Seldom does a window of opportunity open at critical historical turning points, to usher in corrective measures, that too in spirituality. The onus is to convert it to a challenge and drive it to fruition, through committed efforts. Future generations will not forgive us -the better informed, for not trying with the best communications, networking across religious fault lines. It is easier now to counter false propaganda and inculcate the spirit of understanding in youth without leaving them as preys for the fundamentalists to exploit with false promises.
For, religion is a derived off-shoot of spirituality in human endeavours through civilising generations to identify an external force to unburden ignorance, seek knowledge from and rest blames on. Despite karma principles of reap as you sow, Newton’s recoil, and cause & effect eventualities, we optimistically seek Almighty to guide/correct us when in trouble, turmoil and tears. Whether God exists is not the issue, the need is universal and the creation global.
From big bang, primordial soup, theology, spiritualism, science, them coming together and to the search of god particle, the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent has been an undeniable creation of our imagination with its limitations of ignorance, knowledge and senses, regardless of our evolution and existence oceans apart in unconnected continents. Orphism to scientism, morphic resonance, telepathy or sign of times, devoid of contacts and communication, the truth that humans have established everywhere the need and practice of spiritual system based on belief and faith, leading to religions & Gods, underscores that it is as essential to living, as air and water.
Can conflicts be resolved using laws? Laws crave for facts and when facts themselves are uncertain such that the certainty that can be expected from judiciary comprised of fallible men prone to vacillations of opinions based on systems, majority, appointment, philosophy, background, faiths and beliefs- won’t judgments based on laws be questionable? Laws when drawn up, written, codified etc are self-centred and would not reflect altruistic concerns,
Not to forget that they do invoke spiritual powers to enact laws from the realms of utopia with wisdom and experience. Such Acts then are argued for and against by battalions of barristers, till they are amended or revised, with the show of legaldom set to go on for ever thereafter. The concept of title to property is alien as an old Red Indian chief had surmised, that it is futile to imagine that one owns what is given in trust to manage for common benefits. Do note that right to property is not fundamentally guaranteed in Indian Constitution.
Perhaps intuitive conclusions leading to decision making and judgments, as proven in very many other spheres of life, commerce, sports and medicine are called for. Hence recourse to beliefs and faiths –crystallised with the bends of minds- with the task of determining which comes first. Like body, mind and soul, philosophers and purists have been at it unsuccessfully for millenniums to dissect the three that precipitate as life.
And in life how dare we assume that we are at the top of a pyramid above all living beings, closer to the almighty, using him to put fear in all and sundry? The class system that did so has not stood the test of times even with the backing of monarchies and democracies. As empty stomachs cannot comprehend logics, tenets, doctrines etc, of late, what is seen is god seeking during economic gains, but later the total erosion of spirituality and its linked values.
Monopolising the earth for our whims and fancies, exploiting nature and its resources that have accumulated over millions of years, the destruction and trail left behind is so damning that God if there is one would have stopped us -evolved through intelligent creation- or put hurdles in the way of our philo-socio-economic efforts placing mother earth in peril.
Unlike elsewhere, Indian philosophy is spiritually oriented, science and the rest turning out as its corollaries. Samkhya philosophy is silent on God. The ithihasas, puranas, epics, lores etc are embedded with god-like uttama-purusha (ideal person) embellishments to convey mores and morals to the masses making metaphysics interesting and understandable through stories.
Cultures have been enriched by verses, poetry, songs and tapestry of gender unbiased murals, sculptures etc born of religions nourished in abodes of worship. Were it not, we would have been poorer, and as such soul searching efforts need be encouraged to fuse across barriers.
It is unlikely that God incarnate would have been human, but likely that the all pervading Force returns every once a while in yugas to set matters right when the automatic equations of law and fairness go awry. Messiahs that bring such messages needn’t be gods, but more likely his chosen messengers; Priest, Rabbi, Chaplain, Imam etc are their servants to serve the lay.
Apart from the implied and doubts sown with the preceding, let us pragmatically look ahead how to survive along with all His wonders and creatures created for common benevolence. To start with, let us live and let live burying religious animosities existing amongst ourselves.
