Other Side of Religion – Fear or Faith.
Posted by shivamkesari
To person like me there always exists qualm to know how our religion evolved, why people have such immense faith and why are there certain practices in one’s religion and they differ with others significantly. Faith and belief of people to their religion even surpass their duty and liability towards their motherland and nation. Pointing to recent tragic incidence of Kedarnath flood and Bodh Gaya blast we find that even possibility of occurrence of such incidence didn’t reduce fervor of people to visit their shrine though there may be a momentarily pause. Within limited space I am trying to touch just the silver line of answer. Hope I succeed without hurting feelings of anyone!
Indian civilization is one the oldest dating back to 4000-5000 years. It has over the time assimilated many culture, customs, religions, faith and belief. This urged our leaders to declare India a secular state. I am discussing over here keeping Hinduism in centre and very much consent the same for other religions.
Hindu religion has 2 epics, 4 vedas, 108 Upnishads, 18 puranas and many other sacred writings evolved over centuries. Trend of Struti and Smriti was equally significant. Struti refers to sacred stories which passed over generations just as story heard, perceived and revealed. While smriti refers to struti which were noted down in physical form. But much had changed, modified, excluded as well as included in sacred stories passed over as struti before they were inscribed as smriti or even in smriti when they were translated in other language.
I am not invalidating existence of any of the divine being. They existed. They may have been king or spirituals and I very much respect that. But believe that they had divine power I disagree to it.
When Struti were passed on they were deciphered and delivered according to perception of narrator. Sarcastic modification of struti can’t be denied. Even in today world when we narrate some incidence we try to modify it a bit by our perception or become judgemental of the matter. Observing Mughal era in medieval period we can well notice the paintings of Mughals in which divine aura is shown around face of mughal emperors. Artists were devoted to the wisdom of emperor and compared them with divine. If these same paintings had been deep buried and excavated after thousands of years I think everyone would had considered mughal emperors as deity. Similar thing had happened in ancient India. Stories of kings had been modified and many times sarcastically. Sometimes narrator was motivated to do so to integrate and bind the society with fear of god/goddess and define code of conduct for every person based on those tales while other times they had so much respect that they perceived them creator of nature and also deciphered the same with their peers group. Contrasting in present era we can find many spiritual leaders and their followers who are highly devoted to them and many times think of them as their god. Existence of television and race of ‘TRP’ has further added to this sham as producer had indulged in adding visual effects and technology to present to viewers bogus actions of lord in many activities. Over time this has created visual perception of god and goddess to their worshipper who then merge to belief of existence of such unnatural power.
In our Hindu mythological tales we had always discussed Raakshasa and turmoil between them and God. I would like to make you aware that there was no such person as Raakshasa, they were simple tribal or so called low caste people who were often termed as Raakshasa by the then high caste society. And whenever high caste society encroached forest they were attacked by these tribals. This social evil of caste and class can be noticed even in Ramayana and Mahabharata; Tale of Shabri and her Berry in Ramayana, Ekalavya in Mahabharat and such more. We know Hidimba in Mahabharat who is said to be Raakshasa. Indra belonged to high caste and is said to be king of god and has protected gods from devils or Rakshasa.
In simple, high caste Brahmana were the main who used to narrate tale of Deity and over the years they had sarcastically narrated high caste king as divine and low caste or tribal forest dwellers as rakhshas. Even in Manusmriti (so called legal writing of Hindu religion) we can find how it has made woman a subject of rule by man; it has restricted liberty of woman while man has all the liberty. It has endorsed patriarchal system of society. We can openly say Manusmriti were written by scholars who felt insecure of offering equal status of women in the society or they feared of takeover of the society by women; such men even exists today.
In the moving point it would be an opportunity to add that many of great person were said to be divine and few of them incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This was chiefly done by followers of Vaishnavism ideology and they all had patronage of great kings of the time. This trend can be contrasted broadly in South India even in era of Medieval India. Southern kings built monumental temple to show their greatness and acknowledged their pupils that they have been directly blessed with divinity by Lord Vishnu and sent as messenger to rule the kingdom. In this kingdom who would dare to raise voice against validity of such divine blessing. And who ever had courage to question divinity must have been termed as Raakshasa. We know such culture because by that time technology of inscription was in world and almost everything was recorded. Had this tradition been narrated over tales it had been significantly modified as per wish of scholars and we would had one more deity.
Similar is the case with other religion. In every religion there was a trio of Messenger-Emperor-Follower. Messenger was having some ideology to propagate, he was having patronage of emperor to do so and followers, with the fear of emperor and well being of himself, had to follow the messenger and his faith.
In this long history of India and its religion we forgot the belief in humanity and moral. Fear of god/goddess/divinity/deity had been created to rule over us and till now we are inundated with those fear and many times fool them with our faith and belief. We pray to deity in fear for our well being. Sometime our respect moulds our faith and belief. Once nationalism has been ideology and every emperor strived to expand it many called that ideology religion. Till now we have same trend but somewhat in different way – That was period of emperor this is era of democracy; Religion always existed – then it was as nation now they are in a nation. Long way to go before nationalism becomes one’s religion.
Posted on August 1, 2013, in Social issues. and tagged belief, caste, Deity, emperor, faith, god, Goddess, Hindu, king, Mahabharat, Rakshasa, Ramayan, religion, wisdom. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.