Sunday, April 26, 2009

The revelations of an Agnostic

Why is it offending to accept prasad from left hand ? Why are menstruating women not allowed to enter temples ? why is onion not included in the diet in some ‘traditional’ hindu households ? These were some of the early questions which used to bother me a lot . Answers ranged from ‘bas nahi hota’ to ‘dont argue’. No one ever gave me a logical or even a convincing answer .

Then with History as a subject in my senior secondary education, i got the answer for the menstruating question . It had its origin in a patriarchal society. It was an attempt to control women. Religion was afterall a human invention. I tried to resist the stereotype of left-handedness. I would deliberately put forth my left hand to accept prasad. I was always scolded. Gradually i started moving away from this institution. I wanted to break free . We had partition and post-partition riots in our curriculum. The partition of India and the genocide that followed it had a strong base of communalism. Both Hindus and Muslims wanted to emerge supreme. Basically this was the elite’s aim but it was the common people who suffered the repercussions. This event claimed thousands of lives. Those who survived it, carried a permanent wound in their hearts. This wound became hereditary. The effect of this wound is now reflected in the attitude of the fundamentalists. This topic triggered a massive change in me . I read stories of these ‘holy’ attacks. I could imagine people chanting ‘Ram Ram’(or ‘he Allah’) before using the sword. My heart used to cry out. I read stories of survival where help was given by a member of the ‘rival’ community. I realised that humanity is bigger than any religion . This was the second step in the process of my adopting agnosticism.

The third and the final step was my entrance in the discipline of history at graduation level. The formation and sustenance of a religion has an economic and social base . Religion is modulated to suit the contemporary social and economic situation. I studied the beginning of ‘Hinduism’ , my family religion. Hinduism , like any other religion has evolved with time . The rites and rituals of each era was a reflection of the demand in the social , political and economic sphere. I was able to discover the origins of many famous stereotypes. I got the real answers to my questions. I was at the end of receiving major shocks. I understood the purpose and the intention of the religion. The access to this information lead to the ultimate decision – that of my renouncing religion . For me every religion serves the same purpose . It acknowledges the supreme power . It tries to guide people in distinguishing good and bad. It creates a sense of trust . It is trust which sustains this world. But one cannot deny the fact that religion was a human invention . It is the way humans interpreted the world around them . They imagined God as the supreme MAN . They developed customs which served their motives. They had a lot of biases . I was no longer prepared to follow these biases . Why should i follow someone else’s rules when i can make my own ?

For me Agnosticism is this. Agnostics believe in god but they cannot define it. I know there is a supreme power . Someone/Something has set this world. I imagine God as a supreme force. We can worship this force by having complete faith in it . This is how i explain miracles. I also pray to this supreme force and thankfully , it has always helped me . My prayers were answered as i have complete faith in this power. I have also developed definitions for good and bad. Good is when one does not harm oneself or others’ in any way. I believe that our actions determine our fate . But there are things which are predetermined. Whatever deed one does , one is repaid in this life itself. I cannot explain anything about ‘life after death’. I have no idea as to what happens to the soul after death. For me God is FAITH. I also believe that an element of this god is present in every human being. If one has faith in oneself , then one is worshipping the supreme force. God is everywhere . God sees us.


  1. yup there is a supreme power that created us and thats has created god because of his certain weaknesses where he is not able to accept some realities of death(all that funda about life after death)..also the hardcore practicality..this can be a positive aspect of religion which talks about ethics and morality,when d harsh reality is that all that rules is plain simple practicality in life...

    I just said wat I believe I hope u dont feel offended...btw I happen to be one of those whos often pissed off wid dese left right hand superstitions

  2. no its perfectly fine ..its ur view :) . n i totally agree wid u ! its actually the humans who have created 'God'. When humans were trying to make sense of their surroundings ..when they were unable to explain a phenomenon..they started revering it ! this is how 'god' came up.

  3. Well,do you know that women during menstruating period have less protection in those days?So,it was obvious they weren't allowed...but then there is nothing written anywhere of such sort to not to allow them...
    It was just for the sake of hygiene and cleanliness...of course,anyone-regardless of gender- who suffer with any disease that propagates insanitary were expelled or not allowed...

