29 August 2012

Religion. Identity. Existence.

Those who experience constant happiness are bored of it, those who are not happy are constantly pained by it.

We tend to measure our lives more often by things that we do not or can not have, often remembering our failures more often than our successes.

But that’s the truth of life, successes will be few and far in between and we must appreciate the journey between them.

Though when conscious, most of might brush these essential questions as imaginary hypothetical or philosophical musings.

But deep down inside, we all are trying to find out who we are, and what is the bloody purpose of this life. Does it actually mean anything, Am I supposed to accomplish something while trying to stay alive ??

Some take these questions too deeply and become either philosophers or religious or go insane. Most of us though are able to keep It below the conscious surface and pretend to ignore it.

To come over these questions is the precise reason, we have invented the religion… most of the religions in their own strange ways, try to explain these questions . Since most of the religions were invented much before we even discovered that the earth goes around the moon, these are somewhat bizarre imaginations of the men of long gone days. And with time, as these were passed on, each generation added its own imagination, and we now have to bear the burden of imaginations of about 200 generations, and in some other religions much more than that!

Very few men create their own independent identities on basis of their genius or exceptional luck. The masses however need their own bit of identity too. That’s where the religion steps in and tells them that your life is not futile and meaningless. Nothing drives human beings more than a ‘divine’ purpose. This strategy was ofcourse shamelessly during the innumerable so called holy wars in the medieval times and since we don’t tend to learn, is still being used all across the world in various forms and for more various purposes. The key strategy however tends to remain the same: exploit in name of religion.

To create an identity, we have to differentiate from others. The most striking differentiation being in the appearance. Since the Jews had long beards and hair, the Christians began to do the opposite. The tribals in the Arabian peninsula had no beards and longer moustaches. Hence the prophet ordered his men to grow beards and have shorter moustaches. The main idea was to distinguish his own followers from the others. The drive was more political and military than anything else. When Hinduism and islam threatened to engulf Sikhs into their own fold, by claiming that it was just an offshoot of their religion, the last Guru ordered Sikhs to entirely revamp their appearance. They were to sport beards , long hair and a small weapon all the time, which is characterized by the five k’s supposed to be on a Khalsa sikh all the time. Thus a religion creates some sort of identity, without which one would be as lost as being nameless. It gives an identity to even those who reject religion entirely.

And in it’s name, so many of us seek purpose and a justification to our actions. It also proves that the psychological drivers are much more powerful than the material ones, well some might argue … not always!

If one goes through all the holy books of the major religions, atleast briefly, it is absolutely stupefying how so innumerable number of wise sane people are driven into a fervor just based on the writings and the sayings of a few men, however great they might have been. The fact that their actual thoughts might have undergone infinite mutations and propaganda driven changes, goes completely unnoticed.

With the rise of science, the number of atheists is growing and at the same very time, so is the number of fanatics. Well in the end then …. Is our existence totally Sisyphean or indeed has some divine purpose ? ?