(S)he was a happy farmer living in a big farmland.(S)he knew his job well. Tilling the land, making sure there is enough air and nutrients in the soil for the plants to grow and taking care of the soil.(S)he fed on whatever(S)he found in the farm.(S)he helped the soil and the soil provided food in return. It was a wonderful symbiotic relationship.
Was(S)he a believer? Yes, of course(S)he was.(S)he believed in work and the rewards that came with doing one’s work. (S)he had complete faith in the forces of nature which ensured through the different seasons, the soil was kept healthy and capable to grow food on. (S)he received help from the elements of nature like, sun, wind, water and earth and (S)he had complete trust in the cycles that they followed. So (S)he believed in the forces of nature.
Did (S)he pray or go to a worship place? No, I dont think so. The field was the worship place. (S)he offered everything that (S)he got to nature. Nature created all the different beings that (S)he saw around. (S)he did not harm anyone or get harmed by anyone .(S)he was happy, content and independent.
There were tough times also. Times when it did not rain or rained too much, times when the soil got too dry or too soggy to till and plough and times when (S)he found nothing to eat. But that condition wouldn’t last long. (S)he never gave up hope and as if the prayers were being answered, things changed just before it got very bad. Then, it was back to normal.
So that was life in that part of the world.
One day, a strange foreign being came to that part of the world.
He (that strangely pigmented being) visited all the farms around. He asked the farmer, ” How is life and how do you plan to cope with all the adversities that are in store? I have solutions to all those problems.”
“Problem???” The farmer thought for a while. (S)he did not have any problem.
The strange being continued ” The powers of nature are all controlled by one single entity and that entity has to be worshiped and prayed in order to overcome all the disasters that lay ahead. There is no point trusting in all the forces of nature and putting everything at risk. And there are some rules and regulations that you have to follow while worshiping ”
He pointed at a couple of things ( Models of animals and elements of nature that was made out of mud) in the farm and said ” Don’t you ever think that all these things that you respect will ever protect you from the disasters that lay ahead? They will all be washed away in a rain or fly away in a storm or dry out in sun.”
(S)he was thoroughly confused. (S)he did not know what to say or do. “Respect nature and work” was the mantra that he followed.
He did not know the difference between respect and worship. He respected ( and hence worshiped) every creation of nature. It could be a huge elephant, a small mouse , a poisonous snake or a mighty tiger. Respecting them and giving them their space is all that had to be done.So he felt bad when the visitor ridiculed him. But (S)he kept listening because (S)he always listened when someone else spoke.
(S)he kept listening for years. The strange being came especially when there was a near-drought or a near-flood condition. He came with some food and water. (S)he knew that things were about to get better but accepted the goodies because (S)he did not know to reject something that was given with love. That would be disrespect. The strange being would come again as soon as the conditions improved. He would say that the food had been blessed by the entity that he prayed to and that was instrumental in the rain showing up or the sky clearing up so early. (S)he still listened.
After a very long time (S)he was given some water and some food for one last time and the strange being told that now on, (S)he had become a believer in that supreme entity and (S)he had to follow some rules baring which there could be serious repercussions.(S)he did not understand such terms but nevertheless kept doing what (S)he was told to do because not doing that would be disrespect again.
(S)he kept working at the field and now, in addition to addressing all the forces of nature (S)he believed in, (S)he added one more name to the list: that of the entity that the foreign being had told him about.
Things returned to normalcy after that foreign being left. (S)he was happy about it. The only difference was a stamp that was kept in the field. The strange being had left it behind in the farm. ( (S)he was strictly asked not to move it from there and (S)he respected that. )
The fear of some unknown mishap waiting was sown somewhere in the farmer’s mind. That kept bothering the farmer once in a while.
The strange being was happy while leaving because he had achieved what he had come there for. He thought he had saved the poor farmer from the wraths of nature. Now, he had to fly to another field , to another farmer, to leave another stamp, to make another story..
I forgot to introduce the characters of the story :
The farmer : An earthworm. And he/she can be used alternately for an earthworm because earthworms are hermaphrodites (an animal having both male and female sex organs in the same body) .
The Strange Being : A praying Mantis from a foreign land.
The part of the world: A place where nature was considered the Supreme Power.
Stamp: A mark of structured practices.
And the debate still continues: Structured or Unstructured.. Does it really matter?
Does the number of people, animals and plants following a particular faith matter or the number of people, animals and plants that are actually able to live on earth really matter? ( When we really don’t know how long each species is going to last on this earth.)
Isn’t an all inclusive (especially nature and other forms of life) respect/worship the need of the hour?