Saturday, 28 June 2014

The meaning of religion for us all ...

It took someone in the village to point out to me, ' Science only accepts what it can prove. So much of traditional practices which it cannot prove are considered false.' If this is not blind faith, I wonder what is. In an age when blind faith has been placed in 'modern science', it takes courage to be religious without defensiveness or apology. To pray, to believe in God, even when 'science the dominant religion' dismisses faith and everything else that cannot be mechanistically proved.

I have always respected the muslims for being comfortable with their religion, for doing their namaaz in public spaces, even train bogies, without apology or defensiveness. As an educated hindu, I know how educated hindus are so worried lest they be seen as 'religious' and 'superstitious'. The educated hindu is completely mentally colonized and servile to the white man's logic. 

Only the truly religious, can respect all religions and revere them. I see Jyothi of my village, say of Christ, "He is also a good God". Annasamy Anna says, "There are as many routes to God, as there are paths to a village." And in india the religious space - the truly holy religious space - is the basis of existance. This I learnt in long long years in a village. To deny that religion as 'superstition', is also to deny Eashwaramma and Shankaranna as the 'opiated masses'. I dissent. 

 Only Eashwaramma and others, truly religious, truly Hindu, can counter Hindutva. Until we claim our gods - in truth and sincerity - as Gandhi claimed his Ram - we are leaving the turf to the ungoldy to claim the religious space. Those supercilious of religion, the Nehruvian secularists, cannot respond to the deviations in religion like BJP's Hindutva, because they do not even know religion...

Simple subhashitaanis in Sanskrit give such a clear framework for living. (And so i am sure would the Koran and the Bible - but this is my inheritence, and most naturally I can relate to this.)

One book, one shloka is enough if a child (or adlut !) can grow with and internalize. This is one of the standard, and to my mind, one of the most meaningful.

Paropakaram Vahanti Nadya, (Rivers flow for the good of others)
Paropakaram Duhanti Gaaya, (Cows give milk for the good of others)
Paropakaram Phalanti Vriksha, (Trees fruit for the good of others)
Paropakaram Idam Shareeram (This body is for the good of others)

One of eashwaramma's earliest friends and wellwishers, and one of my earliest FB friends, mailed a quote then which has become a quotable quote for me. Ajay Shyam, "Where we are born is a lottery, and after that its our duty to share". I could not have put it more simply !

Ajay said, "Credit goes to Swami Vivekananda whose book on Karma taught me this. Blessed are those who smile in the joy of life like those in your village posts. Amen to them."

Yes, we owe whatever we have learnt to sages and saints ... sometimes they come as Swami Vivekananda, and sometimes as Varalu and sometimes as Eashwaramma.. The village people are blessed, ever if poor and unemployed (which is just a call to us to act !) - they have genuine smiles in the face of adversity, and they have the power to share of their little, placeing their faith in God.

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