10 Vedic Gods even Hindus wont recognise

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Here’s a list of Vedic gods from the Rigveda (with references).

1. tanūnapāt (book 1, hymn 13) [तनूनपात्]

2. ulūkhalaḥ (book 1, hymn 28) [उलूखलः]

3. romaśā (book 1, hymn 126) [रोमशा]

4. idhmaḥ (book 1, hymn 13) [इध्मः]

5. sinīvālī (book 3, hymn 32) [सिनीवाली]

6. drughaṇaḥ (book 10, hymn 102) [द्रुघणः]

7. vibhinduḥ (book 8, hymn 2) [विभिन्दुः]

8. asamātiḥ (book 10, hymn 60) [असमातिः]

9. iṣudhiḥ (book 6, hymn 75) [इषुधिः]

10. asunītiḥ (book 10, hymn 59) [असुनीतिः]

Did you remember any of the above mentioned gods being spoken about whenever you were in a Hindu temple or whenever you met your Hindu friends and discussed their mythology?

The most probable answer is a NO. Why? Because these gods are out of order or defunct. These gods are out of fashion. Why? Because man kept on improving on his imagination of a god. What does it mean then? It means that man created these gods, and kept on changing them as and when he felt the need to do so. The above mentioned gods were being worshipped here in India thousands of years ago, and now almost no one has even heard about them. Fashions change, so do gods.

Note: There are many more. Search online for copies of the Vedas and add as many as you would like to.

© Satyan Sharma 2015

image courtesy:londonmandir.baps.org

Behind Mother Teresa’s Charity

come be my light image courtesy: amazon.com

Recently I got the book titled ‘Mother Teresa: Come be my light, The private writings of the Saint of Calcutta’. This book contains several letters which she sent and received. There was a furore at the comment of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in which he said that the main motive behind Teresa’s charity was religious conversion. Masses seemed to support Teresa blindly partly too because Bhagwat is popularly termed as a fundamentalist Hindu. All they had to say was that she was too pure for such a motive. This book presented her own words regarding her motive. Her words are stated on page 43 which read:

The Particular End is to carry Christ into the homes and streets of the slums, among the sick, dying, the beggars and the little street children. The sick will be nursed as far as possible in their poor homes. The little children will have a school in the slums. The beggars will be sought and visited in their holes outside the town or on the streets.

Carrying Christ into homes and streets of slums doesn’t seem so light when viewed from the angle of a Christian nun. It directly points to telling people about Christ and motivating them to embrace the religion. Further on page 98, in her letter to Father Van Exem, she has told what Jesus told her. The words of Jesus are:

My little one-come-come-carry me into the holes of the poor.- Come be My light-I cannot go alone- they don’t know Me-so they don’t want Me. You come-go amongst them(poor), carry Me with you into them.-…In your immolation-in your love for Me-they will see Me, know Me, want Me

It is clear by the words of Jesus that ‘carrying Christ into homes and streets of slums’ was aimed at Jesus being made known to the poor which would end in them wanting Jesus, hence them embracing Christianity.

Many people will say, so what if she preached Christianity, she helped the poor, the diseased. Here I’d like your attention to fall on the words of Teresa mentioned on page 92. She said to Father Van Exem, “The poor are bitter and suffering because they have not got the happiness that poverty should bring if borne for Christ.” So the problem isn’t poverty, the problem is the absence of Christ with the poor.

On page 116, she tells Cardinal Perfect of the Sacred Congregation of Religious Rome, “There are millions who live in Indian cities and villages in ignorance of God and of Christ, in abominable sinfulness. We shall bring them to Christ and Christ to them.” I don’t think now that there should be any doubt regarding the meaning of ‘carrying Christ’.

