This actually stems from one sms and one fb post and some discussions I was lately having with Jay during our Udaipur trip. This might be a long post so if you want an alert, treat this as one. A sort of a Khichdi post…
First I will share the sms I received today morning at 6.45 – “Jai Jinendra – Bakri eid nimitey lakho abol jivo ni katal thashe. Abol jivo ni aatma ne shanti ane moksh maley mate navkar mantra no jaap karva vinanti.” – Translated – Jai Jinendra – Since its Bakri eid lakhs of lives who cannot speak will be killed. For the peach and attainment of Heaven (moksha) of these aminals who cannot speak you are requested to recite Navkar Mantra.”
Admittedly my reply sms to my Jain friend was, “Jain Jinendra, people who drink milk from other animal’s mother and call themselves vegetarians should not question other people’s belief, thousands die everyday so keep reciting your prayers everyday for them. Don’t join the bandwagon think or else don’t send me such messages.” I felt it was completely insensitive to bombard another set of belief’s. I also admit my reply too was perhaps naive and an angry one.
Second is this update by Sagarika on Facebook. It is a public post and everyone will be able to see the post.
How does a girl not believing in Ram and why women are being raped are connected I will never be able to comprehend. I mean give me a break, the guy is probably the sickest mind going around or a religious fanatic perhaps !? I leave that for you to judge.
Anyways, about my thoughts about religion and God’s well…
Lets start the story from a recent trip when I was travelling with my friend Jay, with us escorting about 60 school children on a trip to Kumbhal Garh and Udaipur. Kumbhalgarh is an interesting place, a fort built by Rana Kumbha and has so many tale’s it fascinates me. Let me share a small story about the history of Kumbhalgarh that we heard from a guide –
When Rana Kumbha started building his fort he encountered a strange problem, all walls that they would build in the day would fall by night and not stand. Eventually he consulted a saint who said that a human sacrifice was needed for the fort to be constructed, when no one volunteered one traveller priest volunteered and said that he would start walking in the morning on the mountain terrain and that where he stopped first the king should make the gate of the fort, the place where he second stopped the king must behead him and build a temple there and then his body would walk without its head and the place where the headless body would collapse he should build his palace. Now the palace and the temple are so far even a man with his head firmly on his shoulders cannot walk the distance without huffing and puffing !!!
the falling walls of Kumbhalgarh needed a human sacrifice or they would not stand… !!! Interesting story… and a fact that this is the second longest wall in the world after the great wall of China.
The kids of 10th and 12th class with us couldn’t really digest the story and there was massive disbelief as well as amused intrigue at the story. Everyone rubbished it as only a flowery story or just mere exaggeration. Now this story happened in the 14th century. We are easily able to rubbish the story as exaggeration are we not !?
Now that evening I and Jay, who is as non-religion as me were discussing various religions and sects. Starting from Rana Kumbha’s stories it was about the disbelief among the students and then eventually to how I thought religions have evolved.
Recently I had been reading a lot about operation blue star and from reading one thing to another I went about finding more and more about Sikhism and I read about how it evolved and read that Guru Nanak who is attributed as the man who founded Sikhism was as Wiki puts, ” It is believed that Guru Nanak is the second most travelled person in the world; most of his journeys were made on foot with his companion Bhai Mardana. He travelled in all four directions – North, East, West and South. The founder Sikh Guru is believed to have travelled more than 28,000 km in five major tours of the world during the period from 1500 to 1524. The record for the most travelled person is held by Ibn Battuta of Morocco.”
Now, we started understanding how Guru Nanak travelled so much and probably got to see so many cultures, different people, different customs etc. probably making him all the better at understanding human mentality and its fallacies.
Now one very important thing that Guru Nanak says, god is neither Hindu nor Musalman, that there is only one God.
I do have a slight question for Guru Nanak too though, even Islam says there is only one God and that all others are prophets, even Adam, Noah, Jesus or Mohammed were all prophets (messengers of God) but there is only one God. So why did he establish another religion ?!
