Our Navrathri golu this year is a trip through time weaving reality with mythology, fantasy and dystopy.
The journey starts with Swarga, where perfect beings reside in their gossamer abodes warmed by the soothing rays of a young sun God Surya. On the top tier is Shiva, Parvati with their son Ganesha. Shiva, the destroyer, an indomitable yogi, the embodiment of will power sits with his significant other, Parvathi, the goddess of strength and herself a destroyer of evil (in the form of Durga, sitting tall on a tiger). Interestingly, they both together take the form of Ardanaari – half male and half female – symbolizing the gender neutrality of the mind. With them is their son, Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Also seen in Swarga are Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, with lotuses in her hand and Saraswathi, the goddess of learning holding the musical instrument Veena. Krishna sits busy eating up butter and the ten avatars of Vishnu are also in sight. And Buddha sits in meditation in a serene corner contemplating the meaning of it all.
We move down from the heavens to the Jurassic terrain with an abundance of flora and fauna on land as well as in water. Life has evolved itself languidly over millions of years. Life creeps into land from the water, Dinosaurs came and go, as biology rolls the dice of DNA determining survival or extinction.
From the Jurassic we come to the golden era of human civilization. The land is lush with produce and people live simple lives. Kingdoms blossom within territories and life flows like a harmonious river, one with nature. There is a perfect balance of people, of resources, of all life forms living in symbiosis in a perfect ecosystem.
The scene played out is the the Aranya Kandam ( “Forest Chapter”) from the book of Ramayana, set in Thretha yuga, which considered to be the perfect era (demons notwithstanding). Banished from his kingdom by his conniving stepmom, Rama the perfect human, lives in the forest with his ethereally beautiful wife Sita and intensely dedicated brother Lakshmana.
One day an Asura, Soorpanaka (of demon lineage) comes by and falls in love with Rama. She then assumes the form of an enchanting temptress and tries to seduce him.
She is stoped by the fiery Lakshmana who then cuts off her nose in anger. She runs, (now in her original demonic form) to her brother, Ravana the ten-headed king of Lanka.
Enraged by this insult to his sister, he seeks the help of magician Mareecha who takes the form of a golden deer to lure Sita.
Sita sends Rama away to capture the golden deer for her and when he takes too long to return, she sends Lakshmana to check on him. Knowing she is now alone, Ravana abducts her in his chariot.
The devout bird Jatayu fights Ravana but is unable to free Sita as she is taken to Lanka. Valiant Hanuman goes to Lanka to find her and enraged by Ravana sets fire to golden palace .
The story however, ends happily with Sita liberated and the villain, Ravana is killed.
The idyllic and fertile conditions for human life lead to an inevitable explosion in human population. Trades flourish, territories won and lost, people farm the land and trade their prized produce, art and artifacts. Once sparse villages start growing into dense cities.
Lights. Camera. Action! Glamor, fashion and show business dominate the collective human imagination. Lives are lavish and lived in excess. Resources are plentiful. Newly invented incandescent lights, synthetics, plastics and nylons take over cottons and candlelights. Life is to be enjoyed. The rich plunder the poor. Materialism at its peak, products are consumed and discarded mindlessly…..
And all that nylon the plastic needed a place. Landfills became the best kept secret of technological advancement.
The fiery red sun shines down mercilessly on the expanses of concrete. Resources have run dry. Malnourished, exhausted and beaten down by the intense heat of an ever warming sun, they pray to the vestiges of their Gods of Kali Yuga (the era of destruction) while the skysrcapers crumble. A few old houses remain as a proof of a bygone era. Yet, hope remains. For after all, life always finds a way not merely to sustain itself but to flourish. That which survived the ice ages can survive the melting pot as well. Breaking free of its constraints, life will circle on.
Which way will the future go? The Ethereal and Equilibrium are both but a breath away on either side. Hope is eternal that life will prevail one way or another.
Hope you enjoyed our golu.
May the Shakthi be with you.