21

What if there was NO Religion

The definition of ‘Dharma’ or ‘Dhamma’ when this word came into existence was related to the true virtue or the duty of a thing or a person. For example, the dharma of fire is to burn irrespective of what it is on the other hand. The fire never distinguishes what is good or bad, right or wrong, it just does its job of consuming everything that comes in its way and turns it into ashes.

Over the period of centuries and generations, the words have lost their real meaning. On many occasions, they have been consciously made ambiguous and on other, the lack of understanding of its origin and usage has lead to this unawareness.

During this transition, the propagators have successfully managed to delusion dharma into a synonym for ‘Religion’.

The moment we hear the word dharma the mind triggers in recalling the faith that either we are born into or we follow and practice.

The Early man started with worshiping nature, the sun, and the moon because of its fear or simply it was too complex for his naïve brain to understand. It all started with the unknown and the curiosity to conquer it. What was left unexplained was termed as GOD.

Millenniums passed and humans started to become civilized and molds of societies were beginning to form. Each community and tribe came up with their own story about the origin of God.

People with the same faith, same virtues, same beliefs, and same behavioral patterns collectively would form a religion.

I believe that in the beginning there was just one religion. Then there would have been someone who would have challenged the existing establishment, who would not have surmised in the existing belief system giving rise to the second belief system and with his set of followers would have set out on his journey.

Let me remind you, nowhere it is documented or mentioned that any God said that he is God. No Ram, No Prophet, No Jesus, No Buddha, No Guru Nanak said that they were God. It is always the followers who kept on promulgating the so-called learning.

Slowly the world was full of religions and even more followers.

What if there was no religion? – think think.

Each of them preached only one thing – that there is only one God with the objective of spreading love, peace, and harmony and in the process connecting a mere ordinary soul to the almighty.

Have the religions served their purpose? I don’t think so. I consider religion is a very personal thing and one is free to practice the faith they believe in. But the recent history is marked with instances of violence in the name of religion. From genocides to war, from invasion to wiping off humanity – the name of religion has been used to carry out atrocities and the only thing it is spreading is hate and venom.

People are beginning to hate their neighbors with whom they have spent their childhood just because of the faith they believe in. In numerous instances, religion is the root cause of discrimination. Year after year the men in power exploit the belief and faith of so many and the sad thing is year after year people get exploited because somehow they are convinced that it is the supreme thing and there is nothing beyond it.

Our nation was partitioned because of the underlying hate for the other religion, which the foreigners were able to exploit. We always blame others for their policy of ‘divide and rule’ forgetting that they took advantage of the cracks that were already present.

Countless people including children have been sacrificed on the pretext of illogical rituals. I wonder what would they call Raja Ram Mohan Roy if he had been alive to witness the psychosis surrounding religious sentiments. Animals, till date, meet the same fate on the name of religion and festivals.

Somehow these so-called modern day messengers of God have successfully instilled the fear, even in the literate and educated class, that their religion is endangered. The symbolization of a majority and minority wouldn’t have taken place on the lines of religious beliefs.

The most beautiful valleys and rivers; have turned red just in the quest of proving the supremacy of one particular faith over the other. Nothing has been spared…No one has escaped.

There wouldn’t be any reservation system if there were no religion. There would be lesser conflicts. I am telling from my personal experience that I have seen many people never utilizing their full potential just because they were busy in the rituals of religion whereas their own life and family was in tatters.

Rather than feeding the poor, the longest queue of these deprived and underprivileged class is outside the religious structures. Isn’t it ironical?

The WOW Prompt

Everybody is in an insane race to prove that their religion is superior and rest all are mere illusions. But when every religion preaches the same thing – that there is only ‘One God’ then automatically it should be complemented with only one religion or better…No religion.

For all those who believe in God,

For all those who are averse to the concept,

For all those who think a lot of hate is linked to religion

For all those who believe in religion

And

For all those who believe Dharma and Karma…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Note – I respect all religions 🙂

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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30

I wish an Alarm Clock would Ring


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Mom was seemingly perturbed by the last call. Her uneasiness was pretty evident and had started sweating profusely. I knew I had to talk to her.

“Mom! What happened? Who was that on the call”, I asked worriedly.

She was in a state of shock. I asked her to sit down, handed her a glass of water and questioned again.

This time she somehow managed to articulate that an aunty in her close set of friends has committed suicide. I was astonished to hear that.

On further probing mom told that the lady was suffering from depression. Depression was successful in claiming the second life in the past two months in my neighbourhood. Mom informed that she had two kids, a loving husband, a well-off background and a perfect happy life. Mom is still not been able to completely come to terms with the suicide.

Such is the beauty of depression. You never know that it is eating you till it suddenly engulfs you completely.

I said to her, “If we were aware that she was suffering from depression…if only we could have got a chance to speak to her…a life could have been saved.”

