Saturday, May 9, 2009

War of Necessities?

The Mahabharata details a War of Destiny.

The Iliad chronicles a King's imperialism masked by infidelity.

The Tain is the tale of a Cattle-Raid of Epic Proportions.

Each war can arguably be marked by what is important to each culture. The Pandavas and Kauravas are the sons of Gods and Demons, it is perhaps their Dharma to do battle.

Agamemnon's conquest mirrors the Mycenaean's expansion over the Minoan and, possible, ancient Turk culture.

The Ancient Hibernians were an agrarian people, mostly comprised of tribes, where livestock and farmland were shows of great wealth.

The question I pose is this: What defines a just war for a culture?

In the 1940's the Nazi Party felt justified in their war in Europe, feeling it was their destiny as a race to rule the Western world -- while this may seem monstrous to us, it was not only accepted but celebrated.

Conversely, the English and Americans would never declare war under a banner such as racial superiority, and as such, used their enemy's cause as a means of rallying others to their cause. They must be stopped.

At that same time, Adolf Hitler called the British war-mongers for their Imperialism in India, which they viewed as complete tyranny.

How would Agamemnon feel about Medb's war? Would Krishna view Cuchulainn was a worthy-enough warrior to drive his chariot?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A War of Selfishness

In the poem "The Iliad," I feel that the over-arching theme is selfishness. Nearly everything bad that happens within the pages happen as a result of someone's selfishness. In fact, the Trojan War itself is a War of selfishness.

The selfishness of Paris and Helen begin the war, proper.
The selfishness of Agamemnon incites it further.
The selfishness of Achilles leads the Greeks toward defeat.
The selfishness of Hector leaves Andromache alone with Astyrnax.

While it is simple to say that in a different time one can attribute each of these actions with a different motivation:

Divine Love
Conquering Spirit
Or a need to defend personal honor

It is important to remember that this is a tale for the ages, and the moral of The Iliad are as dynamic as the times in which we read them.

But, the question I pose is, is there a catalyst? Whose selfish act ultimately creates the chain-reaction of selfish acts?

So long as this story exists, we as humans, will find new morals to attribute to it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Kali Yuga.

One of the themes of Mahabharata is the world slipping into the Kali Yuga -- the "Age of Kali" or "Vice." The Mahabharata is a story of war and succession -- the Kali Yuga warns of people disregarding their Dharma in favor of greed and avarice. Lust, and murder will become commonplace, and families will be split apart.

In my confusion, I had associated this with Kālī (Durga), and after some research later found the "Kali" of Kali Yuga to be a completely different entity all-together.

I blame that, in part, to my perhaps misguided view of Kālī, stemming from books and movies where She is portrayed as a chaotic Goddess of Death and Destruction and little else -- as opposed to a prominent figure in Shaktiism.

In that respect, I find Kālī similar to the Goddess Hecate. Perhaps no more evil than Mankind itself -- a necessary balance. A darkness to light; winter to summer; yin and yang.