are worthwhile, we automatically learn to be patient. :)

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  2. Loss of trees is akin to loss of'pristine' consciousness. As gospels are being written, thoughts are being re-written or written-over. Versions of contested reality emerge. They are bound to collide. Plot gets more interesting.

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    1. Devlok and pristine consciousness cannot coexist. And new gospels replace old ones... Thanks for being here with such comments.

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