My opinions and views on religion
— as I understand it and as it is associated with social and cultural phenomena, that I have seen …
— This is a 3.7 K worded article, with very well meaning humor, some of which you might not find alluring to your taste, but how would I know, if I were not to tell them. Its well organized even though long, so not a good idea to skip section just because you want to know “why Jesus was killed?“. So, it begins with some personal philosophies or views as you may.
Are there any difference between Views and Opinions?
I hardly have views on anything. More appropriately, I must confess, I keep them to myself. I was once advised, that our views in the world doesn’t matter. Not knowing how to deal with that view, I let go, of that view.
So I am ready to imagine that, these are not views, rather these are my opinions and as they come, if the world doesn’t see any value in them, these opinions are liable to be rejected, criticized, un-understood, despised; anything but be treated for what they really are, opinions. Opinions are like taste.
I have met many folks, who do not like the taste of green tea, or a pickle or a movie or a conversation. A brilliant conversation by some peoples taste standard, is a lousy one, for another individual or a group. This is the single-most suitable logic, why one must have his own set of opinions, despite of its acceptability. There are no universally acceptable opinions.
That is, we can not please everyone, so we must have our opinions. But, we must see that our opinions doesn’t cause us inconvenience. Because, we hardly have any control over our or another persons tastes. We may have some respect, for another persons tastes or opinions. We seldom think its appropriate to show our respect for others tastes and opinions, and we do show respect, sometimes.
Enough then, about tastes and opinions.
How is a view different from an opinion?
A view is more so connected, with what we see, which may be unique again, because there is one observer, than an opinion, an opinion is a matter of taste, what we like and do not like, irrespective of what we see.
Although a view has a connotation of relevance a bit more, than the relevance of an opinion, in the real world opinions makes more sense, than a view. And if your opinion has no value for any uncanny type of individual, how is he going to give value to your views?
To be able to respect others views, which is more important, we must in someway develop some tolerance for others tastes. So in that sense, a view is a refined opinion, howsoever gorgeous it sounds, at the level of our understanding, a view is still an opinion.
Without cutting more grass than needed for the horse, I am therefore, going to express my views on religion as I understand it. — And, I am sorry I called my readers a horse, but I also called myself a grass cutter. :P
My personal, social, religious background.
I am borne into a Hindu Brahman family. — You are glad to know that? :D
This proclamation, in my mind, has no more significance, than say, the social and cultural settings in which I grew and the quality of my life, which is insured by such a connection, if it is and oppositely; the amount of vulgarities that is supposedly deserved by me because I am a Brahman.
If this sounds like any self-abasement, then you are hearing me partly, because, I am just trying to give a complete picture.
Some of the advantage, that are supposed to be applicable to any Brahman, but rather hardly seen by me, can be of historical reasons. And I am not borne in another historical possibility so who am I really to give you an opinion about being a non-Brahman. Except the fact, that, I can only make an attempt at telling you what is invalid, in such an opposing scenario.
So, talking about the privileges, I have been privileged to have a modern education despite of how history sees it fit. Brahmans can be and have been, one of the most successful social layer, in today’s India, despite of the natural disadvantage India 2000 was posing, towards this group.
I can tell you stories, about how, a bunch of traditional Brahmans, with lack of modern education and an excess of historical and traditional dogmas, can view those who are not. I can also talk about, how a rather negative mindset, of the non-Brahmans, with a seemingly modern outlook and education, plays foul, in creating myths and loathsome description, of the Brahmans.
And this is the middle of my essay, so if one finds it irksome or uncomfortable, please remember this is about my views about religion, as I have experienced it, and one can make this comfortable, by living this essay.
And what disadvantage I am talking about the Brahman connection. The disadvantage is, Brahmans are a minority in India and they need to be seen in that prospect.
Is being a Muslim or Christian, in India, makes ones position, one of disadvantage, despite of how, the bugle blowers can depict them? But they are a minority, right?
And I am aware how the antagonists of such an idea, the Brahmans being a minority, would try to counteract my view; “do you also propose to make every caste a minority in India?”
