The great Indian Democracy

The Great Indian Democracy
The Indian Govt. is in the final stages of purchasing 36 Rafael Fighter jets for the Indian Air Force at a cost of 50,000/- crores. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s, Indian defense purchase almost ground to a halt. For almost a decade the purchases were meager. Suddenly the Kargil war started in 1999. After that India went on a shopping spree to purchase arms to modernize its defense forces. In the next decade, India purchased almost 60,000 crores of defense equipment’s from Israel alone. Now India is the biggest weapons importer in the world. India spends almost 10% of its GDP on defense purchase. Now we know why the Kargil war occurred. The world knows how much General Musharraf collected for starting the Kargil war , which kicked off a huge arms race in the sub continent. Who are the beneficiaries? The top echleons of both India and Pakistan benefitted. The arms dealers like the Choudhries and Nandas flourished, What if some young lives were lost? India could end up spending upwards of Rs.6,70,000 crores on importing arms and weapons this decade alone. Of course, India must have a modern well equipped army. Our jawans must be well protected. They must be provided with state of the art equipments. But we must also understand that nowadays wars are manufactured by those in power. The governments are manipulated and arm twisted into spending on military hardware by the middlemen.
We must also look at how little India spends on its health care and education for the masses, it becomes a glaring contrast. Our cities are choking on pollution. Child malnutrition is the highest in the world, about 42 % of the children are under weight. The country’s youth, the worlds largest, has slim chance of access to quality education, over 60% of its people do not have bathrooms, over 330 million Indians do not have sake drinking water. Thousands of its citizens are harassed and humiliated daily by oppressive and misogynistic institutions. Violence is a daily reality. India has become a very rich country of too many poor people. Over 56 % of the rural population does not have access to electricity. Almost 400 million Indians live without electricity.
A recent survey by the National Institute of Education and planning and administration ( NIEPA) founf that over one lakh of India’s elementary schools had only one classroom. In Bihar over 1200 schools have no buildings at all. Some 27% of these schools are single teacher schools with an average of 100 students each. India has a shortage of almost ½ a million teachers. Over 8 million primary school age children still do not attend school. Even though there are many private educational institutions mushrooming everywhere run by unscrupulous greedy businessmen, they are all out of reach to the poor. All these institutions demand exorbitant fees and deposits which the poor can ill afford. The quality of our engineers are suspect. The higher education institutions are not up to world standard. None of them are bracketed in the top 100 universities of the world. Our engineering and medical colleges are sub standard. Quantity and not quality are the norm.
Likewise the health sector, many multi national big business groups have invested in hospitals. But they are all confined to the urban cities. The rural poor still has to walk miles to reach any health centers. Apart from Kerala, where the govt. health centers and govt. hospitals provide good service to the poor, the rest of India is still very primitive and the poor is neglected. Some 66% of the rural people do not have access to critical medicines, while 31% will have to travel more than 30 km to avail themselves of any health care. Just 28% of of the Indians living in urban areas corner 66 % of the India’s hospital beds. Even the big hospitals are profit centric, exploiting the patients and collecting huge commissions. Scams are aplenty. Trafficking human organs by exploiting the poor are rampant.

