Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Public Diary 13: New Year, Religion and other Foolish Things

(All is Well)

What was 2013? And what 2014 is going to be? Does this December 31st night exactly make any difference from the night of 30th or 29th? People will talk, party, dance, drink, eat, have sex, meditate, go to temples, churches, mosques or any other religious establishments, some people fire crackers, most of them send text messages, emails and many more would make phone calls. They all wish each other and say that the coming year would be really different from the one that has is in the process of going out. Horoscopes say that everyone would do great. Ministers and politicians pronounce New Year greetings. Advertisers ask people to shop till they fall dead. Tourist operators ask people to travel. Restaurants ask people to have wonderful dinners. Priests ask people to come and pray.

All these happen because we all think the year that has gone just now was not good enough. This illusion has been operational for quite some time. Do you remember what exactly you were doing last year this time? You were perhaps sitting in the same place or in some other place, like a tourist destination, or a restaurant or a discotheque or in a party, sipping your wine and enjoying the talks and hoping for the best. You also might have hundred and one text messages, made phone calls and even embraced each other. Then what happened? Have you ever thought of it? In fact nothing happens. It is just about social control. One can think about the people who introduced Roman Calendar or even about the reason for introducing Calendars at all. From astronomy to agriculture the reasons could be far and wide. I am not getting into a scholastic discussion about that. But Calendars change when twelve months are exhausted. A new year is born. A normal thing. And it is always good to celebrate something new arrives or happens. Celebration is one way of putting away all the sour tastes that we have been accumulating over a period of time. But what about that feeling of betrayal, the feeling that the year that has just gone by was also a much expected, celebrated year. But you dump it as if it were a piece of dirt. Why you do that?

I am a person who uses memories and the past experiences to live and I live in my writing. When I am not writing or reading, I am just an organism that exists. Like any other writers, past and memories are raw materials for me. However, philosophically speaking, I do not have anything to do with the past, mine or others’. What is the use of the past? The fact is that past was once present and today’s present was once the future? What did this past, present and future do to us? Do they make any difference? I can tell myself or to others that tomorrow is another day. They suddenly will think about tomorrow and feel better. Or I ask someone to think about the past and learn from it. Then also they feel good about it because they are no longer attached to that past. To someone else I would say focus on future. Then they too would feel good about it because the future is still a mystery; a yet to come thing. But these are all illusions. Social structures and social conditioning make people to believe in all these nonsense. So they keep celebrating New Years, birthdays, death days and so on.

I can say this for sure because I have attended a lot of New Year parties. The next day people just do not even remember what they have done. When you are young and in love you think about your lover or beloved and sending a message at 12 midnight is something quite exciting. But that is all about when you are blind or blinded by passions. You feel something very special. Actually there is nothing special about it. You have been doing the same at different times, day or night even yesterday, day before yesterday, but today you attach some values to it. This is a social ritual which has been slowly turned into a ritual of commerce through gradual social and mental conditioning. Today I saw a hardly two year old child at the lap of his mother in a metro train. The child was using his father’s super tech mobile phone and was listening to the music of his choice. The adeptness with which the child was moving his fingers on the touch screen and choosing the stuff that he wanted to listen was really amazing. But it is sad too. The child has learnt a wonderful social skill but certain of his faculties have been numbed in the process. What happens to the children of today’s world is what has been happening to us for the last hundred years.

On this day, anyone cares to read this blog, which is also my public diary, I would ask them to shun all kinds of social rituals. Religions contribute a lot to these social rituals. So shun religion. Great scholars say that one should stick to one’s religion at least for the sake of having roots. But I would say, one does not need any religion at all because there is only one religion that is commerce, which in fact is not a bad religion. The commerce religion brings job opportunities to people. Corporate executives become the priests, other lower rank executives become retailers of this religion and we all become the devotees of it. When such an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent religion is in place why should one think about other religions at all? Religions do not bring you any solution. They do not lead you to a brighter future. One young boy in the metro was calling up someone and telling that after a party he had to go and attend a jagaran. But the boy simply does not think why should he attend a jagaran if he is attending a party or vice versa. If he is looking for fun and instant deliverance, party is more than enough. Religion also provides the same; instant moksha.

