By Saumitra Mohan
October 26, 2017
Dalai Lama once said, ‘If you are really selfish, help the person who can’t help you’, thereby creating an altruistic debt. However, one feels that there is none created without the capacity to help another creature or fellow human being. So, we should never run down or hurt another creature if we really wish to attain Moksha; otherwise we would remain stuck in the ‘cycle of birth and rebirth’. The ethics and values of humanity are more supreme than the ephemerals of identity or possessions which continue changing with our successive births.
The religion and theory of Karma states that if you hurt or cheat someone, the divine play shall ensure that you shall also be hurt or cheated in equal measure sooner or later. It is advisable that while we live, we create a larger ‘circle of goodness and goodwill’ by touching as many lives as possible by the dint of our altruistic or selfless Karmic actions.
That shall be a really enlightened selfishness rather than the seemingly selfish acts of running after wealth or fame. Also, how and why should a truly religious person act contrary to the scriptural exhortations against lust, greed, theft, anger or hate? By not heeding these religious commandments, are we not disrespecting our own religions? So, what we see today in the name of religion is nothing but a travesty of religion which must stop.
All religions, nations, wealth or fame are nothing but means to an end and the end being our eventual spiritual evolution through attainment of Moksha. But, we all keep chasing the meaningless without realising the same. After all, money, precious metals or high positions themselves have no value. It is we who have assigned value to them and have been running after them ever since. Now, a question that one often faces here is the relevance and purpose behind this ‘drama’. Made as we are in the images of God, we are said to be an extension of the Divine who is realising Himself through this Divine Drama.
All that we see around ourselves including emotions, passions, objects, creatures, organisms, technologies, scientific discoveries and a complex operation of this world would have all remained mere conceptions and nothing else had God not created this world to put the same in motion to see their actual working, and thereby also realise the significance of His own power. So while the Divine Drama plays itself out, many of us have fallen by the wayside which may at some level appear as a failure of the divine design but if the world is still surviving, it simply means that the balance still hangs in favour of the positive and the Divine Drama is playing out as per the larger cosmic plan.
It is against this background that humans created religion and God, not only because they could not explain certain things but also because of their own incapabilities. As some humans become liberated from the mundane struggles of making ends meet, they become alienated and atheist/agnostic because of a garbled understanding of the Divine while many have a skewed conception of the same. Hence the multiple interpretations of God and religion.
The various religions are nothing but spatio-temporal expressions of humans trying to come to terms with their initial realities when they were in the Hobbesian ‘State of Nature’. Religions, ethics, mores, customs and values in the absence of means of transportation and communications developed as the primary laws during the early days of human civilisation.
Even though there is no need for a multiplicity of these religions, they still continue to be relevant not only because they add variety and colour to our dull and drab lives, but also because of their functional role in securing regulation and integration of human society. Temples and churches in themselves may not be of any value, but they become important because they bring humans together to perform certain collective tasks in a spirit of solidarity, thereby increasing social bonding and integration. As all the persons who visit a temple generally carry righteous thoughts and emotions, the positive vibrations of these religious places become very powerful and as such become very strong centres of social integration.
Our seemingly meaningless customs, rituals, ethics, mores and values often play the same role. However, those becoming dysfunctional and conflicting with human existence slowly stop being part of religion and go out of currency e.g. sati, prohibition on widow remarriage, child marriage, human or animal sacrifice et al. At another level, it is an expression of human arrogance or ignorance that we have conceived God in our image.
After all, if there are millions of creatures and organisms, why should God look like humans and not like a dog, a buffalo or a bacterium? Does it mean that all the creatures have their own God? In fact, it is this understanding that Hindus, heathens or pagans have millions of God in every creation of the Almighty. Being a rational animal with a consciousness, human beings have conveniently cast God in their own images who may not be like us, but there should definitely be no doubt about His very existence. After all, such a complex and beautiful creation cannot emerge out of chaos.
There is a defined divine plan, rather a micro-plan which says that nothing that happens in this world happens without reason. Science may explain the evolution of nature and civilisation, but why does a sperm and an ovum combine to form a zygote and finally evolve as a fully-grown organism of a particular species as per a definite genetic map has still not been explained. Humans have still not mastered the capability to create a new living organism that is not found in nature.
Why different organisms come out of similar seeds or eggs has not been explained? So, there is definitely a ‘Supreme Being’ which has created us all and has been quietly chaperoning this world.
But as long as we don’t understand Him and His ways, as long as we don’t understand the real purpose behind the Divine Drama, we shall continue to witness and experience the chaos and pain in our own lives as reflected across the world.