Monday, November 27, 2017

GOD’S CONTEMPLATION IN RATIONAL & PRACTICAL ENVIRONMENTS

The personified God is worshipped as the centralized controlling authority influencing every moment of our lives. Moreover, the symbolic undertaking of God creates the fear factor that He is a punishing Being if not believed in His existence. This fear is one reason for His adoration and ceremonial development.

One can experience His eternal spirit through principled and righteous living, but not in His ritualistic perseverance. Morality does not descend just by believing in His existential image, but it does by knowing Him.
Merely believing that God exists is a ritual.
It is a practice based on our mindset image of His embodiment up there and everywhere. When we form an image of Him, then God gets personified. In this dominant perspective, most people believe in His existence. This devotion does not lead to His real study. The buzzword does not establish a logical understanding about Him or Her. Instead the image and ritual-based god is acknowledged without keen awareness.
And when this stereotyped expression of His existence gets invoked then the devotee does not go beyond that commitment, he or she mistakenly believes and asserts to be a “religious person.”
The formal acceptance of God only signifies His residential existence.
But God does not exist only. Instead, He is a functional institution through which His actuality can be better assessed. In His practical perception, God’s presence is more meaningful, offering rational and pragmatic awareness of Him.
The personified God is worshipped as the centralized controlling authority influencing every moment of our lives. Moreover, the symbolic undertaking of God creates the fear factor that He is a punishing Being if not believed in His existence. This fear is one reason for His adoration and ceremonial development.
The idolization and ceremonial culture motivate the buildup of rituals and customs which restrict God’s correct image and discernment. His personification causes the existential ritual.
But God is not a ritual.
Contrary to our psychic conviction, rituality is not imperative to religiosity.
One can experience His eternal spirit through principled and righteous living, but not in His ritualistic perseverance. Morality does not descend just by believing in His existential image, but it does by knowing Him.