India has the one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world. According to statistics from UNICEF, more than 7,000 cases of female foeticide happen daily in the country – and since sex determination in India is a crime – reliable data on female foeticide is missing. Again, while in 1901 there were 3.2 million less girls than boys, according to the 2001 census, this gap has widened to 35 million. In the 2011 Census, data has shown that the child sex ratio in the country declined to 914 girls to 1,000 boys under the age of six.
According to UNICEF estimates, about 65% of rural Indians defecate themselves in the open. Sometimes on the road. Almost 600 million Indians mostly in rural areas are without toilets, a problem that is only in India. Even Bangladesh has declared that they have ended open defecation. In UP alone a staggering 77 % of the rural households do not have latrines. In Bihar it is almost 81%. The national average if 67% without toilets. There are more mobiles than toilets in India. This open defecation also exposes the women to grave risk of rapes.
Owning land is the most empowering asset a citizen can possess. This has been denied to women till now. According to landesa an international NGO, it is estimated that even though 85% of women are engaged in agriculture, only 13% own land of their own. In Bihar it is just 7%. It is a matter of shame for all Indians that more farmers have committed suicide than in any other countries of the world.
Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic. The poor and underprivileged live as rats. No other economy is growing as fast as India’s while simultaneously recording such low progress in reducing malnutrition, eradication of poverty, illiteracy and so on. In the global hunger index, India was ranked at the 55th trailing Sri Lanka and Nepal. In 2009, a planning commission of India study on the distribution of subsidized food item trough the PDS found that only 16 paise out of a One rupee reaches the targeted poor. The remaining 84% went to pay salaries and as leakages and bribes and commissions for the country’s bloated govt.
In its latest report, Mc Kinsey Global Institute says that almost 600 million Indians, or 56% of the Indian population lacks the means to meet their basic essential necessities like food, sanitation, health care, education, water housing, fuel and social security. Despite high growth, more than 3/4th of the Indian population are poor and vulnerable with a level of consumption just above the official poverty line. Inequality has only widened between the haves and have-not’s.
The poor and needy has no assess to the govt. machinery which is controlled by middlemen and politicians. Every aspect of the Indian society is based on dynastic rule. Even the judiciary is now propagating dynastic succession. The justice delivery system has been a big let down. The police and prosecution has proved to be inept and allows the culprits to escape. Convictions are rare especially where high profile personalities are involved. The rich get away with murder. The poor is treated shabbily.
In spite of the high levels of corruption, nepotism, favoritism, racism, casteism, persecution in the name of religion, inequalities and violence, the great Indian Democracy plods on like the proverbial bullock cart. In India there are more religious places of worship than educational and health care institutions combined. Indians still rely on beliefs and myths rather than on rational thinking. Indians love to live in the past. Religion is the biggest holy cow. In spite of the great advances in space, India still remains a cow republic in the eye of the world. The only way to solve this is to invest heavily in the education and health sector. Just the amount of commission and kickbacks in the weapons purchase is enough to provide 100 hospitals or 500 schools in the rural sector. Investing an amount equivalent to 10% of the defense budget in the rural sector will make India zoom up in the standard of life of our citizens. The primary duty of any govt. must be to provide the poor with an income and supporting the farmers who form the bulk of the Indian population. Till date none of the governments have done anything meaningful to help the poor and the under privileged apart from promises on paper. Farmers have taken the brunt of the burden. We need a government which is people friendly and supportive of the farmers. The landless must be provided with lands. The government must change, the system must change. After 68 years of independence, it is high time that this govt. gets its act together. We sorely need a government which promotes equality and protects its citizens rather than promoting divisions and sectarian violence. High time that our politicians start promoting our oneness instead of indulging in divisive politics. Only we can help ourselves and our brethren.

