At the time of Obatala, three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him: Babalawo, aboru boyè! This man has murdered our father
Obatala: Why did you kill their father?
Young man: I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and he died, so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.
Obatala: Because of this, I pass judgment on your charge of murder by sentencing you to death. Young man: I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.
Obatala: Who will stand for your bail?
Young man: looking into the crowd, he pointed Lamurudu
Obatala: Do you agree to stand for him Lamurudu?
Lamurudu: Beeni (yes)
Obatala: You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.
Lamurudu: I accept
The young man left but after two days, and into the third day there was still no sign of him. Everyone was very afraid for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.
Just before it was time for dinner, the goat herd appeared looking very exhausted in and he stood before Obatala.
Young man: I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I’m now yours. You may execute the penalty now.
In great shock and surprise, Obatala: And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?
Young man: “I was afraid, it will appear that humanity has lost the ability to fulfill promises kept.”
Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu: “And why did you stand for him?”
Lamurudu: “I was afraid, it might appear that humanity have lost the will to do good to others.”
These words and events moved the brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herd.
In furious anger, Obatala asked “Why?!,”
They said: We’re afraid, it will appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.
I’ve also shared this beautifully translated message with you in fear that it might appear that reminders towards doing good has lost place in humanity(eda) if I don’t.
The original story is embedded in several history books as learnt and some even linked it to religious history. The original author remains unknown. The focus must be on the embedded lessons. Cheers
Obatala has been deemed the sweetest god (created in the image of the Master) from Africa. Like all the Mythologies across Greek, Middle Eastern & India, African mythology offers a sophisticated understanding of creation and Humanity. They are rich in artistic stories.
Our fables & truth stories have been acknowledged by historians to offer a pantheon of gods/goddesses. Science is in the process of establishing that human life first sprouted in Africa; nevertheless, the mythological credit of sculpting the human body is reserved for Obatala.
Not to worry, I know what the Bible teaches about creation. The Qur’an mentions several times also that Allah created humans out of clay. (Qur’an 3:49) & history confirms this in several records across mythologies…
“Olorun, the father, permitted Obatala, the child, to descend from the heavens, create land over the waters, and template human bodies from popo (mud and clay).” States one account from the records. So be assured that many stories will bear semblance with religious accounts.
Obatala does not have a permanent gender. He is androgynous. He is married to Yemaya, the goddess of oceans and the godmother of Orishas. Free of gender, however, Obatala could be male, female, or neither.
This asexuality makes Obatala the god of all human beings without regard to gender. Obatala has no patience for gender fights that break out in human communities.
Likewise, Obatala is free of all colors even though he is associated with whiteness primarily because white light is polychromatic. Obatala is also known as the god of white clothes.
Obatala absorbs all wavelengths ranging from “700nm at the red end of the spectrum to 400nm at the violet end.” What does this say to us as humans? It simply demands that we stay focused and stop allowing our diversity be a hindrance to our progress. We share humanity.
Note to religious fanatics and those inflicted with cognitive dissonance. I understand the only window to history for most are via religious studies & this can be so limiting for education on a wider horizon & shocking when that bubble bursts.
Unlike Greek mythology which presents a coherent set of gods & goddesses, others like those in Africa did not present a consistent set of characters & many tribes & religions tell similar stories.
This makes the material more difficult because the stories often crossover into what would be considered folk tales and fables. (Read more on “The Power Of Myth” – Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers). Myths are deployed for spiritual instruction & most civilizations are grounded in it.
Many scholars see myths as the highest form of culture’s ideals and beliefs covering mystical, cosmological, sociological & pedagogical functions while folk stories are merely for entertainment while teaching basic values deployed for initiating young minds into cultural beliefs. This however is most related to such cultural beliefs in that particular society. Based on the gulf that I have seen with pockets of pedestrian argument seen on this thread, I will donate a few hours per week to teach more of these myths for better understanding of our culture. Right before we adopted western religion. In the matter of religion most of Africa now embraces either Islam (North & West Africa, Sudan and Somalia) or Christianity (Central & Southern Africa). For Some Africans this change was consensual while in others it was forced.
Very few of the countries of Africa retain their devotion to the traditional religion or culture of their ancestors. A little bit of infantilized history (grade three level) will help bridge this gap hopefully to make it easier for some to discover who they are.
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