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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Legend of Gyges of Lydia and power of Sex

Plato


The Foremost master of logic in Greek history is Plato. He is credited with innumerable books and treatises. The works of Plato are read all over the world and philosophers look for hidden meanings in his writings. Plato is the author of the famous book "Republic". This tome is read and studied until the present day and is an important part of philosophy.

The Tale as related by Plato



Plato in his book recounts a lovely tale that has intrigued me to a great extent. I have interpreted it as a realization of a dream of man and sexual conquest. Nobody can deny, that men even the most puritan of them do have lascivious thoughts of women and in this context, the tale related by Glaucon, who was the brother of Plato needs to be read.

The legend as related in the book " Republic' runs something like this. There was a lesser vassal called Gyges, who paid allegiance to the King of Lydia. Gyges, however, was infatuated with the queen, the wife of the king of Lydia. He longed to possess her and wondered how he could ever achieve his aim. The more he saw the queen in court his lust for her increased.

An Act of Providence


Providence took a hand and one day while he was roaming about in the countryside an earthquake took place. This earthquake had a magical effect and a small cave opened. Gyges went inside the cave and saw a large horse made of bronze. This horse was a cover for a tomb of a man and Gyges saw the corpse was wearing a ring. He removed the ring and wore it. In a moment he was aware that he had astonishing powers and once he wore the ring he became invisible.

The Ring and its Power


Gyges probably exulted at this power and wearing it he entered the king's palace and proceeded to the chamber of the queen. As he entered, he saw the queen now nude and he seduced her. Plato does not explain how he seduced her as he was invisible. But in all probability, his invisibleness added to his charm as he made love to the queen.

After this, Gyges moved to the Kings chamber and killed him. The King probably could not see his assailant as he was invisible. After killing the king he went back to the queen and revealed himself and married her and became ruler of Lydia.

Meaning of the Tale



It’s a thrilling tale and I am always a fan of such tales from mythology. There is no factual truth in the tale though the kingdom of Lydia did exist. But I interpret it as a fulfillment of extreme desire for a woman. This can lead to anything. After all the Great Humayun killed the husband of Noor Jahan and married her. Al I can say is that desire for a woman can make a man go to any extreme.

All photos from wiki free

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Painting Nude Women

The dividing line between pornography and art is thin, yet there is a line. Painting a woman in the nude is an expression of love for god.

Introduction by my Uncle

My uncle Parduman died last year. He was 88. The sad part was that he died unsung and unheralded, though he was a painter of some standing. Sadder was the fact that he had left his family at the age of 80 and come back to Mumbai to paint. But he couldn't re-establish and died lonely. I wish I had been there to help him, but he was gone ere I came to know about him. My memory of him is of a vibrant painter who once took me to a nude painting class.
It was a wonderful experience as the nude model posed before some 14 artistes including 2 girls, as each sketched her. The nude model had her thighs crossed and I felt she was a little self-conscious. But over the years I have been wondering why painters have been painting nudes.

Nude and Naked

While in school our art master Mr. Paul once took us to an exhibition of paintings of the famous painter Roerich, a Russian. What caught my eyes were the large paintings of nude women that adorned the exhibition. Being an amateur painter myself, I did sketch one nude of a sleeping woman. Unfortunately, it is perhaps lying in a loft at my house.
The charm of painting a nude woman cannot be described. It differs from a naked woman, which somehow looks slightly distasteful. But the Greeks and our own ancient artistes all brought forward the nude woman. Most of the Goddesses of the Hindus have been sculptured nude in the temples, so I wonder what the fuss is all about Hussein's paintings.

Nude women and beauty

The fact of the matter is that a nude woman is an object of beauty. Hence a painter will try to capture that beauty. One has to see the Paintings of Goya, Picasso, and Dali to realize this. But remember nude paintings are not for the voyeur. They are basically an expression of art. Maybe at some stage love and sex may also be a part of it, but that is what the Tantra and Acharaya Rajneesh have been talking about.

