Restructuring Religion

It was supposed to have been a rallying point for people. It was supposed to have been a tool to get the common man to believe, and to discipline them, to get them off the ‘wrong’ path. Religion seems to have gone the opposite direction. At least individual religions have. In my opinion, the time to restructure these religions is already past, but better late than never, eh?

Let’s start with my own religion, Hinduism. It’s an ancient religion, that has been fragmented and ‘revised’ to such an extent that it’s practices in one part of the country is almost unrecognisably different from another part! While many temples dedicated to Goddess Kali in some parts of India still see animal sacrifices and the offering of the sacrificial meat to the deity, at other parts even the mere mention of a non-vegetarian food is a sin.

Now, I am never against someone choosing a vegetarian diet and sticking to it, but I am definitely opposed to people justifying the eating of pure vegetarian food with religion. And that’s because they try to use guilt to make their point.

More often that not have I heard the argument that the stomachs of non-vegetarians are actually cemeteries for dead animals. If that’s true, then by the same logic, the stomachs of vegetarians are also cemeteries for plants, and the latter practice is crueller, because while animals can make a noise or try to resist, plants can’t even do that!

Then there are those who say that certain animals are our gods or mothers, and should not be eaten, or even slaughtered. Yes, I am talking about cattle, or more specifically, cows here. These people should start avoiding sugar, because it is crystallised using bone charcoal. They should also avoid all sorts of leather clothing and accessories! Isn’t that the ideal way around?

Honestly, I am not trying to convert anyone to non-vegetarianism. All I am asking of you is to stop badgering us in the name of religion or any other thing. There are more religious connotations to this discussion than you can even imagine!

For one, meat-eating has been an integral part of Hinduism long before vegetarianism become fashionable. There are accounts in the Mahabharata of people devouring meat in copious amounts. This is especially true of Bheem, the second Pandav, who was brought fresh meat regularly by a group of ‘lower-caste’ hunters. Even Balaram, elder brother of Lord Krishna, was a devourer of meat of all sorts.

There are other aspects of Hinduism that seem to be utterly ignored these days. I wish someone pointed more of them out.

Then there’s the hugely misunderstood and even more hugely misinterpreted Islam. I once attended a conference on the teachings of Islam, and it had some very learned scholars. I heard them as they explained how Islam says that a true Muslim should always seek his neighbour’s permission before building another storey above his roof, because he needs to be mindful that he is not cutting off his neighbour’s supply of fresh air and sunlight.

How can such an accommodating religion permit the killing of people? The Sharia laws that exist today are derivatives, and the products of a time when they were perfect. Those times have gone, and so is the need to cut off someone’s hand or give someone else a public lashing for some crime they may or may not have committed.

I also believe that it’s time to abolish the religious law that allows a man to take more than one wife. It is a byproduct of the time when men went to battles at a large scale and were killed in large numbers, thereby leaving a lot of unmarried or widowed women around. If it were up to me, I would up change the talaaq laws too, giving the divorced woman more power to access her husband’s wealth, or just a section of it. I have been told that, as of now, if a wife from a financially backward Muslim family is divorced, she has little or no way to eke out a living.

Despite all this, I have immense respect for Islam, more so after reading about the messages that Allah has given through Prophet Mohammed, as written by Khalil Gibran in The Prophet. I believe that any Muslim man should be allowed choose to keep his beard and every Muslim woman should be allowed to choose to wear her Hijab, just as every Sikh man should be given the choice to wear his kachchhakadakangakesh and kirpan.

Thus it is that we come to the furiously religious and even more misunderstood Sikhs. In the USA, they are often mistaken for Muslims, and in their own country, they are the butt of a lot of jokes. However, there is something inherently resilient about the followers of this religion. Never have I seen a Sikh beggar, because they prefer to live on their hard-earned money.

And last, but definitely not the least, is Christianity. I have studied in both a Catholic and a Protestant school, and I say that both branches of the religion have been given a bad rep by residents of Europe and the USA, more so from the latter.

Christianity, as described and preached by Jesus Christ, must have been fascinating for those contemporary to it. Not any more. Where is Christ’s message of love? Looks like it’s all lost in the race of power! Christ once kicked off the tables outside a house of worship because, according to Him, the merchants had turned it into a marketplace. Can He do it once again, please? Can He please teach a certain section of Christians that merely foaming at the mouth at the slightest attack on their religion is not what He had taught them?

And then there’s Judaism, a religion that most remember as the one that believes in only the First Testament of the Bible. I, however, remember it as probably the only religion in the world that orders it’s male followers to make love to their wives on a certain day of the week! Of course, the needs of a woman are much more, but what other religion provides even this much?

Modern-day Islam, in some of its forms, is probably the most brutal in its history! Despite that, it holds no candle to the times when Christian priests killed of thousands of women by just branding them witches! No wonder then, that those were the Dark Ages! Present-day Christianity may be much more liberal, but not so the present-day Christians, many of whom still look to other religions with disgust.