Having come a long way from class and caste (Sanskrit `matham’ literally means opinion but unfortunately down the ages it had connoted and precipitated as religions & castes) systems –though it remains to be eradicated completely. In the end what separates us human beings and souls is belief, faith, religion et al emanating from spiritual seeking.
That mammon and his ilk are creating new divides is another matter that will ferment and brew trouble in the deep schisms between communism, all effacing socialism and capitalism. Schismatic divides and gulfs that have occurred, caused, exist and nurtured by dogmatic fundamentalists, need be bridged so that historical progress and gains are not negated.
Such responsibilities rest on the shoulders of the educated and well meaning practitioners capable of understanding and disseminating valuable information by simple methods. Hasn’t music cut across linguistic barriers? Haven’t the varying dresses and panoply of attires of India spread across the nation? Hasn’t smorgasbord of lip-smacking –sweets or not- dishes cut across mountains and rivers –the old natural borders- into gastronomic delights for mouth and stomachs? Hasn’t sports and games unified us as a nation of fit and fitness freaks seeking records? Haven’t inter-caste marriages spread across territorial and cultural divides?
Haven’t the very many dialects and languages got mixed up –despite sub-division based on linguistics divides-creating yet newer ones but not failing to convey the essence of expressions? Thanks to the British, we have been united under one geographical area self contained and self-sustainable with water, food and minerals. Haven’t education and communication transformed us, made us better understanding and capable of living in amity with different faiths? Are they so immiscible as to precipitate and alienate sentiments and cause conflicts? Are there still narrow-minded doubting types amongst us? If so, let us identify, isolate and work to eradicate misunderstandings.
It is not change that is threatening or challenging, but mind block to evolve vide trials and tribulations, when what we have been conditioned and programmed with -since birth, seems questionable in the wider context and its subtle variations through religious practices appear to be of same intent but at odds and in conflict.
Only very few are enough to plant problems and instigate troubles. Be aware and beware; spot and correct for greater common good. Politics by its very nature is divisive, politicians are experts in creating, cultivating and exploiting vote banks out of hatred; but respect them for success in the art of management of the impossibles.
Agreeing to a leader when one is driven to grab the chair is a compromise; though truculent, trucking with others of different views to run coalitions is pragmatism; bowing to count of ballot box is street-smartness and regardless of ideologies, accepting fate that the sensitive General Will churns up is worldly wisdom. Their kama, artha, karma, lobha and moksha are power, corruption, nepotism, greed and re-election!
After having voted for the vanquished, don’t we let ourselves be governed by the victors? Accepting a foreign origin widowed bahu of thyag fame with virtual power at the helm shows our capability to live with plausibilities.
Can’t we do so likewise in spiritual field of beliefs, faiths, religions, practices, rituals and all? It behoves on the sensibles to get to the root of lowest common denominator in spiritualistic endeavours. HE is one and the same, let all congregate and pray to the One, under one roof.
Why use history to complicate and confuse? How accurate is it in the long term of time-space dimension? Aren’t we of Pangea and Gondwanaland origins? Isn’t history recorded through coloured eyes and haven’t history capsules been found to be erroneous? Would truth have survived when most are in connivance to leave their marks? Haven’t the conquerors and colonists looted, imposed their systems and the conquered -especially in the Indian sub-continent- accepted better ideas and ideals, venerating the best? Haven’t we become richer culturally, technologically etc by assimilating such imported firangi systems.
It is not about idolising or idol worship. Seeking the true self through self realisation with potential of transferring it to all for group realisation calls for places of mass worship where the empowered nirgunabrahman god in whatever form may be consecrated and depicted as sagunabrahman for the lesser mortals to connect with and pay obeisance to. Prayers and namaz in whichever language intonated properly with devotion undoubtedly have positive benefits beyond placebo effect. God certainly cannot be bought even through priests. Whilst giving alms may be helpful, enriching temples especially those run by governments would keep gods away and as such funds earmarked so, might as well be spent in charity.
Meantime, let us not permit politicians and their agenda, nor the executive, judiciary and religious fundamentalists to define, redefine and mis-define secularism which is the inherent ancient character of our civilisation, culture, nation and rights. Let belief, faith and practice co-exist amicably. We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that this can be done to evolve and manifest still better in the best of cradle of civilisations.
