Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Believe.....

Every year, in the month of January, huge colossal crowds of men gather in the dense forested hilltop of Sabarimala, in Kerala. Some have come as far as hundreds of miles to witness a spectacle, that occurs only once a year, when the sun begins its transit into the zodiac of Capricorn (Makara).
On this day, from across the horizon, people witness the flickering of a bright light known as the Makara Jyoti (the light of Capricorn). Now this light emits from within the dense forests of Sabarimala, across the landscape briefly three times, signifying the divine presence of Lord Aiyappa (a popular South Indian deity).
And on this very day, people throng amongst thousands, to witness this divine spectacle.
A spectacle that has occurred year after year, since time immemorial.

Now as all things pertaining to faith, this spectacle too has not escaped the throes of controversy. At least in recent times. Rationalists and atheists have debunked this spectacle as being man made, and not divine, much to the chagrin of the believers across the country.
Of course this is not the first time, where this accusation has been made.
Nevertheless, year after year, the crowds grow and the spectacle continues.
Sometimes I wonder, so as to what the so called rationalists aim to achieve.
I believe that everyone is entitled to his beliefs and doubts.
Its only when people choose to stick their beliefs down others throats, it gets annoying.
India, is a land of a multitude of faiths and beliefs.

Faiths that have grown accustomed to being amongst each other for centuries. And as a consequence, there is a strange, nevertheless chaotic balance that connects every individual in this country.
Every village has a local legend. A local deity, local miracles, a haunting, and the sort.
Everyone has his or her version of the history of creation, mythology and philosophies pertaining to life.
Children are taught tales of mythological heroes of old, and stories of generosity and virtue. Creating a role model for them to look up to in their infant years.
No one has seen the heroes of old. Nor has anyone viewed their exploits. But its the belief, that at one point of time, there might have existed such an individual, known for his daring exploits. A role model to look up to, during the most darkest of our days, during the most trying circumstances.
And that's the purpose a belief serves.

In the current era, the most easiest thing to do is question, to doubt and to be skeptical of everything that goes on about us. To be rational about everything.
And how does being rational help?
It gives you answers.
It tells you fact for what it is. It unravels the truth.
So hypothetically you now do know the truth.
You now know that the heroes of old probably never existed. All the legends and stories are a sham.
There are no miracles. Just accidents and coincidences.
So there you are,
the truth is right before you.
Now what?
What remains in an existence that is bereft of belief and hope?
Where do you go, in the darkest hour of your need, when you do not have the strength to face whats before you, and your loved ones are stand helpless?
In a world where belief is non existent, and faith is a thing of the past, now that you have everything figured out, all you have left, is to succumb to your fate.
That's it.
End of story.
People underestimate the power of belief.
The power the human mind holds over sentient life.

One of the best known examples, in medical science is the placebo effect. Where test subjects were administered dummy pills with the belief that it will cure their migraines or cold or other assorted maladies. Though the pills contained nothing in them, the subjects reportedly felt better after their administration. The placebo effect is a small but sure example of how the human mind responds to even the most trivial of beliefs.
Basically, a system of beliefs, creates a feeling of well being. A feeling of purpose and direction in life, which no amount of rational explanation can achieve.
Even if some beliefs might sound ludicrous to a good deal of people, as long as it helps the individual in question, why take it away?
Whether or not a spectacle is divine or man made, whether or not legends and myths are real or fabrications, it is irrelevant, as long as it gives one hope, and feeling of being special to a great multitude of humans.
You cannot take away belief from us, because that is the one core thing that separates us from the other species. Its the one thing that makes us human.
Parents tell their children that they are special. Can you imagine a rational perspective where a child is told, "you are just like everyone else, there's nothing special or different about you".
Then what can the child possibly aspire towards?
Its something tot think about.
Beliefs are necessary.
Personal, spiritual or religious.
I choose to believe.
I believe in a purpose, an ideal and whatever legend or incident, that serves to guide humanity as a beacon of light through the darkest of days.
If there's one thing I do not believe in, its accidents and coincidence.
The world seems a lot more magical that way.
The rationalists can have their world. Mundane and devoid of any hope whatsoever.
I choose to stick to mine.


Viyoma said...

Very well said...Belief and Hope should infact get added to the basic necessities of Life!!

Loved ur beginning with Sabrimala (i recently read the story of Ayappa's Birth in Amar Chitra Katha)

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...


just dropped in to say Hi!

In a hurry, so will be reading the whole post a little later.



Choco said...