Modern-day Hinduism is no better. Only recently have I come to know of a girl not being able to marry the love of her life because he had been ‘convinced’ by his parents that they were incompatible when it came to their astrological charts! Incidents such as these prompt me to call for the restructuring of all religions, which have become the refuge of many criminals. As they say in Bengali, “Oti bhokti chore-er lokkhon. (an excess of piety is the sign of a thief.)”

I eagerly await your comments, folks. Leave them here, on this blog, please.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. abhishek
    Nov 23, 2010 @ 08:57:39

    Nice,
    neat,
    i finally agree with u on this.
    The part about vegetarians being unreasonable in their logic of not eating meat as its prohibited by Hinduism ,and always mocking us non-vegs was congenial.
    believe me,
    it was needed.
    Though, i feel if everyone turns non-veg, Animals would start disappearing at a pretty fast pace,more than it already is. 😛

    also, The part about modern day major religions deteriorating from their earlier purer versions is correct in my opinion.
    Religion has become more of a political weapon and a hypocritical way used by sanctimonious people to show that u r humane and merciful, rather than a
    tool by which a person tries to follow gods will and experiences a sense of faith in the superpower.
    Personally speaking, I am an agnostic, but i follow all religious acts coz they are a family tradition, a custom running for ages.

    On the whole, i agree that modern day religions need to revamp themselves,
    otherwise the devout followers of each will only decrease day by day.

    Reply

  2. Shuvayu Bandyopadhyay
    Nov 23, 2010 @ 16:10:44

    Yeah! So true about the vegetarians making us(non-vegetarians) look like villains.

    Maneka Gandhi once wrote in her Sunday article in The Statesman, saying that eggs were nothing but the menstrual fluid of hens.. Some people really go overboard.. 😛

    Reply

  3. Radhika
    Nov 23, 2010 @ 20:03:53

    I agree with you…religion is used for everything else but what it should be used for…there are a lot of good things that can come out of being religious, but nowadays whenever someone tells me they are religious, the words rigid and fanatic immediately come to mind.

    Reply

  4. RAX
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 02:02:50

    hello,

    Through my dear friend i have gone through your post.

    The part consisting of Veg and Non-veg discussions was really appreciable and is very logical indeed. Hinduism is now not divided by caste system now. It is now divided by Regionalism.

    The event of comparison On the subject of religion is itself a Mistake. People here are not recognizing the religion of theirs or others they meant to criticize. The wisdom comes with logic and logic comes with study.

    In the second part I have gone through the discussion of Muslim Sharia Laws i.e the system including the practice of marrying more than one wife.

    Let me correct you in detail that according to Muslim sharia Law a man is allowed to marry a second woman Only in the case that this man is accepting to support a woman who is either divorced, socially abandoned and/or mentally or physically exploited.

    It doesn’t mean to use women as a weapon of lust and personal satisfaction according to Sharia Laws a man would be Doing a Big sin if he is Unable to treat all his Wives correctly and giving them equal respect and Love.

    The man is thrown to immediate Hell and is Burnt In Fire according to holy Book Of Quran. So actually it is an interpretation of foolish uneducated humans who tilt the language of religion for their personal interests.

    The same Rule applied to the custom of Tallaqq and would be a sin if mistreated at all.

    The Sikh religion In the first Place was came into force because Of a simple Word introduced by The Great Guru Gobind Singh ji.

    He asked the fellow man and woman in his league to Seekh seekh it means to Learn and learn a lot this League is named then.

    Christian religion is practiced so dearly because it is much moderate and not strict..while Where logic ends religion begins this is the biggest mistake of man.

    The Religion is made so that the humanism can provide Logic to it’s existence…!!!

    Best Regards
    Rax.
    vp.marscoregroup@live.com

    Reply

  5. Partha Mukhopadhyay
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 07:28:09

    Nice post. It is an art to express your feelings, the art that you possess.
    I am in my mid forties, almost 20 years older than you. I feel that over the years religion has been commercialized, making the common man bear the brunt of such an act. There is absolutely no need to make the common Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh remind days in and days out about the teachings and preachings of Ram and Krishna, of Prophet Mohammed, of Christ, of Guru Nanak but that is what a bunch of TV channels are doing which have come up and flourished like fungus. The same act is being done by a handful of so called wise men from every religion in the form of mass gatherings and the common man is falling prey to it. It has become a kind of fashion or status symbol to attend such “Pravachans”, as they call it. Such things were almost totally non existent during my school and college days. Blame it on the flourishing electronic or print media (because religion sells), blame it on the common urban man too occupied by the fast pace of life or blame it on men with unscrupulous intentions? Theism is not to be blamed, what should be denounced is the showbiz associated with it. There is a rat race within the self declared preachers of every religion to steal the show and that is where the breeding ground of hatred lies. I believe in bonding with my God the way I think is most suitable for me; in a secluded corner of my house, but in 21st century India most of my countrymen will nod in disagreement.

    Reply

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