Sunday, May 2, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a 'God'... Part II

(...Contd from Part I)

Young girl: Why shouldn't I have pre-marital sex?

Grandmother: Whaaaaat??!! Abhishtu! Abhishtu! ( a common exclamation used by upper-caste orthodox Brahmins, to signify their horror at anything sacriligous)... why do you utter such bad words in the house..that too after lighting the lamp at the auspicious hour??

Young girl: What? Why is sex a bad word? How would we all have been born without it?

Grandmother is apparently at a loss of words and again digresses from giving a concrete explanation
G: We shouldnt have given you too much freedom. You ask too many questions! See, you-know-what is a sin. That is all. You will be punished. Our family will be cursed.

Y: But my classmate Alisha has sex all the time with her boy friend. She gets good grades.. she got into Med School. Why isnt she punished?

G: See, everything will not be immediately obvious. It will become a part of her next birth's sufferings. And oh yes! who is this alisha? Who are her parents? Stop talking to her. Bad company is dangerous, you know.

Y: Next birth?! R u kidding me old woman? I dont care about the next birth. I want a life now!!

And the Scientist chips in to confront the young girl...

S: See, the whole stigma around this topic is only the fear of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.

Y: That is it? There are a lot of solutions for that in this modern age.Hmmm...

The Atheist joins in too...

A: Exactly! They created religion and the fear of God only to enforce certain rules, breaking which was harmful to their health. Yet, people blindly follow it without questioning them. It is all a fake conspiracy - this entire religion hype.

That short conversation was only a means of my showing the biggest barrier to religion today - Not the young rebellious generation, not the scientists, not the atheists - but the people who follow it! YES!! Their blind faith and lack of a sound understanding of the true picture of one of the biggest and oldest institutions of humanity is what is marring the reputation of religion . Faith should follow reasoning - not cloud it. 

For ex. The elders keep saying "Do not sleep facing the North".  Why? you ask. "It is not good. The Vaastu Shaastra says it.". You are still not convinced. They then break into a mythological story to support their story  that when Lord Shiva was prevented from entering the Parvathi’s private quarters by Ganesha, he loped off Ganesha’s head. Parvathi was livid and asked Shiva to fix the problem, which was apparently possible only by bringing the head of the first north facing ‘sleeping’ being. Nandi, Shiva’s cow finds Airawatha the baby elephant, chops off its head and brings it to Shiva who attaches it to Ganesha’s body & revives him. Now what has this story got to do with sleeping with head facing North? Well, see what happened to the poor baby elephant. I guess this is how it is sometimes told to inquisitive children who ask why they should not face north while sleeping.

Sigh! it is then not surprising that when these inquisitive children get older, they tend to conveniently skip placing importance to following this ritual. Yet, had they been informed at an appropriate age that the human body acts as a magnet with the head as its North Pole. If the head points north while sleeping, the North Poles of the body and Earth will repel each other, affecting the blood circulation and causing disturbed sleep and stress. Then, perhaps there would have been a bit more ligt shed on the true nature and purpose of our mythology.

Similarly, if the young girl had been briefed on the psychological inability of teenagers to really choose the right men at that age and also the subconscious strain and difficulty in having a healthy married life due to failed sexual relationships at an early age, she would have definitely reconsidered her views. Yet, why pull religion for everything without understanding it in its entirety?

Religion is something more - something else. It is more than a system of hard ruled right/wrong...good/bad. It is more than a ten limbed person who will relentlessly punish you if you do not follow her ways. .Our scriptures are a treasurehouse of hard science, discovered way long before the western technology upsurge. Every thing written and professed have a sound logic and meaning to it.  Yes! I have gone back to being a theist.Yet, what I have gone back is not to the pretty faced picture of the deity to again pray for good things in life. What I have gone back to is the fundamental principles on which religion was formed. I believe the forefathers of this institution certainly dint have the current reality in mind when they formed it. Yet, secrecy and restriction down the ages has brought in this pathetic state of misunderstanding. No wonder, saffron clad enlightened people shoot up in dozens and always seem to have hordes of followers seeking magic gems that can change their life overnight. Of course, I neednt discuss the latest hot news clogging the media on you know what.

 The ignorance, fear, superstitions and blind faith should go away. What is Religion? What is worship? Why do you pray? If you do worship, you should be able to give me your views without stumbling and fumbling in circles. It might not be accurate to the point. Yet, have principles. How can one follow a way of life without knowing why?  Religion should be viewed in a new light.


CHIBI said...