The WOW Prompt

There are many people who seem completely normal and happy but are suffering from depression and most of the times they themselves don’t know. Their lives may look perfect on the outside and you won’t find a reason as to what’s the cause but depression sneaks in silently. All you need is to talk to someone. If one feels that someone is suffering from depression or exhibiting certain symptoms, please, the first and the best thing you can do is to talk to them.

Some startling facts related to suicide & depression:

  • About 135000 people commit suicide in India per year.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 18-29 age group.
  • Most suicides in India are by people aged below 44 years.
  • Around 57 million people are suffering from Depression, an astonishing 18 % of global estimate, as per WHO.
  • About 15-20% of those who are clinically depressed commit suicide.

Some days ‘I Wish An Alarm Would Ring Loud And Notify Me Whenever someone is about to commit suicide and I could speak to that person and bring a smile to their face and somehow manage to save a life.’

Anybody who feels like they want to talk…just about anything…I am all ears 🙂

For all those who are sad,

For all those who are depressed,

For all those who have these scary thoughts,

And

For all those who consider such steps…

PLEASE SMILE AND TALK TO SOMEONE.

It’s not a Goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

References:

http://yourdost.com/blog/2017/03/depression-statistics-in-india.html?q=/blog/2017/03/depression-statistics-in-india.html&q=/blog/2017/03/depression-statistics-in-india.html&

http://www.allaboutdepression.com/gen_04.html

https://www.medindia.net/health_statistics/general/suicide-in-india-statistics.asp

From depression to suicide: Why more Indians are falling into the trap

5

Vipassana – My Inhibitions


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“What!! One can’t eat anything after lunch till the next morning’s breakfast”, I said shockingly.

“Yes”, my friend replied.

He had recently moved from Pune to Noida and was hosting a dinner for some of us. During the conversation he told me about his recent experience about a place in Pune, a meditation center, where he along with his whole batch was taken for a period of ten days.

Everybody who knows me and has read ‘Death on Karnataka Express’ is now aware, ‘that I am a big-time foodie’.

He said, “apart from this, one can’t even speak or make any eye contact with anyone for ten continuous days”.

“Were you able to do it?” I ask sheepishly.

“Obviously No! The whole batch was there and we would talk softly and share a giggle or two whenever we got an opportunity”, he said.

He was talking about Vipassana and this was the same meditation technique, which helped Gautama Buddha to attain enlightenment and finally Nirvana. The name of Buddha was enough to get me curious.

For a moment I thought how could one concentrate and meditate when all one would think of is food and on top of that one isn’t allowed to let go of his anguish. It seemed really cruel.

The conversation that night did sow the seed of Vipassana in my mind. I started researching and reading more and more about it. I decided that I would definitely give it a try irrespective of anything. I thought even if I don’t learn a single bit of meditation but still be able to control the urge to speak and try to deviate my mind off food that will be equally satisfying for me. It would turn out to be a step towards self-control and self-discipline.

I did register myself for the course once each in 2016 and 2017 but fate had other plans and it didn’t let me attend it. My father wasn’t too keen on me pursuing this though he strongly recommended daily meditation. He was aware of the chaos that I was going through both in my personal and professional life. I was getting angrier and irater day by day. He said meditation wouldn’t do wonders but it will definitely make you calmer and bring you peace.

My mom was simply worried how her son would manage without food.

My sister was sure that I would run away max by the third day.

My cousins even predicted that by the fifth day I would be sitting under a tree and addressing a small gathering and imparting my kind of ‘gyan’ (knowledge).

I was simply worried how will I remain quiet for ten straight days. My sister had previously challenged me to maintain silence and not utter a single word at least for a day and every time she came out teasingly triumphant.

In august of 2017, I lost my father and there was a lot of intricate clutter that I inherited. The things that followed made me more anxious, unstable, louder and angrier. By Feb 2018 my sugar levels were in the pre-diabetic zone complemented by high cholesterol levels. I was like an active volcano erupting at smallest of things.

I knew if things would continue to go like this they (family and friends) would definitely throw me into an asylum. I decided to take control of things and thought of giving Vipassana a determined try. Without telling anyone in March 2018 I registered for a ten-day course scheduled for July 2018 in Pune.

I carefully chose the location, though I was getting an available slot in my hometown. I wanted to be in a far off place so that the lure of running away didn’t tempt and in a pleasant place as summers in north India can be really excruciating and would have given me another reason to avoid it again.

I got a confirmation email about two weeks before from the date of start of the course. It carried all the information on what all I could carry along with me to the center and the code of conduct to be observed in those ten days and it was categorically mentioned to join only and only if you can strictly abide by them. The whole course including food and accommodation comes at a zero cost. Yeah! It is completely free. All I had to manage was my travel…my hunger and my tongue. I was supposed to reach there on 1st July by 2:00 pm.

