Ever since Abram and Sarai set foot in the Promised Land and subsequently changed their names to Abraham and Sarah, the concept of spirituality assumed a course of aggression that culminated in the physical destruction of many ancient cultures that had gone before them.
History and myth intersected with the advent of Christianity and the symbolic subjugation of Canaan and its idol-worshipping polytheists became concretely entrenched in the real historical trajectory of Abraham’s spiritual descendants – the Christians and the Muslims.
Whereas Abraham’s exploits are pure myth and confined to the book, these two derivative faiths ploughed a path of destruction of ancient pagan temples and the forcible conversion of cultures all over the earth. A terrible campaign of genocide was unleashed to an extent hitherto unknown to the human species.
Almost every important church and mosque that exists today on earth has been built on the sacred cultural site of a vanquished people that lies buried with their gods and goddesses, known and unknown.
What looked like an unstoppable monotheistic train to many for nearly 2,000 years now looks spent as a spiritual force and the rationale that justified their actions now seems spurious and fake in the light of reason and the collective experience of the species.
But the charade goes on as if human intellect, rationality and experience are merely a negotiable matter and that they are on a par with superstitions and unsubstantiated a priori assumptions.
In this background, 5 August 2020 is a watershed in spiritual and cultural history. It signals a reversal of the current spiritual trend, and that fact is going to be etched in stone.
A very important pagan temple is rising from its own ashes like the proverbial phoenix for the first time in history. The foundation stone was laid for the Sri Ram Temple in Ayodhya that was demolished by Islamic fanatics in 1528.
Unlike the famous Somnath temple that could never be completely destroyed, the Ram Temple lay buried beneath the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, virtually smothering the memories of the descendants of those who built it. But the chimes that reverberate in the chants of Jai Sri Ram are embers that were never doused in the Hindu collective unconscious.
This essay traces the fortunes of the religions and cultures that evolved organically in India and elsewhere and held sway in human history once upon a time. It also shows how the natural course of these cultures was diverted through physical force, laying bare the truth that it is not intellectual force, but physical might that determines dominant spirituality.
The spiritual reversal that is evident in the rebuilding of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya perhaps physically signals the redemption of the human evolutionary process that had come to stagnate with the advent of the Abrahamic faiths. This event assumes great spiritual significance and calls for collective introspection. It signals a radical change in the thought process of the species.
The Term Pagan
For most people with a Western orientation, the term 'pagan' evokes an innately derogatory sense. Currently, this term is rarely used by common people, but when used it doesn’t fail to connote an uncivilised quality in human behaviour.
Today, the term is generally viewed as archaic by educated people as most deem the term to be outdated history, because one would wonder whether a genuine 'pagan' lives today in flesh and blood.
According to the online Merriam-Webster, the term is derived from late Latin paganus, a term to address non-Christians: "The definition and etymology of heathen overlap with those of pagan: both words denote 'an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible’, and heathen, like pagan, is believed to have come from the term for a country inhabitant, or in this case, a 'heath dweller’.”
Pagans were simply those of the human species who were not Jews, Christians or Muslims and hence do not acknowledge the god of Abraham as the sole god or the exclusive source of divinity.
However, the disparaging connotation the term carries doesn’t justify itself, embedded as it is in tribalistic jargon showing a deep-rooted prejudice among the adherents of the three faiths traditionally called the ‘people of the book’, indicating the common origins of their ‘faith’ in Moses’ Bible, the 'holy' book.
There is no anthropological study undertaken in any university in the world specifically about pagan cultures that have been annihilated, and whether there remain any traces of them today and to what extent they have changed or adapted to survive the onslaught of relatively new, predatory and tribalistic cults such as Christianity and Islam.
The only acknowledgement of the old 'pagan' in the West is the attempt by a miniscule group to resurrect the ancient pagan culture by the so-called neo-pagan movement.
Paradoxically, it is this neo-pagan movement that is being researched by modern Western scholars. To my knowledge, excluding Walking the Worlds, a biannual journal of polytheism, there is no publication devoted to the old pagan culture in the West today.
Origins Of The Contempt For The Pagan
The first attacks on pagans and their cultures by the Christians took place nearly 2,000 years ago and ushered in a new era in human history. This was a turning point hailed as 'progressive' by Christians, but for the varied cultures that were annihilated, the Christians were evil executioners who destroyed their tradition and high culture.
Pliny the Younger (62 to 113 CE), who was sent by the Roman emperor of that time, Trajan, to keep the peace between the early Christians and non-Christians, reported back that Christianity was “a vile superstition carried to an immoderate length …. The contagion of the superstition has pervaded not only the cities but the villages and country districts as well”. Pliny also mentions the Christians’ “hatred of humanity”.
