The Secret World of Monuments

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The Sun God Surya

god shiva

Man is neither kind nor respectful, say I, of the strong among us to ever care whether this act or that act is just or unjust, whether to love whether to serve, all the same, they just don’t care! Give man a chance I ask, and see if he wouldn’t haul his God from out of the heavens and bring him down here on the Earth, and then make of him a public exhibition, thinking little of the need for such a venerable one. Thinking still less whether that’s what the saints and the prophets of ancient time had ever wanted, fame it’s called,- when they walked the Earth. Profane, profane I shout ….isnt’ this all that man cares about; fame- this fleeting experience? He then blinds himself into thinking that he can still make the life of those great ones still greater, and so he goes and built a whole monument of some poor saint, some tired soul, some loving heart who had died a long, long time ago trying to change the world. I pray you please tell me, what more do such a pure soul, one who had seen it all, heard it all, and therefore understands it all, can ever again want from man? The making of those great ones standing guard in the center of our  immoral cities, please tell me, is this not unkind?

This magnificent statue of the Sun god, sits here in eternal meditation at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. Known all over India as Surya, he soon caught my attention while heading towards the passenger lounge.  What a pity, I thought, that man, in his conceit should bind even a god in this public of squares.

As I moved passed the sculpture, I couldn’t help but wonder what this mute statue would say to the world if for the first time it were allowed to talk. “What would it say?” I asked myself before finally disappearing among the people “It’s pure arrogance for man in his bliss, to think that this does me any good,” was the last thought I heard inside my quiet mind.

In a country that is home to a whopping 17 percent of the world’s population, this famous statue literally sees millions of passengers coming in and out of the country.

 

Guruda,  The Humble Giant

Garuda image

Behind me on a pedestal, stands Garuda, the lustrous legendary bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. This very humble giant is indeed the “vahana” or vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This is Durbar Square, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Exhausted from many days of road travel, and looking gaunt, I decided to shake it all off with a visit to this famous square, to learn something more about this really great culture.  Here, I was able to get involved in some cultural diplomacy with non-beings.

Unlike many western sculptures, in the east, the people provide more than maintenance for their sculptures, they bring gifts of all kinds, such as beautiful roses and money offerings  to these stone gods on a daily basis. To add even more flavor, the Hindu faith believes that every form for that matter, has something of a consciousness of its own.  I could imagined that this beautiful form behind me was saying; “Why wouldn’t this guy ask me before posting to take a picture.

Join by thousands of ordinary Nepalese, everyday this Garudar sculpture partakes in a rather playful atmosphere regularly. Nepaleses consider the square like this one, a shopping mall.

The Homeless Jesus

S. Francis, Public Figure

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hand and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist, says .” (St. Francis of Assisi)

In considering the world’s contemporary history in light of saints, especially those saints who most recently walked the Earth, St Francis is one I often find in my thoughts. But in downtown Manhattan, sits the bronze statue of the “Homeless Jesus,” in front of the St. Francis Church, on 31 St. The statue looks entirely pensive, and it’s also shameful. Even I, with my poor self, I couldn’t help but stick a quarter in the Lord’s hands. But does he have need for it, or is this just another condescending behavior of the human race?

Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to want to know what this rather benign sculpture of the lord, if it could talk at all, would be its voice. ” To man, it was never enough after they impaled me on the cross, after they beat me, and cursed me, and put on displayed my naked body, now here, in the public of squares they have turned me into a beggar, and they have dressed me into rags and have assigned me here, under rain, under sun and under snow !

This is New York City, and as you know, it’s home to almost nine million Americans, and this section of town, which is very near Pan Station, on 34 St, serves as New York City’s most populous transit district. Therefore, apart from the hundreds of churchgoers, my guess is that this statue sees it lot more people  from its roadside canopy than anyone can possibly count.

    The Heroic Rosa Park

Rosa Park, image

Walking by this demure figure, one would have to wonder about that moment on the bus. What was she thinking? What could have been the source of her motivation? What type of courage is that, to ask for certain death?” So, this then brings me to what a great man once said; “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Who then was that someone that loved Ms. Rosa Park so deeply? Who was that someone whom Ms. Park had loved so deeply? Was Rosa Park, herself just a bunch of love? But if there are no answers to these questions, perhaps this stern expression, frozen on her face is the very epitome of courage motivated by love, the reflection of an inner war–the spirit of that one virtue which when once awakened, when once whispered, it becomes an echo throughout the corridor of time.

My thoughts were that perhaps this woman  who sits here frozen forever in time, and is holding in her bosom my water bottle, that maybe her last wish was for everyone who passes by her shrine, she hope would take with them a little of her courage, a portion of her will, and then  add to it, and then eventually each can change something of the world.

Every single day, Rosa Park sits here quietly watching thousands of pedestrians passedby. But once in a while someone would stop to study the small-looking statue of this Civil Right icon, and perhaps ask quietly about the dept of her courage, the power of the human spirit, the elements of her dauntless will which stood firm before the whiteman’s army.

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