I remember mom even tried to sneak in some biscuit packets just in case if I couldn’t control hunger in the night. I knew that for Vipassana to have its proper affect one should do it as told and hence I requested her not to do so.

Inside of Pune Vipassana Center

On 1st July right about 2:00 pm I was standing outside the gate of Pune Vipassana Meditation Center. The first thing, which took me by surprise, was, barbwire was mounted on all the boundary walls of the center. It elevated my nervousness level.

On entry, the registration counters were setup with some volunteers taking care of the formalities. All I could see was elderly people sitting and waiting for their turn to come up. I again doubted, ‘was I doing the right thing? Is it really for me?’

They asked for a print out of my form and ID when my turn came. Vipassana centers are run on donations and hence everybody working there was a volunteer and no employee. The guy at the counter tried to shake my confidence by asking, “Hope you have read the code of conduct and the conditions required to stay here. Remember we won’t let you run away in the middle of the course.”

I replied in a fake confident tone, “Yes, I have gone through everything and I am completely ready for the course”.

On the next counter they took away my mobile phone, wallet and all the jewellery and astrological rings. They reconfirmed with me whether I was carrying any reading and writing material.

I saw some younger people walking in. It brought a little smile to my face. After registration I sat on a chair and started contemplating about my decision because if I had to go away…this was the time.

Did I run away from there or in three days or five days or did I complete the whole journey? For that you have to read the next post…

To be continued…

For all those who are talkative,

For all those who can’t control their hunger,

For all those who are short tempered,

And

For all those who are willing to change…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Read the Previous post in the Vipassana series here: Under a TREE

Read the next post Vipassana – My Experience here

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11

Under a TREE

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersTop post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

 

 

Some 25oo years ago…

It was a dark and treacherous night. The prince was feeling restless. Few hours had passed since he went to bed but sleep eluded him. He looked around and saw his beloved wife and infant son sleeping next to him peacefully. There was an intense turmoil that had taken birth in his heart and mind. It was a tough decision to make, in fact the most arduous and cruelest of decisions. Renouncing every worldly desire is daunting…but leaving the love of your life and your newborn takes it to another level. Scaling the Mount Everest would have seemed a child’s play in front of it.

He kept pondering for a few more hours. The mind was pushing him towards his goal but the heart was arrested by the love of two souls sleeping right next to him. He had already wasted many nights in this battle. He knew he had to fight alone and victory was his only option. He had to take a decision and the time was now.

The decision was made.

The morning was still far and there was no sign of daybreak. The Prince kissed his sleeping wife and son on their foreheads and got up from the bed and left the room without turning back for one final glance. He never came back.

He had experienced all the materialistic pleasures. Being the prince, the King made sure that the world was at his feet. He indulged into everything that was supposed to give him fun, happiness and gratifications. The King wanted to keep him always safely away from the harsh realities of life, from pain and from any kind of suffering. But the Prince was born no ordinary man. He was born to find a way for all mankind, the pathway…the key…the staircase to free themselves from the cycles of birth, death and rebirth…forever.

He was Siddhartha Gautama.

After leaving his kingdom and renouncing every desire, he started on his journey to seek the ultimate nature of reality, the truth of life and the meaning of every existence. There have always been debates about his teachings and the events of his life but no one can even guess what he would have gone through that night. Even if he wouldn’t have become the enlightened one, this surely was the first step towards it.

He went to many masters and teachers but after learning everything, he remained dissatisfied and unhappy. None of them could give answer to what he was seeking and quench his thirst. One day in his quest he sat under a tree near Bodhgaya by the Neranjana River and started meditating.

Photo by Liam Burnett-Blue on Unsplash

By now he had tried every external method possible and exhausted every meditation technique that was known to man then. He decided to concentrate internally. The only difference between a dead body and any living creature is the act of breathing. He started concentrating on his breathing and slowly he became calm and relaxed. He pursued his breathes and gradually became aware and mindful of every organ…every sensation and finally every cell.

It is believed that after six long years when the moment came when he saw the complete truth and attained enlightenment, he was able to see all his previous births and all the good and bad deeds he performed. He could see and observe and feel everything without attaching any perception of good or bad to them. He simply solved the key to free oneself of this cycle of life and death.

This meditation technique of observing breath and slowly becoming aware and mindful of every thing is known as Vipassana.

I personally believe the answer to the question; why we are born as humans and what makes us different from every other living organism is not related to superiority or anything else. Buddha answered it by attaining Nirvana. We get human birth so that we can try to achieve the state of freedom from the repeated cycles of life and death.

I also got an opportunity to experience and practice Vipassana the way Buddha did. The following post will be about how I got introduced to this technique and what affect it had on me.

To be continued…

For all those who believe in Buddha,

For all those who believe in Meditation,

For all those who believe in Karma,

And

For all those who believe Nirvana can be attained…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But It’s a GOOD BYE.

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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