Sunday, November 27, 2005

WHY DOES MONALISA SMILE?

“Hey did u read ‘The Da Vinci Code?” Perfectly harmless question. Or so I thought. But these seemingly innocent words started such a huge debate that left me wondering what went wrong! This New York Times bestseller by Dan Brown has been creating ripples ever since it the stands in 2003.
The book has rekindled a debate that has been under covers for a long time. Every person who has read has a strong opinion about it- either wondering about the alternative to conventional faith that the book provides, or passionately protecting the conventional view about things. In fact, the books even elicited extreme reactions from as far as Kerala, where a customs investigations sleuth (no less!), undertook a six month long investigation to refute Brown’s contentions (full story in The Week, Sept.19,2004 issue). To quote Mr. Francis Kodankandath, who has given quite a strong case, “I found it appalling that he (Brown) had manipulated a great work like the Last Supper to drive home his contentions. Though one is entitled to have independent views on Christianity, it should not be at the cost of historical objectivity and artistic greatness of a monumental work”.
Fair words sir, but I wonder how you define ‘historical objectivity’. Brown uses facts embedded in historical works like the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper etc., to draw his conclusion. Kodankandath interprets the same facts to reach a different one. So whom do we deem right?

One of the biggest flaws in our understanding is our failure to distinguish between facts and myths. And history, as we know it, is a fine balancing act between the two, so much so that it is difficult to say where facts end and myths begin. And this distance between facts and myth, is faith. One’s faith is not just the understanding of the known, but the acceptance, and a trust in the Unknown. Most of us don’t question our beliefs, what our religion preaches. Today if you ask an average Jack on the street why he goes to church or temple or performs any kind of religious ritual, the answer would most probably be ‘I’ve been doing it all my life, and my parents before me’. Religion, for most has become tradition, a legacy that we get from our fathers and forefathers. And when somebody suggests an alternative to this convention, we panic, and the immediate defense is denial.
Probably why the Da Vinci Code is so hard to digest is because it would mean questioning everything that we’ve ever known. But then what we need to ask is that whether the possibility that Jesus was mortal, make his teachings any less poignant or profound or for that matter true? To this a friend replied, “My faith is like a circle. One link breaks, the whole circle breaks.” Agreed that it is so- search for God is the search for meaning, for truth. It begins within you and that’s precisely where it ends too. But why assume your circle is complete? The world is not so small that you can know all that’s there is to know in one lifetime. So many secrets hidden in this creation that it just is humanely impossible to know them all.
The search of god begins with belief and ends in faith. Belief is what u start with, your base. You question it, fight it, and find reasons for it. When you’ve found your reasons, that’s faith. And that, is when life comes full circle. The problem is that most of us don’t seek truth; we just assume we have it. But for those who do seek it, it’s the journey, more than then destination that counts.
Like’s a Rubik’s cube- at first glance, it may seem like a random collection of moments. But when each piece falls in its rightful place, then the pattern emerges…definite and meaningful. And till we find it, faith, god- is a feeling, the inspiration, which in this world of chaos and confusion, keeps us going.
As for what da Vinci meant when he painted those 13 cups, we can guess but we’ll never know for sure. I guess that’s one secret, like many others that died with him- maybe he that was his private joke…his way of mocking at the world. Maybe that’s why, Mona Lisa is smiling.

12 comments:

moi said...

hey look its me... i finally checked ur blog. cool posts. looks like u know wat to do with all jobless hours we get!
cheers

moontalk said...

thanks moi!thats my first comment! sob...sniff!sowy...emotional momment! :)

Jithu said...

DVC is in deed one of the greatest books that i've ever read. i liked the way Brown intertwined history and fiction and it's just amazing. but i dont think anything religious shall be attributed to something which is purely fictitious. and that is where ppl are taking it bit too far. btw this was a nice post of urs.

Sreejith Narayanan said...

First of all, what I think is, Jesus Christ has always projected himself as the son of God. I am not sure about his mortality. But he always wanted to be mortal.
The issue in DaVinci code is a conflict in opinion between the clergy, who always wanted to protect the deity status of Jesus, that they themselves created.
This was opposed by the pagans and later the protestants, who found it difficult to accept the authority of clergy.
Finally it boils down to this difference in ideology, and since the outreach of christianity is huge, this, naturally became a big issue to be discussed.
I really agree with you on the matter of fact and faith, and one blindly following the religion.
And the search of God is between the faith and belief, is something debatable. It depends on the purpose and one's vision about God. As you said, the stereotyped person, it may begin with belief and he never goes for faith. But a logical thinker, never starts with belief, he goes for faith straight, and starts framing his own opinion or version about God..

moontalk said...

@ jithu n sreejith
ok i dunno who u guys re but thanks!
n jithu if u re keen on the topic, u shold try reading the 'holy bllod, holy grail'...that book is supposed to be the non-fiction version of dvc...i jst strated readin it, seems interesting

Jithu said...

> moontalk
hey thts cool! i dont know u too.. :-)) btw i'd heard abt that book. lemme see whether i can get a copy of it, thnx for remindin me about it and hws it btw...

Vodka said...

Hello!

Thinks its my first comment on ur blog. saw ur comment on mine. abt the story.

Check out the post dated 11/9/05 on mine. thikng u'll like it.

umm..as far as ur post is concerned, im a li'l like u. dont have too many thoughts on religion. But i agree with Jithu. DB has mixed fiction with history quite skillfully(think thats the first time i've used that word in my whole entire life!!). other than that, dont see what the big deal is. anyway, the book was being marketed as a fiction ONLY. i think the clergy just made too much out of it. if they had just shut up, the book would not have sold as much as it did!!

moontalk said...

@ vodka
bingo!see simple marjeting strategy...u want something to sell, get someone to ban it.works like wonders.it'd ve done the church a whole lotta gud if they had jst kept their peace.wonder how they never figured that out!

Vodka said...

@Moontalk: i will tell you why they didnt figure it our. coz they are just a bunch of priests. not marketing strategists...think abt it..so many movies, books etc work only and only because they were banned. what abt midnight's children? i havent read the book, but the only reason i think it sold coz Rushdie somehow managed to piss off all the right people, and got it banned!!

Smart man, dont you think?!!

moontalk said...

@vodka
sure they aint no marketing strategist, but hey u'd think they'll learn from experience by nw rite?i mean for people who claim to ve figured out the eternal mystries(Wrong spelling?)
of life n death n god, can they get this simple fact of free publicity??i mean hw many times has it helped to ban a book?people who disagree wid the book read it to prove their point, n ppl who agree read it to find more faults wid it, but botton line everyone reads!!

Anils Adventures said...

i read somewhere that the Mona Lisa is actually a guy and not a woman as we all assume. It seems LDV was gay? I donno, thats what they say. Nice blog, keep up the good work. Iam just starting on mine n hope to hv it up n running soon. Enjoy yr life!

moontalk said...

@ anil
yeah, heard abt those ones too.the thing is we can never be sure rite?we'll never know y mona lisa smiles, wether she's a she or he!theories!theories!depends on wat u wanna belive.
gud luck with ur blog btw