Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The MahaMatrix

Bharat Matrixa
Kathmandu, Nepal

This week's Viewer Mail:
Long-time correspondent Robert, in Northern California, writes:

Dear Siren:
I still do not understand. I have been reading your articles for three years. All of your articles since reaching Nepal (also on your previous visit to Nepal, and when in Sri Lanka) sound like a normal, sane, clear-headed person. But for the last few months (since your illness in Madras), your writing has been like someone who cannot concentrate... or worse! What's happening?

Dear Robert:
I have been a student of Indian history and culture for more than ten years. Having lived in India for over three years now, people ask me what I have learned about India. And, more importantly, people even ask why, in my writing of this blog, I suddenly seem to be a different person.

This is what I say:
At the risk of getting really mystical, there is a Hindu concept called Leela or Maya. Leela means something like "cosmic play," Maya is "illusion" and Mahamaya is "great illusion" ("the creative, illusion-making power of God"). These forces appear repeatedly in Hindu mythology and scripture. Only the gods and powerful mystics have the ability to see beyond the Leela. Like The Matrix, everyone else is caught up in the "program."

India is under a very, very heavy Leela. They have to be. Otherwise, everyone would go crazy and it would all fall apart. Actually it is slowly falling apart and they are all already crazy, but because of the Leela & Mahamaya (the Matrix), no one realizes it.

I have noticed that other people write about this as well... about how in India, you have to do a lot of "play acting" and pretending. It's okay as long as you know it's pretending. The danger is that if you play a part long enough, it becomes real.

After spending too long in India, I lose my ability to see beyond the Mahamaya Matrix. I start to get caught up in it. You can see the difference when Indians come to the US. They are like normal people there. They say things that make sense. They actually answer questions. You can have straightforward conversations with Indians when they live in the US. Sometimes, they even acknowledge that problems exist. When they have been abroad long enough, they eventually will even acknowledge that Indian problems exist, in India!

Get them back over here, and BAM! - Mahamaya Matrix strikes again! Other foreigners have described this (this effect on themselves, as well as on Indian acquaintances).

You can also see it with Indian friends here in India - the difference hanging around me and other foreigners, then the way they behave when other Indians come into the room. Amazing! It's just like the movie - they are terrified of being discovered as a traitor to The MahaMatrix. You saw the movie, you know what happens when you are found out!

Anyway, I blame India. Or more accurately, Mahamaya. But - I really don't know what you're talking about, since, there is no problem... there are no problems... are there? Everything is fiiiiinnnnnnnnne...... just take the Blue Pill.....

6 comments:

Amod said...

You hit the nail on the head about the "MahaMatrix". I have experienced this too (I'm Indian American as you know). My theory is that life in India is so complex and challenging that the art of turning "the denial switch" on and off is almost necessary in order to maintain sanity. And it's not just foreigners around whom urbane Indians turn the switch off, they do it with some of their Indian friends too. The extreme disparity in India (economic as well as educational) has created parallel universes. Imagine this scene. An illiterate (but trusted) maid lets herself into the home of an engineer whose current project involves cutting-edge technology that will change the life of millions around the world. She does his dishes and puts his clothes in the washer/dryer as he plugs away at his computer. During their brief encounter he must speak to her in her language and empathize with her worldview (which may be fraught with irrational notions) in order for the two to connect. An outside observer may look at this scene and conclude that the engineer is being influenced by the "MahaMatrix" but it may be just a conscious decision on his part to let go of the maid's inconsequential irrationalities so he can focus on dealing with the larger ones. Of course the extent to which he does this consciously may vary depending on the type of person he is, what kind of upbringing he has had etc. but I think this is generally what happens.

Shinu Mathew said...

Hey what are you talking about? MahaMaya is the cause of your changing persona? Nothing is wrong here. Everything is fine in India. India can never do anything wrong ya know? :)
Jokes apart, how are you now? feeling well after the viral attack / Food poison?

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT WE COULD EVER HAVE A PROBLEM, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM FOR SAYING THERE IS A PROBLEM! WE ARE A GREAT ANCIENT NATION WITH A GREAT ANCIENT CULTURE BLAH BLAH GREAT ANCIENT BLAH GREAT MODERN LARGEST DEMOCRACY BLAH BLAH TRADITION ANCIENT GREAT VEDAS PHILOSOPHERS YADDA YADDA YADDA! HOW DARE YOU HAVE AN OPINION ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT BROWN! YOU ARE OFFENDING THE HURTING SENSIBILITIES AND OFFENDED FEELINGS OF THE HURTING SENSITIVE INDIANS!

I really do get mail like this.

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

Dear Amod:
Thanks, but that's not really what I meant. The kind of thing I'm talking about is, your hypothetical guy denying that he even has servants. (Like the Tamil couple I had a homestay with...they "didn't have servants," even though they had a 30 year old house "boy" and a fulltime driver. They don't exist! Because if they did, then the employers might be contrary to the image they cherish of themselves...as good, modern upstanding people who don't exploit the poor. So, they don't have servants. Only a house boy and a driver. But no servants.

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

VIEWER MAIL
Michael in Minneapolis writes:

Hey Siren,

I can't say with any knowledge that you have changed
for better or worse because I hadn't read your blog as
a linear journal until recently. You know yourself
best regarding your health
(spiritual-emotional-mental-physical-social-environmental),
so I have faith you'll take care of yourself if
circumstances threaten your well-being.

That being said, I do believe there are definite
'mystical' forces at work all the time, and sometimes
we as humans enter an unwanted clouded state where it
becomes difficult to discern the balance we need for
sustained health. Bottom line: protect yourself. And
believe others are intentioning your good health.

OK, enough of that serious stuff. Well, maybe not
yet.... Is it possible that the matrix is most present
in America? And as a true super-heroine will you
return from your enlightenment journey to be the
leader and healer that I sense you are? Possibly the
One? Or One of many? One can hope.
.........
Dear Michael:
Of course, the Matrix is present in America, in a slightly different form. Here, it is taboo to even talk about Reality. In America, it is not only okay to talk about - it's even big business (talk shows, therapy and so on) - but it is taboo to DO anything about it.

Me, a leader and super healer? I am not interesting in anything that involves getting up so early in the morning. (smile)

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

VIEWER MAIL
Rama in Kerala writes:

Have you totally given up on the idea of Vipassana? Because of your writing abilities, I was looking forward to your description of the experience on your blog. Remember the way you described the experience with the christian healers? That is fascinating reading and I am sure worthy of going in to a book about your travels in India (should you decide to do one).

.....
Dear Rama: Wow, it must be raining cats and kukurrs (dogs) there in Blog's Own Country.

No, I rarely give up on any idea. They just kind of float around my desktop till the piece of note paper is stained with tea rings and grime, then I write them onto a new piece of paper and hope springs anew. I will do a Vipassana course for sure some time this year. It will be tough to report accurately, since the course does not allow note-taking or writing of any kind for 10 days. I imagine it will be a real media withdrawal for me.

Speaking of healers, before leaving Kathmandu I plan to see a Tamang shaman woman here in an attempt to get my stomach ailments cured. Since medicine has failed, perhaps it is an illness of the spirit.

Signed, Siren Shamanista