MISGUIDED ROUTE
The pathway to His residency through the maze of rituals, customs, and traditions is a wrong route where atheists get lost and disillusioned. The disappointment is perhaps their dominant logic to reject His existence altogether.
Those who are atheists are not born atheists. And those who believe in God are not inborn believers either. It is the ritual of the belief that He exists along with many other ingenerated customs and traditions which constitute the conviction and inference of His existence. Many of the rituals which are meaningless, vague, and disconnected are the basis of His non-existence for atheists.
However, for believers, existentialism does not institute the syllabus to study God which involves both rational and empirical approach as far as human faculty can go. It is a spiritual navigation to access and sense the reality of His vast world. It is here the dynamics of God resides which can be realized rather than instinctively or impulsively confirming that He exists.
In this age when there is an explosion of knowledge, and people seek rationality in any given thought, critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning make the right approach to revisit our mindset image of God. At the same time, we must admit to the fact that the human mind has a limitation in seeking truth beyond empirical evidence and rational ideations.
BINARY ASPECT OF GOD
To revisit our mindset conception of God and to comprehend His existence, two perspectives can be acknowledged and studied. This binary aspect of God can offer reasonable cause, message, and the totality of His Being in this universe and beyond. In fact, the combination of these two approaches has the potential in logically revealing His existence and realization.
In this call, one approach is of astronomical nature of His universal and celestial existence beyond our observable scientific capabilities. And the second interest deals with the practicality of His spiritual presence along with our relationship with plants, animals, and our environment. In simple words, one aspect of God is Noun, and the other one is Verb.
God is a Noun, and that means He is an Entity which can be discerned thru His creations in this universe and rest of the macrocosm as far as our scientific advancements can take us, and our intellective imaginations can envision.
God’s true nature is beyond His relationship with humans, plants, or animals.  He is equally tied up with all His creations including stones, rocks, dust, water, air, light and other seen and unseen, known and unknown objects.
It is from this perspective that an overview of His astronomical creations both in the celestial world and in the tiniest of atoms is supportive in the study of God.
In a recent article in the academic online publication, The Conversation, Prof. Emily Thomas of Durham University, reveals that our “universe contains at least two trillion galaxies,” and that “the observable universe, the part of it we can see, is around 93 billion light-years across. The whole universe is at least 250 times as large as the observable universe”. Further, he says “our planet is 150m kilometers away from the sun. Earth’s nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away (that’s around 40 trillion kilometers). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars. The observable universe contains around 300 sextillion stars.”
These astronomical numbers in billions and trillions, supported by scientific configurations, merely suggest the unlimited vastness of God’s kingdom containing everything real and imaginable beyond stars, galaxies, and universes.
As we move down from the expanse of the celestial scene of His creations to the smallest sub-atomic field, we find the infrastructure, nature, and behavior of elementary particles which are the building blocks of the universe. Quantum theory deals with the contents and environment in this realm.
The question is: how we can perceive God’s existence in the spatial worlds as well as in the tiniest of atoms. Prof. Thomas admits in his article “the divine is, after all, mysterious.”
While the human quest is exploring His mysteries, the ontology of His existence needs to be expanded on rationally-based knowledge and astute imagination rather than as a cliché of His presence along with the tagged fear factor, miracles, and ceremonial gratitude.
His known or unknown, visible, or non-visible creations in this universe and the celestial worlds, are not enough in our knowledge-based search to accept His existence as an Entity. There is more than what we see, observe, perceive, and discern both thru empiricism and rationalism.
Behind the physical reality, there also is the psychic, metaphysical, and spiritual truth of His creations which completes His ontological profile.
The study we are undertaking gets us a comprehensive understanding of God as an Entity beyond the Noun creations of human beings, plants and animals, rivers and mountains, rocks, stones and dust, air and water, and everything else.
We are exploring God which may lead us to new frontiers, new explanations, and new definitions besides the astronomic, astrophysics and quantum probes confirming the complexities of His creations which are unlimited.
In this evolutionary study, the scientifically acclaimed Big Bang theory needs to be revisited to ascertain what happened before, and seconds after this explosive phenomenon. What caused that explosion, and who caused it to happen. Was there any numinous force managing the cause and the after-cause when things settled down to their respective shapes and positions.
GREATEST ASSET
Besides investigating the Big Bang theory, the role of philosophy and metaphysics is vital in this learning to add and review of our understanding of God which after all is man’s greatest asset since His realization.
In fact, when all the available sciences and faculties, not just astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, philosophy, and metaphysics, are put together, the Entity of God emerges through the challenging and scientific environment as an explicit Reality. In the fusion of metaphysical and scientific thought, we can discern the true nature of His Being for creditable acceptance.
In the faculty of divine learning, the knowledge explored and gained establishes the existence of God more in tune with the logical behavior of the educated and informed contemporary society. Here the God’s status changes from His personified image to a comprehended believability as a functional Head conducting the affairs of His universes.
We human beings believe those are the only living creatures who breathe, move, have some sound, can think and express feelings. The rest, rocks, stones, air, water, etc., we assume, are dead objects. And the space we and all the contents of the universe occupy, without which everything would appear clustered together, is not recognized as an entity.
Scientifically speaking, everything which exists, including “dead” objects are alive if we go into their microscopic depths. In the breakdown of the atom, its sub-parts are always in moving mode. The Superstring theory of Quantum Reality reveals that at the sub-atomic levels matter exists in small strings. In simple words, everything at its final microscopic grade is made up of tiny vibrating strands like in a musical instrument of the violin.
These strings have repeated oscillatory pattern of vibration. Each model presents the string its mass and force, and that confers it the appearance of a particle. And when the components of a particle are vibrant and produce sound, “dead” objects are not dead, but alive.
What is that energy which keeps the sub-atomic particles moving, the earth and many other planets spinning, and keep everything alive in one form or the other? Known physicist Stephen Hawkins says: “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”
The answers we seek in the “science of God” as Hawkins puts it, can reveal as well as change our whole concept and perception of God which can be more acceptable in our questioning society.
GOD IS ACTION, AND ACTION IS GOD
And once we start getting more answers we can realize that the concept of God moves from His residential existence to more logical and practical setting. Besides, this is where our second approach of God as a Verb appears, and which is the functional concept of Him in every moment of our lives.
When we say God is a Verb, our numinous gear shifts mentally and physically into action, initiated and inspired by Noun God. Here the existence of God can be realized not through sciences and philosophies, but only through moral actions.
Being a Verb and a Noun is a two-faced concept when God becomes action, and action becomes God. The famous statue of dancing Nataraj installed at the Centre for Research in Particle Physics, CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research), in Geneva, signifies the transcendental unifying entity of the dancer and the dance, or the Performer and the Performance.
In action lies the vibe of God. His feel, His recognition are the results of actions which we undertake. In this environment, our mindset actuality of God changes from image-based to action-based.
In action-based reality of God, the keyword is righteousness. And the latter is the place which transforms itself into the existence of His Being. In this context, He is not a physical entity, but He is there in the ambiance of the righteous performance of the act.
Here we are renouncing the residency of God from rituals and customs, and the structural places guarded, controlled and managed by the priest class since antiquity. Instead, His existence is caused by our pious and meditative actions where He resides.
And once we explore and practice God, meaning righteousness, in our logical thoughts and actions, the experience syncs well with the contemporary society seeking rationality and common sense while rejecting baseless and irrational rituals, miracles and fears.
In this prudent direction, our karmas play the crucial role in creating the environment where God is involved in His guiding role. We are seeking the Karma-based God through our righteous or spiritual thoughts and deeds. And when we are in that environment, we are like the Nataraj dancer where Karma is God, and God is Karma.
Karma is a very simple philosophy. It basically means action, deed, or work. It is an act of doing something.  But it is not fate. The latter is the product of Karma. Consciousness and karma together find a meaningful relationship in realizing the concept of God in His action-based reality.
In our ongoing study about the existence of God in rational and practical environments, including all of His visible and invisible, known and known creations across all the universes, as well as our righteous thoughts, imaginations and actions, the very realization of His presence is a prayer in itself. And this the invocation and worship of God which can find ready acceptance in the contemporary logic-based civic society we live in.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