My answer is, I am not proposing anything constitutional or legal. I am expressing my views on a purely logical and supposedly simple viewpoint, a guiding observation, if you may..
Brahmans are a numerical minority in today’s India despite of their social and cultural prestige, in the society and this has withered, in today’s India, supposedly to correct historical wrongs, which do not make sense to a Brahman borne in 1978.
And, this Brahman does not believe in historical wrongs and historical supremacy, to be meted out to the opponents of this Brahman category. This Brahman has a lot of fan following and friends from all walks of life. This Brahman shares a loving relationship with every human being that is amenable to the reasons of natural laws.
In someway the Brahmans of India, are the Jews of the western world, in a way traditionally the Brahmans have been torch bearers of Indian society. This is not to say that others are not a torch bearer or they focus their light where it is not needed.
If one is laced with one’s knowledge of history, one can retort, have the Brahmans been holocaust, have they been lynched, have they been persecuted?
I am also laced with my knowledge of history and let me tell you.
If the Jews, were really so persecuted, how can they hold positions of power and prestige, in the social as well as academic spheres of the western world?
I will keep a personal secret here, which may lead to more personal misunderstanding, than the one that is really into play, my personal identification.
But, apart from that, the proof is that persecution doesn’t necessarily happen through lynching, setting someone into fire or mayhem, that’s just the violent outburst, of the prejudiced conditions, of a community. But persecutions happens through a dogged behavior, very prevalent in our societies and others.
Gray hound or Brown hounds, hounding is the attribute which is often preserved, to be applied, when the time is necessary, or as they say it, when time is ripe. ‘They’ can imagine time to be ripened, much in the same way, they can imagine burning human beings into ashes. And its this violence, which Gandhi is not the only person, to de-taste.
There are millions of sons and daughters, in this country — India, and in many others, who adhere to such a philosophy of non-violence. Asoka and the Buddhists, propounded Ahimsa. Gandhi is a torch bearer of Ahimsa, in modern times. But talking about persecution, it happens through a personal sense of inflicting injury, by taking advantage of ones situations.
How else can the Nazis persecute the Jews? Where as the Obamas and Clintons can not. Because everything has a place for it and America is not the place for Jew persecution. In the very same sense, India is not the place for Brahman persecution.
— And everything has a time for it as well. Give things more time and see they are for real or not.
You can easily persecute a Brahman, in the United States, by creating a myth, which is culturally and socially un-understandable by the natives of America. To see the innocence, of the religiously free mind, is a lesson in itself. And sometimes this lesson, comes with a price tag.
So that’s my view on the corresponding social status of the Jews and Brahmans, although it may be hard to fathom. It could be that, the Brahmans and the Jews, are really just the same people, that lived different place, time and historical roof in different continents.
So a pure Brahman, in India, in recent times, which is hard to notice, may actually be a descendant of a Jew and the Jews in many different continents, could really be Brahmans, that immigrated, from where these Brahmans or Jews were originally from.
Now, Brahmans and Jews, are not the central point of any conversation, neither are they the ones, that exert the centrifugal force, in any situation.
So what are my views on religion really?
Well my views of religion, should be without any doubt, a result of my social upbringing, and cultural settings, right?
Well not necessarily.
If that were so, my views would cut a great deal of similarity, with the view of any other bunch of folks. And in present day India — lets say, 1981 to now, when I really started kicking my mental horizons, religion in India, hardly happens in a way that makes it identifiable, like a religion of the west, except for the externally visible ways, like wearing a tilak or breaking a coconut.
So religions in India, are identified by whether you break the coconut, to initiate a ceremony or what kind of attires identify you. Whether you wear the turban or not, whether you keep a long beard or you believe in the sanctity of social conduct in one way or another.
Given the myriad different ways in which these rituals can be depicted and linked with mythical philosophies, whether to draw a benefit from such linkage or not, they all embody the Indian religion. But our Bharat Bhagya Bidhatas have categorized them, partly in accord with their lack of knowledge and partly in keeping with their masters word.
