Religion: a thought or excuse!!!!
“Where war and competition ceaseless run,
Even the father turns against the son,
Where “self”, “self” –this always the only note,
Dost thou, O wise, seek for peace supreme here?”
Swami Vivekananda (translated from Bengali Poem)(1)
The whole world today is in a very troubling situation; full of chaos, distrust, dissatisfaction, dirty politics, and lots of innocent people all over the world is dying just because of some raging anger among us known as terrorism. We already polluted our mother earth; we are facing the result of past war and other reckless works as Global warming. In this situation we all need unity more than ever in our lives. But still the whole world is happily divided into different zones, cultural zone economic zone linguistic zone (especially in India with hundreds of main and sub languages) and most importantly religious differences. There was a great man born in India in 1863, 12 January who thought of religious unity of all man at that time, he was a pioneer of religious universalism. We all heard about him, he was swami Vivekananda, who gave life changing speeches about real Hinduism about pure Vedic philosophy and idea of tolerance and love in Chicago conference conducted in America. He won millions of heart there. He interpreted religion like no one has ever thought of, in that time. He changed something or may be found something in every religion that made him belief that-“By the study of different religions we find that in essence they are one”.(2)
What is religion? is not a question but somehow itself is an answer, if we think about it really rationally. Some people might say that religion as a idea never bond quit well with the rationality but there’s always another view we don’t even try to understand only see or think what we want to in our conscious mind. It is not very complicated to see that human race is very much used to follow the idea of conflict and just need an excuse to fight for. It is in his very nature. And in many excuses the excuse of religion is the most famous one. Kill or insult other religion or just be skeptic about any religious idea to live with no responsibility or values that is really very easy thing to do, rather study human mind or respect others or even do something for anyone else but ourselves. Some people are very proud of their own religion that they become blind in pride and just like to humiliate other’s very belief, and there some who are so ashamed of their religion that they just humiliate their own religion pretend to be secular but not even try to be a better human first.
Swami Vivekananda said that-“Can we see God? Of course not! Can we know God? Of course not.(3) If God can be known He will be God no longer”. It is really interesting, psychologically all human mind has a thrust to be free from every rule but in real earthly life everything is bound by rules. Character based on genetic rule, body based on biological rules, mind chained in social rules, they are everywhere. But still from the very moment we start to rebel, we crave for freedom that is the thing that made us attracted to miracles, power and supreme freedom, what we all find in our own idea of God. From nature worship of early man to monotheism or believing in one God all represent our mental and spiritual evolution through time. Swami Vivekananda noticed that all religion represents the good or divine in human mind that is why he said again,-“I studied Christian religion, the Mohammedan, the Buddhist, and others, and what was my surprise to find that the same foundation principles taught by my religion were also taught by all religions”.(4)
What if in future someone start to belief in humanism as a religion, It will be the same with other contemporary religions which are based on humanism at first then transformed into complicated ritual based organizations by some power loving people. Actually if we think everyone in this world like to be powerful, and we cannot stand someone in power, cause we all wants that. But some of us achieve that, some just don’t, that is the point when all contradiction starts but we blame on cultural differences, religious differences, economic background, and many other causes. If we follow the selfless part of all religion, then all other excuses just will sound ridiculous. If we don’t care about earning enormous amount of money the economic issues are useless, if we start to belief in universalism then also cultural variations nothing but colorful parts of human civilization on earth, if we do selfless things for others and love others the religious variation also nothing but different way to do social works. But these all are ‘what ifs’ only there are millions of human minds all over the world, now some of them also in space! And it is stupid to think that all of them will think in one line. There are extreme intellectuals, there are totally illiterates, there are some psychopaths here and there, some too good people some too bad ones, some very rich some works to be very rich and very poor people who just forced to think about their hungry family with empty stomach, and empty stomach cannot create a dynamic brain, so all theories are useless for some of us always.
In this complicated situation the question like what is religion bound to seem complicated. I don’t know about others but in my silly mind religions are codes to be a good person not too good because that is literally impossible. I am a Hindu in religion but I know very little about the very roots of my own road to be a good person or citizen, I cannot neglect other beliefs because I also know very little about them too. As a modern girl who knows very little about her own religion can say that I know lord Rama from Ramayana who teaches us how to be a wise ruler or leader who should always think in favor of his subject nothing except that, not even about own life or love. A leader is for, and only of, his subject’s. I know about a great diplomat or leader, motivator named lord Krishna who doesn’t belief that cast is birth based but work base, depends on work virtue and thinking not in birth, clear when we read Bhagbat Geeta. So why would anyone want to pollute that kind of thinking by discriminating people from the very moment when a baby being born in this world?
I don’t know very well about Christianity but I know about Jesus Christ who gave his life for other people sins selflessly, I know about Muhammad of Islam who teaches us about one god that is the indication for unity. I am not very religious I am not an intellectual not totally illiterate not totally insane or totally sane, not good not bad just a normal person, who is looking for some answers, some explanation. In my mind I already decided what is religion means for me, I look myself as a Hindu as a Christian or as a Islam or as a believer of Judaism or Buddhism etc (if I can Dare) but at the end of the day I am just me a human being surrounded by other persons some of them are my own some are friends but large part is stranger to me. And I want to know them openheartedly if they let me. Be a friendly broadminded person is my religion at the end of any day of my normal unknown life as a face of the crowd. According to Swami Vivekananda in his essay ‘Discourses On Jnana Yoga’ that-‘All variation are in the One, but we must Learn not to identify ourselves with what we do, and to hear nothing, see nothing, talk of nothing but the thing in hand. We must put in our whole soul and be intense. Day and night tell yourself, “I am He, I am He”.(5)
Swami Vivekananda realized back then the need for unity among the whole world, the situation was dark for the very existence of “Bharat Barsha”, the conflict was rising among different sects, based on religion but for the need of dirty politics. India witnessed horrified scenes of partition, destruction of thousands of families, bloodshed of Indians all over our motherland, that all was politics; religion was only an instrument to control the mind of normal people, using it for personal need. Whole India was a bloody canvas of fighting brothers in the name of religion, Hindu Muslim all died everywhere for nothing. The words of swami Vivekananda wasted as bloods of human into the pages of our history. We failed to understand his speeches about tolerance love respect and most importantly unity and lost many lives of our own friends and family. Now the question is growing much stronger, are we all want countless killing of innocent people, or wars in the name of religion or politics? Or we want to live peace fully as much as possible humanly and try to get along in different cultural and religious zones, depend on us. Naturally human nature likes miracles, and light is always magical after a long dark night.
1-The Complete Works Of Swami Vivekananda, vol-4, page.no-493, pub-Advaita Ashram.
2- The Complete Works Of Swami Vivekananda, vol-1, page.no-317, pub-Advaita Ashram.
3-- The Complete Works Of Swami Vivekananda, vol-1, page.no-323, pub-Advaita Ashram.
4- “The Complete Works Of Swami Vivekananda”, vol-1, page.no-318,pub-Advaita Ashram.
5-‘prabuddha Bharat’, vol -XXXV, page no-2