INDIAN MAID: BUT SHE WAS NOT “SUPPOSED” TO ENTER KITCHEN




November 21, 2017


By Promod Puri
I don’t know if she belongs to the class of housemaid, aka “bai”. If so, then her status could be upgraded in India’s class and caste society.
She had a regular assignment at our home around 11 every morning and finishing her limited but reserved task in 15 to 20 minutes. It was the most needed part of daily cleaning.
She was a Christian Punjabi-speaking girl in her teen years. Most kids in her age group were in schools at that time studying and playing. But here she was punctual in her daily routine seven days a week.
Besides our house, she was duty-bound attending few other households in the neighborhood.
I remember when coming to our place she was often provided “breakfast”, which most of the times was some leftover food. She had a designated cup and a plate set aside for her exclusive use.
Her monthly income if I remember correctly, was about 50 rupees back in early ‘60s. And she often asked for raise. Her requests were quite legitimate when comparing the nature of her work with maids doing household chores including washing dirty dishes.
As her work was considered “contaminated” she was not supposed to enter kitchen or other rooms as a maid helper.
By nature, she usually was a quiet person with innocent lively expressions. But there occasionally were some disquiet and afflicted rebellious moods as well.
She was from the class of people from the lowest ring of the Indian caste system who converted themselves as Christians from the Hindu faith. Their “Basti” or settlement constituted a segregated community which was a few miles away from our neighborhood.
The place was called Bhangi Colony. And she belonged to the Bhangi caste. Her professional title was “Bhangan” doing the dirty occupation of “manual scavenging”. According to the Wikipedia “manual scavenging is a caste-based occupation involving the removal of human excreta from bucket toilets or pit latrines.
A few years back the profession by law was declared illegal.
However, the rebellion she felt in her teen years is still there among the people of her clan or community against the dehumanizing practices rooted in the social customs of India.
I don’t know if our “Bhangan” is still around. But the profession she was involved continues. And her upgrading for equality is still pending in India’s degrading social behavior which often defies the laws.
(The article above carries some fiction)
Promod Puri is a writer and author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions”. Read more of his articles in https://progressivehindudialogue.com/ and promodpuri.com

