David : Hi, Ramanujam, where are you going ?
Ramanujam : To my native place.
David :Oh, your native place ….. What for?
Ramanujam : Hey, what are you saying ? Diwali Festival is fast approaching .
David : What Festival?
Ramanujam : Ssh, Diwali Festival.
David : Diwali? What is this festival about? Why are you celebrating?
Ramanujam : Good question. Let me explain to you. Diwali is a festival celebrated on the death of a demon king, killed by Lord Vishnu. You can also celebrate this like celebrating Independence Day, as we got rid of the British.
David :Oh, I see. Who was that demon king? How was he harmful to the world? I am sure there was no atomic bomb in those days. Even today we won’t do anything against the guys who have atom bombs. In that case, who was that demon? What was the detrimental action he perpetrated?
Ramanujam : Mm, that demon’s name was Narakasura. His father was Mahavishnu and mother was the Earth. Yes, he was born of the Earth. He troubled the Gods (devas). So he was killed by Mahavishnu and his wife. The philosophy of Diwali is “nobody can harm the Gods” (devas). To remember this, the people celebrate Diwali every year. Got it?
David : Ya, got it. But I have some doubts. I want to clarify some doubts. How could he be born to Mahavishnu and the Earth?. Earth is made of sand and stone. How can Mahavishnu mate with the Earth? How did the Earth become pregnant? How did child birth can take place to Earth? I do not understand this.
Ramanujam : Are you mad!! How can Mahavishnu mate with the earth directly? Doesn’t he have wives for that? He did not mate directly with the earth, but he took the incarnation of a boar.
David : Hey, wait, wait. I need some explanation here. Why did Mahavishnu take boar -incarnation?
Ramanujam : Oh, that is your question . Alright. Let me tell you. There was a demon named Iranyaksha, who folded the earth like folding a mat and hid it beneath the ocean.
David : Hey, wait, wait. I get confused here.
Ramanujam : What’s the confusion here? I explain to you very clearly how he folded out the earth like mat and hid it beneath the ocean.
David : OK, got it, carry on.
Ramanujam : Then, what is it that you are not getting? You are interrupting me unnecessarily .
David : Not interrupting, but your matter is only confusing my mind. My head is rolling here. Is he an Assura or a demon? OK. Leave it. His name was Iranyatcha. All right. His story? We will hear it later.
Now tell me how this Assura folded the earth. As far as we know the Earth is like a ball, one can roll it but can not fold it. You are saying it was folded. OK keep it as it is. But where will one stand to fold the earth? And also where and how he ran away?
I can think that he can fold it while flying in the air like Gaurda which carries Mahavishnu and his wife. But you said that he hid the earth beneath the ocean. But where was the ocean lying without earth ? If you say the ocean was also flying , it is not sustainable logic that it would have leaked out. And the person also hiding beneath will fall down.
Is there any world different from ours? I could not understand anything. Explain to me how this happened. We are students of B.A studying geography, astronomy and science, and so I am raising these doubts. Otherwise I would not have asked these questions if I had been an illiterate and uneducated. Please explain it.
Ramanujam : Hey, all of this was said and written in our sastras by Brahmins and also it is there in theology. You cannot raise questions against this. Atheists’, the Black shirts will ask questions like this. You cannot find any of the socialists ask questions like this. I do not have any doubt that you belong to the Black shirts ( DK party members used to wear Black shirt).
David : But why are you speaking like this? It does not seem that you are studying in BA. You are saying that one guy who took birth from the earth, and another one folded the earth and ran away with it. If I raise doubts in this, you are getting angry. Thousands of people are celebrating this festival believing this story. Government has announced a holiday. Lakhs of students are simply roaming in the streets spoiling their studies. If I ask questions on this, you are blaming me as a black shirt. Why should only black shirts ask questions and why not others? Does the Common sense belong only to the black shirts? OK leave it. After he ran away with the earth and hid beneath the ocean , what happened? Carry on.
Ramanujam : After that the people from the world complained about this to the Mahavishnu, the protector.
David : Please wait, where did the people go when he folded the earth and ran away. Did he give any notice to the people to vacate the earth before folding it?
