Friday, September 2, 2022

The Religions of the Monsoon & the Desert

The Descent of Ganga

Raja Ravi Varma

Hinduism is a naturalistic religion founded in the land of the monsoon. Islam is a theocratic religion founded in the Arabian desert. 

The teachings, moral values, and the political methods of the two religions vary widely because the monsoon will always be an antithesis of the desert. Where the monsoon goes, the desert cannot exist; where the desert exists, the monsoon won’t go. The cow belongs to the land of the monsoon; to the desert, belongs the camel. The ancient Hindus were settlers (tribes of agriculturalists and herdsmen); the early followers of Islam were nomads and warriors. 

(The attached picture is Raja Ravi Varma’s 1890 painting, “The Descent of Ganga.”) 

The story of the descent of River Ganga from heaven to earth, through the prayers of Sage Bhagiratha who was aided by Lord Shiva, plays a critical role in Hinduism. This story symbolizes the fact that Hinduism is a religion rooted in a fertile and green environment that is richly endowed with water resources: monsoon, rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls. The earliest mention of Ganga is in the Rig Veda; Vedic Hinduism began in the Indian subcontinent when the River Ganga began to flow on earth.

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