Monday, January 23, 2006

Children

It is surprising how the perception of children varies between the Hindu culture and the Christian one. In Hinduism, children are godlike. The belief largely stems from the Hindu mythology of the "baal lila" of lord Krishna. Stories of childhood of lord Rama and Hanuman are also popular. Thus the mythology supports the belief of children being godlike.

In Christianity on the other hand, the child is a product of "sin" and therefore inherently sinful. It has to be purified by baptism. Thus John the Baptist was already present to purify baby Jesus although Christianity per se had not been established. There is evry little account about baby Jesus. It is only when he grows up that he goes about doing his godlike stuff.

This difference in the religious background reflects a lot in the culture too. Especially literature and the arts. In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Chronicles of a Death Foretold" a character thinks that "only children are capable of anything". She is referring to murder and is quite frightened by the fact. It will be hard to find such depiction of children in Indian culture.

The difference in religion also affects science. Most of the western scientists have great trouble in accepting the notion of and endless (and beginning-less) universe. That is why they are constantly is search of a "beginning". Fritjof Capra in his book "The Tao of Physics" says that this attitude comes from the biblical notion of creation. God said "let there be light, and there was light". Thus God "began" the universe.

In Hinduism however we have two views about the creation myth. One of course is the "beginning" camp in which God just came into existence and created everything else. However, Hinduism also subscribes to the view of "sanatana dharma" ie a religion which has been there for ever and the cyclic nature of creation as in the repeated occurings of the four yugas. Thus a Hindu philosopher will have less trouble in accpeting the notion of a cyclic or endless universe.

3 comments:

  1. wo..dint knew so much went into religion! .. hehe! i must confess i am the last person one shud talk abt religion with.. for me religion is more a personal matter.. it doesnt come into any of my views or decisions either..
    anyways, nice blog.. keep posting!

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  2. i agree... christanity deems man a sinner from the moment he is born... a time when he doesn't even know what sin is...
    but don't you think the begining and end of universe research is an effort to put an end to mysticism involved here... i mean it's just man's curiosity and has little to do with religion!!!

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  3. Religion and God were institutions fabulated for those fickle minded to keep them in check, out of fear or anticipating gratification after the end.
    So every concept in religion is just an idea of one of our fore fathers. It just happens that our fore fathers had thought differently of children from christian fore fathers I guess.

    Great Blog...

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