Thursday, June 17, 2021
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A different take on religion

The recent controversy surrounding the content of PK makes me think on the subject. India is a land of religion and Indians are extremely religious. Following religion blindly which continues over generations without understanding the logic behind it gives rise to superstition. Thus superstition is nothing but religion sans logic. Then there is religion fanatism. This is based on the psychology of ‘us’ vs ‘them.’ When a person belonging to a certain community feels his safety or beliefs are threatened, then he often resorts to violence and unlawful means to restore back his faith. This also happens when as a child, a person goes through a lot of traumatic experiences in his/her childhood based on religion. Later that person grows up to spread hatred and resort to terror to do to others what had been done to them. They try to heal their wound by inflicting wound on others.

Let us not talk about extremes but religion in general. The concept of God was created by early man to worship the elements of nature upon which they had no control. They feared these elements, revered them and hence worshipped them. This makes sense but idol worship is all the more confusing. From where this idea stems I really do not know. But looking at people’s psychology I can conclude that people find it hard to worship a god without any form. Hence they gave shape, name and human attribute to deities with larger than life powers and started worshipping them. People began to propagate the ideal way to lead a life by instilling in them the fear of god, hence the concept of heaven and the theory of Karma came into existence. Man is an evolved species who likes control. Anything that is beyond their control they create a concept to achieve such powers to control the uncontrollable, or so it seems even if it means struggling for a lifetime with the hope of inheriting such qualities in ‘another life’ or being more happy in the ‘other’ world.

Be it the fear of god or the craving to be god like, this certainly makes a man a better person and the world a better place. But the point is, should not sensitivity lead to humanity and not the fear of some god or the fear of karma? Sensitivity alone prevents a man from being inhuman from within willingly or rather naturally. Therefore more than what you think, you become the concept should be what you feel, you become. True, one might feel vindictive at times but there comes the balance of reason. However, doing anything out of fear is not rational.

Our ancient scriptures teach many ways of reaching god, such as Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga etc. The path of romanticism, knowledge, duty are prescribed paths to reach to god. People chose the path which suited their personality. However, after a certain time, there is purging of emotions. We grow out of the things we were emotional about. But perhaps, it is the feeling of emotion which we can never get rid of.

(This is a first part of the article and the remaining part will continue tomorrow)

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