I am one of those who don't agree with the Makara Jyoti phenomenon. But I won't argue or put forth my case. I never would. And reading this helps... I believe in what you have said in this post. Great topic. As always.

SSQuo said...

Belief is also a mindset, and if you put yourself in a certain mindset of say 'I hope that will happen' or 'I believe that WILL happen coz I believe in its power', then by some theories, this attitude allows you to acheive the goal, or if you believe :) in energy, then the Universe brings it back to you.

It's true though skepticism is all over the place. I dont think a Dad can even sit with his daughter on his lap without inviting some skeptical stares.

Its a balance and we all have to draw the line on what to 'trust'. Btw, really like the line you included 'Faith is not believe....' nicely said.

Vyazz said...

@Viyoma: Thnx!!!...I used to read amar chitra katha as a kid. Glad u liked it!!!! :))

Vyazz said...

@Restless: Thnx for dropping by!!!! Appreciate it!!! :)

Vyazz said...

@Choco: Belief is something one feels deeply within. It cannot be forced or coerced upon someone. Like I said earlier, all of us have the right to our beliefs and our doubts. But nevertheless respecting others beliefs is what counts.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical about the whole Sabarimala phenomenon. But heres where I would like to quote Einstein, "There are two ways to live. To live as if nothing was a miracle or to live as if everything was a miracle. I choose the latter".
Life is all about a matter of perception in the end. :)

Vyazz said...

@SSQuO: My mother would tell me, that back in her day, she would listen and believe every word that her parents would say as a word of law. Absolute and unquestioned.
We live in difficult and different times today. Where trust and faith not just in phenomenon, but even in each other is thrown out of the window.
Your right when u said, that its a mindset. And positive mindsets are worth having in this day and age. :)

rads said...

I think our generation is much more opinionated and that's one reason we're bloggers too...believe in what you have to unless its proved otherwise...gr8 post!

Siddhartha Joshi said...

I also kind of agree with you, none of the faith can actually be tested...no use of questioning such things!

We might have to start questioning the existence of God himself. I am not a big time theist, but respect people who have beliefs and would rather let them go on...

$$ said...

So well said; I cannot agree more with you!


Gayathri said...

I agree with this post in one way. And disagree in another.

I agree that one's beliefs are one's own.. And others need not poke their nose into it, and try to infuse rationale into it. Of course, life is more colorful being magical, with beliefs and hopes.

I disagree with your point that things become totally mundane when rationalized and hence should be avoided. Sati devi committed herself to arson, for the honour of her husband. And to uphold his word. It was a legend which we propagated and practiced for centuries with respect. Do we still respect it? So was untouchability. Chaturvarnam mayasrishtam. The Lord told that, according to Hindu mythology. And we were more than happy to abide by his words for long long years. Can you imagine denying your medical services to a patient when you get to know that he is from an SC/ST?

Hence, beliefs and faiths can be upheld only upto a limit. Only until it doesnt mess up with the fairness and justice that has to be meted out to the multitude. Makara Jyothi can be advertised as a huge thing only until it doesnt pave way to a catastrophe, like what happened this year..

Beliefs and faith and hope and stories are propagated to ensure a safe and moral and upright way of life. And we have to educate ourselves against it once it starts growing above our very existence.

Gayathri said...

Oops! I just noticed that you posted this a month back ;).. Sorry for being this late!

Vyazz said...

@Rads.......Thnx......agree with u on that one!!! :))

Vyazz said...

@Siddharta..........first off...thnx for visiting, and secondly, asking questions is a fundamental human right. And its something that I will never discourage. Nevertheless, there is a fine line between clearing ur doubts and treading on the beliefs of others. I suppose its always to each his own. The world today needs mutual cooperation and acceptance rather it d times where discord and strife are rife.

Vyazz said...

@$$.....thnx!! Much obliged!!! :))

Vyazz said...

@Gayathri.........One can never live in d land of old tales and myth. That being said, I am as rational as I can be. In the medical profession you have to be rational!
Now as far as Sati and untouchability goes, I can write a book (and someday I will) on how badly our forefathers have screwed up and misinterpreted our faith. Untouchability was never a dharmic notion. That goes against the principle of Advaita Vedanta expounded by Adi Sankara.
I have no qualms in touching even a leper coz going by Advaita, the God that dwells in u dwells in the leper too. Its just sad how God is being made out like a retard!!!!!
Newayz that being said, as far as d Sabarimala incident goes, stampedes happen in Malls and football stadiums as well......doesn't mean u ban shopping or stop football!!!!!

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