From Aristotle, Ptolemy, Aryabhatta, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Hawking, humans are still gathering and deriving information light years away such that what is incomprehensible seems delusive maya as we insist on understanding everything in our lifespan with our senses as superior creatures of the universe. Our journeys through galaxies will have to continue for very long times, before we might make sense of it all. In the interim pray for peace.
In life and work one is bound to make mistakes intentionally or unknowingly. All religions preach atonement and forgiveness enabling self correction and group emancipation. Celebrations too on victory of good over evil, to impart positiveness, forget worries and recharge beliefs with the dictum that truth triumphs ultimately. City folks celebrating farmers’ festivals after harvest, mis-convey relevance of such occasions but.
We have come a long way from sacrificial rituals, austerities, penance etc with prayer routines during holy months. These are common to all religions and are to discipline and rid body and mind periodically of accumulated sins and toxins, seasonally, so as to cleanse and start afresh. Like nature’s seasonal dropping of leaves and regeneration anew, we need such rejuvenation time and again as we tire and doubt ourselves about whence, where to, why, what, how etc.
What saints, sages, savants and the like tried to convey and extolled is to live in harmony with nature and its elements. They may not have been literate but had been intuitively wise to understand and spread the message through the medium of expressions using languages that evolved; but, languages inherently are poor means of expressions and are invariably prone to misunderstandings. Hence the plethora of issues raked up compounding avoidable problems.
The ones that have stood the test of times, subjugations notwithstanding, are the better ones to take forward. Often, it is not one or the other, but a disproportionate admixture of both. Such generalisations and tautologies aside, what is desirable is to bow to the almighty Force that links microcosm and macrocosm. And since most religions mention about rebirth, through karmic efforts, if one can avoid the same, that person is perhaps the ultimate practitioner.
Capt. S. Pullat (May 08)
It is said that energy has been manifesting in many forms from the origin of time itself. Cosmic rays have been forming-transforming elements for a long while, like radiation converting Helium to Hydrogen. Light, sparks thence Sound energy –from lightning and thunder for example- at lower energy transmission velocity, could have been a turning point. Sound is said to have given rise to shapes and life itself. Nano-particles, micro-organisms and bacteria had grown in the atmosphere with living beings as known today emerging in water –evolving as amphibians, later developing as varied creatures on land.
Scientists persevering with DNA-RNA research opine that minute variations suffice to create differing living beings and thus evolutionary process and shift have and will continue to throw forth new creatures. From an energy particle, we have come a long way accumulating characteristics, organs, survival instincts and bound by karma traits as well. Our brain supposedly had enlarged to current size during the tectonic times when Himalayas were formed due to northward drift of Asian plate, giving us current unfair advantages in the animal kingdom.
Colours as surprises had caused expressions in terms of exclamations/sound/utterances and isn’t diversity of languages that have originated thus across the length and breadth of land mind-boggling? Add too noises made by animals on land/water to communicate, to linguistics. Surprises galore! Not really, because noises/languages as a means of communications within species is quite common and between different species too when efforts and familiarities are made.
Well, what is in it for us all to grasp? Time to seek and understand what awareness, knowledge, inferences, science, determinism et al have over the centuries been finding out and preaching to practise. For, the amalgam of cause, effect, proof, deductions, derivations, repeatability, particle science … etc, of late, seem to be settling for perceptions, maya and the like, as despite centuries of efforts, it has not been possible to understand/explain any findings and misgivings conclusively. It is feared that our senses may not suffice to understand the universe in few life times. So let us embark on a philosophical voyage of logics, rationalism, spiritualism and perceptionalism too to reconcile on what best is suited for our times.
There are myths, lores, tales, stories, yarns etc all leading through mores, morals, maxims, adages, parables, commandments, proverbs, truisms, ethics, tenets, concepts, beliefs, practices to ideas, knowledge, news, information….preserving/clouding history and facilitating creativity…And in the cauldron of civilisational and cultural milieu, assimilation, synthesis and evolved understanding, the Oriental and Occidental concepts are finally beginning to come together accepting that IT is all about perceptions if one would like to term it so. Put simply, what all we see in nature are nothing but creations of our measuring and categorising mind. Won’t we look different through fish eye lens?