gospel of St Thomas

Gospel of St. Thomas ( Didymus Judas Thomas)
as extracted from the book “ Jesus before the gospels by Bart E Ehrm
Even though Jesus was believed to have 12 disciples, there are only 4 gospels in the new testament which is very puzzling. Christians in Kerala believe that St. Thomas came here in the 1st century and evangelized the people here and converted them to Christians. But unfortunately the so called Christians in Kerala has never heard of the Gospel of Thomas. In the year 1945, the scholars found the gospel of Thomas . Reading this gospel will reveal why the early Christian theologians decided against including this gospel in the new testament. This gospel is more spiritual and stresses on understanding the teachings of Jesus rather than focusing on the virgin birth, resurrection and the church establishment. Unlike the canonical gospels, the gospel of Thomas is not a narrative of Jesus’s life, ministry, death and resurrection. It consists entirely of the sayings of Jesus. Altogether 114 quotes. Thomas does not speak of Jesus as the messiah, or the son of God. He simply calls Jesus as the “living Jesus”.
Another significant thing about this gospel is that it clearly mentions the name of Didymus Judas Thomas as the author unlike all the other gospels which are written by unknown authors according to the version of Mathew, Peter, Mark and John.
Thomas writes “ whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death”. For Thomas, understanding what Jesus really meant by his secret teachings is the way, probably the only way , to have eternal life. Salvation does not come by believing in Jesus’s death and resurrection, or by accepting his virgin birth, or by acknowledging that he is God who became a man. Salvation can be achieved only by interpreting what Jesus had said.
Many Christians believe that they will be the members of the future kingdom of God. But in the gospel of Thomas, he says that future rule and membership is not reserved for the disciples alone. It is open to anyone who seeks the meaning of Jesus’s words, finds it, realizes how disturbing it really is, and then marvels at the truth. Again he says “ Jesus said, the One who seeks should not stop seeking until he finds. And when he finds he will be disturbed; and when he is disturbed, he will marvel. And he will rule over all.
The gospel of Thomas clearly proves that Thomas had a clear understanding of the teachings of Jesus, teaching about the world, the people who are in it and how the people can find salvation. One recurring motif is that the material world is not a good place. This world is lifeless and dead. The One who realizes this will be able to escape and have life. He quotes Jesus “ the one who has come to know the world has. found a corpse, The world is not worthy of that person”
In the gospel of Thomas, this world is not portrayed as a good creation of the good God as presented in the book of Genesis. It is portrayed as a deeply impoverished place that is the realm of entrapment for human spirits who have the misfortune of living here. He is surprised on how the great wealth of the spirit has come to be trapped in the poverty of this material world.
When Jesus came into this world, he saw he humans in this poor state blinded , impoverished and unaware of their real being. Only by understand the truth can a person escape from living in this material realm. That can come only through the secret knowledge that Jesus provides. This knowledge is principally self knowledge., of who you really are as one who has come from the enlightened realm of God into this world. Those who do not realize this about themselves will never escape from this miserable realm. “When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are the children of the living father. Jesus said “ when you strip naked without being ashamed and take your clothes and place them under your feet like little children and stamp on them, them you will see the son of the living One and you will not be afraid.” Like children shedding their clothes, you must shed this body and follow Jesus to escape from this miserable world and experience everlasting life. If its bodily pleasure that makes you appreciate the body, then you should engage in self denial to keep yourself from being tied to the body and thus to this material realm.
Thomas therefore is seen as highly ascetic text, one that urges its readers to avoid the pitfalls of bodily pleasure in the light of the need to liberate the spirit from its material entrapment. The saying of Thomas in his gospel like sayings 1,3,5,16,18,39,46,56,67 etc focus on correct knowing and understanding. You must know what you are and what the world is. All this is revealed in the teachings of Jesus. Those who understand these teachings will not taste death.”
Thomas mocks at Jewish practices like fasting, Sabbath, etc. Saying 53 attacks the practice of circumcision by the Jews. “ if cutting off a baby’s foreskin were profitable, God would have had boys born without it in the first place.”
Saying 39 criticises the scribes and Pharisees for having the keys to the kingdom but they do not know how to enter the kingdom and also prevents anyone else to enter also.
In saying 3, he mocks at the Christians who believe that the kingdom is a physical place. If it is in the sky the birds will get there first. If in the water, the fish will beat you to it. In this gospel, the kingdom is an internal reality; within those who realize they are sons of the living father. Thus it is already spread over the entire Earth. In Saying 113 also, Jesus stresses that the kingdom is not a physical entity, it is here and now , but hidden from those who lack knowledge. Those who teach otherwise are false teachers.
From these sayings in the gospel of Thomas, one thing is clear. It is way different from the other gospels. The Gospel of Thomas is more spiritual than any other gospel. It focuses on the teachings of Jesus and stresses on understanding it and becoming aware of the reality about the spiritual world.
For a religion like Christianity with its focus on material worship in churches and keeping up the importance of the priestly class, this gospel is an anachronism and hence very wisely suppressed by the priestly class. The gospel of Thomas exhorts its followers to seek enlightenment.
From a reading of this gospel one thing is very clear. St Thomas has never visited Kerala or done any evangelical work here or converted anyone in India. Otherwise, it is absolutely sure that the early Christians in Kerala would have followed the teachings in the gospel of Thomas which is very much different from the other canonical gospels. St Thomas would have surely pushed his gospel teachings and led all the Christians here on a spiritual path to enlightenment instead of the present focus on worship, belief on virgin birth and resurrection and the material trappings. The Christians in Kerala has not even heard of the gospel of Thomas which clearly proves that the disciple of Jesus has never visited Kerala.
By George Merlo Pallath

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

All religions thrive on the psychological fears and insecurities of the people. The biggest fear of all humans is the fear of death and the fear of the unknown. To overcome this and to offer some sort of solace to the fearful masses, some resourceful individuals have created the myth of heaven and hell. This simple carrot and stick management principle has proved its effectiveness in controlling the minds of the masses for the last 2000 years.