The master can be a social pressure group, in the form of a Hindu Conscience Congress — HCC, or an Islamic ‘Pseudo’ Scholars Congregation — IPSC, it could be Max Muller or an American Church Circuit — ACC, that secretly funds divisive politics in India. It could be an out of the way sympathy, of the most prestigious family of India, for the Pseudo-Religionists of any country or it could be a historical perspective; which is quite unlikely truthful in its account.
Religion is always amenable to cater to the socially powerful, if it gets distorted in anyway, its only a bizarre and disfigured ritual. And when religion becomes a central and unquestionable authority in devising our ways of life, our code of conduct for our dressing taste, our love expressions or our night lives or a rave party that we had, despite of the pompous claims of secular governance, we must realize, we have fallen into an anthropological black hole, from which we have no hope of survival, whatsoever and howsoever we want it.
To tell, in simple words, we are governed by what we say is our religious conscience, because that’s the way we are. We do not like any change, in our ‘regression’ of psyche. And if that regression-of-psyche defines our religious identity, I have hit a jackpot of my views on religion.
To talk about the western religions then, is not a matter much different from ours, if we realize that, they too are constantly trying to come to peace, with their identity, in a society, which is materially much accomplished but spiritually in unrest. The religionists in the west, are promising the westerners a spoonful of Amruta in the form of spiritual fulfillment.
In that hilarious claim, one can attain a personal relationship with a God and such a God is already a person, only if a couple thousand years ago. What they are essentially promising to a Physicist like me is “Go back a couple thousand years ago. Be an anti-modernist.”
Or, in their defense; “the present times is sinful, we do not know how peaceful the past was.”
Why then the folks killed the God?
Well the God was a mockingbird.
Believe it or not, someone actually said this to me, that, Jesus Christ was killed because he was too condescending towards others. If he was such a mocking genius, he should have tried Physics. He was going to win a MacArthur fellowship or something of that kind.
The mysticism and compulsive tendencies of our religion.
And the eastern religions, mainly from India, has a very mystique presence, in the minds of the westerner, equally alike in the minds of a native, as much as its in the mind of a backpacker. Although the backpacker is more happy with a religion, that allows drinking wine and beer, the native is more concerned with a visual pleasure.
Did our forefathers drink wine, in social and religious gatherings?
Lets not cite the Soma-Rasa. We do not know.
Actually like religion, we hardly know anything about our history, in truthful perspective. We are Indians, when we claim we belong, to a half of a decade of a civilization, in counting the period, in units of 1000 years, we hardly know ourselves past a couple hundred years ago.
We take great pleasure in expressing our ability, to preserve culture and tradition, — although civilization is not our forte, but is it really preservation or fortunate survival? If we describe the India of our times, we will see a Naipaul is vindicated 1000 times, in saying what a wounded civilization we are, of-course from the invasion of the non-natives.
I have seen folks criticizing him for his lack of a sense of owing towards his connection to India, but how true. We can also wound ourselves, in a desperate attempt, to express ourselves, in what we think is the rightful expression rather than hear somebody out, for his depictions.
And, we can become violent in destroying some body’s dignity, let alone his personal works of art or imagination, because we have to be right. Planet earth has only one country, where people do not know, how to be wrong, golly, despite of their ignorance — if that indeed exist.
If somebody can walk his path, when his eyes are blindfolded and one makes that a sport in Olympics, that’s the only sport the Indians will win a Gold. Everywhere else, the Indian can win accolades, for having the spirit to show a pelvic failure.
Now isn’t that a religion?
It is if you agree that religion is nothing more than a set of set of beliefs howsoever crippling, they can be, towards our own rising, and why awake arise and stop not till the goal is reached, if the goal can be made to look embarrassing, before we are even awake, that is if we are in your dream state, we do not have to care to arise and walk.
Its a sense of relativism, in the minds of a self denying trigot I must say — if a trigot is the next level of accomplishment, of a bigot.
Religion often makes us end up in a blind spot, from where there is no seeing sanity, — and science gives us binoculars so lets not put them both on the same straddle.
Western Religion Again.
