On Tuesday (6th July, 2010) I attended an Hindu program that mainly featured [spiritual] dances and a get-to-know of the religion (Kirtan Yoga) and while the performance was overall interesting and creative, somethings bothered me.
After the show, I wanted to understand if these practitioners (who are mainly high school to college aged) really believe in what they are ‘preaching’ and if they do, how did they come to that belief and more importantly, was this significantly different from the so many other religions plaguing the world today. I proceed to talk to some of them and ask some understanding question, and this is what I learned from the approximately 40 mins discussion between me and about 10 bhakti yogis. (listed in no order of importance)
# Conscious thought has not being put into religiousity:
I figured that all of them where born into the practice and none had taken time to re-think the reasoning of the religion. They all agreed that the religion was all a person needs to lead a satisfying life on earth and beyond. Wait…that rings a bell, isn’t that the same way we have Christian child(ren) and Muslim child(ren)? Being brought up into a religion they haven’t taken the time to stand “out” and look at the ‘wisdom’ they are being ingested with and see if it makes sense. Actually, it does makes sense because I found out that it’s immoral to even question the sensibility of the doctrines, it just makes sense as it is, continual believe unthinkingly.
# Why the need for religion, or this religion, or even a God:
One of the yogis told me that they believe in a personified God (Lord Krishna) who is all and all; wait…like Allah and the Christian God? I doubt a Christian would take that lightly, anyways, I followed up asking, “why do we need this God?” I continued, “look at everything around you, beautiful, in place and function, where is there a need for a being that is actively controlling things in some invisible ways.” I intentionally set up my answer this way as I was expecting a rebuttal of: “Where did all that all began?” But, they cared less about creation or the origin of things. They responded by telling me that those are not ‘solid’ claims enough, that God is needed for our morality (or the sense of it), I wondered.
Why would this smart looking kids think that God is the basis for morality? Are they saying without having some Krishna, they would be violent evil people…I allowed that rest on my mind as I took a different route and gave them a short history of human’s morality as societies evolved.
Outside the reason they have being made to believe (better life in re-incarnation and becoming happy), they can’t give a tangible reason why we need God in the order of things or in daily living.
# Reincarnation and Good living:
The Christians and Muslims want one to be good in our extremely short time on earth (relative to the age of the earth) so we can spend eternity living in the ultimate good place. And this yogis want to reincarnate as a better person leading a better life in their next life–so, be good in this life. I wonder and asked them, how and why those it matter, you have no knowledge of the past life in the present life or vice versa.
I used the illustration of not being born, being born, existing and dying.
When we where not born, it doesn’t matter, we had no consciousness of it; when we start living, we have no consciousness of our state when we where not born, and when we die, we go back to the same state of non-consciousness.
That does not mean something doesn’t happen in those states (I personally don’t think anything does happen), they are just not conscious of themselves.
The same argument holds for heaven and hell or whatever garbage theory is being passed around as the next step after this life–when we die, we go back to the same state as when we where not born.
# Religiosity and personal happiness:
One point I made to the yogis that took them aback was me saying we can’t really be happy, irrespective of what you’ve been told or made to believe.
Religion just creates a sense of security, a mask, a gap-filler, not a source of happiness. They told me that me saying their names (which where sacred names of gods and places) made them happy and satisfied even if I don’t believe in their faith.
All well, as always, it made me happier that their consciousness has been relatively raised, knowing that Lord Krishna might just be as made up as Jehovah, or Allah or whatever god shumans.