Producing a Scripture

In my last article (Religions), I had exchanged views that Our religions are an Anti-Thesis or at contrast to the society where it originated. Like Hinduism which has two prominent Books on wars and all our Gods war-like. Looking within our society, we would see just the opposite. Mis-representation and in-coherence are endemic to Indian Culture but our books teach us the opposite.

Christianity and Islam have a peaceful tone but when they were being formed, the society around it was oppressive and violent. Also, the depiction of the Prophet is disallowed and Christ is shown with imperative simplicity. Compare it with the history of those times, you will find that the Romans had many Gods. Later the new thoughts replaced Polytheism with Monotheism.

So, the regional social situation gave birth to thoughts which were antipodal to each other. Hence all Great religious leaders were also Contrarians. Looking within India, the growth of Jainism and Buddhism were the fruit of non-conformist thoughts. India was replete with dogmas and rituals and hence there was a need for a thought which was shorn of oppressive religiosity.

Now, what about the disciples and followers! Followers are not necessarily subscribers. And disciples are also followers but with a mentor tag. Both are a necessity for a thought to take its roots and then to carry forward. The initial followers and disciples are risk takers and who nevertheless wanted to get away from burdensome, cruel and unjust regimes. The later followers are those who read the balance of power and converted to get the sops. Either way the numbers helped to perpetuate the thought. There is a tipping-point where the thought hits the philosophy of increasing returns and gets recognized as a religion.

Every religion requires documentations. The older the religion, the more are the documentation. And more is the documentation, more the confusion. Anyway, the idea here is to understand the development of documentation which is necessary to propagate a thought and at the same time have a control on the followers. 

There must be a method behind the development of a religious document. Words and sentences must have been whetted and debated and made as succinct as possible. The sanctity of the text has its genesis in its conceiving. Their must have been brainstorming in both monologues and dialogues. To create a piece of document filled with words lasting all wisdom would certainly be a task of much iteration.

And what is the wisdom in the books? It’s the timelessness of the interpreted idea. The tenets stands good at all times. It encompasses change. It’s generic yet specific. Geocentric is the word which comes to my mind. To achieve this balance would have required focused thought. It’s very easy to say that they were born and gifted and hence they could come out with such intuitive philosophy. I would like to be in and question the brass tacks. Like Buddha and Mahavir, they were just like us. But what did they have which defined them through millennium?

If you are working in any establishment, you must have come across many circulars. Those papers pinned on the Bulletin Board or Company-mailed to you. Some circulars are administrative in nature (like leave policies) and some are operational which deals with area of your work (like care of truck engines).

Whatever, a circular is a document to communicate and control. It takes into account the message, the audience and the feed backs. Circulars are generated within an organization for the staff to understand their rights and responsibilities. They are the tentacles through which the top runs its various governances. Through time, some of the select circulars would find its way into a more comprehensive collection and later percolate into a Body of Knowledge. Then many Bodies of Knowledge will contend for the final pedestal, which many would call the Bible. The Bible “Per Se” means “the books”, in Greek. It can apply to any long-lasting valid and referenced scriptures.

You would wonder why I digressed into Circulars. There is a reason. Firstly, we can all relate to it. We know how and why it gets circulated. Secondly, my belief that, many things have not changed since pre-history. Whatever we are doing today, the same we did before. Even before the coming of TV or Mobile and now 3G, we are what we where. Hence, nothing has changed since say, Jesus. The way scriptures got developed then, will be the same way as it is developed now.

Now let’s take the antipodal nature of our religions. Any organizations bulletin board is filled with circulars of Do’s and Don’ts. Somebody has made a mistake and so there is a corrective circular. Someone has transgressed, hence a punitive circular. A novelty arrives and an informative circular derives. Someone goes “accidentally” and an obituary arrives explaining the contingency.

Suppose you go to any organization other then your own. If you read their bulletin board, you will get to know what the organization is “not made of”. The correctives on the board are the mistakes they often commit. The knowledge displayed with block letters are those which they don’t have or they need regular re-enforcing. Any Company Manual takes into account that there are things which you will not do and if you do, what would be its consequences. 

This is how, I think, any religious document would develop. The nature of anti-thesis is inherent in the environment where the document originates. Each scripture has its context. And the same goes for the emblem or the hallmark. A book proclaiming a stand-point would have a protagonist who is likewise. Like, the Bible is associated with Jesus and Gita with Krishna. One wanted peace from oppressive regimes the other wanted people to get out of sloth, debauchery and dice and fight to establish a just society. 

I am not writing here to say who is right. I am trying to express why it is the way it is. Something developed way back when conditions were bad. But the steps taken for those thought developments couldn’t have been more dissimilar than now. Just the way everyday things are happening now, the same would have been the situation then. The development of religious documents would have taken the same process flow as it is done now. 

It’s difficult to write a readable piece. Producing documents which are unassailable is a labour of love. Care has to be taken at conception first to avoid ambiguity and then to achieve a balance to save being counter-productive. I would imagine that there would have been lots of minutes and draft circulars before its final release. And of-course their must have been revisions and several versions before the finished product could be called a Bible or the Gita or any other religious books.