Sunday, June 14, 2009

In the name of God.

Recently a news item that was splashed across in the media really set me thinking about God.! What should we look up to as god?. What is the purpose behind religion and why do we need temples, churches, mosques or other places of worship?. Obviously there are reasons why things happen, but it is often, in discovering those reasons and then by applying it in our lives, that we realize ourselves, know truth.

Since time immemorial, man has tried to appease divinity in order to get what he seeks. Man has often bribed, begged and even threatened the gods, so that his needs, desires and wishes are granted. I don't see that as too much of a crime or sin, but when a person gifts to a temple, a crown of 45 crore rupees, to me frankly, it really does not make sense, why ?. What does such a person wish or desire from his deed. Is he going to get retribution for all his sins, or is it in search of something even more everlasting like Salvation.

To me, religion was an invention, born out of necessity. As man as an animal evolved, he surely must have needed a society, then an hierarchy and then eventually as life moved on, there would have been an emotional emptiness, which some wise people at that time, decided could be overcome if life was to be lived in a particular pious way, in order for goodness to pervade across their human existence. In order for this goodness to be bound by some strict regulations, there required to be some faith in a super human or supernatural force that could punish you or reward you, based on how well you adhered to the regulations. In time, there would have evolved rituals and customs, in many ways akin to how wedding rituals and customs have evolved over the years. Sounds atheist, doesn't it ? But that wasn't my intention, I have belief in this invention. I believe that it's a great idea to maintain harmony and peace, but like every good idea, this one too needed right reform at the right times in order to satisfy whatever was the initial objective.

The truth is that every religion was a particularly good way of life and the method to live and also in essence the pathway to the truth, that ultimately what was important was goodness, selflessness, peace and harmony. Every religion in some way or the other teaches this. I am not an expert on all, but let me help explain with a rare spiritual moment of learning that I experienced. Around the year, many Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage to Sabarimala, in Kerala, in the south of India. I too went along with my father, carrying all my offerings for the Lord on my head, and climbed the sacred eighteen steps. As I reached the top and reached near the sanctum sanctorum, the first thing I saw was, "Tat Twam asi", which in sanskrit means "Thou Art that", which simply translates to what I strongly believe is that god is within us. I understood my tough journey to the top was symbolic of the steps I had to take in life to know this message. As I stood, taking the meaning in, my father led me through the temple. I asked him, where our offerings must be given. He said that whatever we brought was now considered the prasadam of the Lord and we that we take it back. I realized then that everything is with us only. Religion, places of worship, religious scriptures, rituals are all simply carried out in order for us to realize that ultimately it is our goodness, peace, harmony and service to humanity and the world in general that matters.

Now having said that, I don't want to negate any belief that anyone might have had. All the stories and mythology that we have heard maybe true. No arguments on that front, because my belief in those techniques is pretty solid. I call them techniques, because to me they are all moral science lessons ultimately which will keep our soul away from all kinds of bad thought and evil. My belief in god is that god is simply that powerful quantity of energy that we find everywhere in nature, in the rising of the sun, in the colours of the rainbow, in the songs of birds and the fury of storms. I often speak freely and have conversations with this powerful quantity of energy which resides in my mental space and conscience. I speak to it about every act of mine, argue about everything, debate about what is good , what is right and what is wrong.? To do what is right and correct in life, I realize that I need to talk only to myself, debate it out with my conscience and then take a decision. Sometimes I do wrong, but am always aware that I had been informed about what is right. Eventually to put things straight, it is my persistent belief in this powerful energy within myself which is to me, my belief in god, my god.

I therefore know that I do not require to adorn myself with a crown. I do not see any need to make any exorbitant gifts to places of worship in the name of god. The more temples I go to, the more stronger my belief seems to be getting. My prayers are to myself and to nature. Many tell me that I often seem to be lost in my own world. As far as I am concerned I'm simply a praying devotee.