Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shiva Trilogy - Philosophy of circle of life

- Discussion about Philosophy of Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy -

Its been more than a week since I read the 3rd and final book of the Trilogy. Can't get it out of my head, its decently written and has a gripping story and thought provoking philosophy. I've no idea, how closely the book is related to actual text in Hindu scriptures. Still, the way the role of trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) is explained in the book is mesmerizing. I gifted the first book of this trilogy to my grand-father to know his thoughts on authenticity with regard to actual scriptures. Amish dedicated this book to his father in law, who was an ardent Shiva devotee. I somehow got the feeling that his personality would be similar to my grand father. So I was expecting a positive review of the book from by grand dad, which would be rather uncharacteristic for his personality :) 

However no such thing happened, he completely rubbished the whole book and said there was no authenticity and respect in this interpretation of Shiv-Puran. That was ok, I half expected that from him but to my surprise the book somehow hurt his sensibilities. 

I still feel that interpretation of my grand-dad about this book has not been correct and its been clouded by  his vast knowledge about Hindu religion and its philosophy. I think its a good book to understand Hindu philosophy for a modern layman like me. The philosophy of circle of life, that every good things inevitably converts in to evil and when there is no way to rectify that evil then it must be destroyed by a great leader is just too convincing. Although the story is set 4,000 years ago, still the story seems so valid for our times as well, that's why it is more convincing. In our time the western world is like Meluha. Those countries have able administration, everything is well managed and the whole system is very efficient. Whenever I travel to west, I have similar feeling as Shiva had when he first visited Meluha. Everything is so well organized, that its hard to not get awed by the whole machinery. To add to that they also look so much younger and stronger like citizens of Meluha. Then counties like India are like Ayodhya, where everything is so disorganized and chaotic. Still there is beauty in both ways of life. 

In our time "Fossil Fuel" was the greatest good until few years ago but it has now turned to become the greatest evil. Middle-East is like rich kingdom of Branga, they don't realize that they are suffering from the curse of greatest evil. Obviously the fossil fuel has done lot of good for human race and has help us evolve but the harmful effects of the fossil fuel are now getting overwhelming. In one talk Amish explained the role of the religion in the society is not to control human race and neither it is to create a ethical society. The purpose of religion is that every individual can aspire to become god and find a purpose of life in that aspiration. So if one aspires to be Brahma, the creator then he/she wants to create new things and new life. If one aspires to be Vishnu then he/she aspires to nurture human race. So there are currently lot of individuals aspiring to be Brahma and Vishnu by trying to save us from greatest evil of our time by researching on energy efficient methods and alternative fuels. This task is being done by various people at various scale. However if all this research produce no results then inevitably Shiva would be required to destroy this evil. I can not imagine, who can take up this task. While the job of Brahma and Vishnu looks much more manageable, the job of Shiva is so impossible! No wonder Shiva is called the greatest god in the trinity. He is the Mahadev.  

7 comments:

Vineet said...

In my understanding, according to hindu philosophy there is nothing good or evil, or in other words everything has a dual and life is about finding the right balance (that can be different for different people); therefore, hindu philosophy is not prescriptive at all; I haven't read this trilogy but it seems (and I maybe wrong) that Amish has simplified the deep philosophical ideas to the extent that the semantics have changed...i am intrigued about what exactly your grand-dad had to say about this book.

Unknown said...

Yes the book talks about good and evil co-existing. The "Rakshasas" being as good as "Devas". However there is also this idea of universal evil which is doing more harm than good.
My grand-dad got so offended that I could not discuss details with him. You read this book, I would try to read Hindu philosophy then we will discuss. Any suggestions for where I can read about Hindu Philosophy?

Vineet said...

I am actually saying something even stronger than good and evil co-existing; every thing, every entity or every activity has both good and evil. For instance, according to hindu philosophy, there is duality even in breathing; breathing is essential for life but breathing too fast is also bad (can be explained physiologically as well); in fact, the belief is that you are born with a certain number of breaths and therefore, Vivekananda's famous saying "breathlessness is deathlessness". You could try reading any of Vivekananda's works; try Jnana Yoga.

Rahul said...

In your analogy then, i suppose the environmentalist would be the Madadev?

Unknown said...

Rahul, environmentalists who promote energy efficiency and renewable energy would be vishnu. If someone restricts use of fossil fuel by human race, without providing an alternative, he will be mahadev.

Unknown said...

Yes the book also purposes same philosophy. There might be flaw in my understanding and communication. Please read the book for correct version.

Vineet said...

The idea of Trinity of Gods came only in modern times (when different theological sects came into being). The Vedic philosophy does not mention this and that might have already put off your grand-dad. It is hard to discuss here what the Vedic philosophy is, as its both grand and deep and i don't know that well; Just to whet the appetite look at one of the most important shlokas of Rig Veda 10.129 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta (this shlok describes a cyclical theory of big bang)...

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