pooja holiday,marxian thoughts and mythological musings
Ayutha pooja and its holiday of total lack of work, gave me a chance to see a nice film, and also to ramble.
Vanessa Redgrave’s fever was an unusual film. It can disturb the sensitive. It can wake up the sleeping. It may not tell or answer everything but it would make you look at things you may take for granted. It is about empathy, it is about the itch of the comfortable intellectual, it is about values generally ignored. It does peek into Marxism. It makes you identify somewhere with the protagonist, and if you are self-obsessed and stinkingly stupid it would still make you nod acknowledging that you know someone somewhere who thinks or acts like this. It is about wealth. It is about sharing, giving and getting. It is about evaluation and it is also about rationalization.
Rationalization need not be rational, or logical or even truth! It is the mind’s reflex self-defense. It helps you to feel that you are still good. It makes you feel that you are intelligent enough to discard fate as an excuse for failure or success, though you would say you are fortunate to be rational! The film made me wonder why I earn enough to splurge and pay for my staff who work the same number of hours. It made me think of other things too. The morning after the film, my wife and I still spoke of the film and its sub-text. Strangely it made us think of lakshmi- the goddess of wealth in hindu mythology.
Wealth is comfort. This comfort can become condescending or compassionate, it can breed arrogance or altruism, it can make you impatient. It can be disturbing. It can even be hurting. Without wealth I cannot type on this lap top on the problems of the poor who have never even seen a laptop being booted by someone. Without wealth I cannot buy a nice edition of Das Capital. Without wealth I cannot buy food or clothes. Why should wealth be despised? I can really understand why wealth was revered and therefore ascribed divinity in the early hindu thought. It is necessary, but then what is wealth?
The swinging stock market and the sly economics that are discussed by experts are beyond my comprehension. I just know that my charminar costs more. I therefore need to make a little more money. I need lakshmi!
The one interesting aspect of depicting lakshmi in the hindu context is that she is not a simple money making machine! She is a diamond with many more cuts. If all the parts were to be equally contributing to the total, she provides an interesting speculation. She is not just iswarya lakshmi , but also dhairya lakshmi and vidya lakshmi, not to forget the veeralakshmi. but how many hindus pause to think of the meanings and idioms of myths? the turquoise ram and the blackish blue kali are still just there to be worshipped, believed and not pondered! that’s why geo formations are real bridges and cemeteries are scavenged! let me come back to lakshmi.
Though nowadays veeralakshmi helps her own santhana lakshmi, by buying vidya lakshmi, nothing is possible without being dhairya lakshmi! You need guts to bully people in order to amass wealth so that you can buy a degree for your progeny- ofcourse with adequate wealth and bullying capacity it need not be a degree but a designation or a deputation. So the wealthy are blessed by lakshmi. The wealthy therefore have guts, and with guts they pursue and make more wealth. With this wealth they buy education. With the bought education ( nowadays synonymous with a relative recognition) they hope to increase the wealth! It does not follow the script any more. The wealthy wily parents do not beget more wealthy and more wile progeny. What goes wrong?
Wealth is too general a term to just mean money. It is, like health, concrete and abstract, physical and mental, causative and reactive. It does mean knowledge, courage and valor. Perhaps proper distribution or sharing of wealth would mean equal opportunities for all to be comfortable and winning. Perhaps all would have equal amount of earning and spending capacity if they pursue lakshmi, provided she is not like the scary fortune in Boethius’ consolation of philosophy, who flirts and flees at her won unfathomable whim.
That’s why I preferred saraswathi. (saraswathi is another interesting myholigic creation that means more than the ravivarma image.) She would in the long run get laksmi into the house and also give me sense to know that my work and its reward (worthy or unjustified) would make me immune to the pathetic failure of whomsoever I may wish to promote.
So what am I trying to say? Perhaps nothing, perhaps many things. The film was about the philistine fetishism of the arrogant affordable- perhaps I am yet to quit that club membership.