I guess This post is the best, You have written till now. yes, In fact the whole Indian mythology is a Big scientific literature, in form of stories and mantras. both ramayana and Mahabharata have so much of scientific facts. It was a fascinating psychological experiment done by the people who wrote it, that they believed people would believe it and follow it better if there's a story, action and some drama involved.Hence, the stories and to make it institutionalized, Religion was formed.

Still, i have come across some ignorant people, who believe what i say is idiotic and that i have no proof, as if they have proof of God !

CHIBI said...

I would also like to add, Gods are everything that we have around us, Energy and Nature are given the human form to become Gods. Thats why God is omni present and religion has been serving its purpose only to create division and destruction.

Arun Ramachandran said...

Excellent post!
This is the first post of urs that am reading. Great one.

thunderemperor said...

Its really funny that we still believe what our ancestors did. Some of the Grimm's fairy tales are more believable than our religion

Sometimes I wonder instead of doing a job, if I went to the himalayas and prayed for 12 hrs a day, Shiva would appear and give me whatever I wanted

If only he really existed

Sindu said...

@Chibi: Thank you so much Chibi! :) You first paragraph kinda summarizes my point beautifully. As for religion, dividing us further , it is indeed a sad fact that we are missing the big picture. It has only served to give us all a tag, an identification - "Oh! he is a muslim". "She is a Hindu Chettiyar" on. And of course, put love marriages in one big crisis ;)

Sindu said...

@Arun: Thank you so much Arun for taking time to leave a comment! It indeed means a lot.

@thunderemperor: Haha! you are one skeptical person, arnt u? :) Yet, it is this skepticm which should pull you to dwell further into religion...if not in faith, atleast with a scientific probing mind perhaps?

abhster said...

Odd . There's always something I've always wanted to ask . Whenever some elder gives me instructions , and I queston the instructions , the elders ( teachers , parents , friend's parents ) call me " arrogant " which confuses me even more than I was previously . What do you think this " Questoning " should be called ?

Then again religion has its blind spots . Somethings just can't be explained , even if Sherlock Holmes was the one to answer these questons .

Your " North side " example was a very good one .

You keep going out of your way and write about different things , and thats what makes your writing interesting . Very nice post . I really can't disagree with Mr.Chibi when he says " This post is your best " , oh , and your writing ROCKS .

Sindu said...

Lemme start from the concluding pts of ur comment n wrk my way backwrds.

Firstly, you r a living example to show tht nothing makes a person stay more in ur mind thn a nice wrd of appreciation frm them. N u for one, really know how to make a person happy :)

As for religion having a lot of unexplained facets, well, there needs to be some serious search... thn i am sure the answers wld reveal themselves.

As for ur questioning attitude, i do not know wht to name it...but i know wht it signifies - a curious mind, a capable intellect, a promising character and a lot of similar friends for a lifetime.. (include me in the list) :)

mr.weirdo!! said...

Let me point out one more angle to this analogy. As ignorant / "allachiyam" (Shankar's words borrowed here) we people are we just like following instructions. We as a group aren't groomed to think laterally. Thats the reason most Indians fail to be a scientists. We also have lost the literature writing skills / expressing skills. So if you are me get an idea, get a solution we might tell it to each other but we dont document it well. We seriously lack communication skills IMO.

Sindu said...

Lol.. now, thts being very blatantly mean on humanity. Yet, I kinda agree. I wonder why n where we got tht trait frm - the herd mentality. Abt the expression thru documentation part...well, thts a new angle to the story. dint think of it tht way b4

CHIBI said...

@sindu : ya i like this topic so much, i could debate about it for hours. i've done it before a lot with some friends who were core religious fanatics and even got a threat from an RSS guy once. :P

Love marriages have one big obstacle, the same reason why we stop being childish, we care a lot about "the others".. some 4 people who decide whats best for us. seems silly but seriously Indian society kills humanity rather than building it.

@ weirdo : I wouldn't agree that we lack communication skills. Indians are the best communicators in the world. no wonder, why indians are all over the world, the most adaptable, quick learning bunch of brainiacs. Indians are the best scientists in the world, every R&D dept in any industry has an indian as an integral part of it. be it rockets or call centers.. it never runs without Indians.

Sindu said...

@Chibi: I dont think Mr.Weirdo meant it tht way. Of curz, we have tremendous adaptation skills but we still dont have it to strongly stand up for ourselves in terms of core values. As in, we prefer to adjust there too to others' ways rather than holding up for what we really want.
I agree with the Scientist correction. We sure r a brainy bunch!

mr.weirdo!! said...

want i wanted to say is v dont have scientists who start on their own. its more like people following the directive of some1. present scientists get into a proj headed by a european or American team. very rarely do v have Indians heading a research team. And if they do i dont think they r having the tag "Indian attached" to them. They convert to that land people. Okay thats a diff topic

thunderemperor said...