  4. @ pratheek

    plz read ur scriptures ..coz they donot give such a 'rational' reason... ! Taittiriya-samhita explains, when Indra killed Visvarupa, the son of Tvastr, he transferred one-third of the ‘stain’ of murdering a Brahmin (brahmahatya) to women. A women is supposed to kill a brahamana everytime she menstruates ! and m nt talking in air ..its all given in the scriptures.

    source: m a history student

  5. Haha.. Reminds me of the 'original sin' and how Eve was responsible the most for the fall of makind. :)
    And as a punishment she had to bear the pain of labor and stuff like that.. Every religion has shreds of this. :)

  6. yes!!! bt then thats what religion is all abt..understanding things in a particular way..which is sometimes very irrational !i didnot wish to target hinduism :) ..its just that i belong to a hindu family i have more info abt it ! for me every religion is just the same !

  7. @devika

    whoa!what an interpretation!
    and where did this come from,"A women is supposed to kill a brahamana everytime she menstruates"?
    Actually,indra appealed to a concourse of women, 'Take the third of my guilt.' They said, 'Let us choose a boon; let us obtain offspring from after the menses; let us enjoy intercourse at will up to birth.' Therefore women obtain offspring from after the menses, and enjoy intercourse at will up to birth, for that was what they chose as a boon.

    It's just that women during those days have no proper protection and so for the sake of hygiene people used to follow that one shouldn't eat and sit with women during menstruation...
    but sadly ,this became a tool for misogynists later to denigrate women...

  8. All you explained in this blog is actually Hinduism.
    The Hindu spiritualism is firmly based on the theory that a soul can neither be created nor be destroyed. A soul is eternal as it is energy. It can only change its form.

    The science says the universe was pure energy once and only later converted into matter. The relationship between matter and energy is simple, both are same. All it means is that energy and matter,things that have mass,are the same, and are just two different forms... we can convert matter into energy... Various particle physics experiments convert matter to energy and back again quite routinely.

    Likewise Hinduism conceptualize God as eternal, transcending and all permeating energy. which can take the form of matter and vice versa. Hinduism propose that all of us as well as every thing in this universe are tiny specs of that same eternal transcending all permeating energy. Energy can nether be created nor destroyed so is soul. It just transmigrate.

  9. @ johnson

    who taught u this ..gimme the reference if u can. I m not talking in air..i think i hav given u my reference. History doesnt work on ur sweet sweet interpretations ..:) bt yes i see u accept the guilt part ! i m well-aware y women were secluded during menstruation..the reason given is they need rest. bt this is no reason to disallow them to go to temples. u knw..the reason given is 'u r not pure'. see u shd first do a research. i hav done mine ! and i have nt given my interpretation..i hav given u the exact words .

  10. @johnson ..yet again!
    plz donot keep changing ur identity if u r so sure abt what u say ! abt ur post on secular bomb...i didnot accept ur comment coz haha i m sorry i cant accept such lame things... yes i dont have an answer as to why communalists like u cant think abt humanity. u got me right ;)
    secularism. i don think u get what it means ! and by the way..dat was my view.ur free to write urs ! dis is democracy ..hail democracy !!

  11. what can anyone say to self-righteous people...i have explained everything here...and people can see it...

    As for that temple part ...yes,it shouldn't be that way 'today' coz there is good protection now and this discrimination should be abolished right away...

  12. People are intelligent enough to see whose are "sweet interpretations";)

    Yeah!you're free to delete my comment coz you're 'the god' here in your own's just that i'm showing you other perspectives which you're clearly ignoring...the rest is upto you to think about it or discard it...and neither you nor me is bothered about each other's opinion coz it's not gonna change anyway...

    BTW,pseudo-secularism also is synonymous to communalism;)

  13. @ johnson
    u perfectly knw which comment i had deleted ..i deleted only 1 ..and then i regretted i did that even though u had written only this :
    i cannot understand anything . you dont have any answers . hail pseudo secularism !!!

    k ??? well i shd say i hail i will never delete ur posts until the manner in which u say is proper. and i m nt the god in my blog!! lolz... i m presenting my view and its open to discussion. ur posts are welcome ... i respect ur view as well..even though i may nt agree with them. the world is how we see it ...