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……………. To save the Sun a million Hindus assembled at the banks of the Ganges.   How many, I wonder would assemble to save India?   ………. If I were an Indian millionaire, I would leave all my money for the endowment of an Atheist Mission.

Bangalore:  3 April 2005                                                                                             Copied from “ Keepsake:  Vol. I ”  

79)  Hindu Idols as seen  through  Western  eyes

The Idols

In vain are the Hindu Idols decked with rich ornaments;  they are not rendered thereby less disagreeable in appearance.   Their physiognomy is  generally of frightful ugliness, which is carefully enhanced by daubing the images from time to time with coating of dark paint.   Some of the idols, thanks to the generous piety of rich votaries, have their eyes, ,mouths and ears of gold and silver; but this makes them, if possible, yet more hideous.   The attitude in which they are represented are either ridiculous, grotesque or obscene.   In short, everything is done to make them objects of disgust to any one not familiar with the sight of these strange monsters.

Bangalore:  3 April. 2005                          From Abby Dubois’ “Hindu Manners Customs and Ceremonies”

       Abbey Dubois was a French Catholic Missionary who lived in

       Mysore  and Tamil areas from 1792 to 1823

80)  The Great God Juggernaut of Puri

He is a grotesque monster, a white-faced legless wooden idol, five feet tall, with glaring eyes and stumpy arms emerging from his head which has a large diamond set in it.   He lives with h is black-faced brother and yellow-faced sister who are equally hideous. …………….

Juggernaut was being attended by a chosen few of the 6000 servants who devote their  lives to him.   They cleaned his teeth, washed him, dressed him in fine clothing  and placed in front of him a light breakfast of rice, sugar and wheat.   They similarly attend to his brother and sister.    The traffic restriction in the town were relaxed for vehicles carrying food for the Juggernaut family.  

………… Those who serve the gods are divided into thirty six orders, performing sixteen daily ceremonies, including teeth cleaning, feeding, making offering, dressing, undressing and putting the gods to bed for their siesta after lunch.

Bangalore: 3 April 2005 Trevor Fishlock in “The Great god Juggernaut of Puri”   

He was an English journalist in India in early 1980s.

81)   An  Ancient  Tamil  Poem

Some years back Pope John Paul II paid a visit to England.   The conservative population of the country was not too enthusiastic  about the presence of the Catholic Prelate on their protestant soil.   And when the Pope said he would bless the country, the English were indignant.   But the benevolent Pope blessed England, all the same, and added, “A few words of blessing by the Pope do no harm to anyone.”   

After forty-four pages in English, I thought a few lines in Tamil will do no harm to “Chit-Chat”.   Hence these poems which I collected from “                                                                                                    

Classic Tamil literature of the Sangam period is rich in poetic imagery and variety of thought.   Here is a poem dated very early in the Christian Era.    It describes an event that the poet observed during a late evening.   The poet is enamoured of the sight of birds returning to their “homes”  with their beaks full of  feed for their young ones in the nests among the tall trees.   

“The Sun is setting behind the wide sky.   Birds with bent plumes are flying homeward to their nests  with their beaks full of the feed for their chicks.   This scene is beautiful to observe” says the poet.

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