One of the most successful religions ever invented is Christianity which uses this approach very effectively and has succeeded in building up the biggest religious base in the world. Muslims also follow suit with their promise of heaven with unlimited fun and happiness. The Hindus believe in Karma and the cycle of birth & rebirth till all the accumulated stains are removed and the soul of the individual soul merges with the universal soul or Paramatma. The unprecedented success of the organized religion in controlling the minds of the people is a case study in creating mass delusion. The most successful amongst Christianity is undoubtedly the catholic church with its Pope as their religious head who derives his power directly as the descendant of St. Peter who was ordained as the leader of the masses by Jesus himself. Since Jesus is the son of GOD, the Pope derives his power in a direct channel from GOD himself. As the principal middlemen between the supreme GOD and the masses, the catholic church has built up immense power, prestige and wealth in the process.

Now the new age offshoots of the Pentecost/ protestant churches has started challenging the traditional hold of the catholic church over the masses. The competition is hotting up. The new age cult religions preach that there is no necessity for a middle man to pray to GOD, they do not believe in mother Mary or the numerous saints. They advocate the direct approach. Cut out all red tape. When you can directly talk to GOD, why the necessity for all the middlemen?  GOD it seems is suddenly much more close and personal. Moreover they also preach that anyone who becomes their member is automatically entitled to the ultimate club called “Heaven”. Their members will automatically go to heaven while the rest of humanity will be wandering around in the wilderness called “purgatory”. This is akin to shop “A” offering 20% discount while shop “B” offers 50% discount to their customers. To the customers who were originally going to shop “A”, the offer of shop “B” is very attractive and all of them have started to visit shop “B”. Like shop “B” the new age cult groups which indulge in aggressive marketing strategies, interactive prayer forms and offers attractive posthumous benefits  are seeing a surge in their followers.

While the people are all assured of heaven after they die, their leaders are already enjoying heaven here itself. Their leaders are laughing all the way to the bank, where their coffers are overflowing with money. They whizz around the world in private jets and own extensive estates and mind boggling assets. Recently a high profile preacher from Kerala was under scrutiny by the law enforcement authorities of USA & India for cheating his donors. The wealthiest persons on this planet are the GOD peddlers. The self proclaimed GOD MEN. They have exclusive knowledge of the secret stairway to heaven.

The biggest irony is when these new age cult groups criticize the belief of the catholic church in Mother Mary & saints, but these groups also rely on beliefs like “Virgin Birth” & “resurrection” which are highly controversial and questionable. Beliefs are beliefs. Beliefs cannot ever be a substitute for reality. One Belief cannot ever be said to be more real or truer than another belief.

It seems the easiest way to become a millionaire is to start selling religion. Promise the masses heaven or assure them of resurrection or life after death. Nobody will be coming back from the dead to question them or file criminal or civil case against them. They can rest assured that the dead will stay dumb. Lead the masses on false promises, make them feel that they are chosen, transport them into a world of delusions. Anyway the whole world is “Maya”. Let the holy spirit enlighten them and make them cough out their hard earned money, ride their imagined fears and insecurities, drive their emotions, and laugh all the way to the bank. May the beliefs carry them all the way to heaven. Let me conclude by quoting the Thailand tourism slogan “ If you want to go to heaven after death, pray. if you want to enjoy heaven while alive come to Thailand.” The choice is ours.

Fear is the Key

Fear is the key

By George Merlo Pallath

Remember old James Hadley Chase thriller with the same heading?