No, I am no historian, I read bits and pieces and try to tailor my own understandings. Did Guru Nanak establish a religion at all ?! Was he not the ultimate traveller who understood or a person who thought he understood things better than most and was just trying to spread his gospel on his many trips ?? Was he not perceived as a very wise man and a person who understood things better than most ?? Eventually granting him God like status ?!
I for one understand this, Guru Nanak is not so distant in history again 15th century and perhaps at his time literacy had spread more, there are more records of that age and era and hence we understand that he was a Guru, certainly a human and not a God and that he founded some principles, probably his disciples after him spread it as Sikhism establishing themselves as the close one’s to the Guru and the one’s who understood his thoughts the best and went about spreading the religion.
Take for example Ramayana, now, it is universally accepted it was a poetic epic written by Valmiki. There are several other versions too but that we leave for some other day.
Now my argument is, how is Rama a deity or a God. Is he not just a piece of fiction !? Don’t crucify me for this, just listen…
I have this theory that probably in the Vedic times when Ramayana was written it was a great story of a great dynasty about defeating a demon king in the southern India. I understand also that at that point of time not many would have understood written literature and hence possibly the story of Ramayana had to be read by some few people who could read. Then probably some of these few men, probably financed by a king, set about travelling and spreading the literature around and possibly conducted gathering’s and recited the poetry and then explaining to the layman what the author meant. There was no TV then so maybe the evening entertainment was reciting these stories. Ramayana I simply love as a story, it has everything does it not ? Now what is a story that does not have exaggeration. Would it be so interesting if they would just say that Rama and Ravana fought for 14 days or a month and Rama won !? But the author or maybe his translator(s) made it such a wonderful story to listen to…. A boring story would not attract crowds, but an interesting one surely would. Humans have always been fascinated by fantasy…
A prince exiled, his wife kidnapped by a demon in a flying chariot, a vulture tries to fight and protect, the elusive search by the exiled prince, aided by monkey’s, a flying monkey burns the whole golden city of Lanka, an army of monkey’s and bear’s gathered, a bridge of floating stones to Sri Lanka and a fight full of stories, one as impossible as bringing Sanjeevani Booti from Himalayas to Lanka in the middle of a battle at a time when no ship’s existed leave alone jet’s !! Well they had a Hanuman then…
I mean people can’t really believe all this happened did it !? Because it is so so back dated old and so little literacy and records of that age are with us we can believe that Rama was a god and Guru Nanak was a mere traveller who spread his gospel that God is one !?
Guru Nanak is perceived largely as a Guru, a human not God whilst Ram is a deity. Nanak started a religion, whilst Ram was born in an existing religion… strange na !?
Why is God anything else but a mere belief !?
Have not religions just been propagated mainly by disciples of great travelling men. Leave aside Guru Nanak and take a look at Mahavir Swami or Buddha both of them travelled about crazily. Amazingly if you notice they too happened during an era of which we have more literary records and hence they are shown as saints with lil superpowers, they didn’t have Sudarshan Chakra’s or they couldn’t fire Brahmastra’s. Also they were aided by strong Kings who probably financed the spread of the religion by sending their disciples far and wide with messages. I firmly believe that probably these all (Mahavir, Buddha, Guru Nanak) were people who probably understood the nuances of human life and psychology a lot better and had remedies when people had problems. They preached their experience and not some religion. They were men who were probably learned and well travelled. However, I feel the disciples of these great men were actually even wiser, read shreweder, then these great travellers because I think they used the knowledge of the discoverer’s to great personal benefit. Religions massively seem to be spread by the disciples who made the rules and regulations as per personal benefits.
Sometimes I really cannot understand why don’t people question things, why do we follow without asking ? Also rules framed somewhere in the 14th century cannot always be relevant in the 20th century can they be !? A lot of customs have science associated to them and I can understand the logic. When I understand the logic behind a particular ritual or ceremony I can follow it so much more with my free will. Please respect my right to not believe as much as you respect your right to believe.
For me actually there is no God, no one has seen him and he doesn’t exist, but, in the minds of people. Have your own belief, and let me have mine.