小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 英文科幻小说 » 少年派的奇幻漂流 Life of Pi » Chapter 16
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 16
We are all born like Catholics, aren't we – in limbo, withoutreligion, until some figure introduces us to God? After thatmeeting the matter ends for most of us. If there is a change,it is usually for the lesser rather than the greater; many peopleseem to lose God along life's way. That was not my case. Thefigure in question for me was an older sister of Mother's, of amore traditional mind, who brought me to a temple when Iwas a small baby. Auntie Rohini was delighted to meet hernewborn nephew and she thought she would include MotherGoddess in the delight. "It will be his symbolic first outing," shesaid. "It's a samskara!" Symbolic indeed. We were in Madurai;I was the fresh veteran of a seven-hour train journey. Nomatter. Off we went on this Hindu rite of passage, Mothercarrying me, Auntie propelling her. I have no consciousmemory of this first go-around in a temple, but some smell ofincense, some play of light and shadow, some flame, someburst of colour, something of the sultriness and mystery of theplace must have stayed with me. A germ of religious exaltation,no bigger than a mustard seed, was sown in me and left togerminate. It has never stopped growing since that day.
I am a Hindu because of sculptured cones of red kumkumpowder and baskets of yellow turmeric nuggets, because ofgarlands of flowers and pieces of broken coconut, because ofthe clanging of bells to announce one's arrival to God, becauseof the whine of the reedy nadaswaram and the beating ofdrums, because of the patter of bare feet against stone floorsdown dark corridors pierced by shafts of sunlight, because ofthe fragrance of incense, because of flames of arati lampscircling in the darkness, because of bhajans being sweetly sung,because of elephants standing around to bless, because ofcolourful murals telling colourful stories, because of foreheadscarrying, variously signified, the same word – faith. I becameloyal to these sense impressions even before I knew what theymeant or what they were for. It is my heart that commandsme so. I feel at home in a Hindu temple. I am aware ofPresence, not personal the way we usually feel presence, butsomething larger. My heart still skips a beat when I catch sightof the murti, of God Residing, in the inner sanctum of atemple. Truly I am in a sacred cosmic womb, a place whereeverything is born, and it is my sweet luck to behold its livingcore. My hands naturally come together in reverent worship. Ihunger for prasad, that sugary offering to God that comesback to us as a sanctified treat. My palms need to feel theheat of a hallowed flame whose blessing I bring to my eyesand forehead.
But religion is more than rite and ritual. There is what therite and ritual stand for. Here too I am a Hindu. The universemakes sense to me through Hindu eyes. There is Brahman,the world soul, the sustaining frame upon which is woven,warp and weft, the cloth of being, with all its decorativeelements of space and time. There is Brahman nirguna, withoutqualities, which lies beyond understanding, beyond description,beyond approach; with our poor words we sew a suit for it –One, Truth, Unity, Absolute, Ultimate Reality, Ground of Being– and try to make it fit, but Brahman nirguna always burststhe seams. We are left speechless. But there is also Brahmansaguna, with qualities, where the suit fits. Now we call it Shiva,Krishna, Shakti, Ganesha; we can approach it with someunderstanding; we can discern certain attributes – loving,merciful, frightening – and we feel the gentle pull ofrelationship. Brahman saguna is Brahman made manifest to ourlimited senses, Brahman expressed not only in gods but inhumans, animals, trees, in a handful of earth, for everythinghas a trace of the divine in it. The truth of life is thatBrahman is no different from atman, the spiritual force withinus, what you might call the soul. The individual soul touchesupon the world soul like a well reaches for the water table.
That which sustains the universe beyond thought and language,and that which is at the core of us and struggles forexpression, is the same thing. The finite within the infinite, theinfinite within the finite. If you ask me how Brahman andatman relate precisely, I would say in the same way the Father,the Son and the Holy Spirit relate: mysteriously. But one thingis clear: atman seeks to realize Brahman, to be united with theAbsolute, and it travels in this life on a pilgrimage where it isborn and dies, and is born again and dies again, and again,and again, until it manages to shed the sheaths that imprison ithere below. The paths to liberation are numerous, but thebank along the way is always the same, the Bank of Karma,where the liberation account of each of us is credited ordebited depending on our actions.
This, in a holy nutshell, is Hinduism, and I have been aHindu all my life. With its notions in mind I see my place inthe universe.
But we should not cling! A plague upon fundamentalists andliteralists! I am reminded of a story of Lord Krishna when hewas a cowherd. Every night he invites the milkmaids to dancewith him in the forest. They come and they dance. The nightis dark, the fire in their midst roars and crackles, the beat ofthe music gets ever faster – the girls dance and dance anddance with their sweet lord, who has made himself soabundant as to be in the arms of each and every girl. But themoment the girls become possessive, the moment each oneimagines that Krishna is her partner alone, he vanishes. So it isthat we should not be jealous with God.
I know a woman here in Toronto who is very dear to myheart. She was my foster mother. I call her Auntieji and shelikes that. She is Québécoise. Though she has lived in Torontofor over thirty years, her French-speaking mind still slips onoccasion on the understanding of English sounds. And so,when she first heard of Hare Krishnas, she didn't hear right.
She heard "Hairless Christians", and that is what they were toher for many years. When I corrected her, I told her that infact she was not so wrong; that Hindus, in their capacity forlove, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the waythey see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, andChristians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims.



欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号