It is said that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, God banished them from paradise and for the first time in the history of humanity, they became aware of “fear”. Now humans are living in constant fear. Fear of death, fear of losing their possessions, fear of not winning, fear of not attaining, fear of failing, fear of each other, fear of competition. Humans are virtually drowning in fear. Countries afraid of other countries, Hindus afraid of the imaginary rise of minority Muslims, Christians afraid of Muslims, political parties afraid of each other, whole communities living in fear, afraid of losing their identities, afraid of the disappearing culture, people afraid of what they eat, whether it will cause cancer, cholesterol, pressure, diabetes, fear of failure and fear of not attaining our dreams are paralyzing the whole humanity. The smell of fear permeates everywhere. We are even afraid of our own shadows.

How do we become aware of fear? When a child is born it has no fear. It is not aware of “fear”. The child will willingly play with a snake since it is not aware of “fear”. Then the people surrounding the baby will warn the baby that a snake is dangerous and you must be afraid of it. The people around the infant teaches or indoctrinates it about the various things that it should be afraid of. The infant is conditioned into believing in many imaginary things like Bhooth, God, devil etc that it should be afraid of . The fear of the unknown, fear of darkness gets inculcated.  The fear is inculcated or injected into the infant’s mind. Once fear is injected into the fresh mind of the infant, the infant is reduced into a human. During its formative period, the religious groups start to indoctrinate the child about the various faith systems, heaven and hell, the punishments that are awaited after you die if you commit sins. It becomes aware that some of its actions are sins which will invite the wrath of the God upon it. That the person will be punished in various ways. Every religion banks upon putting the fear of God into humans so that they can control them. Every political parties try their level best to make the electorate afraid of the consequences if the other party comes to power. Some parties deliberately promote violence to create fear amongst the masses. The goons rely on putting fear into the minds of the people. The terrorists use violence and mayhem to create fear. Fear is the ultimate weapon for those in power or for those who crave power. Hitler used it masterfully to control millions. Every dictator and religious zealots bank upon fear to further their ambitions. Fear is the greatest manipulative weapon ever used by humanity. If used properly, the manipulator can control anyone.

Bertrand Russell in his 1927 lecture “Why I am not a Christian” – delivered to the south London branch of the National Secular Society –expressed his point with characteristic clarity: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.” There are actually two elements to Russell’s diagnosis of religion here. The first is that religious belief is a symptom of fear: aware that our lives are precarious and vulnerable, we seek the protection of a powerful deity, to comfort ourselves with an illusion of safety. The second is that fear is a symptom of religion: in particular, doctrines of punishment in both this life and the next cause ignorant believers to live in fear unnecessarily. “Neither a person nor a society or any group can be considered to act sanely if they are acting under fear or using fear to control the people”. Bertrand Russell. According to James Bovard “ As long as enough people can be frightened, then all people can be ruled. That is how it works in a democratic system and mass fear becomes the ticket to destroy rights across the board.”

During schooling the student becomes afraid of failing in the exams, afraid of facing ridicule and criticism from their peers and the society if they do not get good marks. The students live in constant fear. This raises their anxiety levels, leads to depression. In the so called civilized world of offices, work places, stock markets, cold fear manifests in the form of anxiety, tension, strain which in turn gives rise to depression, frustration, anger , hatred and violence. Being overwhelmed by competition, back stabbing, work pressure, meeting deadlines, dismissals from work. The stench of fear is overpowering in any modern work place. Fear leads to anger which leads to hate and hate leads to violence. Fear results in harmful hormones being released into our body which affect all our vital organs. Fear is the root cause of various illnesses.

 

What is the definition of fear?

Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.

Wikipedia defines Fear as an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behaviour, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events. Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present, or to a future situation, which is perceived as risk to health or life, status, power, security, or, in the case of humans, wealth or anything held valuable. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.

So a person who does not think in terms of the known and always reacts instinctively from moment to moment are always without fear. Fear arises out of our thought process pure and simple. It originates from our stone age evolution when the early humans have to encounter various fearsome predators and natural disasters and this fight or flight mode is incorporated into our system to protect our life. So the moment we encounter any situation or object which triggers our thought process and our brain churns thorough the million giga bytes of our memory and finds a similarity with some of our stored information which may be real or imagined, the brain switches on the fight or flight mode. Immediately pheromones are secreted which powers our response. Out of fear either we become violent or run for our life.