There are data, statistics, patterns, trends –even in chaos leading to facts, analysis, findings, conclusions, hypothesis, extrapolations et al …enriching knowledge and fulfilling the seekers urge to explore, find out, learn, know and pursue self realisation. The process has been time tested and tried for generations but by and large we have failed to grasp and those who have, if any, haven’t been able to pass encyclopaedia of what they realised, and if at all they have, the followers have usually misinterpreted and evoked their own versions, thus compounding the confusions. Alas, in the end, it is a matter of conjunctures and perceptions.
Giving credit to Democritus, Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Vivekananda, Russell, Hawking ……..and many of their ilk and the laureates who have thrown more light on ignorance, are we any better of than in the Dark ages? The Eastern philosophical-spiritual-religious confounded conclusions also haven’t been able to penetrate shrouded mysteries that lie beyond us. A fundamental tenet is that everything is because of our consciousness, and transcendence can get us away from such realities; back to virtual reality on return, but.
The deterministic science despite achieving a lot with space missions behind them are estopped by gravity, quantum physics, relativism, S-matrix, speed of light etc admitting that it itself has varied over eons, light rays do bend with everything disappearing into black holes beyond our comprehension. It is assumed that it reappears somewhere else enabling retracing of time-space trajectories. Going back in events, memories and time? Transmigrations and rebirths seem credulous, but not rewinding and replays!
These take us to the quadrants of knowledge and ignorance: categorising them further as knowing, not knowing, knowing the unknown and not knowing the unknowns. Whilst what are in the sphere of knowledge itself may not have been properly understood, its existence may be accepted and ascertained and this becomes a knowledge base of the knowns. That typically leaves the rest as unknowns. Within the unknowns, it is further acceptable that some of it can easily be found out, identified and catalogued and the others can be sensed, projected, provided for and overcome with precautions, technology a la prevention is better than cure.
But what of the unknowable unknowns? We suspect and are sure that such things do exist but are unable to gauge with our senses and technologies that are on hand and being developed. Every once a while a paradigm shift or leap occurs in garnering knowledge but the earth, matter, atmosphere, space are elusive by their own nature. Aren’t our senses our own limitations? The world as we know in reality means the realm of experiences we experience with life as a concourse of mirrors. So, what of the un-experienced?
Scientism, metaphysics, spiritualism..whatever, the origin of universe/consciousness etc can simply be attributed to the creator –incidental, intentional or intelligent, call him God or what not you would like to. In a way singularity, big bang, black hole …all within over current knowledge/ignorance can be traced back graphically to such an Origin at the centre of the quadrants that can be encompassed by ever expanding circles and spheres.
Beliefs, faiths, practices, religions and their never ending offshoots have been noble efforts, but unfortunately they have been violent, fanatical and destructive and not synergetic, though their goals by definition is self and group realisation. Can’t we synthesise our efforts for better understanding of such dynamic interplay with Sciences also, to achieve art of living in harmony as microcosms within macrocosms?
Most religions prescribe rituals to tune and condition the mind during innocent formative and impressionable years, insisting on allegiance to their scriptures proscribing rebirths defining God as reincarnation often in human form to set matters right getting rid of evil. Of necessity, God is created out of knowledge, ignorance, fear, respect, love, devotion, surrender to gain peace of mind. It is human weakness that an external force like God is relied upon to solve riddles of helplessness. The good intentions of savants, saints, seers, sages and sceptics too quoting hymns, psalms, slokas, prayers etc are passed on and retailed down the line as spin offs targeting seekers turned gullibles. Have no doubt about their calming, soothing spiritual effects though. With unshakeable faith, Supreme Self is said to be realisable purely through intuitive perception as inner reality and IT cannot be experienced by senses, reasoning or discourses.
