Monday, 15 September 2014

I Found God

First of all, I have to apologize for this huge gap between posts. According to my Blogger homepage, my previous post was on June 29. Come to think of it, half my readers must've forgotten that I even exist on a blog! :/

Anyway, as the title suggests, I found a quasi-convincing answer to this question that has been taunting me ever since I started exploring my own identity, trying hard to stand out from the masses who chose to explain the inexplicable with yet another inexplicably complex entity called "God". Now before I go into what suddenly hit me as I was standing outside the JVC staff room, I'd like to ask all those theists out there, what really is God? Or rather who is God? Is it a person? A feeling? A supernatural-being-that-watches-over-us-and-protects-us-all? Amazingly enough, as I look back at the last week, I've met with a number of arguments, quite a number of counter arguments and also some people who would cut my internal marks if I told them there was no God! :P

People look up to God as a "He" yet confer upon him superhuman qualities. What makes him either a "He" or a "She" and yet not human? I can hear someone say, "Well, that's just so that we can relate to our God better. To give him a human-like form and humanistic traits so as to better understand Him." Well doesn't that mean we're distorting our definitions just so we can better understand it? (this is assuming there IS God). It's like putting a plant inside a bell jar to check the effects that lack of oxygen has on it yet leaving a small crack at the bottom of the jar, knowingly, just because we are not able to interpret the results of an experiment with an intact jar.

Then of course there are people who call God "energy". So now there's kinetic energy, potential energy, internal energy, blah blah, GOOD energy and BAD energy. Doing good will increase the GOOD energy around you and bad deeds bring you BAD energy. So what about all those "gray" deeds. Those deeds which are good for some and not so good for others. I recently watched a Malayalam movie called "Drishyam". Brilliant movie I must say. Makes you think about all that karma follows you, right vs. wrong, and GOOD vs. BAD energy stuff that they teach you in Sathsang classes. I'll not get into the story of the movie here. I think you have to watch it yourself.

Then there are these people who say they don't believe in God because they took away something that was very dear to them, like a house, or a loved one and therefore, refuse to go to temples or other places of worship. Doesn't that actually mean they BELIEVE in God? I mean think about it! It's a beautiful paradox I think. Not visiting temples makes you a theist. I like to call myself an independent thinker (some may have their doubts but let's not get into that). And I go to temples. I eat prasadam. I put kungumam on my forehead. But I don't believe in a supernatural-being-that-watches-over-us-and-protects-us-all. I think each of us has the right to life and the right to make choices in this life, be they good or bad.

And of course, there's the famous "what came before all this was there?" question. I've been posed that question literally every time I start an existential debate with a theist. I have a simple counter question. If I put before you a closed box and from the end not facing you, without your knowledge, place a marble within said box, and then open the box to you, will you remark that I am God? Just because there are questions in science yet to be answered, it does not automatically mean that science CANNOT answer those questions. Humans are constantly on the verge of new discoveries and we need to keep our teacups empty for new tea to gush in as and when it does. If you don't believe in science, just pray every time you fall sick. Don't consult a doctor, don't take medicines, not even those ayurvedic ones because there's an application of science even there.

I'm actually slightly amazed by the fact that "religion", as such, is a very global phenomenon. Is the need to look down upon oneself as a sinner and the need for retribution from sins committed an evolutionary mechanism to keep us from finding out the real answers? Are people like me part of the small pockets of mutants, much like the one or two colonies of bacteria that live on while the others in the plate die when I add erythromycin to the plate?

That brings me to my epiphany. I have inculcated this habit of following science journals off late. I get e-mail alerts and I save interesting articles to my Pocket app. Just today I came across this study by the University of Chicago that says, "Your home's microbiome moves with you". Now that may or may not mean a lot to a whole lot of you out there but the title of this article read out to me as, "Your karma will follow you and your children wherever you go!"

The microbiome is basically the microenvironment surrounding you, your body, your kids, your parents, pretty much every thing around you. Now what's interesting is that, this microbiome is also WITHIN you. It has been shown that there are more microbes in our body than our own cells. That means we are more microbe than human, so to say. That really is something isn't it? It meant a lot to me when I first heard it. There is a population of micro organisms within me that outpopulates the cells of my own body. And what is more fascinating is that this microbiome is capable of manipulating my every feeling, emotion, memory, behaviour and so on. Sound a lot like "we're the puppets in God's drama"?

I could go on and on about my epiphanies but then, I guess this just about gives you a glimpse of what I mean. I really can't summarize a few weeks' worth of introspection into a blog post gripping enough for people to read it through! :P

Please do let me know what you think. I'm always open for a debate. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, please don't take any of this personally. I have no ill-will towards believers. Have faith in God if you must. What really matters is that you sleep well at night! :)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Begging

I'm travelling now. I'm in a train full of people. As I sit down, arrange my baggage below my seat and stare out the window, Shakira daring me to "kiss her with everyone watching" and the wind blowing on my face, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It's a lady asking me to pay her so she can bless me. I wave her away with a careless, "Please go away. I'm not interested" and look out the window. A few minutes pass and another beggar walks past, loose change clinging in a box he's carrying. As he walks past, a few people offer him a rupee or two. A generous man offered him 5 and looked around to his beaming wife, as though he gave him a corneal transplant. Again, I declined to offer any money to the beggar. I don't appreciate beggars. It's something like a principle. I don't mind buying an extra packet of "sundal" from the boy selling food in the beach, but I will just not give even 1 rupee to a beggar - whether they're old, young, hale and healthy or maimed. Does that make me heartless? I think not! India needs to learn not to promote beggary. Now I can already hear people scoffing at me, "You think everyone has the same comforts as you in life? You don't know poverty." Its true. I don't know poverty. Yet, I will be more than happy to help a person willing to make an effort to come up in life. Begging is one of the worst ways to make money. The only thing worse is probably peddling and other illegal activities (not that begging is perfectly within the framework of legal "remuneration"). I once saw a double amputee cycling with a wagon full of bags, transporting them to another place, for a living. I was sitting in a bus. We stopped at a signal and I saw someone reach out with a 5 rupee coin and offer it to him. He got offended! I was pleasantly surprised! He told her that not everyone needs to beg to make a living and that he would rather live with dignity than with money obtained through begging. Now when I can see people like this, I am only bolstered into believing that begging isn't the way to go, even for people so poor they can't afford a bar of soap. If you think helping beggars will appease your Samaritan soul, I suggest you buy them a packet of food. Don't offer them money. At least that way you're making it clear that you care but you don't like that they're begging to survive.
I didn't mean for this post to be didactic. I think its a topic for healthy debate. Let me know what you think.