Festival season is on and lots of celebrations are bursting in the air, literally. Most of the major world religions have their ceremony agendas scheduled in this season which concludes only with the New Year. You cannot dwell deeply on Religions or Faith without many complexities and controversies. It’s safe to Light out, Drum up and after it’s all done – Shut up.
But let’s try to have look at it anyways. Its dangerous. So is Diwali. Some gamble and some light Crackers. I have chosen to throw my light on religions. It’s my take on this “deadly” subject.
I feel, despite all our technologies, life and living has been same since prehistory. We all wake up, go to work, make merry, celebrate and then go back to sleep. And it has been the same with War and Peace. But historically, some regions of this world has been more violent than others.
So, what did Religions do? What was the significance of Religious teachers? What was the intention of Religious books? What governance structure did they provide? And When all religions teach the same, why are they still so different? Some questions, I have tried to attempt an answer and some I have left for later.
My theory rests on the proposition that – All Religions Are An Anti-Thesis. That is, Our Religions and Our Books are at Contrast with our Lives. We are just the opposite of what our religion says. We actually celebrate those ideals which we don’t have.
Take for example-Hinduism. If you take Ramayan and Ram’s personality, its idealism to the extent of Utopia. Such a Man and his Praja (the people in his Kingdom) has never existed and will never exist. Yet Ramayan talks greatly on uprightness and to be man of words.
Try searching the qualities attributed to Ram within ourselves and our society. The Lord’s pictures will be found everywhere but never what he stood for. Well, we do have some, few and far between and that’s due to some aberration. The ideals taught by Ram are not natural instincts. We have to strive for it. It’s easier to celebrate than celibate.
Now, let’s take another book of Hinduism- Mahabharat. I am astounded by Mahabharat ever since I read the Translations by C. Rajagopalachary. What blockbuster! Action from start to end. And Interlaced with the Gita. All shows that the Hindus will fight for their rights and “will care for the work and not for the fruit”.
But show me a tribe which lives by what’s given in our books. Far from finding any similarity, who will notice the opposite. Ramayan, Maharabata and Gita are required to stir Hindus to action, which sometimes they do, but for all the wrong reasons. Long long ago, we had outsourced our fighting to the Rajputs and then later to the Sikhs. Left to ourselves, we all love our siesta and sex.
Now let’s take the Christian and the Muslim side of the world. Before the coming of these religions, that region was, indeed, very violent. Jesus, who was a Palestinian Jew, grew up listening to stories of Violence and Oppression. During the time of Prophet Mohammed, their was a Persian Empire in the east and Roman Empire in the west and they were constantly fighting many bloody battles.
I have read the Bible and I have not found any reference to war. It’s love and peace all over. Jesus – Sermon on the Mount- (Matthew 5 to 7) is what, I feel, defines the Core of Bible. Jesus gave a message of Love and Reconciliation at a time when the region was livid with raw killings. Even Jesus has to share the same fate.
But just check out Jesus as a person. Simple and no armor. Just a wooden staff, probably to help climb rocks. What Jesus said and what is compiled in the Bible is actually an anti-thesis of that region. The characteristic of the region was correct then and is correct now.
I have not read The Koran but all writings on the Koran says that its the most peaceful of all books. It’s very systematic and has its own code of law. Compare it to the times when Islam took shape. Just the opposite happening in that society and region. The Koran and the Sharia attempted to bring coherence in that region. And it is still trying to this day.
So, what is in our religious books is not what we actually are. The first person to realise this and document this was Lokmanya Tilak in his book- “Arctic Home of the Vedas”. He goes on to expound that our scriptures were actually developed elsewhere and were later grafted into the Indian milieu. There are several critics but if you check our religions and compare it to that region, you will find that thing’s don’t fit. Somebody is an alien- We or Our Religions.
But we need Our Gods. The religious Anti-thesis are like Anti-Bodies. They recognise the “IN-fill-Traitors” and neutralize it before they cause harm. A simple but imperative example will be found on our Mumbai street walls. Some of the walls has been adorned with wall-paintings of various Gods to stop people from relieving themselves. Celebrations or otherwise, if any face signifies Control- so be it. Hope, as rightly said, is an Anti-thesis of Despair. So is all our Religions…..