The analogies in scriptures and epics are taken as actual events attributing human forms to characters including God. It indeed is unbelievable that the Master of Universe is a human form with its inherent limitations. Is God a particle, force, field or method of madness beyond our comprehension or a diviner of combination of body-mind-soul trio? Whatever, let it be; and devil, an apposite or its opposite as antimatter, anti thesis or anti-force/field that nullifies -tracking life back to singularity/nothingness.
Considering Divinity, Philosophy and Law as cornerstones of awareness, inquisitiveness and knowledge, perception need be installed as the fourth pillar to complete the structure that can be built upon. Quite simply we could bracket everything to perceptions, if that would suffice. Human made concepts are naturally within our comprehension, but what are not, are not within our grasp. Thus perception which often is attributed to intelligence, intellect, intuition, experience, expertise, maturity, premonition, telepathy, divine grace and what not! No doubt experience is the best school master, confidence a sure-fire and drive the catalyst.
Most important scientific breakthroughs, inventions and discoveries have been accidental; invariably out of perception that such a thing is plausible. Bare facts as such have only historical limited value, but postulations with them have enabled bridging knowledge gaps. It is usually out of intuitions, insights are achieved and creativity is launched. A perception quotient for the individual and society, and a perception index for civilisation and development!! In real life too analysis, trends and projections do not seem to get people, enterprises and nations that far. It is the gut feeling, positive attitude and drive that help set goals and deliver them too.
Contrarily, seeking solace through inaction is no better; hence paths of knowledge and work are suggestive and at the least, prayers. As has been scientifically proven, faith can heal and help others heal. A lot of our problems of our times on the micro and macro fronts are self-inflicted due to control of diseases, better nutrition, poor work postures, bad life styles, sharper minds, longer life span etc.
Whatever understood over eons –natural phenomenon, food, medicinal value of plants –Tulsi (Basel) to start with, is accredited to God and what we haven’t also. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, as it nullifies knowledge retracing all else back to origin and singularity. But once in the know –consciousness- the choice is to do, face the results and perish when time is up. Till then, ones is to do and not, not to do. Certainly a dose of realism and positiveness can make the difference; so despondence is to be avoided at all costs.
Having understood so much, much more remains….in the universe and in our interstellar voyages. The whole and parts are beyond languages, expression and even perceptions. In the end it is matter of reconciling within the capabilities and developing such sensual abilities as we traverse time-space multi-dimensionally.
It is time to question whether and what we the earthly populace have benefited since the Wars, as the potential of development –albeit at environmental costs- has become obvious to the global village bereft of frontiers and barriers duly demolished by internet and Information technology. Do recall that about 60m sacrificed their lives and the wave of prosperity we have had is owed to them all.
It is fair to state that the marine adventure era half a millennium ago laid out the road maps for discoveries leading to colonisation spearheading trade, on which inventions piled firm foundations for industrial development and eventually innovations exploiting these. Coal and Electricity have been the drivers, fossil fuels needing to be replaced soon by renewable and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar radiation etc. In the interim, securing energy sources are the current conflict issues.
What the information revolution has achieved in its short span of a generation is to flatten the world and telescope time zones seamlessly, nullifying natural, civilisational, cultural, religious, linguistic, economic and legal barriers. It would be fallacy to continue to believe in Nation States bound together by common causes or enemies on historic basis or sound principles of economics and defence. EU exemplifies the bundling possibilities and various regional Trade Agreements too have been conceived thus, forgiving, forgetting and erasing internecine rivalries going back to kingdoms of yore.
Capital, its transferability, free movements and might has diluted the authorities of governments –be it dictatorial or pluralistic- monarchies being held as reserve, lest anarchies prevail over fragile democracies. Its inherent tendency to smoothen and lubricate systems have converted and enslaved one and all from Communists to Fabian socialists, prince-lings included. The only thorn that remains to be proselytised seems to be embedded by barbs of faith, beliefs, practices and religions –multiplicities of them. But one can’t deny the evolution God & Satan out of fear, ignorance, love, devotion, findings and knowledge cycles. Not that we are any better off than Helen, Joan and Galileo.
