*I know I’m writing some sensitive topic and after reading this you might get some points which can conflict your thoughts and mine but believe me I’ve no intention to hurt you and to shake off your beliefs and of course I can’t write everything too in this limited screen, but I will try my best to elaborate as possible as I can.*
First thing first, see I’m not an expert or someone who is completely devoted towards almighty. But I’m not an atheist, I prefer calling myself agnostic (not so sure) and I’m not someone who thinks religion as a negative concept because we all have our religion whether or not you believe in some ‘existing category’ of religion or not because religion is something that you believe or something you have faith and frankly we all have faith in something. And second thing is that here most of the points can be from Hinduism teachings as I’ve born with this religion and from the childhood, I was involved with the teachings and somehow I managed to get some good points about its rituals and teachings (NOTE: earlier I called myself agnostic and here I’m only talking about rituals and teaching, I’m not questioning the existence of god) and personally I respect all the other religions, it’s also a part of my teachings which I’ve learned over time. And to get a better idea about it you have to read the whole article.
“He, whether He fashioned it or whether he did not,
He, who surveys it all from the highest heaven,
He knows- or maybe even He does not know.”
(– Rig Veda, X.129)
See whether you believe in something or believe in something confidently, there would always be some room for doubts and you just can’t restrict it or freeze it, because somehow someone will always come with some contradicting opinion as yours or some other beliefs which can oppose your beliefs, so one should always be open about the other possibilities. The above lines are part of the Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn), here it raised a fundamental question for the He (Supreme Being) and saying “maybe even He doesn’t know “. And here we are we just mere mortals so how can we be so sure that what we believe is best and what another believes is not.
I think we all can remember that time when we used to have our exams and our mom used to give us chini(sugar) and dahi(curd) (as a good luck charm) and also tell us to go to the mandir ( “pooja ghar”) and take blessings from Him. And we did that without questioning our mom because deep down we know that she believes in Him and it would be rude to question her beliefs. Belief is something which only the believer knows, the devotion of the believer towards that belief can’t be expressed, it’s some kind of feeling he/she believes to feel protected and for inner peace.
As a Hindu child, I heard about the Ramayana and Mahabharata many times during childhood, and believe me these two stories are amazing and astonishing and the child within me always enjoys that part when Ram killed Raavan and rescued her beloved wife and the Armageddon between Pandavas and Kauravas. But when I grew up I start realizing the true meaning behind these stories “Good always triumphs over evil”. With time we start knowing more and it’s a good thing to get the essence, to not only know it but understand it otherwise it’s in vain. And the best book one can read “THE BHAGVAT GITA” (words of the popular deity Krishna), in the Gita, Lord Krishna says:
“Whosoever follows any faith and worships me
under whatsoever denomination in whosoever
form with steadfastness, his faith I shall reinforce”
No doubt in India, there is not just a single God figure but millions. And the best thing about Hinduism is that it doesn’t bind itself, it’s an open approach which accepts the possibilities, and Hindus can be termed as HENOTHEISTS (people who worship their God but do not deny the existence of other Gods). And that makes India beautiful you know this diversity everywhere, it drives us to more probabilities, and more the probabilities better the chances. There could be several paths to reach the ultimate or to reach out for the moksha and it would be stupid to think that there’s only one path and other paths are not valid.
It is like saying “We respect your truth/path/belief and please respect ours”. Even this concept about multiple paths and respecting other religion is well documented in the journey through India by Francois Bernier (French traveler in seventeenth century) when he tried to introduce some Brahmins to Christianity. They responded “…….God might have appointed several different ways to go to heavens, but they will not hear that our religion should be the general religion for the whole Earth…….”
See the beauty of this statement is that one can’t generalize one belief over the world because one believes in it. These different beliefs make harmony in nature just like many elements are there in nature helping nature works and we can’t take out one element because we know it will distort the creation. Whether you are Hindu or not, but our approach should always be open and broad not just limited.
As intellectual beings who can think (the best power one could have) we should know that in this world there are many religions and set of beliefs and all those beliefs has some stories and devotion and by comparing it or commenting on it (negatively) doesn’t show our intellectual self but our fallacy thinking.
Religion or faith or one can say belief (don’t go deep into terminology as one can distinguish all three differently but in general it can be used for the same thing) have some bad impacts on our minds too and hate and some use religion as a negative word but personally I don’t think it as a bad or negative thing because every religion is mainly based on goodness, God is a positive approach after all but the thing where it went wrong when we start giving levels to the religion like when we start comparing them and disrespect others because one has another way of thinking, Swami Vivekananda during paper presentation at Chicago’s Parliament of the World’s Religion in 1893 quoted; “He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, and the Father in Heaven of the Christians.” to him they were one and the same, according to him
“That which exists is One; the sage call it by various names”
Living in a secular country like India really opens our eyes and minds about different ideas or beliefs, and no doubt sometimes we could find some loopholes or bad aspects in some rituals and teachings but that’s why an open approach is necessary rather than bind and blind approach. India has diversity and many religions; it’s more like a “league of religion” and every religion has its own value, the main reason to write this article is to spread an idea about the beauty of India because of these different philosophies we have and like different elements in nature makes nature worth living, these different approaches and philosophies make India worth living. The world calls us “INCREDIBLE INDIA” for a reason. And it is disturbing to see “religious wars “and it’s for me is just stupid and not a good sign of civilization, one should not be this bound. I’ve heard this somewhere that the only singular thing about India is that you can only speak about it in the plural.
Religion is for inner peace and inner peace is not same for everyone, it is a possibility that the thing which gives you inner peace doesn’t give other but one thing is same about the inner peace that it is free from regret and guilt and one can never have peace if they have regret and guilt and usually regret and guilt come with hurting others, hurting other beings. A true religion binds human with humanity, this element is essential. If this element isn’t there I’m afraid it’s not for humans.
With time what we want is growth, and growth isn’t smartphones and smart gadgets but growth is having open thoughts and open perspectives towards things. All the above things and lines and quotations I used is to give a clear idea that even our great ancestors used to believe in harmony and used to have an open approach towards things, they weren’t just ordinary people they were scholars of that time.
See whether you are a religious person or not, whether you are an atheist or not, whether you are more a scientific person or a spiritual one, it’s your beliefs and just like that others have theirs. For harmony every element is necessary, we have the ability to think that’s why we create beliefs and cherish them, it’s not a bad thing to have but always remember just like you, someone else also has their own beliefs and they have every right to cherish their beliefs.
Would like to end with few lines from Kena-Upanishad;
“He who thinks he knows It not, knows It.
He who thinks he knows It not.
The true knowers think they can never know It (because of Its infinitude),
While the ignorant think they know It”
Ps: views are personal.