One incident calls for your attention which she mentions in her letter to Archbishop Knox on page 254. She says, “The old man asked for a cigarette and how beautiful of God- in my bag there were two packets of [the] best cigarettes. A rich man gave them to me that morning in the street. God thought of this old man’s longing.” So she thought that it was holy and healthy to give cigarettes to the man. We all know how bad smoking is for the lungs and hence for the whole body. I don’t think anyone would appreciate Teresa for this incident also because she didn’t even care about what she was receiving as donations, at least in this case.

On page 309 she tells Father van der Peet, “The work for “Aids” [AIDS] keeps growing fruitfully. No one has died without Jesus. There is so much suffering among our Poor all round the world.- We are now in 77 countries over 350 houses. Can you imagine- poor people entering Heaven from all sides-… in New York- already over 50 have died a beautiful death… Jesus must be very happy to have those thousands coming to Him, with love from Calcutta.” So the major contribution of Teresa seems that she sent many a poor to heaven, and Jesus would love it (Jesus’ thirst for souls is mentioned numerous times in the book).

Reading the book you’d come across letters in which Teresa repeatedly mentions her losing faith in God. On page 257, her words in her letter read: “I love them [Sisters & Poor] as I love Jesus- & now as I do not love Jesus- I do not love them either. I know this is only feelings- for my will is steadfast bound to Jesus & so to the Sisters & the Poor.” On page 250, she tells Father Neuner, “If there is hell- this must be one. How terrible it is to be without God- no prayer- no faith- no love.

On page 282, to an M.C. Sister, she says, “Suffering, pain- failure – is but a kiss of Jesus.” What would be the implication of this line? It would mean that all the suffering and pain and failure is bringing you closer to Jesus and hence do not improve upon your position or you will lose Jesus.

There’s a need to look beyond popular images. If you have to appreciate or blame a person, do it with facts in hand. Stereotypes serve no real purpose when it comes to finding truth.

The book is a must read for both the followers of Mother Teresa and the sceptics.

© Satyan Sharma 2015

Logic & Morals

Many people think there is a connection between being godless and being moral-less. The base of all morals is peace. The want of peace motivates a person to adjust with his surroundings. Any reasonably intelligent person would know that for his optimum prosperity, he needs a peaceful environment. If he has disputes to solve, stress would engulf him and he’ll not be able to give in his best input. That’s how it is. It is totally logical to prefer peace to dispute.

So all the behaviour that follows such an understanding, is moral behaviour. It is clear that you can derive moral values by logic.

© Satyan Sharma 2015

FROM SPIRITUALITY TO PRACTICALITY

I gained interest in spirituality after my paternal grandmother’s death. I saw her dying in front of my eyes just after my brother and I had finished up with chanting the ‘Mahamrtyunjaya’ mantra.  A strange feeling of ‘vairagya’ or disgust entered into my mind after that. I began looking forward to study life, not in a laboratory but in a temple. Everything in this universe seemed to me like a player in an enormous game, just when one is finished playing it, he’s gone. It started with great sadness and then transformed into a philosophical view.

After the last rites were completed in the presence of the priests, my father, his elder brother, my elder brother and I took her bone remains, packed them into a bag and left for Haridwar. Just when I entered the ‘holy’ city, heard the bells ringing, the mantras being recited, saw the Sadhus passing by, my philosophical eye turned sharper and clearer. It was like an indirect confirmation of my new thought process.

After letting the bone remains flow into the Ganga River, I happened to purchase a book on Vedas from a nearby stall. I then started reading it. The first impression was that the stuff written in it was something really serious and deep about which some Hindu philosophers say ‘beyond the human intellect’. Then the second part was the language. I don’t know if anybody feels this way but I found the Vedic language to be really cool, which then transformed into my interest in the language itself.

Honestly speaking, I didn’t find it much useful for my philosophical thoughts. They were more like praises of the natural and celestial gods. I found only a few verses clearly talking about what I wanted to listen to.  Maybe the mantras weren’t selected properly for the book. But whatever it is, the mantras belonged to the Vedas only.

