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Ok, this is really weird. January 18, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Photo, Religion, S.F. Chronicle.

Hindu holy man Baba Hath Khada (Aman Sharma / AP - Used without permission)

From SFGate’s Photo-of-the-Day (1/18/2007):

“Life is just one, long high-five: Hindu holy man Baba Hath Khada — last seen at the Ardh Kumbh mela in Allahabad, India — has kept one arm raised over his head for nearly two decades. Why we don’t know.”

Looking at this photo makes me think about religion in America. This man is a holy man in India, doing a seemingly strange thing for reasons I’ll probably never know. I actually think that’s very cool, despite having already called it “weird”. (It can be both.)

For me, the most dangerous and unpalatable aspect of Western (i.e. Christian) religion, particularly as it is practiced in America, is that it actively seeks to put an end to things like this. A holy man who cannot be explained, rationalized is threatening to the xenophobic (tax exempt) Christian majority, and this holy man should watch his back. There is no place for him in the worldview of Christianity, and that strikes me as being a huge deficiency in a philosophy which purports to be a complete solution.

Making the Christian majority uncomfortable is like making the mafia uncomfortable — you’re probably going to regret it, even if you live in India. (If they don’t get you in this life, they’ll get you in your next one, right?)



1. Mike Nelson - November 1, 2008

Baba is our mentor for our organization, One Arm Raised.


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