OF INDIAN INCONVENIECES AND LOST GODESSES
AND YOU WONDER WHY WOMEN DON'T GET EQUAL PAY?
Okay, I’ve been patient. I’ve been understanding. I’ve allowed for what one can call the “Indian Way” but I’ve had it. I’m done. Not that my impatience and casting away of my understanding will actually result in anything positive, mind you. No. It won’t. And, here’s the deal, I will not be able to get cash from any ATM’s anywhere in town. Such is the nature of the Indian “demonetisation” effort thus far. It’s been four days now, tripping around to the four ATM machines in the hot sun that are within walking distance of our homestay in Bishop’s Gardens, - two State Bank of India ATM’s, one Bank of South India and a Canara Bank ATM. The Canara Bank, which was just around the corner from our last homestay accommodations, was a God-send. It spit out crisp, new, hot pink Rupee 2,000 bills for three or four days in a row. The “regulation” is that with a foreign bank card like mine, one can withdraw up to a maximum of R-10,000 a day, which feat I managed for three days running.
But it’s all stopped. No one has any working ATM’s. Well, all right, they are “working” but not dispensing those hot pink bills that I need so badly. And, here’s the kicker, with both the old R-500 and old R-1,000 old bills no longer acceptable, no one, no merchant, no hotel, no bank even, can make change for a R-2,000 note. Today, after visiting three ATM’s, none of which had any cash, I’ve just given up. Saturdays and Sundays banks are not open so there will presumably be no replenishing of ATM’s and, God be praised, Monday is a Bank Holiday!!! India? You just gotta love her or you’ll go completely insane!
So, bottom line? We’re all just stuck. We are thinking of spending a couple of weeks in Sri Lanka where there is no such thing as “demonetisation” and presumably ATM’s willingly and freely dispense Sri Lankan Rupees without a hitch. Was there a couple of years ago, stayed at the “Four Star” (read: expensive!) Mount Lavinia Hotel complete with bright, blue water swimming pool and gorgeous private beach. This time, it’s not going to be the Mount Lavinia, for sure.
In other news. The Homestay in which we find ourselves, is our usual outpost here in Fort Kochi. It’s basically an old, traditional house that has been divided up into several rooms, one of which we occupy. It’s located in Bishop Gardens so it’s a short (if hot!) walk down to Princess Street and the commercial hub of town. Unfortunately, while it has a kitchen, it has no air-conditioning nor WiFi. On the other hand, we can get all the veggies and fruit we need from our friendly vendor just a couple of blocks to the east on Pattalam Road and a lovely lady comes to sweep and clean everyday.
Our library consists of one half mystery tomes – a plethora of Michael Crichton volumes among others – and one half yoga, Hindu philosophy and Eastern spiritual guides. Among the dusty volumes is Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” which I’ve read (and saw the Tom Hanks movie) and have been re-reading it for the past day or two. This time around, I have been impressed with the vast amount of research – primarily of the religious variety – that Brown has done that, for some strange reason, I missed the last time around. If you haven’t read the work, the basic plot is the search for the Holy Grail, which in Dan Brown’s version is not a chalice but something else altogether surprising and provocative.
But as I’m reading thought the tautly wrought plot, it occurs to me that one of the glaring anomalies the book exposes is the degradation of women, first an entire panoply of ancient goddesses and then females in general, that the consolidation of the Catholic Church under Roman Emperor, Constantine, some three centuries following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, engineered. This “engineering” was not just a by-product of Catholicism’s tightening grip on the foundations, beliefs and practices that the newly expansive church undertook as it elevated Christ from a human being of extraordinary power (like a Gandhi or Buddha or Martin Luther King, let’s say) into a divine creature, the Son of God who could no longer be challenged as he was transformed into the manifestation of God’s divinity on earth.
Before the birth of Christ and for some three or four centuries thereafter, pagan rituals included devoted worship of such female goddess figures as Egypt’s Isis, Greece’s Diana and Rome’s Venus to name the most prominent of the richly populated rainbow of female Nature Goddesses who ruled spiritual practices. This, this worship of the female as a source of natural spiritual endeavor, made perfect sense. After all the birth of a child was probably the epitome of the mysterious and revelatory aspects of the entire natural world.
Today, and for 2,000 years now, there is no female goddess representation in Christianity. She simply does not exist. Yes, there is Mary, mother of Christ but while venerated and respected she has no particular authority in the canons of the Church and is not worshiped as a god figure. Odd, isn’t it, that for millennia Goddesses ruled but have now disappeared from virtually every modern manifestation of religious dogma and practice. There are no female Imam’s; no female rabbi’s, no female priests and this absence of female authority figures in modern religions extends to Buddhism and Hinduism as well. Kind of shocking, don’t you think that virtually the entire modern world of organized religion simply ignores the female?
Interestingly enough, “The Da Vinci Code” (Leonardo Da Vinci, brilliant as he was, was a homosexual, basically a non-believer, and time and time again ran afoul of Catholic Church dogma at the time) posits that the Holy Grail is the line of the offspring issuing from the marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, who today (and beginning in the Third Millennium) has been relegated to the status of a whore and prostitute in current Christian dogma. There is, of course, no proof that Jesus ever married, much less forged a union with Mary Magdalene.
Or is there? Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s a treasure trove of ancient scrolls were unearthed in the Middle East. The Nag Hammadi papers and the Qumran scrolls have been “under study” now for over half a century. Only the smallest fraction of these writings have been made public, mainly from the “agnostic” writings attributed to Thomas. Frankly, this lack of publication of the Dead Sea scrolls is downright mysterious. Sure, there is undoubtedly scholarly controversy surrounding the translations and interpretations of these treasures, but after fifty years why is there is only the merest dribble from this magnificent trove?
It is well known that many of the New Testament “testimonies” were discarded from the holy canon or deemed unsuitable for inclusion in the sayings of Jesus Christ upon which the entirety of Christianity – its teachings, its dogmas, its hierarchical structure – is based. The Christian New Testament consists of Mathew, Mark, Luke John and Revelations as ordered by the Church as the outcome of negotiations conducted during the reign of Constantine. So why not add to this fairly meager compendium from the works that were discovered just half a century ago?
Now I’m not big on conspiracy theories but I have to wonder why it is taking so long to publish the additional Christian discoveries unearthed fifty years ago. Maybe, just maybe, there are stories and tales and teachings that are antithetical to the now centuries old dogma of Christianity. Perhaps there are stories that undermine some of the very basic tenets of Christianity. Was Jesus Christ descended from God through divine birth, a common occurrence in religious doctrines all around the world, or simply born of a woman? Was Jesus Christ married to prostitute Mary Magdalene and did they have children?
Who knows, right? But any of these theories if proven true or even suspected of having scant legitimacy, would severely alter the very bedrock foundations of the entirety of Christian belief. On the other hand, perhaps the entire world could benefit from the resurrection of the Goddesses of antiquity. After all, a female Pope could be in the offing and wouldn’t that be a revolution in religious thought and practice?
On the other hand, “The Da Vinci Code” is one rip roaring of a mystery tale replete with The Brotherhood, Opus Dei, a murderous Albino monk, a renegade Bishop and a host of other characters that provide a continuing saga of deceit, deception and delight!
Have A Great Day!!