Then I moved on to the other scriptures like Brahma Sutras, Bhagawad Gita, other Upanishads and all. The thirst was increasing day by day. I was getting obsessed with the idea of Siddhis and Yoga. I even went on to declare to my family that I would lead my whole life as a celibate. But natural the family members were uncomfortable with that. Then one day I happened to read an online article on celibacy. As I went on reading it, I came across very disturbing viewpoints. The author said that a celibate (male) shouldn’t talk to women, he shouldn’t appreciate women for anything, and he should imagine women in a dirty manner so that he develops a feeling of disgust towards them. I felt seriously offended. Thus began my aversion to this form of brahmacharya.

My thoughts gradually evolved out of the box. The negative impact of the past was that I felt too shy to talk to my female classmates. This is the reality. The celibates actually become more sensitive towards the opposite sex, strength is an illusion. I finally accepted myself as a human being. I accepted my body as a critical part of my life. I feel a lot lighter now, unlike then where I would unnecessarily develop sexual thoughts for any woman involuntarily; because I was becoming too sensitive about the issue.

I then again went into the philosophy of Yoga. It appears very lucrative to a man in stress or a man of ideals. But I found it practically not feasible at all. The reason is that it tells us to view everybody and everything as equal & inseparable. This kind of equality isn’t healthy for the judicial system of an individual or of a group. For a Yogi, a criminal and a sadhu/saint is one and the same thing. So I couldn’t follow this philosophy as a whole. I then made it custom designed for me or rather I have a separate philosophy inspired by ‘inseparability and equality’, as in thinking that everybody is an individual and should be inseparable from his or her freedom & liberty.

As far as Brahmacharya is concerned, its meaning is far deep than we know. ‘Brahma’ is ‘that which expands’ and ‘charya’ means ’behavior’. So it would imply ‘open behavior’ instead of celibacy. Proponents of celibacy say that a man should look at every elder woman as his mother, at every similar aged woman as his sister and at every younger woman as his daughter. Can’t we just think of a woman as a woman? Can’t she be just an individual? The Brahmacharya that I follow teaches me to view a woman as a woman. Her body is a beautiful creation in itself. If I get attracted towards it, if I happen to develop a sexual urge towards it, it is natural. I do not understand why people want to stand in the way of nature.

The traditional spirituality makes you feel separate from the body, teaches that there is a ‘spirit’ independently existing, and puts a fear in the mind that we are caught in some cage which gives nothing but pain and suffering. It starts from fear and then ends in disgust, which is nothing but Vairagya. So many negative thoughts poured into the mind at once. I do not find it healthy anymore. If a person has really become a Vairagi (a person feeling Vairagya), I would suggest him to visit a psychiatrist so that he could recover successfully from this kind of a deadly depression.

So I follow practicality (not ‘spirituality’ because I am skeptical about the existence of any ‘spirit’ and also about its ways and means) which has made me more open, now I am like a bigger bowl which can accommodate more stuff in it. Just when you start to feel open, fear begins to leave you. Fear and practicality can’t stay together for long. People say that if there is no fear, there would be more crime. Go deep into it, fear is the very root cause of crime. A criminal has a fear that he would not succeed in his task if he doesn’t go out of the way, if he doesn’t become violent and break the law of the land. Fear stops us from thinking big, every obstacle becomes so magnified that it seems as if the road is totally blocked forever. Consequently we develop such a negative attitude towards life and society that it even attacks people and beings all around us.

We need to remind ourselves of the fact that the tendencies which these spiritual leaders call as sins (lust, anger, greed, delusion, etc.) are given by nature itself. If you stand in the way of nature, but natural the nature would harm you real bad. Accept the existence of these tendencies as a gift, because these very tendencies make you alive, make you human. Only a person with a dead central nervous system would be strong enough not to respond to such tendencies.

I have learned to never take anything in the traditional manner just like that. Test it if it is practically feasible and healthy, check if it doesn’t come in the way of nature.  Let us go hand in hand with the nature, and journey would be the most beautiful journey ever.

© Satyan Sharma 2014

HOW DIFFICULT IS QUESTIONING?