In the Vedas of ancient India, fear is defined as “the unacceptance of uncertainty. If we accept that uncertainty, it becomes adventure.”

World famous philosopher J Krishnamurthy defines fear thus “Fear arises when one interprets the fact of what one is in terms of reward and punishment. The worship of success brings the fear of failure. The relationship between what one is and what one desires to be causes fear. Fear is the uncertainty in search of security.

Again J Krishnamurthy says “ The mind which is nothing but name, word, memory, can function only within the field of the known. The unknown , which is challenge from moment to moment, is resisted or translated by the mind in terms of the known. This resistance or translation of the unknown in terms of the know gives rise to fear. Since the mind cannot have a conversation with the unknown, the mind is the maker of the fear”.

According to Buddha, attachments and desire are the root cause of unhappiness. Fear of losing what one possesses, fear of not getting what one desires. So to remain without fear, one should not be attached to anyone or anything and one should not have desires.

Osho says “ the greatest fear in the world is the opinion of others. The moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, but you are a lion. A great roar arises in your heart. The roar of freedom.”

Swami Vivekananda stated “ Be Aware of your true self. You are nothing but lions who have forgotten your true self and living in fear as if you are sheep.” Know your “SELF” and roar like the lions that you are. Without fear, humans are equal to God.

Take any champions, their secret of success is they have learned to control their minds and thought process. They are focusing on the present without any thoughts about the past or future. That is how they remain calm and composed in the most stressful situations. If a person is not bothered about losing anything and not interested in gaining anything from any given situation, that person will be without fear. When a person goes to the examination without any preconditions and without any expectations, his mind will be free of fear. Likewise when a batsman goes out to the bat without any expectations and treat every ball on merit, he will be able to fare much better. If he has expectations, if he has any preconceived notions, his mind will be full of his thoughts and it will paralyze him with the fear of failure and not achieving.

The root cause of fear is our conditioned minds and thought processes. Fear is the by-product when our mind wanders from the “present” to the past or the future. The only thing that we have to fear is “fear” itself. Trust is the opposite of fear. To overcome fear, we must unlearn all the conditioning of our past and see the world as it is in reality, not through all the various shades of colours that we have been conditioned to accept as the reality or truth. There will be no fear if we are able to focus on the “NOW” rather than on the end result. Doing rather than thinking.  Once we master how to stay cool , calm and composed to focus on the “present”, control our thought processes and being aware of the self, fear disappears. Living in the present instead of regretting about the past or worrying about the future is the only sure fire way to a life without “Fear”. As Aristotle observed  “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”

Being civilized

Being civilized

By George Merlo Pallath

What is the meaning of civilization? Is it just big cities, high rise buildings, glitzy cars and well dressed high flying people? Does it require exploitation of the natural resources and destruction of the environment to create civilisation?  To most people the present day western civilisation is the highest form of civilisation known to humans. The capitalistic world of money, wealth creation and materialistic achievements of the wealthiest countries and cities of the world are the prime examples of civilisation. In this world, humans are considered as the dominant species that has the license to exploit all the natural resources, plunder the forests and oceans, killing all other species for making money and creating wealth. It is the selfish world of the inward focussed humans who does not care about all the environmental degradation being caused all over the planet in his quest for more wealth and money. The prime driving force is the greed for money, power and prestige. We kill, plunder, rape and destroy whole nations in our unceasing quest for power, influence and wealth. The tribal outlook is quite apparent in all humans even after so many years of evolution. If you take individual human beings, they are basically no different from the cave men that existed some 90,000/- years ago on planet Earth. Inside each one of us we are still the same old humans with the tribal instincts, violence, selfishness and greed of those gentlemen of yesteryears. Anthropologists say that the humans were hunter gatherers for more than 6 Million years, and they stumbled into agriculture somewhere around 80,000 BC. After that the humans started their journey of modernisation very quickly. Just 120 years back the fastest means of travel for humans were on horseback. By the turn of the century, steam engine was discovered which quickly graduated into developing trains, cars and then aeroplanes. Along with all the developments taking place, humans used these new found technologies to kill, maim and destroy whole societies and regions of the world. Technology started to dictate the new rulers of the world. But the intrinsic character of humans never changed. Humans became more and more sophisticated in the manner of destroying and killing his opponents. From swords and spears, humans started using guns and rockets. The greed for power spawned two world wars killing millions of humans and destroying whole countries in the process. By the end of the second world war nuclear weapons were created and used for the first time. It destroyed whole cities along with their population. The meaning of the word “savage” obtained a whole new meaning. Now countries have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the whole world 6 times over. Still the basis character of the people is still very much the same. They still want to kill, maim, rape, destroy and exploit. The greed and lust of the humans know no bounds. Is this the civilization that we call modern. Apart from the fact that we have started to wear glitzy clothes and shoes, nothing has changed.