I ask all my friends, on this day to unlearn their religions and become just human beings who operate in the world based on their common sense. No god is going to come and help you out of any kind of problems that you are in. No god is going to help you to pass an examination or to get a job. If gods could do everything then why should one work at all? Some kind of bhakti would have alleviated all poverty from the world, all sufferings, all wars, all pestilence and even he would have saved women from getting raped, children from dying out of cold and the old and poor from destitution. So please understand that this religion thing is as commercial as the market. Both create a desire for the non-existent. And the better evil is the market, not god. Now if you are going to counter me with the so called spiritualism, it is another market. A real spiritual person does not go around and say that he is spiritual because he just does not that he is spiritual. All what is happening in the name of spirituality, yoga and all the related aerobics and exercises are just hogwash. These are all made to fool people and make profit. If you are buying a ticket for a yoga class, or a spiritual retreat or a satsang, or even if it is coming for free, let me tell you, you are in the market place. You are going to buy something illusionary thing. You taste it and you feel the taste, and after a moment it is gone.

I have visited god men and god women. I have gone through Tantric rituals. I have consulted oracles. I have done all kinds of things thinking that all those things would bring changes to my life. Changes might have come but I have not observed it. If at all I have observed, all those things have come from my work. Once I was in front of an oracle. She opened her hairs, brandished her sword, jingled her bells and told me that I lost all money because I was a drunkard. Perhaps, that was an eye opener for me. I am a person whose name could be added to the list of stingy people. I am parsimonious. I do not spend money. I do not even drink a cup of tea from a shop. Then how can I become a spendthrift. Then, me being a drunkard; I drink moderately. If I do not drink also nothing will happen to me. If I drink, then too nothing happens to me.  I never squandered money on drinks. In a friends’ place where I have access anytime there a private bar with all kinds of drinks and he has even asked me to drink anything whenever I feel like. But till date I have not even touched something from that bar. Not because I am afraid of doing so or losing a friend. But because I think that drinks make me dull. It never energizes me. So I said good bye to the oracle and left her to her own fate. I have worn iron rings, golden rings, rings in all the fingers. Nothing has happened. And today I am sure nothing will happen with these things.

People are blinded by religion and spiritual practices. They have been just taken for a ride. I like to go to the religious places just to feel the place. I have never felt a sense of bhakti in crowded places. I feel choked and suffocated. With a friend of mine I used to go to the famous Hanuman temple in Connaught Place. People are treated differently in religious places. Rich and powerful get direct access to god. Hanuman temple is also not different. I used to stand and wonder why I was there. But I have enjoyed the foolishness of my friend and the rest of the people there. Once I went to Shirdi Sai temple in Shirdi. Ten thousand rupees was stolen from the bag of my wife right inside the shrine. Initially I thought it was supposed to go. Or it was what Baba wanted. Then I said, it is bullshit. Baba cannot be a pick pocket. It is a nexus, of priests, police, politicians and the pickpockets. So there is no god in the places where you think there is. I do not know what is god or who is god. God is a notion passed on to me by the culture in which I was born. So I carry it. But I have grown up enough to understand that God, if at all, all those values embodied in that word, is there, he or she is right there inside me or next to me. I am not talking anything new. People have said it in different forms. But nobody heeds. I am repeating it thinking that someone would listen to my words. Even if you do not listen nothing will happen to me.

Let me tell you, New Year is another reason they have created to make you believe in God. You will feel grateful to god because he is giving you another chance to be alive and happy. And nobody says that it was he who had been keeping us unhappy throughout this year, dangling the carrots of happiness for the New Year. So dear friends, if you are drinking drink well, if you are dancing dance well, eating do that well. That’s all what you can do. Tomorrow could be a holiday, but day after tomorrow things are the same. You are your god. You make and break yourself. There is no New Year. It is just tomorrow, another happy day at work.

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