January 15, 2008

Jew's Contribution...

The story goes something like this: The brave Roman General who defeated the Jews and occupied Jerusalem decides to give the vanquished a final blow that will shatter them completely. So he goes to the Jerusalem Temple to see the “Jew-GOD”, who is so dear and near to the heart of the Jews. His intention was to destroy the GOD (or GOD's idol) with his sword. With the sword in his hand, he goes and lifts the curtain or parokhet... and sees... NOTHING! How can he destroy something immaterial?! How to fight an idea with a sword?!

I think the most powerful contribution of Jews to this world is the concept of a GOD who is immaterial. Think about this. Can anyone humiliate a GOD, who is immaterial? Can they desecrate HIM? The believers derive the strength of their belief from the infallible and unconquerable nature of GOD. If that GOD “falls” to a human, won't that shatter the belief and the strength of the believers? It will! They simply won’t have the heart to fight the conquerors. The conquerors knew this and for ages they have targeted nothing, but the Kings, Heros and GODs. They knew that destroying those "objects" that are considered to be the personification of strength and prosperity, would take away the strength of resistance. It was one easy way to subdue the defenders easily. This is where the Jew's concept of GOD becomes so powerful. The conquerors can never destroy the “source of strength” or “hope”, also known as GOD. All because GOD doesn't have a material form! It is an idea. A concept. And how to destroy an idea or concept with muscular power?

This concept of GOD was later imbibed by Christians and Muslims. During my visit to Hampi, I felt sad seeing the temples destroyed by the Muslim conquerors. They desecrated the temple and destroyed the idols. They destroyed because they knew that the conquest would be complete and final. And it did work for them! But in that process they also destroyed the marvelous architecture :-(. Had the Hindus stuck to the concept of "Brahmam", which closely goes with the idea of immaterial GOD, we might have been reading a different history.

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