In the Birla Temple, a Hindu temple in Delhi, India, there is a plaque that reads: "He who is known as Vishnu the Preserver is verily Rudra the Destroyer, and He who is Rudra is Brahma the Creator." This fact (from Arthur Herman's book "Gandhi and Churchill") came to me over the weekend as I was rereading Sen. Obama's Berlin speech. Now, let me assure my easily offended friends in the Obama camp that I am not suggesting Obama is or ever was a Hindu. I take him at his word that he is whatever he says he is. (Pass out more eggshells.) But it is precisely his words regarding his philosophy of government that I find ambiguous -- and potentially disturbing.
Secular would-be leaders of men who promise transcendence and transformational change have something in common with the promises and warnings of many religions. They claim to want to preserve what is good in their people and change what needs to be changed to make their lives and souls even better. But unlike some religions, secular leaders with transforming visions of their missions often skip over the bits about what must be destroyed in order to bring those better things to man. And that is where religions are often more honest.
For instance, in Hindu, the god Rudra, who is also known as Lord Shiva, is the third god in the Hindu trinity. He destroys worlds. Specifically, he destroys the evil passions and animal instincts that usually characterize human consciousness in order to make room for divinity to enter man's world. He is believed by many Hindus to inspire people to perform acts of courage, spiritual wisdom and devotion.
Now, I am, God knows, no expert on comparative religion. But among the more popular human attributes that many religions condemn is the human desire to possess material things. (Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's oxen or wives, etc.) And most religions remind us that we are all brothers and sisters of one humanity.
But man persists in liking to have things and organizing around groups smaller than humanity. Specifically, modern Western civilization -- and the United States, in particular -- has done rather well organizing into nations and permitting its people to be free to produce and keep most of the fruits of our labor.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.