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Religion is an ailing old man now, older than the languages used to address him. His face is sallowed. His body covered in rags has been tethered and hung out in the street, for people to spit on and smack every now and then. His children have been pulling his limbs, lacking no earnestness in their attempt to pull them apart. The light he preached about has eluded him, sucked in by the blackholes surrounding him. Even the peace of death has been denied to him. Politics has made his very existence an anomaly. If he existed at a point in space-time, the leftists would have hated it and if he did not, the rightists could not have stand it.
They are feeding on him like a parasite, sucking the blood, the life out of him, gram by gram, decade by decade. Things were not always like this. There was a time when he was the master of the world. The time when people would willingly surrender their intellect to gain intuition. When humanity followed the path this master laid down.
Then came what, that left this master in such a state ? Who are those blackholes that surround it ? Which are those sons, entrusted to protect the higher order of knowledge through secrecy, who began to think of themselves as higher order of human beings and got corrupt ?
All the major religions of the world had their seeds sown in by the eighth century. Their teachings, which were very complex were presented in the holy texts in a very simplified form. Too much simplification rendered them cryptic and this was exactly what was intended. Why so ? The seers, who created them believed that the primary requisite of attaining communion with the higher self is abandoning all intellect. Hence, the mystic haze encircling holy words. To see through it, one needs the eyes of faith, to be more precise, blind faith !
It acts as a filter, a permeable membrane ; the smaller one’s ego, the easier it is to pass through ! The catch is that if you judge the path through worldly reason and find fault, then you actually took the wrong sample to the lab, because the original one works only when not judged !
This crypticness, however, left the holy texts prone to misinterpretation. Over the past 1000 years, there have been Prophets – who have encouraged Jihad citing God’s will, Pandits – who have exploited the caste system and misused their command over Sanskrit to misinterpret the holy texts, Popes – who were pedophilic and annihilated Constantinoples. A lunatic ‘Bohemian Corporal’ from Germany waged a war killing 70 million, another one from Saudi Arabia went about banging airplanes into 100 storied towers and changed the world forever, and all this either due to extreme hatred for a particular religion or an extreme affection to one.
And all the while, our old master’s influence shrunk and shrunk. The deeds of his own sons in his name, diminished his only source of his power- people’s faith. Humanity wanted a change. The bruised and burnt soul was retired and replaced by mind as the generalissimo. The power of belief could no more be believed, reason was summoned in as the new weapon. Intuition was out and intellect became the new ‘in’ thing ! Through meticulous work of mind and reason, took birth the new master – science.
Over the past 400 years, science has been raging through the socio-economic strata and has occupied the imagination and lifestyle of majority of the human population, barring the lowermost sections. The quest of this master has been to explain why the world looks and behaves the way it does. In this quest, myths have been shattered and mysteries uncovered. Laws have been discovered, melted into theories and moulded into inventions. Many complex mysteries regarding the creation and evolution of universe have either been solved, or are in the process of being. Be it jet planes or your favourite chocolate, it’s all a creation of science.
But that which you call a rose, does not only smell the way it does but also carries the thorns, as it always does. As the master blessed has us with knowledge, our greed and craving for comfort has led to its misuse. If achievements in medicine have saved many lives, then atom bombs have taken them away. If space science has opened possibilities of life beyond this world, then exploitation of natural resources has threatened it on this very planet.
About the conclusion. No matter how and what you write a fable on, how many twists-and-turns and spices you add, the morals will remain the same – bland, remedial one liners having the primary-school-english feel. So I could give you something like “One should not be greedy and love all humanity”, or something ‘neo’, a touch modern- “Stop being so materialistic and save the environment”. But I would not, because while fantasizing about owning that latest i-phone even, I don’t consider the amount of trees fallen to make it or the tribals displaced in Chhatisgarh to mine and ship the iron ore for it to China. I believe the solution lies in optimising. Balancing spirituality and materialism, sensual pleasure and inner peace.
And how does one achieve that ? Well, that’s what I had set off to write about and not so much about religion and science, but it was important to know these two masters to set the stage for what I intend to share with the Indian Fusion readers in future. It’s the discipline that takes atheism and theism alike, that bridges physics and metaphysics. It’s a discipline that is as much a science as it is a philosophy, its Yoga !