April 26, 2008

Where does your faith stand?

COUPLE OF months back, my friend and I were walking back home from college during which we landed on talking about God. The walk began getting interesting when I inquired about his faith and belief in God. He was a Hindu.
"God...?...," he said, "we've got so many gods and as statistics say, around a million..."
"Wow," I replied, "so which one do you believe in?"
"Me...for me all gods are one and believing in any specific god as such varies from people..."
"Yes, I do know that, but which god exactly do you believe in?"
"Well....being born and brought up in Mumbai, I believe in Ganesh."
"What about other gods?"
"Its really confusing, man! So many gods! You choose the one that's comfortable for you or the one which your family upbringing acquaints you with..."
"Ok...I heard that each of these gods have levels or positions and very few people worships the god that exists right at the top, while most of the people are comfortable worshiping the others..."
"huhh...this is news to me...is there such thing as the greatest god in our religion....maybe no one told me such a thing....yeah maybe there could be a god over the other gods...who knows?"
"hey...that's fine....its ok..I, too, heard it from someone else and maybe its not true. Anyways, tell me, do you think that each of the gods are passionate about his people?"
"We know that each of these gods have their own group of people worshiping them..."
"If they are passionate about their worshipers, don't you think that if they worship any other god, they will be hurting the feelings of the earlier god....you understand...its like giving the other god more preference than the earlier one..."
"No....all gods are one....ya...but it could be true...?"
"So, do you think worshiping more than one god can make the latter god sad and feel deprived seeing you worship someone else other than him...?"
"Yes...but who knows..after all they are gods...myths... no one has any evidence about these things and all the texts are mere writings by people... or myths. Even Christianity....can you prove its authenticity...no, isn't it...what evidence do you have about the authenticity of the scripts."
"Authenticity...they are authentic, written by people who were inspired by God. There are many scrolls from ancient times still available..."
"But...you know that these writings could be framed very craftily...could be just a story or a fable written by people...its like they frame a story with an end result in mind"
"No..what will it profit them writing a fable and expect people to believe in it. On the other hand a fable cannot inspire, transform and change people. The Bible did!!!"
"Frankly, I'm really confused. Actually, I really don't believe in god, as such. Because my upbringing and situation compels me to believe in one, I blindly do so. I also don't know my scriptures well and have no big interest to find out more on the same. Just chuck the topic...its landing to no conclusion. Maybe we can talk on this later. There...I've reached home....bye.."

COUPLE of days ago I was on my way back from classes and was coming back home along with my college friend. He was a Jain by religion. Jains are those extremists kind of people who believe that even killing a tiny creature such as a germ is a sin. They do not tolerate any kind of violence. We were talking about our schedule for studies when curiously he put forth a question,
"Don't you go
too many times to church?....I mean is there some kind of a necessity or compulsion on you?"
"No, rather its my wish...," I said, "It completely depends on me to go or not...."
"Compulsion in the sense of your parents forcing you?"
"No, I go regularly because it is my wish"
"Ok...," kind of surprised looking, he replied.
"What about you? Doesn't your religion compulse you to go regularly and worship god?"
"hehe....I barely remember the last time, I went to a Jain temple. On the other hand there is no compulsion as such."
"Why? Don't you have an interest or are you too busy?"
"Its not the question of being busy. I can take out time if I want. But things just don't happen."
"Your parents would be going regularly, wouldn't they?"
"They go more frequently than I do though they are not regular."
"Do you people worship one god or many gods?"
"We have 24 important or main gods whom we worship...maybe there are more gods... I don't know"
"So do you worship all these gods or any one?"
"Nah....we worship the god that is there in our temple. In different temples there are different gods. We worship the ones that are kept in our temple."
"That day I saw you go along with my other friends to worship a Hindu god."
"That really doesn't matter. All gods are one. Whether Hindu or Christian or Jain. I remember going to church when I was small...."
"But do you know, what you are doing contradicts each other..."
"I did....didn't understand?"
"What I meant was, on going to a church you accept a fact that there is only one God but at the same time, on going to a temple would mean that you are accepting the presence of millions of gods. As clearly seen, the ideas of each, completely contradict each other."
"No...that's not what I believe in...all gods are one...it doesn't matter in whom you worship."
"Anyways, tell me more about your god."
"these were people who were in this earth long time before but people never did any sin and thus through their good deeds, after death, became gods."
"These people attained "moksh" or "salvation" because of which they are gods."
"So can that matter to you...I mean, can you also get "moksh"?"
"Maybe...if I live a completely sacred life."
"If you manage to do so, you will attain "moksh" and become god."
"But you just said that gods have attained moksh"
"Yeah...but..," a bit confused, "do you know something, I really don't know much about these things. What I have been told, I believe in it."
"Ok, so are you convinced in what you believe in?"
"That's good. Now coming back to the point that man became god due to his good deeds..."
"Do you believe that God is the creator of this world?"
"So if he is god everything that you see around here, even the ground that you stand on, is created by him."
"Yes," he said confidently.
"Now, man became god. But when he was still man, he was living on something called as 'earth', which you claim was created by god. If earth existed even before god came into existence, then there should been a god before that who would have created the earth."
"Yeah,,,I'm getting your point..." completely confused and yet unsure, he said.
"Now look at the other side, if man became god, god would too have limitations as man."
"its possible, who knows?"
"So you see the theory of man becoming god cannot actually be possible. On the other hand god becoming man could be better reasoned out."
"Dude, see I am not sure at all on these things. What our religious teachers communicate to us, that's what we believe in."
"That's fine..."
"Fine??.....I am really ashamed. I do not know my scriptures well. You know your scriptures well...."
"Then why don't you get back to your scripture rather than blindly believing in what others say."
"Its a big work. Our religion consists of a number of texts and reading that would take ages. And I got no time for that now. Studies is more important. Religion will come into play when I turn old....maybe then..."
"Maybe you won't be alive till then"
"Yeah that can also happen. You've really made me think today and the topic is very interesting though arguable. I've got to go now....bye...."

TWO personal experiences with my friends I have penned down here. You would have been able to judge how firm their belief was in their religion. Tomorrow if someone comes and asks you about your faith and religion, will you be able to prove it and stand for it? I am convinced in what I believe in and can prove myself, too. Will you be able to do the same, irrespective of which religion you belong to, can your faith take a test of fire? Its up to you to decide.

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