Day 29: Reese’s Journal Entry 4: Little India
I’m writing this real quick while I’m on the interurban, not in my usual journal. Just to give us translators some perspective, they’re sending me on a field trip today. There is a section of 1920 with people from the Indian subcontinent, 1920-alpha. (There’s also one with people from Africa and another from Southeast Asia, and a few more but I don’t remember exactly what they said in the meeting.) This regional subdivision idea is a smaller-scale version of the bit on the back of the pamphlet that asked if we speak Babylonian: even if we had a translator device in our ears, the cultural differences would be unbridgeable. In fact, there’s a section of the 1920 timeline that is so “distant” culturally it has their own sub-Region of 1920: We call it “1920 M” with “M” standing for Mecca. I won’t be going there. Not all Muslims go there, either.
Even within connected regions, as people rub elbows in ways they didn’t before, their lives change. What’s kind of fun is that as you travel within the region, there are blends between the different architectures. You can watch the building styles change when you ride the interurban line between towns. One of the riders called the region I’m going to today “Little India,” but that makes it sound like some low rent district outside the zone of the upper “Euro-American” classes, but it’s not. But I was told to expect to be surprised. I’m to meet a Zoë named Arjun, who will be my guide.
I’m back home. I’ve transferred everything to my official Journal.
It was quite an exhilarating experience. God, I’ll miss the food in Little India. Everything here is dull by comparison. I jokingly asked Arjun if anyone was going to open an Indian restaurant in New Harmony soon, and my question was taken seriously.
One thing I realized was that our section of 1920 shares some traits with 1920-a more than it does the world that was in the American Midwest. It hadn’t dawned on me that in New Harmony, there are none of the big-box retailers we were used to dealing with. Just as there are no 50’ semi-rigs, the distribution system can’t support centralized retailing. And since there’s no monetary gain to be made from that kind of consolidation, New Harmony is more like my own childhood Midwest, which still had a lot of Mom & Pop retail stores and grocery stores. It took going to Little India (apparently it’s a term of endearment there, a reminder that there are many more people from the India that was who will be waking up in their resurrectorium) to bring to mind the differences.
Arjun had me start by going to the Ashram of Jesus Purusha. There I got an interfaith lecture on the oneness of God and how God is revealed in the Vedas. The teacher, Father Davies, assumed a lot of knowledge on my part of Christian theology and scripture and he went so fast I didn’t have a chance to tell him I was as much a newcomer to Christianity as most Hindus were. From there I met with a Brahmin acharya, a teacher, named Krishna Tatacharya for a whirlwind introduction to the ancient faiths of India collectively known as Hinduism.
What I got from Fr. Davies was that the universality of the Resurrection of the Dead is not an afterthought, but something that was foundational, and that it wasn’t only the Hebrew and Christian writings that testified to that foundation. Krishna Tatacharya knows Fr. Davies and says he is excited to return to his scriptures, the Vedas, to find the Purusha.
Oh. The Purusha was referred to in some of the oldest Vedas as the man who was slain and hung on a tree at the foundation of the cosmos (before humans were created), whose devotees drank his blood and ate his flesh. The parallels to the message Jesus gave at the last supper and some of the writings in the Gospel of John were astounding.
Well, that’s it. If I think my job as translator is tough, I just remember the job Zoës like Arjun and the Bios that work with her like Fr. Davies and Krishna Tatacharya have in translating the concepts in the Vedas and the many gods into the Resurrection and the one God. I can tell you that neither man sees his job as destroying a faith or replacing one faith with another so much as learning and imparting how each faith points to the other. The Immanent God is what they call him there. Christmas carols talk about this Immanent God as Immanuel, the God Who Dwells with Us.