Friday, September 5, 2008

I am an Atheist if ....

They say I am a Jain. They say it was our biggest festival yesterday. They say if I am a Jain I need to follow a few things as per what they say Jainism Says. They say, I follow. They say pray, I do. They say believe in not killing smaller animals, I do believe so. But who are "They"? They are no one but people like you and me who were told by someone else that they belong to a particular religion. The key here is "to belong" , we all do chores and follow our notions of religion "to belong".

Every person is unique not just because he looks so, but also because of the complexity of his thoughts. Everyone has a personal set of beliefs and everyone defines for himself what he wants out of life. We are all so different and then based on a set of belief we get together, we form a group of people following a particular belief structure - we say we follow a particular religion. I dont think that english word "Religion" completely translates the essence of "Dharma".

I have read somewhere Dharma is nothing but a way of living, also read somewhere that religion is to give a person ethics and teaches him the difference between the good and the bad. Combining both I think Dharma is an Ideal way of living which we think we should follow. Moreover, I strongly believe that existence is defined by purpose. The existence of Dharma should hence always be "to direct" - to direct us to the best and ideal way of living to justify our purpose of existence. Now the question is who defines this best and ideal way of living? I just wonder for my life, how would someone else define what I choose, based on my belief structure, I define MY DHARMA (I am getting microsoftised it seems) .

Hey wait ! so am I trying to say that everyone should have a different Dharma?

Bingo! yes I am trying to say just that.

But then, having a known number of religion today is making us divide into groups, making us fight with each other based on set of beliefs for each, wouldn't each person having different Dharma lead to Chaos then?

I think - No. Think of it, when we will appreciate that all of us are different, all of us have a set of their own beliefs (doesnot matter if it comes from Jainism, Buddhism, Hiduism, Islam or Christianity or all of them) , we will appreciate that each person has a different dharma, which comes to him not by his birth but by his own effort to find the purpose of his existence. This will in some way make all of us different, but as a race all of us will be homogenous. There will be no groups based on set of beliefs. Hence there will be no faction claiming that their set of beleifs are better than the other factions. We will respect everyone's views and the challenge will be not to try to convert someone else to our set of belief (call it dharm parivartan, but not in the connotation that it is used now). We will truly "belong" - belong to human race more than belonging to religious divides. We will be "Dharm Nirpeksh".

Oh! So Am I suggesting that I would leave Jainism and would prompt people to leave whatever religion they "belong" to get their Idea of Dharm?

Different religions we have have come out of years of experience, trials, understanding of the society and it would be ridiculous to say that all of it doesnot matter. Infact everything does. If one is confused about certain issue regarding the morals and ethics and the directions required in life, there should be someone he can turn to. He needs to refer to these standard set of beliefs that we, as a society have created over years. He need to seek these answers in various forms, in various scriptures, in various religion. And he should choose what his individual intellect would say is the best. One should not be stopped to follow the beliefs of other religion just because he was born in another.

So, If believing in one religion is believing in god - I am an atheist.

But I believe in God and his definition cannot be something that someone else teaches me, it has to come from within. Just like everyone reinvents the wheel when he learns to walk - my experience of my childhood will not help my child to stand up and run, similarly everyone has to reinvent the wheel as far as finding his Dharma is considered.

So yesterday, while sitting in that group of people praying things that I dont understand, I think I could understand to an extent, that I need directions from the Ideal way to live and I need to define My Dharma. I need to define the belief of what would be my ideal way of living (defining cannot be a one time activity here, its a lifetime one). I hope I find MY DHARMA one day and I truly "Belong" to my own beliefs.


nuts said...

Often I find myself encountering similar thoughts!!

It was nice to read that other also feel the same way!! else I was sort of feeling bad --that why do i have to question everything around 1--why can;t i surrender my thoughts adn just accept it --when people say do this , do that --u r a jain e.t.c e.t.c

in 12th class or later --one day i finally decided to read the translation of bhaktamber --which is the big thing in Jainism --and i cudn;t grasp the greatness int it. It's beauty is either --hte "complete surrender" which i see in my dad --else its just a poor guy buttering god -

I probably can;t appreciate the "complete surrender" part since frankly i never experienced it --god comes into play in my mind --whenever i am scared -- ( feel bad about it too --but now have gotten used to it a bit i guess)

... but whatever --long story short! that day i defined my religion --adn shifted my heart from bhaktamer to "meri bhawna" whic i love --since am not that religious --don't read it often --but whenver i feel like!

I feel god is the "morale police", "the emergency emotional doctor", the "placebo" installed in out heart ...

not sure where i am going --but nice blog!

Pratiksha Thanki said...

Majority of our generation will identify with this confusion. Isn't it funny how people spend hours of electricity in playing bhajans on CD players, cause noise pollution and the same money could be spent on education of a child. But well, that is just one thing. We can point of thousands...But ironically we can not feed logic to fanatics. Nice post. :)

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