Baan Dar is fairly obscure in Tamriel; he is the Bandit God but, according to Varieties of Faith by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor, is mostly seen as “…a marginal deity, a trickster spirit of thieves and beggars.” The Bosmer honor him, largely due to his connection with archery, but he is popular and held in high regard among the Khajiit of Elsweyr.
The Khajiit know Baan Dar as Pariah, and he represents the cleverness of that feline race and the “last desperate genius” that enables them to outwit their enemies among Man and Mer. He has numerous other epithets, of which the following are my favorites:
- Dark Avenging Blade on the Wings of Night that make no sound
- Patron Saint of the Lone Wolf
- The Thousand Eyes and Ears
- Mastermind of Nefarious Plots
There’s a theory that these, and other, epithets are not specific to a single being, but to a way of life, and that Baan Dar is not a singular deity. I’m not sure what I believe, to be honest; I’ve read The First Scroll of Baan Dar and found in it similar things to other tales of encounters with those who inspire scoundrels and rogues. This, of course, does not make the experiences documented there untrue but, as in all descriptions of interaction with deity, a bit of poetic licensed has to be applied, I think.
(Salt shakers for everyone!)
Of note, from the Scroll, are the teachings that Baan Dar passes along:
- Favors should be passed along rather than paid back.
- If blood or war can be avoided, avoid it. But, if you must fight, do so with all of your being.
- Threats can be enough, but never make a threat you are unwilling to carry out if necessary.
- Use every skill you have at your disposal while still keeping your real goals in mind.
- “Stand Tall, but never forget how to bend your knee to help another.”
Now, most of us (I assume) do not consider ourselves to be thieves, but these five teachings have applications beyond the world of stealth and shadows. In fact, I just had to check the Personal Path box under Categories for this post because I do these things in my daily life…and I am now wondering if I could put something representing Baan Dar on my personal shrine.
(Of course, that means creating a personal shrine…)
So, how do I incorporate these things? Well, here are some examples:
Example 1 – I went through the drive-thru at Starbucks on my way to the office on Thursday, and the person in front of me paid for my order. I then paid for the order of the person behind me. I wonder how long it lasted…?
Example 2 – A parent of a child in one of my swimming classes wanted to put said child in a different level of class when the child wasn’t ready. I gently tried to talk them out of it, explaining why the child was in the right class. When they ignored what I said and tried to speak to the instructor of the other class, I firmly told them that if they tried to move the child, the other instructor would move the child right back to my class. The parent gave in.
(I was prepared to bring the issue to the director, if need be, and fight tooth and nail to keep the move from happening. Luckily, I didn’t have to.)
Example 3 – Parenting. Enough said.
I could go on, but I think it might be more fun to ask YOU, the reader, to give me examples of the teachings of Baan Dar in your life. Do you have any? If not, why not?