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Seeking Evolution In Religions

Rituals, customs, and traditions provide bulk and mostly false identity to a religion. If these are detached from all the religions, then we can see fundamentals of moral and righteous teachings are the same in each of them.
Pathways to divinity are infused with words of morality and ethics, principles, and noble deeds. Many meaningless and vague rituals and customs, while being overly dominating in the institution of religion, create potholes in these pathways. And followers of religions are often get holed up in the potholes.
From the mass availability of knowledge and independent learning thru Internet, Google, and other media, critical thinking can be gathered to review each of these ritualistic values in our individual religious orders. In this debut exercise, one can see the oneness of our religions in their philosophies and messages.
This could be a spiritually enlightened movement at the personal level which may catch up and impact the institutional practices. What we are seeking is a  logical objective which can get us to the sameness of all the world religions, but still with linguistically and culturally diverse names, like those of God.


Friday, November 3, 2017

PUMPKIN'S KARMA

Now that Halloween is over, I would say that the most abused and wasted vegetable of the season is the most gigantic and nutritive pumpkin. Left out in the chill of autumn nights, most pumpkins rot, and finally dumped. Is that his or her karma carved by custom and tradition.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DOES RELIGION HAS ITS ROLE IN POLITICS


Whereas rituals, customs and traditions furnish symbolic and distinctive identity to a religion, the pathways to divinity which are paved with morals and ethics, are often debased by its despicable ceremonial rites and practices.
It is in this context that the contemporary and progressive political ideologies disdain religion. Its nature is customarily interpreted thru inherent ritualistic practices rather than its doctrines of ethics and noble thoughts. Read more in my essay on this issue.
-Promod Puri

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NIQAB, BURQA AND MYANMAR MUSLIM REFUGGES

Whereas, Rohingya Muslims refugees from Myanmar, over half a million in number, are battling terror, exhaustion, and hunger in Bangladesh, here in Canada Muslim-right women, with the support of so-called anti-racist progressive activists, and vote-hungry opportunist politicians, are battling to save their right to wear burqa and niqab as against the upcoming ban in Quebec.
20Burqaban1-master768 05USBriefing-Rohingya-articleLargeHumanism demands that women combating to retain their burqas and niqabs to protect their social or religious traditions and cultural identities, should move their curtains and look at the crisis and sufferings faced by fellow Muslims who are being kicked out from their homeland by Buddhist-dominated Myanmar government as part of its ethnic cleansing drive.
Promod Puri

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hinduism Thrives In Its Open Structure


BY PROMOD PURI

Hinduism is a wide-open structure. It is an abode where believers in God, atheists, and ethicists can comfortably reside together and share their knowledge, beliefs, and experiences for the betterment of humanity and its environments.
Hinduism evolves by itself in its conflicting, contradicting, and controversial framework. In its spacious design and architecture, Hinduism is open for questioning, debate, and discussion
Hinduism has never been run by any centralized religious authority. As such it has evolved its own flexible, resilient, and even firm dynamics along with rationales, metaphysical and mystical beliefs which are not binding.
From rituals to idol worship, mantra and metaphysics, karma, and moksha, to meditation and yoga, and all its recreational aspects like music, dance, and drama, Hinduism is disciplinary as well as a comprehensive experience of spiritual development in liberal and progressive regime.
Hinduism is not merely “a way of life”, but much more than that.
(Read more about Hinduism in “Hinduism beyond rituals, customs, and traditions”).