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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

06 May 2005

Sometimes certain things keep falling into your vision several times and you start wondering at the coincidence factor.

Reading two columns on the same day, echoing similar thought lines made me reflect. One was a op- ed piece in Hindu where the writer – Dylan Evans - reflects that not believing in God is no excuse for being virulently anti –religious or naively pro –science. “ When I say that I value religion, I do not mean that I see any truth in the stories about gods, devils, souls and saviors. But I do think there is one respect in which religion is more truthful than science – in its depiction of the longing for transcendent meaning that lies in Man’s heart. No scientific theory has ever done justice to this longing, and in this respect religions paint more faithful pictures of the human mind. My atheism sees religions as presenting potent metaphors and images to represent human aspirations for transcendence…”

His parable about a painting hung on wall being mistaken for reality under an illusion by some people. To make them realize the truth and to tell them the illusory nature of the scene, the artist then removed one of the bricks on the wall. “ Some of those who had mistaken the painting for reality were upset to have their illusion shattered. But the wise ones thanked the artist profusely. “ By revealing the fictitious nature of this landscape, “ they said, “You have allowed us to appreciate the beauty of your art.”

“ I think the best way, “ the write continues, “to think about religion is to see it like the painting in this parable. Religions are beautiful things, but their beauty can only be truly appreciated when they are seen as human creations – as works of art.”

“ Atheists who attack religions for painting a false picture of the world are as unsophisticated and immature as religious believers, who mistake the picture for reality. The only mature attitude to religion is to see it for what it is – kind of art, which only a child could mistake for reality, and which only a child would reject for being false”, the author concludes.

Now compare this with another similar one. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the link from ET site.

This was Mukul Sharma’s write up for a column in ET “Spiritual Quotient” that appears everyday on Ed –page. The piece titled, “There is a real need to lighten up”, – May 3rd 2005 – his effort to understand the mystery of life, begins like this.

“Okay, let’s accept that it’s a game of hid and seek. Or as R H Blythe puts it, it is about the God (or self) of the universe who sees life as a form of play. But since the self is what there is – and all that there is – and thus, has no one separate to play with, It plays the cosmic game with Itself. IN the process, It takes on the roles and masks of individual people such as we look like ………………

He takes the argument on the plane that ALL IS ONE theory. And then asks, what is the point “..if the whole idea of the game is to forget we’re playing a game ( my inference here - assuming as part of the WHOLE) then doesn’t waking out of it to realize it is only a game defeat our own purpose? Besides, who are we to tell ourselves what to do when every one of us knows – or at least should know – better? If the hide and seek is purposeless, as indeed most games are when one gets over the thrall of winning or losing, then it makes no difference to ourselves whether it goes on or not and enlightenment isn’t all that great or desirable. ( Me: Interesting doubt… :-) )

“……. Obviously then, the most laid back approach would be to forget enlightenment and instead concentrate on the game while remembering it’s only a game and not to be taken all that seriously, and that the cycle of life and death simply cannot go on forever because, what we are is never born and doesn’t die, remember? ….”

Mukul Sharma’s columns are always in riddles and puzzles and often I never understood – except the wit that runs undercurrent sometimes. This piece in ET also was something like that. All through the piece, I was trying to figure out what he was trying to say.

Confused or not, the last line had the expected punch which brought a smile on my face at last. He concludes,

“…… It would also help us to keep in mind how all - powerful we really are. After all, it takes some power to forget how powerful one is, and then remember to awaken to remind one self about it.”

That was a good one indeed, Mukul Sharma :-)


Blogger Morpheus said...

Couple of different thoughts on your posts...

Albert Camus says, "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

I see religion as a crib(nadai vandi- a three wheeled thing that you practise walking with) which an infant needs to "practise walking".. here by "practise walking" i mean trying to have a religious mind.. once you have mastered the walk you are in stages where you need no crib but then you still have to hold on to the crib because someone else is looking at you to learn how to walk with crib...So i think it is the whole cycle...However some may think that pushing the crib and walking is the way of life and forget that the essence of it is just to have a religious mind ...

That was my 2 cent on this.. but a very interesting post !!

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello ma,
I found your approach to be very legendary and philosophical.. It helped me to analyze such stuff from a different perspective

prianka rajan

1:57 AM  
Blogger Aruna said...

Thank you for your comment Priyanka. Yes. we may not understand a lot of things about life. But what makes it interesting is our urge to see and understand the reality, live in the present, enjoy the blessings around us and accept the Truth always :-)

2:24 AM  

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