Friday, October 09, 2009

God and me - Temporary Fundas

I call it temporary because my attempts of rationalizing this infinite and irrational phenomenon of believing in God never cease and though in the process I never discover anything about God I discover something about me.
So why do we pray? Why do I pray? As a kid I used to pray before my exams before the results ? Sometimes before leaving for a journey my mother would pray to God. Also it has been that in relationship issues we pray to God (it may sound cheesy and TV serial like but it is true). And there are few who pray to God for the sheer pleasure in the process - they feel more aligned to the world around them.
So what does God - an abstract entity - represent ? And my theory for today is that it represents the Universe. My initial thoughts were that it represented the set (Universe - I) but now I think it is the entire universe. And most often than not we pray to make sure that the universe is aligned to work in favour of I.

Why do I say so?
If infinite powers were vested on me by some random accident, I would want to have certain things in my favour. I could orchestrate the world in such a way that the flood in Assam didn't happen or that I came first in my tenth exams or that Matt Daemon(he he you didn't know) came searching for me with some cindrella shoes. Or also that my parents lived for ever without any illness and also my tooth stopped aching (which as a matter of fact currently is). Same are the things that I pray for. And there is a faith that my prayers will be answered and that the Universe would listen to me.
As I was thinking about it, I thought what should I as a finite mortal with finite capabilities do so as to do away with the concept of God. And then I realized that necessarily there might be things that are not in my control but there are things that are in my control by virtue of my ability to work and then I realized that the only way I can assist/replace my need for God is by doing my work hard. I can work hard to come first in my 10th exams and may be talk about global warming to reduce the chances of floods (I guess I myself cannot help myself in Matt Daemon case but maybe in one of the traffic jams I can sit and dream about it and fulfill that dream mentally). And then suddenly I feel that work is far superior way to orchestrate the world in my favor then just praying to the abstract God. So well one way or the other you cannot control the entire universe but when you work you feel more deserving to be controlling it rather than otherwise. And I wonder if the priests and religious heads or people who renounce everything to attain God ever romanticized with the idea of achieving God by virtue of their work?

1 comment:

Mangesh said...

To an untrained ear, a sweet tune will seem just a sound. Or maybe even a noise. A noise that is disturbing, irritating, and outrageous. A noise that ought to be silenced at all costs.
To spiritually untrained people, all religious expressions – prayers, chants, artis – are just ordinary activities. Or maybe even pointless rituals that are pre-scientific, superstitious, and dangerous. Rituals that must be stopped at all costs.

The Bhagavad-Gita (15.10) cautions against such atheistic presumptuousness: “The dynamics of spirit – how the soul resides in and departs from the material body, how the soul seeks pleasure in matter under the spell of illusion – cannot be seen by those deluded by ignorance. But those illumined with eyes of knowledge can see all this clearly”

If we were to ask a group of people, “Do you believe in the existence of a lepton or a baryon?” most people would stay mum. Those who know these as subatomic particles will say, “Scientists say – and so I believe – that these particles exist.” Such deference to scientific authority for matters beyond ordinary jurisdiction is reasonable and desirable.

Yet to the question, “Do you believe in the existence of soul or God?” almost all in the same group of people will express some opinion; the atheists will be assertive, even aggressive, despite this question is far beyond their jurisdiction. Worse, they will condemn deference to spiritual authority as blind faith.
This double standard begs the question: Is no training, no qualification needed to pass judgment on spiritual matters? ISKCON founder-acharya Srila Prabhupada, during his talk at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), famously asked, “In MIT, why is there no department to study the almighty?”
To realize the absolute necessity of systematic training for understanding a serious subject, let’s consider quantum physics. Noble Laureate physicist Richard Feynman states, “[our current physics] describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as she is – absurd.” A physics student has to first believe the world buzzes with components that are intrinsically unobservable and undergo training for eight to ten years before he can begin comprehending quantum reality.

Yet when spiritual teachers ask for something similar: accept the existence of the soul and God and train yourself through material regulation and spiritual meditation to experience higher reality, objections abound, “Why should I follow any rules? All this is unscientific.” An atheist giving an argument like this is similar to judge declaring the verdict before even starting the hearing of the case.
Don’t we need a break from such atheistic fanaticism?