Crushing Observations

10 Jan

Indian JuggernautYou’re familiar with the concept of a “juggernaut”?

The word is derived from the Sanskrit जगन्नाथ Jagannātha (meaning “Lord of the Universe”), which is one of the many names of Krishna from the ancient Vedic scriptures of India.

One of the most famous of Indian temples is the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa, which has the Ratha Yatra (“chariot procession”), an annual procession of chariots – wikipedia

“Chariots”, in this case, really meaning “massive rolling temples”.

Another Indian Juggernaut

So, it seems like a fairly simple bit of logic to connect those colossal wagons with the modern definition of an unstoppable force that we currently use – but, oh, those wacky explorers and colonialists had to embellish an already impressive tradition.

A popular 14th-century work, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, apocryphally describes Hindus, as a religious sacrifice, casting themselves under the wheels of these huge chariots and being crushed to death.

Based on this claim, British colonials promulgated the claim that Hindu devotees of Krishna were “lunatic fanatics who threw themselves under the wheels of these chariots in order to attain salvation”. – wikipedia

This, it seems to me, is something like having an alien observer of Earth determine that there must be a subset of human assassins who roam the highways in an attempt to cull the herd, since we so often hold a celebration, with plenty of drinking, then allow wobbly-handed executioners out onto the road to slam into unexpecting parties.

Others have suggested more prosaically that the deaths, if any, were accidental and caused by the press of the crowd and the general commotion. – wikipedia

Hindu Celebration

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3 Responses to “Crushing Observations”

  1. bmj2k January 10, 2011 at 15:22 #

    Those are amazing.

    • JRD Skinner January 10, 2011 at 18:53 #

      I’d love to go about constructing one, but, in the tradition of my people, it would probably end up on blocks in the driveway.

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