The first flush of Christianity manifested itself a few hundred years after Pliny, which period would be designated as the 'dark ages' by its own 'enlightened' members some centuries later.
During this time, the term 'pagan' denoted the utmost degree of evil so that any trace of the existence of any pagan cultural element or knowledge that went against Christian dogma was considered an affront to Christianity, and the converts strived to annihilate them as quickly as possible.
Conversion by force was the rule rather than the exception in much of medieval Europe. Those who resisted were often murdered without further ado.
Christians were very much like the Muslim hordes that raided and plundered the whole of West Asia and beyond a few centuries later. Challenging their doctrines was called heresy and heretics were often condemned to torture and death.
Today, what Pliny called the “contagion” of “vile superstition” has spread almost all over the earth. The little remains of the untouched Amazon forests, and the North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal, are among the last vestiges of the pure world where the contagion did not get a chance to infect the human mind.
Where brute force would have amply sufficed in the jolly good days of Christianity, now the Catholic Pope has to make concessions for his priests in the Amazon in view of the earthy and healthy pagan outlook on celibacy and sex.
Where a few burnings at the stake would have sufficed then, the conversions are now realised in secrecy, by coercion and subterfuge.
Around 600 years after the Christian contagion began to disseminate freely, it met with a competitor from Arabia in the form of Islam.
Being the spitting image of Christianity in tribal character, having the same antecedents originating from Jewish scriptures, Islam too has a term equivalent to 'pagan' and 'heathen': the 'kafir'. The exclusion of ‘people of the book’ from these originally derogatory terms attests to their common origin in Judaic scriptures and the faith of Abraham.
Members of these two religions have different rules and regulations for the allegedly inferior unconverted people whenever the former achieve political power in a region.
Objectively speaking, the common feature of the ‘people of the book’ is tribalism. This distinction between the tribalist and its 'other', the pagan or kafir, transmuted into the esoteric theory of two human races – the 'Adamic humanity' and 'pre-Adamic humanity', attested by the Russian historian and philosopher Boris Mouravieff in modern times.
The different rules for the heathens and kafirs point to the tribal doctrine of 'we' and 'them'. Whereas for the Jews the tribal god remained their own personal god of the tribe, the jurisdiction of the tribal god of the Christians and Muslims is violently extended and forced upon the whole species, beyond their own tribes, with the injunction that theirs is the only god that is real.
The result was the most involuted monotheism ever, as the ‘people of the book’ initiated and sustained a colossal exercise in sophistry that regularly pendulated from utter nonsense to utter nonsense in order to prevail over the pagans and kafirs. It was an indulgence that nevertheless did not fail to fool not just themselves but their converts.
To sum up, tribal challenges – such as 'our god', 'their god' and 'we' and 'them' – define these two religions and the pagans and kafirs collectively became the social “other” and the butt of their god’s ire.
For this reason, Christianity and Islam by doctrine resist sharing the same laws with the pagans, even when the pagans are in greater number such as was the case in the Roman Empire of 2,000 years ago or as is the case in India now.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Christianisation of a large part of Europe happened in a matter of few centuries. The fall of the Persian Empire to Islam was even quicker. For the first time in human history, dynamic tribalism promoted by organised violence made rapid advances.
The army of fanatics ploughed its way through peaceable pagan societies across continents, mowing them down one by one as it made its way across continents and countries.
What shocked the pagans and paralysed their limbs and minds was the utter disregard of the tribalists for the civilsational ethos that had been refined and established by the species and which generally prevailed almost all over the planet even in matters of war.
The marauding armies of faith were driven by a blind zeal that is the chief characteristic of Abrahamic believers, the people who were systematically brainwashed from childbirth by the repeated chanting of superstitions.
The religious prejudice against the heathen and the kafir is kept alive with fanatic fervour by their mandatory daily reading of their Stone Age scriptures.
In this regard it may be pertinent to quote here an expert in polytheism, an exceptional Western scholar, Dr Edward Butler, in order to understand the hatred for the pagan that still exists in the typical Western psyche (collective unconscious) despite the apparent disappearance of the old fanatic Christian zeal from public sphere:
“The intolerance toward Hinduism is rooted in fear and loathing of polytheism. Polytheism was not simply left behind in the West, it did not die of natural causes; in fact, it didn’t die at all, because the Gods are still here. Christendom has been fighting its war against them for two millennia now, and it grows tired. This is why when Europeans came into contact with actually existing polytheisms in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania in the early modern era, it set off a frenzy of destruction, subjugation and inhumanity. The old enemy was back.”
Read the second part of the article here.
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