Being civilized is to be broadminded, loving and caring for our fellow beings both humans and animals, protecting the environment. Being civilized means being without anger, hatred, jealousy and being peace loving, tolerant and caring. Being civilized means being aware that we are all ONE. Being civilized means living in harmony with nature. A civilized society means an advanced humane society which cares for the entire world.

Civilization starts in our mind. There must be a transformation in the manner in the manner in which we think. As J Krishnamurthy says, we must unlearn our conditioning, all the layers of conditioning that we have all acquired must be shed and be like a new born baby with a fresh mind and a clear vision. During Vedic period, the people living in India achieved a high degree of awareness and enlightenment. They were civilized in the true meaning of the word. There were peace and harmony all around. Highly enlightened and aware individuals and the highest level of civilization was achieved in India which can be understood from the writings in the Vedas and Upanishads. The Indians were nonviolent,  peace loving people who respected the environment and lived in harmony with nature. Possibly the various invaders found this easy pickings and destroyed the culture and the civilization which existed here during those times.

Countless Hollywood movies have been made showing higher civilizations from outer space visiting our planet and saying that this planet and its inhabitants are still primitive, violent, selfish and exploitative. In these movies the visitors from outer space are always shown as highly developed civilized and technologically advanced species which is capable of unimaginable destructive force but always desisting from using their power on a helpless race and going back dejected hoping to come back after a millennium waiting patiently for us to become civilized.

In the new testament, Jesus is stated to be the son of God who took a human form to save the humans from sins and give the hope and deliverance. Even though Jesus is the son of God, capable of Godly powers, he desists from using those powers and dies meekly on the cross. The message conveyed is that even if he had all the powers of God at his disposal and could have easily destroyed all his detractors, he deliberately took it upon himself and suffered, to atone for all the sins committed by the humans and seek forgiveness form God almighty. It may only be a story. But the point is well taken. Being loving, caring and unselfish and being ready to sacrifice self for others. A civilized person is the one who has conquered all his animal instincts and being in control of his mind and thoughts. He is aware of self and the surroundings.

The basic message of all religious texts are to the effect that we should be loving, caring and being unselfish. But humans regardless of which religion or groupings that he unwittingly belongs to behave with the intrinsic tribal instinct that is deeply ingrained in their minds. They continue to be exploitative, selfish and greedy. Whatever the materialistic achievements that the humans have achieved were at huge loss to the environment and the whole ecology. This society cannot ever be seen as being civilized unless individuals become loving, caring and sharing with our brethren and nature. If the theory of evolution  has any meaning it is time for humans to evolve into a higher being who is self aware, non destructive, living in harmony and balance with nature. The next step in evolution for human beings must happen in our minds and not physically. It is said that we use only 1/10th of the power of our mind. It is time to understand and become aware of its infinite power.

A quote by Sadhguru sums it all ” The best thing that you can do for the world is to be a joyful and blissful human being. Go out there and be responsible to yourself . Bravely seek your joy , your bliss.” It is time for the next step in human evolution which must happen in our minds. It is high time for humans to cross the barriers of “physical being” into mental and spiritual beings.

 

Tolerance vs Intolerance

Tolerance vs intolerance

By George Merlo Pallath

There is no doubt that India is the most tolerant nation in this world since the advent of human civilization. Likewise the Indians are the most tolerant people that have ever inhabited this world. The Hindu religion is the most broadminded inclusive religion ever followed. The Indian democracy and its constitution guarantees equality to all its citizens and ensures religious freedom like nowhere else in this world.

