Religion is opium of the people – said Karl Marks, the writer and the “seed” of communism. There are more wars and holocaust pertaining to religion than any other we are aware of. There were wars to establish religions or wars to maintain it and more wars to propagate it. All religions are linked with some bloodletting. More blood runs in the “Religious Rivers” than the “Arteries of Humanity”. There was a time when humans were sacrificed in the name of Religion. Then the rules changed and animals had to bear the brunt. These days’ mankind and animals both suffer. It seems it requires Water for Humans and Blood for Religions to thrive.
I wonder if wars were at all in the minds of those who “Conceptualised the Thoughts” in the first place. Actually, those words of wisdom were coined when some atrocious wars were still raging. The idea was for peace than to fuel the war. It was to show mercy than be a brute. The intention was towards sanity than madness. But, unfortunately, their wisdom merged with the adjacent wantonness and became a kind of “pushmi-pullyu“.
But did our wise fathers really expect this state of affairs? What could have been the real thrust behind their thoughts? How did they derive their wisdom? How did their environment influence their thinking? Did they have any laboratory where they distilled those thoughts which later captivated mankind? If new thoughts are needed today, what would be the most likely places from where it would emerge?
It is significant to note that the Protagonists of Great Religions or rather “Thoughts” were all Herdsmen. Jesus reared sheep and goats and Krishna was a cowboy. There growing years were spent in midst of bovine cattle. Their “9 to 5” job was as routine and mundane as it is today. But during the course of their work, they did something which separated them from other herdsmen of the community. Though they had a tranquil job in midst of disturbed environment, still they made themselves responsible to bring about a change. Probably, they found similarity between their own livestock “chewing their cud” and the general population getting chewed by their rulers.
I am supposing, what these Great Masters would unlearn while they were on their job as herdsmen. What did the lives of sheep, goats and cows stimulate in them, that they were able to carve out a radical thought which still survives to this day? So, for a while, I will put myself into their Great “Sandals”, and try to decipher what “thought elements” a “nine-to-fiver” herdsman can collect from his milch animals.
The Great Thought Leaders must have been Dispassionate Observers. This is required for discounting. Any observations give rise to Opinions. And those opinions are coloured by prejudices from that society. Suppose, if there is an Observation which is tagged with any contemporary vocabulary, then that is not a solution. It’s just gives rise to a synonym. For the quest of the New one has to first recognise and put behind, the used and the old. Passion is a by-product of your context. A dispassionate observation discounts, one by one, all passions arising out of the observations. To put it crudely, the thought of sex should exist before the birth of a child. Similarly, the thought of the “New” should exist before the birth of that “Novelty”.
Compassionate and Protective
The Great Leaders would never consider their beasts to be a burden. Since their chief educators were their livestock, they considered themselves responsible to lead and protect. Hence, the philosophies they developed where more attuned for the weakest. There was no “cut-the-rope-on-the-straggler” mind-set. While leading the livestock to the pastures and back, the Leader took most care and accompanied the weakest and the slowest. To give the weak the strength to protect themselves, they implemented close networking which formed the communal spirit. They knew “prey animals” will exist to cause harm. So, the powerless should support each other through safety in numbers. They established rules with some “checks and balances” to plug-in the loopholes. But they never insured against the “Certain”. They demarcated the “cause and effect” from the inevitability of natural causes.
Though the Leaders must have carried a Staff but it was more a pole of assistance for them than a weapon. If an animal got strayed from the path, the Leader would have re-aligned its path by himself moving in an arch which gave sufficient indications to the animal to fall back within a perimeter. There would be no abrupt imposition. They would supervise their herd and just made sufficient movements to get their message across. So they developed rules, laws, and jurisdictions etc. which were never oppressive or intrusive. It never encroached into daily lives of people.
The Leader would always strive to get the best pastures for their herd. When the herd returns to their sheds and the days’ work is done, the Leaders “Thoughts” are never done. He needed to plan ahead for the next day. He would consort with his fellow herdsmen to locate the best pastures and exchange his knowledge. He would not be selfish for his herd but wish the same for all herds, irrespective of the owners. The thoughts developed here was all-encompassing. Remember, they lived in the times of “Mine and Me Alone”. They knew this attitude resulted in strife and competition which was “cut-throat” literally. They had realized that to Share resources and knowledge was the Best Deal for all.
Our Great Leaders were actually masters in communications. You would wonder, how they communicated with those “dumb” animals. The animals can be termed as timid but never “dumb”. “Dumb” would means, not matching up to someone’s clever tricks. The Masters knew that tricksters have a short life-span and would one day meet their match. Their intention was to “Give Voice” to the “Mute”, not “Give Speech”. Hence the tasks which communicated goodwill like helpful services, donations were encouraged. We think that those Great Masters gave lot of speeches. They did not. Establishing intention is important before any action. Hence, they stood and made their point. The real work started after that. They understood that Great “Thoughts” cannot be established by shrieking like a Demagogue. Communication of Love through “non-verbal” means was the cornerstone of their Operating Policy.
The very act of being a Herdsman would have brought forth the idea of adjustment. The Herds and the shed could be owned but not the pastures. They were free natural resources. Hence, when the Leaders roamed from pastures to pastures, they would have realised some poignant fact – that they will have to meet other herdsman, that they will have their own ways and habits and that they might not speak the same language or they might not keep the same set of beasts. Suppose if one herdsman has a set of sheep and another a crowd of buffaloes, then size of their egos should not balloon equivalent to the size of their beast. They developed the understanding that it’s just different animals but the same herdsmen.
So, I chose six aspects. I know it’s not so simple. The Religious Leader were first pioneers and developed thoughts within great complexity. It’s difficult to appreciate their thought structures. And I have not even touched on the criticisms. Just imagine a politics or a power threatened by a mere herdsman. We, today, cannot even fathom the enormity of their enterprise. Whatever I have written are just some humble thoughts on “what line of thought they might have taken”.
All our inventions and discoveries are not yet done and all our books not yet written. And all our thoughts are not yet “thought-out”. There are still more to come. Probably our next “Great Thought” is going to come out from a “Cubicle”, because that’s where the modern herdsman has shifted. Whosoever it is, it’s going be someone from our midst. And this time we will SMS and MMS the hell out of him. I wonder how the modern crucifix would look like!