First i think most guys here hate religion. I for one love mine because it has been an endless source of entertainment for me.

I guess it stopped me from getting a lot of teenage sex as the author pointed out.....but guys on a serious note how is religion the source of all our miseries

I guess someone pointed out that religion is the cause of all wars..but violence is in our DNA...we would just fight over something else

We all like to feel secure...and some of us want to find a higher meaning in life....religion is like a psychologist to tells us what we want to hear and we can always manipulate right & wrong to suit us...if it makes someone happy to live with their delusions I would rather not pull them to this reality filled with misery

Sindu said...

@Thunderemperor: 'violence is in our DNA...we would just fight over something else' - Loved it!

As for ur views on religion, security is definitely one of the prime reasons many resort to it and in tht way religion sure acts as a psychologist. But tht doesnt mean a true valid Science of Psychology doesnt exist!! It is people who twist the facts to make them as they want to hear...yet the facts and facets of religion are a lot more than delusional entertainment. My views!

Siddarth said...

do u fall under the upper-caste brahmin community??
have u heard the upper caste grandmas speak..)) they are actually more intellectual than how u have projected them..!
I think my grandma would have surely thought..> whts this kid talking nonsense..quickly realizing I am young, she might have given a reason which might have sounded stupid but her experience of getting married at the age of 14, the problems faced, the life she missed and got thereby, might be the reason behind to it..
and as life teaches, u grow with experience & u speak IN A MORE SOPHISTICATED WAY..

finally, to end on a lighter note, u needed a scientist to bring ur pt. on aids and pregnancy..lolz.. the grandma( in general..) not mine) would have known..))

Siddarth said...

i would like to pt. out an another flaw..
its with regard to:
Similarly, if the young girl had been briefed on the psychological inability of teenagers to really choose the right men at that age and also the subconscious strain and difficulty in having a healthy married life due to failed sexual relationships at an early age, she would have definitely reconsidered her views.

I think when it comes to writing abt sex here, u seem to be using ur brain a lot.. sexual urge is not tht.! it does not listen to logical advice..I am sure anybody here would have taken parental advice on this..)its a habit-a acquired disease u can say..some have self control..some jus want to cut loose..and its the religion which keeps the latter category at checK..)

Siddarth said...

So v can say, the author has projected religion according to the way she wanted it to be projected??

Siddarth said...

hey small error in my 2nd post,
I am sure anybody here wouldn't have taken parental advice on this..)

Sindu said...

@Siddarth: There are two things here Siddarth. Firstly, I have never mentioned that the grandmother in question here is a Upper Caste Brahmin. For that matter, I dint even think of it. So lets not make this post a controversy on those lines. I just wanted to explain the term 'Abhishtu' to non-Tamil readers of the blog. And as a matter of fact I do know the term is still in usage to express exclamation at something sacrilegious.

Secondly, the point of the conversation was not to show the stupidity and ignorance of grandmothers in the world. For that matter, it could have been a conversation between Geetha and Seetha or X and Y. I only wanted one member who is curious and another who defends conservative ideas without questioning them. And in general, there are still a huge number of old people who shy from thinking about or discussing these things openly. Atleast that is wht I think. If I have offended you in any way, am sorry.

Sindu said...

It is true that sexual urge is a very strong force. I agree. Coming to those who can control it, acc. to your theory some do it listening to religion and some have an innate will. Yet, there are two things about controlling a desire – you either suppress it or you transcend it. While you speak of suppressing the desire, I certainly believe that logical advice (of curz, only certain ppl can grasp it) helps to transcend it. Wht you suppress, comes out in some form or other sooner or later.

Sindu said...

As for the Scientist, well, it again does not mean literally a Scientist in thick glasses and a lab coat excusing himself from research to brief something which anyone today knows. I wanted to indicate the ‘voice’ of Science in general, speaking on its corroborated facts on common issues. I guess I dint put it clearly.

Finally… I have not projected ‘Religion’ here. I have only projected one of the many things that religion should not be – ignorance. I would need a lifetime to comprehend what Religion is.

Siddarth said...

referring to the line:
that too after lighting the lamp at the auspicious hour??
I still think u did refer to the brahmins..!
and the sorry for wht?? ur subconscious, has just spilled it out..

Siddarth said...

with regard to ur second post..
transcending with logical advice..lolz.. I dont know,,may be v shld bring tiger woods into the thread..))
as for suppressing it, its one's own call which is kind of influenced by the cultural background.. might do good..

Sindu said...