When the trio of power, money and faith are conjoined, it makes perfect concoctions of nuclear proportions. Cause and effect merge like means and ends. Rationale, logic and reasoning gives way to insensibilities, violence, destruction, martyrdom and terrorism questioning fundamentals of religions and values. Is human race so foolhardy to destroy itself along with the biosphere? Can we conquer the final frontiers of inter-faith animosities? That indeed is the civilised challenge facing the informed ones.
Progress and philosophies aside, the lacunae is one of assimilating and appreciating that the concept of faith, God and whatever Force that be are universally the same and it is only a spiritual path to self-realisation seeking Him rather than finding Him and asking for favours. For, like languages, a child born anywhere can learn and be nurtured with societal customs, few developing as guides themselves, most as followers and practitioners and some as infidels and terrorists also. The broad-spectrum covers it all, permitting the doubtfuls to emancipate on their own, either way, walk out or be reborn. Born again usually with vengeance too.
What has crystallised in the process is one of compare and contrast games, competition amongst the systems to hegemonise, claiming superiority and easy success through material pursuits, if not patiently seeking nirvana. Religion, in fact is the largest industry world-wide. The role of money and power in this fast-tracking cannot be denied, the six-century-old capitalism creating fissures between the capables and excluded. Resultantly, a new cast system of social stratification is driving politics, academia, faiths and power brokers, with coalitions amongst these for mutual gains in democracies ignoring the fundamentals of greater common good, precipitating back-lash syndrome across the globe. Strangely, such democracies empowered to alter worldly trends are all of decimal majority factions and coalitions.
The recoil effect need be well understood, if corrective measures are to succeed, for often the cause is worse than results it unleashes. The unfairness of WW I settlement was indeed the one that propelled WW II, causing a particular community to be chased; trying to carve the world into post-colonial resource allocations till the cold war thawed out. The current mono-ideologism is no better, in fact worse, spawning inequity and hatred amongst humans and unity of the persecuted, sowing seeds of terrorism all over.
Regardless of the beast in us, humans per force have a fairer side driving us to seek absolution by prayers, deeds, sacrifices et al. This is what must be channelled towards better understanding and betterment of our existence. The common denominator of faiths need be catalysed to supplement each other and not spew venom and hatred. The enlightened and faithfuls are well aware of this, but they are being pushed into corners of retaliation by the ill-conceived actions of those in power, powers that be and power brokers. Across religious spreads the message, objective and goal is the same, the modus of indoctrination and execution differs though. So, the persevered efforts must be to bring them all to common platforms for mutual benefit of group-realisation.
Since we are what we think we are, what we eat, dress, do etc, it is indeed plausible to define ourselves and be what we want to be. This is what conditioning and programming of the child in man is all about. Catch them young and through the impressionable years! But it is said to be possible right in the womb itself. Hence religious practices that extend from conception to demise, hoping to influence rebirths too.
Rituals have a soothing effect on the nervous system and psychologically belief strengthens physiological activities. Be it a dacoit, soldier, terrorist, Buddhist or atheist, their commitment to chosen beliefs and work towards excellence is comparable, often for a living though. The dropouts at the fringes are the trouble-makers having no idea as to what they believe in and what they want, drifting till re-born. That is the lot to be focused on to avoid troubles and perils.
The seminaries, madrasas and monasteries are necessary evils to inject and inculcate basic concepts. Human’s seeking of the Lord has only multiplied the paths that he has been taking sprouting yet more religious sects and sub-sects in varying robes and garbs. The paths are the same, direction also. So, the efforts should be to get them all onto the same track, instead of faulting the systems, ways and means.
Wants, needs, desires and aspirations are just not limited to economic fields, body clock or biological functions. It spans the mind and spirit, Id and ego. They are programmable; erasable and rewritable, but not easy. Unlearn-relearn is a tough task for the intellect. Body, mind and spirit encompass the spectrum of life with spiritualism as an inalienable essence. Shorn of ideologies, money and power, systems must enable the Will to be directed for peace and advancement. Until, one and all recognise these, especially the leaders, backlashes will be blamed for what unfair systems unleash and precipitate yet more chaos and destruction.
Meantime, kneel, kowtow and chant, as the apostle of non-violence prayed:
“Ishwar, Allah tero nam, sabko sanman deh Bhagwan”