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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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PART THREE: TEMPLE

Chapter 33

Two years later and hundreds of miles west of the Marabar Caves, Professor Godbole celebrates Janmashtami, the birth of Lord Krishna, and the symbol of universal love. There is widespread gaiety, huge swirling crowds, wild dancing, loud shouting, and gaudy decorations with golden and silver bobs and flowers. A band plays loud western music. Godbole and others sing wildly, going into an ecstasy. He becomes one with God and, like Lord Krishna, loves everyone and everything. He begs God to Come, Come, Come,

The altar is brightly lit. At the stroke of midnight, a conch is blown to herald the birth of Sri Krishna. The Rajah attends, but he is very sick and is taken away right after announcing the birth. Then various games, both amusing and silly, are played. The idea is to celebrate everything, every aspect of life and the world. God is love, and there is fun in heaven. Godbole thinks of Mrs. Moore and compares her to a tiny wasp; even small things are important, for all is one.


Notes

In the midst of the monsoon season, the Hindu 'Janmashtami' festival is held in Mau. To capture the spirit of the celebration, Forster writes about it in a style that is almost stream of consciousness; the affect is to make everything appear to be in confusion. In reality, the festivities bring great harmony. There is unification, understanding, and universal love between all the people through Lord Krishna, the Hindu savior of mankind.

This picture of harmony and celebration is intended to be a stark contrast to Chandrapore, which has been presented as a city plagued by diversity and conflict. Unity in diversity is the living paradox of India.

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