Ramanujam : What is this ? You are speaking too much. When I say the people went to Mahavishnu, you are asking questions irrelevant like what the rate of onion is and how to make Kadi pakoda. Your questions are so stupid and you are behaving over smartly.
David : No ya. Don’t mistake it . OK, tell me what happened next.
Ramanujam :They complained and accordingly Mahavishnu took prompt action. He came down, went to ocean and took the boar incarnation and jumped into the water, saw the earth, rescued it by holding it in his teeth and opened it. Understand?
David : All right. I believe you. Because when I ask question, you are blaming me as over smart. OK then what happened?
Ramanujam : Then the Earth got into a joyful and romantic mood. The eyes of them exchanged the looks. The god of love Kamadev shot arrows upon them, made them mate with each other. What can I say after this The child was born .
David : OK, one personal question! Don’t get serious and angry…
Ramanujam : You can ask me!
David : Boar incarnation was an animal form. Am I right?
Ramanujam : Yes, you are right.
David : The earth consists of Sand, rock and water.
Ramanujam : Right.
David : Then how can these two mate and the earth get pregnant?
Ramanujam : Again you are asking audacious questions. God can do whatever he likes.
David : What is this Ramanujam? This is the question about reproductive science. If I ask about this, you say I am asking audacious questions. OK. We will ask our principal. What happened to that child?
Ramanujam : That child was Naragasur.
David : Who gave that name? His parents?
Ramanujam :Whoever gave the name, it’s not important. Leave me, I have to go.
David : Ok, Ok, you can go. But finish the story.
Ramanujam :Naragasur started troubling the Devas. So Mahavishnu killed him.
David : It’s ridiculous. The child took birth to a god and troubled the all the gods, only to be killed by them! Why are the devas that much wicked and cruel?
Ramanujam :This was due to the poor fate of Naragasura. What do you think, can one get away after troubling the gods?
David : But if a child becomes naughty or bad, the father should advise and discipline him, instead of killing him, as happened in this incident.
Ramanujam : That was God’s wish. Who are we to question God?
David : Agreed. Mahavishnu killed his son. What is the connection between this and the celebration of Diwali?
Ramanujam : There is a connection. Nobody should harm and trouble God. In order to keep that in memory and to get reminded of it, often we have to celebrate.
David : Where are the Deva’s now? They are the one who reside in heaven and who are residing now on the earth?
Ramanujam : Oh fool, don’t you know the Devas residing on earth? They are the Brahmins. It means the Gods are residing on the earth. Go and see the dictionary.
David : Who are the Brahmins? Which class do they belong?
Ramanujam : Which class? We are the Brahmin’s. We are the ones.
David : So you are saying all the Brahmins in this world are gods.
Ramanujam : Right. 110 per cent correct.
David : OK, then leave it. You are the god of this earth. Then who are the guys trouble you now?. There are no demons or assuras now. Then why do you celebrate Diwali to scare those who trouble Brahmins.
Ramanujam :Oh, Are you saying about the Assuras now? These Black shirts, self respect movement guys, and Dravidar Kazhagam group. Who are they? They feel jealous of the Brahmins, want to live like them. They look at Vedas and Sastras with the rational mindset. These guys are the demons. So in order to threaten them, Diwali should be celebrated to remind the Black shirts and others that they should not dare to challenge the supremacy of the Brahmins. In order to perpetuate and continue the hegemony of Brahminical forces, Diwali is celebrated. Otherwise, whatever the story of Diwali, it’s not a problem.
David : But Brahmins are only 3 per cent, others are 97 per cent. How long can you people threaten them?
Ramanujam : Don’t worry about this. Congress is there (Now BJP also). Even in the 97 per cent we can find some Vibhishna’s and Hanuman’s, who supported us and helped us to destroy our enemies. Then the Sadhus, Priests, cultural Nationalists, Patriots are all slaves to Brahminism. So the majority and minority mathematics is just stupidity.
David : Oh, OK, OK, I know now what is Diwali and its philosophy. Thank you.
Ramanujam : Ok, Namaste, Jai Hind!
(Translated version of Periyar’s writing, which Periyar had written on the pen name Chitraputhiran in ‘Viduthalai’ Magazine, 1956)
Translated by : Anoop Patel, The New Materialists, Delhi