Last Word


I for one respect the artiste's point of view. My friend an art teacher at the Art School commented ' Look its just an expression of one's innermost feelings.' I will leave it at that. However, I have one last observation. remember painting a nude woman is something serious and perhaps that is the reason that all nude paintings never show women smiling. Ever thought of that?
Phot I and II from wiki free
Photo III of my Sketch

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Christianity met its Waterloo( Failure) in India

Christian faith 


The British ruled India for close to 200 years. It is accepted that the Battle of Plessey (1757) under Robert Clive which the British won, marks the start of British rule. By a policy of divide and rule, the British became the paramount power in the subcontinent.

This continued till 1947 when the British had to leave India very reluctantly. The retreat from the subcontinent was brought about by Adolf Hitler who severely weakened England that it just could not hold on to its colonies. In short, the victory in the Second World War was a Pyrrhic victory.

British rule and missionaries

British Rule and Missionaries
During the almost 200 years of British rule, a lot of good took place as the British laid the framework of a modern nation. This also fuelled a nationalism which went beyond caste and religious lines. Gandhi and Bose successfully channelized this nationalism as well as instituted a sense of pride in the culture of the sub-continent which was dominated by a vast Hindu population and minority Muslim believers.
The British were the paramount power also allowed Christian missionaries to come to India. Their purpose was to civilize the people of the sub-continent and convert them to Christianity. A lot of impetus was given by the Pope who made unlimited funds available for the missionaries to facilitate the conversion of the Hindus and Muslims to Christianity.
The Role of the Missionaries
The missionaries spread out in the hinterland of India concentrating on tribal areas and poor Hindu and Muslim residents. These were given ample gifts and were told that these were sent by Jesus Christ and as such, they should convert to Christianity.

This inducement by the church marked the hallmark of the thrust under guidance from Rome to convert as many as possible to the Christian faith. I will add that the main thrust was from the Catholics from Rome and in comparison, the Protestants were not that zealous in their attempt to convert Indians to Christianity.

Failure of missionaries


Despite unlimited funds and food aid, the missionaries made little headway in the subcontinent. They did do some good also as they set up schools and hospitals, but the overall framework was to spread the gospel. They felt anything including inducements was justified. Fr the missionaries the end justified the means. But despite a vigorous thrust for 2 centuries, the missionaries could barely convert 2% of the population to the Christian faith.

The reason is not far to seek as Christianity came face to face with Muslim and Hindu religion and the missionaries just couldnot,, despite all the inducements counter the appeal of Hinduism and to a lesser extent Islam.

Reasons for failure

Reasons for Failure
One of the reasons which I think stand out now is that all the missionaries were whites and these appeared to the people as Alien. The Christian god Jesus was thus associated with white race and most people in the sub-continent were averse to being ruled by whites. Another reason was that despite the concerted attack on Hindu ideals and philosophy the people felt that Christianity as a religion lacked the deep spiritualism of the Hindu faith. This was a major reason as despite preaching the gospel along with inducements, the locals never converted to Christianity. There were cases of missionaries being attacked and many were killed. Many people felt that if the Church was sincere, why it was not advocating freedom from British rule.

This was a major flaw and like in America a where the church condoned and supported slavery, the church in India also never advocated an end of British rule. In fact with the protection of the state they penetrated deep into India but the result was an abysmal failure.

Last word

One other reason for the failure of Christianity is that the rulers were Protestants and they looked at the actions of the missionaries with askance. In fact, most Protestants were keen to revive Indian culture and many studied Hindu philosophy, but Protestants made no concerted attempt to convert the local people to Christianity.

The failure of the Church and Catholic faith to convert Hindus and Muslims to Christianity will remain a discussion point. It will not be wrong to say that Christianity the Catholic faith met its waterloo in India.
All photos from wiki free

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Undressing a woman with your eyes: Anything Wrong?

