Sunday, April 25, 2010

Memorable Quotes from "The Death of Vishnu" by Manil Suri - 2

The eyes. Surdas's eyes.
The two fountains of sight.

He said, with these eyes have I sinned, and with these eyes shall I cleanse myself.
these eyes shall be my freedom. These eyes shall be my penance. With these eyes shall I attain salvation.

And that one moonlit starry night - when she crushed that first golgappa in her mouth, felt the crisp papdi shards and the soft yielding chickpeas between her teeth, tasted the sweet and fiery chutneys on her tongue, closed he eyes as the gush of tamarind water exploded down her throat.

That he would scrape and scrub away at her Dongriness, until she emerged polished and precious, like a multifaceted jewel, able to hold her own with razor wit and glittering personality.

Why, then, did he not understand the mechanism of faith? What did religion do to people, to provoke such obstinacy, such hysteria - how did it push people to the stage of torturing themselves and killing each other?

Religion existed to control society, to monitor those without the capacity to think things through for themselves, to provide promises and shimmering images in the sky, so that the urges of the masses could be calmed and regulated.

What after all, did the word 'Faith' connote, except a willing blindness to the lack of actual proof? It was only natural that Arifa, with her untended intellect, had to lean on this crutch of faith to negotiate the inscrutability of life.

After all wasn't he constantly amazed at the number of very smart people who were believers- hadn't even Einstein professed the existence of God?

He supposed this was the essence of faith. There was no science that governed it, no calculus that propelled it, just the raw strength of his own conviction. Whether he succeeded or not depended on how well he could combat doubt, both his own and in others.

Sent from my iPhone


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