We all hoped that she’d return from Rio with a gold medal. She didn’t. Nonetheless, the silver linings over some cloudy Indian sports’ performances were provided by P.V. Sindhu and others like Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar who are worth their weight in gold. While there’s deep disappointment that the Indian contingent couldn’t strike gold, each of us could strive for gold — being daily a little more gold-mouthed and golden-hearted. Gold is priceless. Its exorbitant price and investment value notwithstanding, it evokes cultural, religious and symbolic nuances.
Giving gold as gift or owning it is sign of prosperity and security. Its durability ensures that it can be stored and bequeathed as family inheritance. Thus, it is treasured at births, weddings and festivals like Dhanteras and Akshaya Tritiya. Gold also has value in the religious realm. Puranic Hinduism identifies Hiranyagarbha — literally, golden womb or golden egg — as the source of life, Brahman. Gold is the symbol of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Gold was also associated with the temple — the ancient Temple of Jerusalem and its sanctum sanctorum being bedecked with finest gold. Biblical imagination also uses gold to represent God as in Eliphaz advising Job to repent so that “God will be your gold”.
In similar vein, Jesus is presented with gold at his birth in Bethlehem symbolising his divine kingship. In contrast, Moses severely castigates his people for idolatry when they mould a golden calf for worship. Apostle Peter describes faith as being far more valuable than gold since, though it survives the refining process, gold will ultimately perish. Every human heart yearns for gold. Sindhu displayed deftness, Dipa was daring and Sakshi gave witness to stamina and strength. These golden girls lead us onward — faster, higher and stronger. Indeed, while goldsmiths test metal in fire, may life test our mettle to live golden lives.