Tree Lightings-Remembering George Eliot


Religion was to her, however, a purely subjective experience; it gave her a larger realization of the wants of humanity, it revealed to her the true nature of feeling.

                                                              Cooke, George Willis (2012-12-18).

                          George Eliot; a Critical Study of Her Life, Writings and Philosophy



            As the winter Christmas Tree lighting start I tried to debate with my son on why one should know about the journeys of Abraham and Moses.


November 22 is the birthday of the novelist George Eliot.

 For past weeks we go to Riverwood and discuss some stories and their meanings. 



We meditated on this passage and discussed the importance of religion in the life of the community and individual.

“It was from Feuerbach she learned how great is the influence of religion, how necessary it is to man’s welfare, and how profoundly it answers to the wants of the soul. Like so many keen minds of the century, she rejected, with a sweeping scepticism, all on which a spiritual religion rests, all its facts, arguments and reasons. She knew only nature and man; inspiration, revelation, a spiritual world, had no existence for her. Yet she believed most thoroughly in religion, accepted its phenomena, was deeply moved by its spiritual aims, yearned after its perfect self-renunciation. Religion was to her, however, a purely subjective experience; it gave her a larger realization of the wants of humanity, it revealed to her the true nature of feeling. To Feuerbach she owed this capacity to appreciate Christianity, to rejoice in its spiritual aims, and even to accept it as a true interpretation of the soul’s wants, at the same time that she totally rejected it as fact and dogma.”

                                      Cooke, George Willis (2012-12-18).

                          George Eliot; a Critical Study of Her Life, Writings and Philosophy


 ” He is probably getting very influenced by the book he is reading,” one participant told of the rather anxious tone of a Hindu participant who talked about the changing demographics of different communities in Indian subcontinent.

The personality and influences of George Eliot came to mind as one debated the issues of man’s welfare as an individual and part of a community.

God has not disappeared, but he has definitely receded further into the background in hundred and fifty years since George Eliot wrote her novels.

 However, many currents of the debate are still alive as people develop through issues in different levels, stages and continents.

“Does it trouble you that your children may not follow religion in the same way as you did?” This is issue which many who have migrated to a predominantly Western civilization with great influence (direct and indirect) of the Bible face in their ways.

” Children who grew up in India through their teens they have a different level of grounding. However, people who have come in earlier years when children are around ten years find their children develop a fusion identity,” (roughly paraphrased-summarized)


“Why should I see this video journey of Abraham and Moses? I am a Hindu,” my son said in an irritated tone.

“See it as a cultural identity. In the region where you stay this is a story which one should know, going back to the journey of Abraham, the garden of Eden, the promised land, the struggles of Jacob-Joseph and finally Moses”

This is well summarized in this video

As we saw the presentation, children remembered their own journey through the Libyan portion of Sahara desert to the ancient caravan routes of Ghadames.




 The limestones reminded them of similar landscapes in Gozo region of Malta

Lingering questions remained on where Hindu mythology fits into the story of Moses. We recalled the many “Conversations on Identity” we used to have in Malta where 2nd, 3rd generation migrants seek their origins. There is an interesting community of Maltese Sanskrit scholars in the School of Practical Philosophy in Valletta. The journey through different shades of Paganism was discussed with a friend who prays in the Pre-historic time temples of Maltese Islands.


 Rituals as part of cultural identity, different issues at different ages-stages of life in the backdrop of the novelist George Eliot’s birthday formed rich material for discussion as we see the lighting of Christmas season start in Mississauga.



About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal :
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2 Responses to Tree Lightings-Remembering George Eliot

  1. SK says:

    kay sir very nice

  2. Pingback: Year end diary-2014..Remembering walks and readings | Prashantbhatt's Weblog

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