The Dispatches Of Hira Singh – Plato Said

“All Religion Starts With Wonder”

It has been awhile since Hira Singh awoke from his slumber. It had been a long time since he slept. He had been tired from his war dispatches, and he needed the time to recover. As he awoke, he realised that he needed the rest more for his soul than his body.

One of the things that had always vexed him, was the issue around wars, killing and religion.

God is great, they say. God is merciful. God teaches us to love one another, to love the animals, and our planet. Yet, we fight in the name of God. We kill in the name of God.

My God. Your God. Mine is better than yours. My temples and churches shall flourish, and yours will die. Your Gods shall serve mine.

And then, one day, he came upon this saying in a book that he was reading, in which Plato is said to have said that all religion starts with wonder.

He read commentaries on the old Indian epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha – and realised that these old epics used story telling as a vehicle, to arouse a sense of wonder. They were used as a vehicle to pose questions, to provoke the mind to think.

These ancient epics were born several thousand years ago, and were passed on in the great tradition of oral story telling. There are many versions of the stories. Then, they were put to paper, and gradually became ossified.

Rama and Krishna, they say, were not originally regarded as Gods. That came later. The supposed geographical locations of the events became more important than the stories, and the sense of wonder they were intended to arouse.

The stories calcified, and the flow of questions was frowned upon until the flow stopped and died.

When did religion die? When did the sense of wonder die?

When did we stop looking at the stars and wonder where we came from, and what lies beyond?

When did we stop looking at the blades of grass, and let the rules we made bind us?

Religion, he thought, starts with wonder. It is true.

Yet, it grows through violence, and the first victim is the original sense of magic.

Rest In Peace.

2 Comments

  1. Beautiful post, Rajiv. It’s profound and wise. Losing our sense of wonder is key to understanding the age we live in. Sometimes I think we (collectively) are more amazed at goodness than acts of evil!

    1. Sometimes, yes.
      Strangely, when I was a high-flying corporate honcho, I was very alpha-male and cynical
      Now, I have less money – much less – but I tend to look more closely at the world I live in, and realise that we do live on a wonderful planet
      Was I richer then? I wonder..

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