I always notice small kids questioning each and everything irrespective of the quality of the answers given by their elders. Mostly I’ve seen that the elders take kids so childishly that they find it so routine to answer them in a vague or a grossly wrong way. Also that many kids are snubbed because of the same. So in the end of the story, most kids lose the habit of asking questions. They are inquisitive but they question no more. The school classrooms are the evidence as you can verily see kids agreeing more with the teacher and questioning and debating the least. You get to know the depth of that agreement when you test the children’s knowledge out of the classroom. I was one of those kids saying ‘yes’ to every ‘understood?’ (not that my parents snubbed me at every question of mine or gave vague or wrong answers, just that the majority had overpowered my perception) .

This school behaviour continues the whole life. I have seen so many guys and girls at the college and university level just caring enough for the attendance register entry and not ready to question anything, literally anything. Many of the students even lose their inquisitiveness and become susceptible to wrong information as a result.  The teachers are so habitual of this behaviour that when a student questions something, they get uncomfortable. As I started to question my ‘opinion making’ teachers, I sometimes looked like a fool caught inside a group of the intelligentsia who have understood everything and I am so damn dumb.

My question is that ‘why should I believe anyone?’, or ‘why should anyone believe me?’. Belief doesn’t deserve to be devalued to such a level that anybody believes anybody just like that. The spreading of rumours across the country and the world is the evidence that majority people believe anything that is told to them. Our education ‘system’ has been of no use or rather has contributed negatively to the situation.

Now the question arises that ‘how difficult is questioning?’. Have we devalued our own selves so much that we’re ready to believe anything without any investigation? Taking my own experience into consideration, the answer to the last question is definitely ‘yes’. As regards to the difficulty of questioning, most people are so damn lazy that they want no more information. If just we could keep the habit of questioning safe with the kids and let them free to question throughout their lives, then would the world be a better place.

That first point when a parent answers his/her kid wrongly or vaguely or snubs him/her for asking a question, is the point which I consider as the murdering of the ‘individuality’ of the kid. Most people you see around you are ‘murderers’. But yes some of us are unlike the aforementioned. Seeing them I feel that may be one day questioning wouldn’t be so difficult anymore and the world would be a better place to live.

© Satyan Sharma 2014

PURPOSE OF CREATION – A LAYMAN’S ANALYSIS OF THE ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN’ ARGUMENT

If there is a god creator who created this universe, there ought to be a purpose because an all wise supernatural being won’t just randomly create something for fun. So what’s the purpose of creation? Some would say it is unfathomable as we are partly wise & we can’t peep into the plan of an all wise being. But as we are a creation of the all wise being, we must be have been designed to have some sort of an ability to smell the aroma of the overall purpose, and if we don’t have it, then it’ll be a negative score for the all wise being. Some would say that his humility doesn’t allow him to see people appreciate him for his wise creation. Let me introduce you to that humility.

Let’s start with the Sun, is it there to burn for its whole life? Or is it there to give light to earth? Is it there to swell up and evaporate our oceans and burn us (which it would some day)? Is it there to become a black hole and swallow the earth and other planets? The pro-god arguments point toward ‘life’ as being the sole purpose of the almighty’s creation. But a black hole, or a swollen star doesn’t point towards the same. Leave aside the stars for a moment, let’s talk about the brutal earthquakes, the tsunamis, the volcanic eruptions, the forest fires, do they promote or preserve life? You need not be a scientist to know the answer.

Talking about an all wise supernatural being’s wise creation, what do genetic disorders point toward? The natural errors as we know them aren’t a sample of an intelligent design. Even if we agree that there is a god, the god seems to be making errors, same as we do, difference being that he started making them way before we started to make. Or else if one has to prove him way more intelligent than us, then he/she will have to agree that ‘life’ isn’t the actual purpose of the almighty’s creation but something more deep and profound, like ‘randomness’. Randomness is amazing, it is unfathomable just as the almighty, it is unpredictable to the fullest. By randomness I mean to say a lack of plan. A plan of an almighty wise being would mean a wise plan to be strictly followed. The almighty need not change the plan for whatsoever reasons as he wasn’t less wise when he made the plan as he is when executing it.

