This one I couldn’t finish in decent time either and I took the usual solace in the usual ‘busy schedule’ bahana. But the thought provoking ideas of Holger Kersten were worthy of every stretched minute.
The bold note which the book begins with is nothing like it when it ends. The end result was that I couldn't care less if Kersten’s hypothesis seems to me proven or not. But what the book did for me was an entirely different deal. What was in it for me was this wonderful way in which parallels were drawn between the major religions of the world. Also the painstaking research that has been put in by the author to trace the common etymological origins of similar religious terminology is a treat.
For a religion and language buff like me, the delight at each discovery was twice as much. Reading the book opened up the grand vista to the evolution of world religions as it did to the minds of men who wield religion for power; a topic that has always fascinated me. My intellectual interests apart, the book transfused in me a lasting sense of unity on a ‘personal’ front. The challenges of an inter-religion marriage are many and minute. Its difficult to say which grazes what and from where stems trouble. For a Hindu woman with a Catholic husband, the idea of the possibility of a culmination of the two religions is ‘relieving’, albeit a far-fetched idea.
I’ve experienced smug seconds though when I almost believed that Christ was ‘inspired’ (Bollywood music director-style) by Buddhism via Hinduism; felt that undeserving sense of superiority over the other- like the naive ‘My God is greater than yours’ kind of a thing. But the bottom line was this pervading sense of unity, knowing that he and I are fundamentally the same, no matter how different our religious garbs look. Not that I hadn’t known it all along, but to see it reiterated in print seemed to bolster my conviction.
All in all, I’m too bothered with my relationship to be bothered with who lived where.