Reveries

A mishmash of spirituality, human relationship, adult and children's literature, news analyses and anti-road-rage tirades

Three antidotes against messages that burn

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Image courtesy: Pixabay

How often have you been tempted to give a fitting retort to an acrid message posted in a group? How many times did you decide to back out at the end?

 

These things occur to me thrice as often as most of you would think they happen to you! For as many times, I pull out of such situations and decide to store my energies for something worthier. But at times, I do oblige to their whims!

 

Recently, I got caught into the quagmire of the riposte game by a disturbing WhatsApp message that went viral. It comprised a text message in Hindi and a 05:45-minute-long video.

 

The text message in the form of a paragraph hails the man in the video as a hero, who supposedly took a bold step by catching hold of the propagators of another religion and by ‘teaching them a lesson’.

 

The video presents a man announcing himself to be making this video from Dera Bassi toll plaza at 11 o’clock at night. Dera Bassi is a satellite town of Chandigarh.

 

The camera zooms in on three faces. The man claims that he caught the trio in the act of distributing pamphlets in the toll plaza. The pamphlets are supposedly aimed at promoting a minority religion. What happens beyond this is too contentious and too graphic to be elaborated here, considering my own safety and sanity.

 

I am anyway not of the opinion to give such videos a chance for more traction. This is the same reason why I am not sharing the video here.

 

But I wanted to leave a message for the person posting such a message as well for those who might have been encouraged to share it in other groups. I wrote the following sweet-coated yet tart lines in reply to the post. Kindly put up with me a few more moments to go through them and let me know how you think about them.

 

Religion is about love not hatred or force. Religion is love for God, love for self, and love for others. Religion is about being capable to treat the people belonging to your faith in same way as you would treat people belonging from other religions.

If anybody is forcing someone to do something or not do something in the name of faith, it is not religion. In fact, this act can bring the greatest disgrace to the religion. Hindu religion is based on the principles of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It advocates the simple truth that ‘the whole world is one family’.

In a secular democracy, everyone has the right to follow and propagate their religion.

 

If Christian missionaries are spreading their religion through pamphlets, Hindu missionaries like Ramakrishna Mission, ISKCON, and Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship are also propagating the principles of Hindu religion across hundreds of countries around the world. Had those countries barred us from spreading Hindu religion, we would have shrunk to the confines of a handful of countries only.

Therefore, I request everyone not to spread such messages that divide people on religious lines.

 

Having said that, I would like to draw your attention to an important aspect of unfiltered forwards. I request everyone to inculcate a habit of contemplating on every message before forwarding it to others.

 

You may be hell-bent to share nationalistic messages. You may feel duty-bound to share a message informing about a lost child or about how a chivalrous group of people just saved your religion from extinction.

 

But do give it a thought whether it is serving the purpose of national building or public in reality or not. The message may be based on fake news, may be politically motivated, may be aimed at inciting communal violence, or may be simply a prank.

 

You may use the following checklist to self-assess your message before forwarding.

  1. Checked the factual correctness
    • Did the sender verify the facts? ☐
    • If the message includes a phone number or weblink, did you try calling the number or visiting the website? ☐
    • Did you verify from authentic news sites? ☐
    • Did you check with fake-news-buster websites like Alt News and Hoax Slayer? ☐
  2. Understood the motive
    • Does the message put any political party in unusually bad light? ☐
    • Does the message portray any particular person, community, or nation negatively? ☐
    • Does the message sound too beneficial or too helpful to be true? ☐
  3. Checked if it incites violence
    • Does the message incite violence? ☐
    • Does the message contain too much of graphic detail? ☐
    • Is the message safe for children to view? ☐

 

If you think I have left out any, you may add your own to the list in the comments section below. Thanks.

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Filed under: Current News, General Awareness, Heresy, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

God as I Saw Him!

Years ago I held a very heretic view on God. I even wrote a long diary entry on some day in August 2003, which I happened to stumble upon today evening. Here’s a reproduction of the same. Remember, this is very personal.

……………….

My Impression of God (Illustration: Ranjit K Sharma)

My Impression of God (Illustration: Ranjit K Sharma)

I have always been a follower of my will. I do not know how many times I have wondered at the question “How can I follow someone whom I do not know?” It was increasingly becoming difficult for me to repose faith on any of the existing Gods! So I went on to create Him as Voltaire once said “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The God I have created is out of my own caprice. I call Him the Unknown.

God is more powerful, beautiful and naive at the same time than the most powerful, beautiful and naive being you have ever seen or have thought of. God is larger or smaller than the largest or smallest thing you can think of. God is INFINITY (∞) PERSONIFIED. God is larger than all the galaxies of the Universe put together. He is also smaller than the smallest hadron or quark particle. God does not need a Trishul, Chakra or a Wand to protect Himself. He does not need a Dhoti, Saari or a robe to cover His shame! In other words, God is Someone who is beyond the wildest imagination of the human civilisation.

On God, Einstein once remarked, “God does not play dice!” to which I would add, “God does not only play dice, He does not do anything which we mortal beings do.” To sum up, I would say God is the Unknown. We can do very little using the knowledge of our present civilisation as tools to understand God.

Can you answer this? If Shri Krishna has created us, why has He given us tribulations to worry about and prayers to appease Him?

We are yet to understand God. Karl Marx once commented, “Religion is the opium of the masses.” Suppose there is a lighted candle placed inside at the centre of a circular room having colourful windows. If we take the lighted candle for God, then each window will be a religion. Since the window panes are coloured, we can never get a glimpse of the True God.

Rituals in any religion do help in disciplining ourselves; but they never help in reaching God the Unknown.

Hinduism never taught me to go vegetarianism. It is a simple discipline which I brought to myself. It is my way of saying, “Yes, I do have control over my thought and deeds.” Similarly by donning the cleanest of clothes after bath and making a prayer to Him, I only feel, “This is the time I am closest to Him.”

If there is self-discipline in you, if you can impose austerity unto you, if you can feel the pain in others then, you are a religious person.

People use religion as the tool to understand God. But by knowing only one religion you can but have a very biased view of God.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article in a newspaper. I wanted to mention about this article here because it is almost fully in agreement with whatever I said above. Here is the article.

Filed under: Heresy, Philosophy, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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