Beliefs, Religion and Reason – A perspective of Hindu Atheist

October 15, 2009

Happy Diwali …

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 11:42 pm
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You can earn money, you can control money, you can desire money…but should you really worship money? Beats me.
What an irony that the religion which makes such a big stink about non-materialistic lifestyle has its most widely celebrated festival around worship of wealth!!

Happy Diwali…..


June 20, 2009

Struggle for purpose

Filed under: Atheism,beliefs,Lifestyle — Aniket @ 10:16 am
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“Science can explain how universe came into existence or how life came into existence, but science can never explain why. Finding the purpose of life and quest for eternal peace are subjects of metaphysics. Only spiritual inquiry can lead to the answer.”

“Yes. You are right. Science can not answer these questions. Let me tell you why.”


“Because these are non questions. Whatever you mean by metaphysics, it can not answer these question satisfactorily anyway. Why universe exists, why life exists, what is the purpose of life are all incorrect questions based on wrong premise.”

“How so?”

“Because your question assumes intentional design. You assume that somebody has intentionally designed the life the way it is. As if superintelligent mighty genius created first cell, created this exactly fitting nature, designed laws of physics and then set that cell free to evolve in today’s life on earth.
Unless you make this assumption, there is no reason for you to struggle to find the purpose behind life’s existence. Life exists and that is the fact. So stop going nuts over finding the answer to your whys and start living in the present.”

“You sound such a materialist. My Guruji told me to stay away exactly from your kind of people. You ignorant people will never understand the higher purpose and eternal goal of our life”

“Ok, great. So you go and listen to your Guruji’s down to spine boring discourses trying to make your non-existent afterlife peaceful and I go and watch Mr.Bean on Pogo making my today evening wonderful. Ciao!”

While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape Death’s searching eye;
When once this frame of ours they burn;
How shall it ever again return?

— Rishi Carvaka

May 15, 2009

Spiritual but not religious

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aniket @ 5:18 am
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I have seen many people using this expression – ‘I am spiritual, but I am not religious’. I used to say that about me too. But I don’t think I’d fully understood what it means and I still don’t. It is just one of those intelligent sounding sexy expressions. I’d love to hear if someone can tell me the real difference between the two.

To me it is like saying – 
I am not superstitious like some rural construction worker, I do not perform all the rituals blindly the way prescribed by the books, but I thoroughly believe in religion and wholeheartedly worship (or fear?) god.
I do not paint my body with colorful powders and ashes, but I prefer to a carry a signature of my belief on my forehead in rather aesthetic way.
I do not listen to mythological dumb folklore stories, but I am generally overwhelmed by the talk of some suave sadhubaba, living in five star aashrama having commode toilets and A/C meditation halls, preaching banal discourses on life, sufferings, happiness, austerity and pseudo-science of metaphysics.
I do not participate in religious processions where people are coarsely singing religious hymns, beating the drums to add to the cacophony and wildly dancing on that tune half drunk, half naked. But I proudly carry the CDs of stotras, bhajans, prayers, mantras in my car and occasionally listen to them as a mark of my spirituality.

So if that is spirituality, then is it just not an uptight, upscale, presumptuous version of gross religiosity?

October 24, 2008

Deepavali – worshiping wealth?

Filed under: Festivals — Aniket @ 9:25 pm
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Deepavali is the largest festival celebrated in India. It is like Christmas in India. With Deepavali round the corner, the spirit of festival is in the air.

Festivals are good, they bring people together.
Festivals unite, friends greet each other.
Festivals bring cheer, happiness fills the air.


No, not really.
Festivals only bring people of the same religion together, because most of the popular festivals are religious – including Deepavali.

Most Indians claim Deepavali being popular Indian festival. No, it is not. It is the most widely celebrated religious festival of largest religion in India. It is a popular Hindu festival. It is not like Thanksgiving holiday in US, which is a more secular festival, a more national festival. But Deepavali had the potential of becoming Indian national festival, only if we had kept the pujas and rituals out of the festivities and made it truly only a festival of lights, delicious food and fire-crackers.

There is one more thing about Deepavali that bugs me though. In northern parts of of India, the festival is mainly about ‘LaxmiPujan’, which literally means worship of wealth. Whoa , whoa … what? worshiping wealth? Hindus world over take so much of pride in claiming that Hindu is a predominantly non-materialistic religion – austerity, sacredness, sacrifice are worshiped. Guess what? the most widely celebrated Hindu festival is about worship of wealth and prosperity. Desiring wealth is one thing, but worshiping goddess of wealth so she keeps showering you with abundant prosperity? That’s non-materialistic, huh?

Deepavali is also a festival of light. There is a very good metaphor in there. The true way to fight darkness is to grow beyond the boundaries of caste, creed, race and region and evolve into a more homogeneous society, a religuless society.

The message of Deepavali is “Tamaso Maa JyotirGamayah!“, meaning ‘From darkness, I go to enlightenment’. We will celebrate Deepavali in much more meaningful way only if we truly understand what’s darkness and what’s enlightenment.

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