But the trouble starts when political parties and politicians start playing with and using religion and caste as a shortcut means to garner votes. When politics and religion is mixed it becomes an explosive mixture which can be easily ignited. Once ignited, it will spread like wild fire and consumes everything in its path.

When political parties use and exploit religious sentiments, intolerance starts. Regardless of whether it is Hindu, Muslim or Christian, all religious fundamentalists have ulterior motives ie to divide the people, create chasms within society. They use religious sentiments for their narrow political gains, to garner power and money. The ordinary people are the losers.

These narrow minded political parties and politicians who has no real religious dedication misuse religion for their selfish purposes.

Strictly speaking, as per the Indian constitution, the political parties must not be allowed to use or exploit religious sentiments as vote bank politics. All political parties and politicians who try to misuse religious sentiments must be derecognized and banned. A typical example is the shiv sena who used the “Marathi maan” as their vote bank. Now they are trying to get onto the hindutwa plank.  Likewise the muslim league and the Kerala Congress  ought to be banned for exploiting religious sentiments. All political parties must be strictly secular and must not be allowed to used religion for their narrow political purposes. Any political party which has a religious background or foundation must not be allowed to operate. Sadly our ruling party is controlled by the RSS which is a fundamentalist organization. Their brand of hindutwa has brought a bad name for Hinduism which is the most tolerant religion. Likewise the ISIS has sullied the image of muslims everywhere.

Intolerance is shown by these narrow minded politicians and political parties. Intolerance is practiced by the religious fundamentalists in these religious oriented political parties. Religious fundamentalists are there in every religion. The people must see through these masks and identify the real culprits instead of blaming the government or the country as intolerant. Just because some of these narrow minded, intolerant  religious zealots and politicians with selfish motives use religion as a tool to divide the people and society, we should not fall prey to them and start blaming the country or the government. Instead we must identify and isolate these trouble makers and refuse to give them an audience. They must not be allowed to exploit our religious sentiments. Religion is strictly personal and must not be allowed to be used as a political plank.

The courts must also step in and prohibit all political parties from using religion and caste as a tool for their political one-upmanship. Let us all come together and uphold the good will of this great nation as the most tolerant democracy with the maximum number of religious diversity in the world. Let us all live in peace and harmony. Live and let live.

India- Land of religions

All pervasive Religion

By George Merlo Pallath

In India religion is the biggest holy cow. From the moment we are born, we are labeled as Hindu, Muslim, Christian or whatever. This branding we must carry throughout our life. We are named based on our religion. We dress based on our religion. We eat food based on our religion. When we join a school, college, everything is based on this branding. At no point in our life we can escape from this branding. All are required to carry this branding or label as a cross. We are known and understood on the basis of this branding. It becomes a part of our personality, character and culture.

Religion is all pervasive and plays an important part of all Indians life. His emotions, beliefs, the way he sees other humans, our whole outlook on life are governed by religion. A major part of an average Indian’s life is spent for religious beliefs, rites and rituals. An average Indian relies on their beliefs in  various Gods to realize their dreams. To an average Indian, his beliefs are as real or more real than reality. For many it borders on the schizophrenic world of illusions and make believe. The various religious groups and sects use these techniques of collective hypnosis to increase their number of followers. It is an extension of the deep rooted tribal mentality inside each one of us. We tend to see ourselves as belonging to one tribe or other and this leads to tension, violence and confrontation. It is a case of associating one’s personal ego with the tribe. Ultimately this tribal mentality is the root cause of all intolerance in this world. More people have been killed, maimed, raped and tortured in the name of religion than all the other conflict and strife in this world. Even though religion and spirituality must go hand in hand, the reality is otherwise. All places of worship are now focused on business and materialism. Crores being spent on gold covering of deities, footsteps, flag posts.

These religious peddlers have an easy job. Convince their followers about the life after death, they may call it heaven or something else. This promise of a better life after death is the biggest motivation for the ordinary people to follow one religion or other. The religious peddlers can rest easy that none of these followers are going to come back and sue them for breach of promise or deficiency in service. It is the best business that anyone can do. Promise the heaven and people are willing to make astronomical donations and none will come back to complain about anything.