Lord almighty

Religion and politics have always been together, like twin siblings, since the time of the great political scientist Chanakya, who has elaborately and shamelessly explained how the hoi polloi’s religious faith can be exploited for political and administrative gains.
So what is the new religio-political issue that is brewing in the country? Enough of Ram, Hanuman and Goddess Durga and enough of the tussle over Ayodhya land. The country needs a new controversial god. And here we present to you, the faithful, the dawning lord of Puri temple and one of the most celebrated Hindu gods, Jagannath. This time, no land was involved but it was the lord’s vehicle that was at the centre of the argument.
Keeping in mind the importance of social distancing in this time of COVID pandemic, the country’s apex court passed a stay order on the famous rath yatra in Puri, the annual festival when massive juggernauts carrying Lord Jagannath and his siblings Subhadra and Balaram or Balbhadra, roll out of the Puri temple. Lakhs of devotees congregate to witness the spectacle. The purest are those who get to touch the rope of the Lord’s juggernaut.
The court’s sensibility was not appreciated and there was an appeal to review the stay order. Finally, the court had to allow rath yatra but without gatherings and left the responsibility of micro-managing the annual festival on the temple management. The BJP government, naturally, was ecstatic at the order. Rath yatra, after all, is no Tabhlighi congregation.
Amit Shah promptly tweeted, ‘Congratulations to the people of Odisha. Jai Jagannath.’ Nirmala Sitharaman too was thankful to the apex court for allowing rath yatra. The educated leaders of our country know better.
Rath yatra was on June 23. I was never a big fan of Lord Jagannath, especially after the inhuman treatment I received at his temple. But I feel a deep sadness every time I speak about him, probably because of his missing hands and the troubles he has to face (in my imagination). This time, I really felt awful. No, not for the servitor of the temple who tested positive just hours before the celebrations. My emotions were reserved for the Lord.
How can the Lord submit himself to the whims of a handful of mortal humans? Faith can be delirious and blinding and the Lord will agree to it too. Imagine the two lords, Ram and Jagannath, in conversation about the utter stupidity and callousness of the humankind:
L. Jagannath (LJ): Jai Shri Ram!
L. Ram (LR): (startled) Oh you scared me! I thought they are coming again.
LJ: Hahaha… why are you so scared of your bhakts Ramji?
LR: Wouldn’t you be? (After a few seconds’ pause) Anyway, don’t worry, sabka time ayega, aapka bhi (everyone’s time will come, yours too). Jai Jagannath!
Yes, his time came and Lord Jagannath had to
deal with the fools. Fine, the apex court laid down
all the regulations but the temple committee had to implement it.
“Trust me I would not have been angry had you decided against the yatra this year. I am tired of the same thing every year. What dearth of imagination these humans have? And also, one human tested positive in my own temple and just look at the crowd, not just in my town but in every city, and all in my name. I shudder at the thought of consequences. It is the doctors and health workers who have to suffer if things go out of hand. I cannot even check pulse rate. Hey Ram, you were right. Even the Almighty’s might cannot save these fools. I am terrified that if the virus attacks more people in my town, I will be blamed. O Brahma, save me,” the Lord looked up from inside his rath.
Brahma (from somewhere in the sky): Sorry dear, not coming down soon. Even Ram requested me to help him. I am param brahma and I do not get bewildered by the mortals’ stupidity. Of late, they have gone beyond limits, even during lockdown. So I am abstaining from poking my nose in their tomfoolery. Let us all wait and watch and take care of our health during the pandemic. Don’t trust anyone down there. Not even the biggest bhakt.

~ NM

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