A God of Their Own?

Why are they called praying mantises? They seem to be known for killing and eating their own kind. Shouldn’t they be called cannibal mantises instead?

So, what exactly are they praying for? I am guessing that the male one is praying and hoping that its partner won’t be too hungry after mating (which is when the cannibalism is supposed to start).  The female is thanking the lord for the meal it’s about to have.

This got me thinking about animals and their belief in a god. When an antelope is running away from a cheetah, is she praying to her almighty, to be saved (in a very physical sense, and not the Christian metaphorical way), and is the cheetah doing the same (praying for a sumptuous meal that is not too “gamey” 🙂 )? What are the odds that they are both praying to the same god – who could, technically, dodge both their prayers with a “free will” argument and go focus on something more important, like helping a specific horse win the Kentucky Derby! As you can see, I had assumed a dedicated god for the animals, thereby freeing up the god of humans to take care of our important issues… like war, famine, child abuse and ensuring an abundant supply of McRib and Popeyes chicken sandwich!

I am in no way unique in addressing this question about animals seeking help from deities. There are stories in ancient Hindu texts that cover this topic. There is one specific one where an elephant prays for (and gets) divine intervention when it is grabbed by a crocodile.

Coming back to praying mantises, here’s one that I captured with my iPhone, while it was in the midst of this sumptuous meal of dragonfly. I am sure the dragonfly would have appreciated it if its deity would have heard its prayers and gotten involved.

She definitely did not pray for a salad!

Author: Yash

I immigrated to the US in 1983 from India. I feel that I have been here long enough to not be called FOB (Fresh-off-the-Boat) by my kids. But I guess they seem to have some other standards which involve pronouncing words like "Vote" ,"Vending" and "Video" properly - which I guess I will never achieve (because of my 21 years in India) - so, I am going to pass myself as that Indian with an "exotic" accent!! My interests : WRITING - Just realized that most of my work so far has been Nostalgia-centric. I enjoy this genre and feel it's an un-ending well that I can draw from. As a matter of fact, this right here is fresh nostalgia for 10 years down the road!! (-: GOLF - I am terrible at it and it's a damn frustrating game, but I still love it ("painful pleasure"). One of these days I will actually take lessons so that I won't embarrass myself too much on the golf course. As long as there are golf courses around here (with low standards) that would allow me to play - I will play and enjoy golf!! STAND-UP - I have started dabbling (performing) in stand-up comedy recently and am loving the feedback I have been getting! I am going to attribute this newfound hobby to mid-life crisis! :-) (as an alternative to a toupee or a red sports car or a girlfriend-on-the-side!!). Here's clip of my very first performance on April 14th 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScMLgRAGyNs&feature=youtu.be MUSIC - I am a huge fan of Shakti (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Vinayakram, L.Shankar) as well as their later avatar - "Remember Shakti" (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Selva Ganesh, Mandolin Sreenivas, Shankar Mahadevan). Thoroughly enjoyed the two live concerts that I attended of this fusion group. I enjoy Hindustani and Carnatic classical instrumental music. YOUTUBE - YouTube has an unbelievable amount of entertainment from which you can draw your specific narrow niche!! In my case - these areas happen to be - street foods from various parts of the world, Indian classical music, debates about religion & belief, Indian Classical Music played by non Indian (e.g. Ukrainians doing wonderful Bharatanatyam, a French lady performing amazingly in a Carnatic Concert, a Chinese lady teaching Bharatanatyam in China etc.)

2 thoughts on “A God of Their Own?”

  1. Excellent observation that applies to mankind as well. Our history is full of wars where both the warring parties believed that their God (or faith) was stronger than the other party. There are many instances where two opponents worshipped the same God each praying for their own victory (e.g. Ram & Ravana both worshipped Shiva).
    The justification apparently is that if two rivals worship the same (or two different) God(s) asking for victory, it is the righteous one that will score a win.
    Lately this concept seems to apply for sports only.
    >>> Per 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, however, right or wrong, God seems to favor guys with a bigger gun 🙂

    1. Thanks for your detailed feedback on this piece Deepak! “Righteous” – From a neutral observer’s point of view, I am assuming. Because, every psychopath will think that he/she is righteous. No one will admit that they are the villain and the other guy is the hero. They will rationalize and explain away as to why (what they are doing) makes sense. I like your example of the 2nd amendment. Also, apparently god takes personal requests and blesses some specific geographic regions (for eg . the blessings will stay within the borders and not cross over into Tijuana or Toronto 🙂 )

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