@Siddarth: Cmon Siddarth. A lot of ppl do tht ritual. I really did not refer anyone. Anyways upto you.

Siddarth said...

actually u did mention the scientist part clearly and I just pointed out to the fact tht old ppl. arent tht dumb as to how u have projected them to be..
well, anyways its not a pt. to stretch it beyond this..

and with regard to ur last line,
I just got influenced by a section of para's, tht i mis-interpreted it.

Yeah, it is quite baffling tht ppl. still believe religion w/o any logic attached to it..
u can talk abt viewing religion under new light and all tht.. but ours is a society which is similar to the one present during Socrates era.. only a section of crowd which is educated & can think abt viewing religion in a new light..and would these ppl. be able to bring abt a change.. I doubt it..
end of the day, its just can be the pt. of view of a section of a ppl. and not beyond that.

mr.weirdo!! said...

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. -Albert Einstein

I think this applies for people who wants to strictly adhere to religion within its "evolved" boundary. Interestingly this applies for people against that too.

mr.weirdo!! said...

on a diff note its funny how people take to the 1st person form writing when they are arguing and shift to 3rd person form when there need to be compromise.

Note: when I comment in various forums if I use "people" 90% it includes me, because I dont read/listen/see and gain knowledge - its all trial, error & trying to correct.

thunderemperor said...

Dear Author I agree with Siddarth ur very biased...I never said psychology wasn't a science.........u assume too many things

I still think teenagers should have lots of sex but...why waste all those years of high libido......but siddarth can u really save someone by continuously lying to them....don't u think it does more harm than good...aren't there better ways

....So what if the author is biased...don't we all write about our own experiences...Our experiences make us who we are

And never underestimate the stupidity of the human mind...its capable of extraordinary things

Sindu said...


I dont want to dwell further on insignificant trivialities that had no relevance whatsoever to what I meant to say and demean the point of this post. Thank you all for ur comments.

Siddarth said...

u r first shot at me was utter nonsense devoid of even a shred of logic..
Kindly reveal ur identity..!
@ sindu:
yeah ok..u want to put a end to the post but i would like to make my pt. clear again.. the whole pt. of the post sounded good.. i agree..
wht i want to convey is, when someone's talking abt religion and wanting it to be viewed in a new light- the case should be woven in a much better way..
Anyhow the current generation, cannot accept certain things and thereby defend themselves with things like stupidity of human mind etc..

siddharth said...

I have only one thing to say here -

Nice article this and the previous.

And your line 'Faith should follow reasoning - not cloud it' - I see a Sri Sri Her Holiness Sinduja Ragunathan there!;)

bomzie said...

"How can one follow a way of life without knowing why?"

Where does the way lead??

bomzie said...

Ok, I will stop being stupid.

Is Religion a way of life??

If so, where does it lead ??(maybe god, store the thought for another time)

If it doesn't lead anywhere, its the journey not the destination that is important.Right?

In other words, it is living that is more important.Not the destination.Not even how we live(maybe, maybe not. I'm not sure on this thought).

Whether it is the journey or the destination at the end of all this, what does is it come to??

Are you happy or not,Right? Let me rephrase it, are you content or not?? or maybe i shouldn't rephrase it.

Sindu said...

@ Siddharth: Beautiful! I have read that story b4 ...yet, it continues to make one think every single time.

Sri Sri Her Holiness Sinduja Ragunathan ?

LOL. It has been a long time since a sentence made me laugh every single time it came to the mind in frequent intervals throughout the day. :D

Sindu said...

Yes, religion is definitely a way of life. Not that it SHOULD be a way of life for everyone. Yet, if you want to be with it, it has to be a way of life. There is no other possibility. If the stint with religion starts with n ends with worship, it isnt religion at all.

Where does this way of life lead? Of course, I could write volumes that would not have even a pinch of conviction on you .. or I could say nothing and still make a lot of sense to you already. So, I merely prefer to say, I dont know where it would lead...but I am enjoying the journey. That brings us to your next question and I would staunchly say, yes! it is definitely the journey more important than the destination. Whether God exists or not is beyong my scope of argument. I am only a proponent of faith and I feel the faith and discipline that the institution of religion fosters makes the journey worth it - a happy one? Happiness and content are very misleading terms. But a peaceful one? Yes!

P.S - 'How' you live definitely affects the quality of living.

Kalyani said...

Wow Sindhu...I'm impressed..and I hadn't expected anything less!:))

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Gopala krishnan said...

wow, its very beautiful sequel. and i feel like seeing the life of mine. I turned from theist to atheist and then to agnostic and now a theist. this change only lead me to learn what is religion is for, i felt much elated on seeing your approach towards this...