Sunday, February 28, 2010

Immortality

Gods need to be understood. It's easy to dismiss them for what they appear to be - cold, capricious, vain, insensitive. Consider Abraham and how he is led west and then east, blessed and cursed, in a rather whimsical manner. Consider Poseidon chasing Odysseus around the seas. Or Lord Shiva's inordinate wrath and vengeance. One might contend that this is a clear case of misuse of authority; a wanton and almost sadistic subjugation of the weak by the strong.

Have you considered how much time they have on their hands? It is an eternity that they have to pass. They have tried sleeping through it, and I am sure there might be some wise Gods who lie asleep, having realized inaction is just as useful or useless as action. May be we haven't heard of them as they have been sleeping all along. Or they stay awake and conscious. Now that's a struggle - to stay occupied for an eternity. A God may spend his time chatting with other Gods, or in some form of entertainment, but even that can get repetitious, considering eternity is a long time. That is probably why they created the universe in the first place. As the bible suggests God created the universe in 6 days, and on the 7th day he rested. But surely on the 8th day, he was left with a choice. Should he rest some more or do something else?

Consider the consequences of either. Sitting by and watching could mean people doing what they pleased and we all know that means people killing themselves. Lifting a finger and interfering, could also leave people in a rather helpless state. They would realize that God would act, they would grow to fear God. And then of course they would try to appease God, by offering prayer or sacrifice. That would result in notions of duty, religion and right or wrong. Which would result in law and order, and of course depending on the interpretation of God's judgment, it could mean man acting on his behalf and dealing with the non-conformists.

Having observed the consequences of action and inaction, any God could easily work out that there is no difference in either approach. Besides even if a man suffered for a while or for years or if he lived his days happily, whatever be his circumstance, he would eventually die. In the course of an eternity, what difference does it make to anything. As a God, his primary concern would be to stay occupied and interested during his waking hours. Why would you blame Him for being insensitive or uncaring? It is not His fault - it is the curse of immortality.

3 comments:

Vasu said...

This is an interesting take on immortality.
But surely,there lies some touch of mortality in their immortality. Of course, the fact that they need to occupy themselves with something is an explanation that is plausible, but how would you explain, for example Sage Durvasa's ( sages are considered to be immortal) curse of amnesia for King Dushanta or Zeus carrying away Ganymede because he fell in love with him?
And how would you explain Krishna's role in the Mahabharata? Was it just whimsical Leela, or just the need to indulge the mortal side of a God?

Wriju said...

This is not completely divergent from what I am saying.
1. If Sage Durvasa curses someone, then being a powerful immortal, he is exercising his might on a hapless mortal. Then you have to understand his motivation and may be realize that his vehemence is colored by his immortality and that he probably sees in the back of his mind a much larger picture than Dushyanta's private plight
2. Zeus wouldn't care for Ganymede's consent and this would be yet another instance of a God's whimsical weilding of absolute power
3. Lord Krishna is a mortal avatar, but nonetheless his sermon of the Leela is an expression of the larger conception of the world - of the futility of earthly cares and the pre-eminence of karma over sentimentality. Krishna's immortal aspect, aka Vishnu, is an advocate of righteousness who believes in direct involvement with mortals in order to ensure righteousness even at the cost of loss of life or misery to many.


In all three cases, you are corroborating my argument, which is that Gods being immortal, cannot be divorced from the big picture, and need to be forgiven for being thus.

Estella said...

very interesting...i have often wondered the same..that is if there is a god...btw do gods need sleep?