No harm
 A woman's face is her fortune but her body is Nirvana. So say the eastern scriptures. Many people have asked me what are the thoughts of a man when he meets a woman. This is not confined to any particular age.  It's just what goes through the mind of a man.

The mind is a complex phenomenon and is connected to intellect and the word desire.  This makes for a deadly concoction. The reaction of a man will depend on his orientation and if he is normal he will have fleeting thought as to how the woman being introduced to him will look if she were nude. The thought will also relate to the moment and the attire of the lady introduced. When I say "moment" it means that particular instant if the man 's mind is not preoccupied somewhere else.

A man will fantasy how the woman will look without clothes( particularly if she is attractive). This again is an amorphous word and attractiveness will vary from man to man. There could be fleeting thoughts of her undergarments and the mons. Somehow a man's thoughts whether one agrees or not centers around this aspect.
 I think women if they were to know that these are the thoughts of a man, she will not mind it. That's the law of nature. A man can fantasize anything from undergarments to her legs and the curls. There or not there and overall how she would look in case she was undraped of the sari, skirt or dress she is wearing. It's a wonderful thing and I suppose leads to no harm.
Lastly, there is no need of any "guilt complex". So live life as it comes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Buddha, Buddhism and Women Nuns

The Buddha founded Buddhism in the 6th century BC. He was a high caste Hindu and some of his thoughts and philosophies were influenced by Hinduism. However, he did break from the caste system and allowing women to become nuns. He allowed women to become nuns but put stringent condition which effectively reduced their status in relation to male monks

Buddha


The Buddha, the founder of Buddhism was born in a high caste Hindu princely family. When Buddha was born the caste system had taken deep roots in Hindu society and the Brahmin cult ruled supreme. Another aspect of Hindu society at that time was the low status of women.
Buddha did not accept both these aspects of Hindu society. But in the 6th century BC when Buddha spread his message it was mostly by word and mouth. The Sutras which are supposed to bring out what the Buddha said were compiled 200 years after the death of Buddha

Buddha and Mahapajapati

When Buddha was an infant his mother died and he was brought up by his mother’s sister, Mahapajapati. When Buddha grew up and attained enlightenment Mahapajapati also was deeply influenced by Buddha , requested that she be allowed to join the ‘sangha’. The negative aspect of Buddhism comes out as she was denied 3 times by Buddha to join the ‘Sangha’. Perhaps it was a part of Hindu influence that Buddha still carried.

Buddha and Status of Women


Mahapajapati however was allowed entry to the Sangha by Buddha and she along with 500 high caste women shaved of their hair and became monks. This was a break from Hindu tradition where women were not allowed to become monks.
The Buddha now laid down some rules for admitting women as monks. These are known as the 8 rules of Buddha. A reading of the rules however brings out a bias against women which has not been explained by Buddhist theologians. Briefly ,Buddha stated the following rules

Rules for Women Nuns: A Bias


.a) He laid down that each and every nun would be junior to a male monk even she had been ordained for 100 years.
b) Women monks must not accept any food, seats and resting place in front of any male monk
c) No woman monk can find fault with a male monk
d) The Buddha affixed an age of 18 for a woman to be ordained as a nun He also laid down that a period of 2years was necessary for preliminary course of training in the precepts. Her full ordination has got to be received from the groups of both monks and nuns.
e). Any nun who violates any rule of conduct must do penance for 15 days. During this period she is to be resituated only after approval from the communities of both nuns and monks.
f) Every woman Nun must seek instructions from male monks once in 15 days.

Last Word

There is no doubt that gender bias did exist in Buddhism and had the approval of the Buddha.  This gender bias was a carry forward of the era the Buddha was born. This was an era when the Brahmin cult ruled supreme and Buddha had a hard time countering it. But the gender bias of Buddha needs a better explanation. One has to accept the fact that there is some inequality in the role of women in Buddhism