Friday, August 06, 2010
Pilgrimage And Pastures
The resilient forces of man’s nature have begun to push against the walls of man’s moral fortress.
In the holy land where the oozes of human nature have all to pass through the sanction of society, how long will self-control prevail over instinct, after all?
The promise of a reward at the end of a pilgrimage, like the carrot on a stick, kept man going, not looking at the sinful pastures that flanked his path. When the end of the journey was reached, only one held the reward and a hundred others stood disillusioned wondering if there was any point in the abstinence of a lifetime.
Some of them still on the path seeing the plight of their predecessors tore away the blinkers that prevented lateral vision and took to the gardens.
There, they indulged in fruits of desire and savoured fulfillment.
They were not allowed to join the pilgrimage again, polluted as they had become.
The few courageous invented new destinations for themselves, travelled solo, sometimes incognito and attained salvation.
The rest being weak perished in the cold without the protection of the familiar cocoon.
Meanwhile, on the path, they trudged on, a bit concerned in the beginning by the dwindling numbers, a bit confused but convinced when assured and prodded by the custodians of customs, the perpetuators of social constructs.
All was well again.
Until someone took a close look at his neighbour and noticed that he was bleeding.
He was not sick. Its just that he had accidentally seen beyond his blinkers and had become desirous of the gardens.
He had not the courage to rebel but he could not forget the garden either.
The battle between man’s fortress and man’s fantasy caused much bleeding.
He should have admitted his desire to himself, he should have stood facing the garden, made a confession, taken in an eyeful, perhaps tasted a fruit and then moved on. He should have opened one small floodgate and let some of the water that was rising inside him. His attention had been distracted for sure and denying that fact was no atonement.
But he was too weak for that bold step.
Dangling before him was that trifle of a carrot.
So he chose to trudge on, looking now at the garden, now at the dangling carrot, smiling, induced by the occasional pat on the back by the cheering onlooker.
And he was not the only one bleeding. There was another, one more, some more and many more. So they all trudged on, bleeding, but denying it, smiling at one another bravely.
The one that had indeed controlled himself and shunned the pastures and completed the pilgrimage had the satisfaction of testing his strength.
The one who broke away had the pleasures of abandon.
What did the hypocrite get? An emotional baggage? The trifle of a pat on his back by onlookers that did not matter? A storm bottled up inside him that welled up in his chest and choked him? Feverishness?
Where the appearance of moral correctness becomes more important than moral correctness itself, where the false assurance of having followed all the rules becomes more important than actually following the rules, man’s life becomes a pretence, a lie.
For, of all the thoughts, feelings, passion and longing that define man, what manifests is an iota while much remains bottled up inside; because, of the panorama of the picture that surrounds him, all he sees is a narrow strip between a pair of blinkers.
Much of the fortress is by now eaten by the moth that came from the west.
It wont be too long before the flood.
Instinct will overthrow injunction and dance with a vengeance.
But after the initial celebration of freedom, there will be disillusionment again. The kind that comes after you have uprooted the tree to set free the branches.
Most will be eroded, washed away. And one will float, swim to a shore.
Whether the fortress wins or the flood, its man versus man. For the fortress is man’s making; and flood, man’s nature.
Man wins. Man loses. Because either way, the reward always goes to a few. Its disillusionment that falls in the lot of the rest.
That said, does it matter which way one goes? The pastures or the pilgrimage?