Let’s discuss the implications of a world where everything happens as per a divine plan. If it’s true that all that happens is in accordance with the wise plan of the super wise being, then where’s the free will? Are we just puppets? If we are just puppets then why blame a thief for theft? He’s just a puppet who is acting according to the divine plan. This way we’ll be erasing all the differences between good and bad. Both’ll become one and appreciable for those who appreciate god’s plan. The judiciary will crash, the economy will go into drains. Whatever happens, let it happen.

Take into consideration the children who die at birth or who die quite early in their life. What’s the plan in that? What’s the purpose behind creating something which isn’t meant to actually function the way it should? I am a car factory owner, and I make cars, but every year I make thousands of non-functional cars, cars that would collapse as soon as they’re on road or cars which would function properly for just a few days. An all wise being is expected at least to not be relying on a trial and error method and failing many lives. Attributing all the complex systems and microscopic precision to god and ignoring all the errors that occur in the same world, isn’t rational.

What we (wise creation of the wise creator) can see doesn’t seem to prove the ‘intelligent design’ argument. For the theists, they must rely on their eyes, brains and all their senses to grab the purest of information as all these organs have been given to them by an all wise being. The Hindus would say that these senses are too deceptive to be relied upon, and I agree yes they are deceptive, what we see and what we feel is just one angle of the whole reality. So is this deception the almighty’s creation? Did the super wise being want his wise creations to be deceived quite a lot? Is this wisdom?

The deception caused by our senses and the fact that we’re just able to see a part of the whole reality directly point toward the purposelessness of the whole ‘creation’. Seahorses are able to see independently on either side of their head. This means they can look forwards and backwards at the same time. I can’t do that, why? The incompleteness of the ‘wise creation’ is that we humans had to invent aeroplanes to fly in the sky, the wise creator didn’t give us wings. The abilities and attributes of living beings are so scattered, that only randomness, that is the lack of a plan, can fill the argument loophole. It is the lack of a wise plan that could explain why elephants can’t just scratch their itching bodies with their own limbs or their trunks. Leave aside elephants, let’s talk about our own selves. Ever experienced that itch on your back when you either used a tool or asked for someone’s help to get relieved of that itch? Eating and breathing through two holes connecting at one single point and getting choked to death doesn’t seem to be an intelligent plan.

If the design isn’t so intelligent, then the creator ought not be so intelligent too. And that’s where we lose the pro-god arguments. What’s more important is that the theists present their intelligent-design argument solely on the basis of their limited perception of the universe. What if, the ‘actual’ creation isn’t so beautiful? I being a budding rationalist consider the natural error in my argument against the existence of an all wise almighty supernatural being. The base of the pro-god arguments is the plan, the intelligent design, which can be easily disproved by the single fact that we perceive only a limited part of the vast reality. I visit an art exhibition and just look at a small tiny portion of a painting from one angle and call it the best of the best art pieces. Is it a rational conclusion? No. To judge something, one ought to look at the maximum portion of it, perceive it better.

Being a rationalist, I don’t judge the perceivable universe and say,  “look how foolish is it”. What I say is that it is so random that it can’t be called a planned wise execution of an all wise supernatural designer. Even if you say that my inability to see the whole reality makes me feel it is random, you don’t score more, we both stand at the same level. But I have one point to move a step ahead of you; that is if we aren’t able to see the whole reality because of physical restrictions, are we badly designed as far as perception is concerned? Or does the superwise being not want you to be embarrassed by seeing the actual universe he has made? Or is he just too shy or coward to share his works with us? Wouldn’t it be profitable for him to show his ‘beautiful’ universe to us in better perspective as we’d be better fixed in his faith? Think.

© Satyan Sharma 2014