And, since I have diverged, from my views of western religion, may we return. I can not promise much to anyone here because I do not know as much here about the nitty grit-ties of the western religions. But, I do not have the risk of running wrong with the depictions or any jargon, because mostly in my experience, I am an observer as opposed to a participant.
— So am I, with the Indianic religions, but just that, I have observed for longer.
The western religion is closer, towards its visible nature. On the one hand, a westerner will often claim its adherence to no religion, such a stance may be categorized as atheism. But that’s only in the surface. Because deep inside, they are just exploring their own identity and that makes them an adherent, when push comes to shove.
So the atheists are a bunch of modernists or post modernists who can sway either way when push comes to shove. I usually meet the post modernists in my dream, because I do not know how they look like. And then there are these Mormons, that you can meet anywhere.
If your room door is open, they can invade you to your bathroom. I happened to have experienced them, at-least thrice. Once they came to my house, as the room door was open and I was in my towel. But still they wanted to have my time.
The next time I met them in a bus stop, where they wanted me, to have a bible and I missed my bus, as I could not quickly avoid them. They began by asking if I know Beethoven — which I obviously knew, then they jumped to Jesus Christ. You see, if you are a non-westerner and you happen to know, as young a guy as Beethoven, its very likely, that, you may know the older chap.
The third time I met them in a bus stop and I knew how to escape and more importantly, why. Just do not give them any attention.
When you are waiting for a bus or an airplane, never entertain a religionist. You might miss the plane. So that’s one of my views of religion, you see.
So the western religions, have modernized themselves, even if they are wearing the same veils, in carrying their intended action. They even know a trick or two about marketability. One of these guys can hand you a bible, when you are walking on a street or you may hear a commercial, about how much we have furthered from our relationship with God.
And if you succumb or subscribe, you are going to have a gala of a bad time. 100s of proselytizers, in different rhythm and different forms. But this can also be a good opportunity, for taking some one home, if its a weekend.
You cant have a personal relationship with God without having one with His followers. HA HA.
On numerous occasions, I have had interactions, with fellow God believers, where they wanted me to have a personal relationship with God and I wanted them to know that I am still getting out of a bad relationship, so it will take some time before I go on the relationship path again. Fair deal.
On a contrasting note, on many occasions, I meet folks who are young and bright and interested about science and I have a real good time. The only thing I miss, is a good recording device, that can capture my ideas and imaginations as I go, than after I go.
These kind of proselytizers are in demand. I have seen such folks traveling as far as Japan — or are they natives of Japan !, who can roam in as unsuspecting a place, as a railway or bus stop and come running to you, like they are there to help you. But in a moment of exasperation, you realize they are there to talk God.
And why do they always happen in a bus stop, railway stop or a plane-way stop. I will never know.
Another characteristics of religion in the US that I find, is the mixing up of science and religion. — and universal, come to India it promptly imitates the west, in mixing things up, we know where to look up to, when we need something, that we agree with in our intent. On the outset though, we are opposed to the west, what a despicable hemisphere.
Make the power of science mix up, with the needs of religion, if you are to succeed, that’s the mantra. One can see a PhD scientist writing a book about religion or more appropriately about God, and its not long before one discovers; its Jesus Christ in his favorite gown. The mocking bird is still looming large.
It could be a scientist, giving us a seminar on biological evolution and suddenly the mockingbird pops up from nowhere. It doesn’t take us 3 years to realize these are not scientific seminars. And in most of these seminars, we would will find a large Keralite population.
— Why don’t they call them Keralian or something like that, may be Keralise, why they want to rhyme with Sterlite, Keralite is not another type of stone, per se. Easy to form a relationship with God in Kerala, that’s how they invented the phrase, Gods own country.
Another facet of the western religion, is, what I liked a lot. Watch the movie dogma, and see how the dog-master becomes the dogma-ster. And how fun can be poked on the mockingbird. Mock the mockingbird, do not kill the mockingbird.
I think such freedom, which in the religionists mind is excessive, but in the freethinking movie makers mind is modernism, isn’t quite appreciated by all. But USA has a very balanced composition of all faith. At-least it doesn’t have a risk of offending too many religions, because there is one religion.