Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cartoons

At present, a very relevant topic has been put to debate. "Children should be allowed to watch cartoon shows on TV". Parents incessantly keep on telling the children about the after-effects of cartoon-watching. A lot of debate is going on in the society as to what impact the TV Cartoons make upon the minds of the viewers, especially, the young ones. I rise to firmly and logically oppose it.

At the very outset, let me clarify that initially, the purpose of depicting a cartoon was to attract attention to some burning social issues through the witty or satirical sketches. These cartoons still appear in the newspapers and catch our attention to various problems. But as far as the TV cartoon shows are concerned, these are in fact the mockery of the entertainment. Entertainment without any values is meaningless. Hence it should be discouraged.

The facts which I am mentioning here are not something which I just have memorized. It is my personal experience. That is why; I can say for sure that cartoons make harmful effects on the minds of children.

The lovers of the Cartoons will say that cartoons are innocent entertainers. Initially, I was too the victim of this misconception. But now I have learnt that cartoons take us in a world which is far from reality. We begin to live in the world of imagination and fantasy. Our focus shifts from the real world to a world which does not even exist. Gradually, we fall prey to day dreaming. We dream with open eyes like the Sheik Chillis and ultimately, when these dreams shatter, which is bound to be, we make so much fuss of it. Thus, cartoons take us far away from realities and hence affect our decision making. Therefore, we should keep away from such dangerous pass time.

And the last but not the least, all the harmful effects of TV viewing are connected to watching cartoons. We get habitual to watching TV. The addiction to cartoons very adversely affects our studies. It also changes our attitude towards our life. We begin to accept violence as a fine entertainer. We begin to live in the world of day-dreaming and develop a habit to run away from the realities of our lives. The supporters of the topic are trying to do just the same. They have no courage to accept the reality that it is a harmful show. Let the God have mercy upon them and I can only hope that the good sense will prevail upon them. Ultimately, it has been proved beyond any doubts that children should not be allowed to watch cartoon-shows on TV.

Religion: the cause of casualty to humanity

I am not very sure of God's presence. Nor can I deny His existence. However, I am absolutely convinced that at present the religious fanaticism has taken over and the real sages (If there are left any), have been pushed to the backseat. Religion, which once had been the medium of realization of God and also the tool of emancipation, has now been transformed (Of course, by its followers), into the shortcut to quick and hot money and is being used as a perfect tool of terror and mass killing. In this article, my endeavour would be to assess the damage inflicted by the institution of religion (which once was glorified as the ultimate path to heaven), to the humanity.

Let me tell you this fact; I am very much convinced that the word meaning or the literal sense of "religion" has nothing to do with the "religion" or "faith" which is practised by the learned men and women of the Globe. Hence, wrestling with the definition of the word is in vain; it is the logic which is put forth by the religious leaders to glorify the institution of the religion and also to keep the laymen constantly confused as to what really the religion is all about. It is in the light of the aforesaid facts that I do not wish to quote any definitions in this regard. Nor am I going to flood with "remarkable" facts about the atrocities exploitations in the name of faith or religion, whatever you may call it. There is no absolute fact; facts can be disputed and debated over. New facts can be presented in order to neutralize or nullify the old ones. Therefore, producing facts may serve in a court of justice and other such institutions but when it comes to the faith, facts hardly matter. Let me prove this hypothesis with some example:

I begin with some less offending ones. We are perfectly sure of the fact that moon is a satellite like many other such bodies revolving in the vast Universe, but yet we engage very faithfully in sprinkling water upon these far away bodies as rituals established by different religious faiths. We are aware that in no manner the water is going to reach the target but it is our faith that makes us do it. Likewise, we are in the knowledge of the fact that all days of the week are equally good. These days have been given different names to measure the week. The week has been divided in seven identical intervals for our convenience. However, the religious faiths make some days special and other the ordinary days. It is needless to specify the name of religious faiths and match these faiths with specific days of the week which these faiths think are "holy" or prominent.

Now, look at some of the facts which may offend many religious-minded "God-fearing" persons.

Today, we are intelligent enough to understand that no reproduction in humans is possible without the coming together of male and their female counterparts. However, there are instances in more than one religious faith about Angels coming on earth without the proper process. And the ridiculous thing is that we believe in these stories faithfully. Likewise, the Darwin's theory of "the survival of the fittest" is recognized world over. But the world of religious faiths looks at it differently. Most of the faiths are of the opinion that the life began on earth as the God exiled Adam and Eve from the Heaven and sent them on earth. Hence, the humans came into being. Many more such instances can be produced but that will serve no purpose other than adding more lines to this article. Therefore, let us concentrate upon the objective of this essay.

To understand as to what the psychology and the sociology of religion is, one has to travel in the world of distant past, to the point of time when the man used to be a hunter. He killed other species of animal and satisfied his hunger. There was no difference between the behaviour of a beast and his own, as both had no other objective of life but to survive by hook or by crook. However, as he started to live in communities, his beast-like activities must have created obstacles in the evolution of social attitudes. Therefore, his conduct required an upside-down change. His animal-like nature had to be curtailed. For this, some of the men who would have been comparatively more intelligent than others, found a solution in the institution of the religion.

There is a famous saying that you can cheat others but not your own self. In the light of this saying, it is not difficult to understand that one can defy the legal bindings but not the religious ones. As these bindings related to man's faith, he could not act against it. Thus, the religious Codes were devised and were spread in the community. These codes dealt with the moral behaviour of a person. It was assumed that those who would not follow the said Codes would be punished by the Supreme power. Meanwhile, all those Natural forces which could not be understood or controlled by the humans were considered to be the Godly forces. Basically, the fear psychosis had been in the forefront in evolving the concept of the Supreme power or the God.

However, in this essay, it is not my objective to determine whether or not the God exists. I have already mentioned at the very outset, that I am not sure of His existence. Nor have I the ability to deny Him. However, let me insist upon this fact that if there is a supreme power, it can in no manner be different for different faiths or ideologies. The thoughts, ideas, concepts etc can be interpreted differently by different individuals. Our sensations, sentiments, emotions, feelings etc also can be defined in a variety of perspectives. But the Creator of the Universe and all its inhabitants, (the omnipresent and all-pervading, as told by the theists), must be only one; there should be no doubts whatsoever, about His image. For instance, some say, "the God is imageless," some others paint Him in different images. Many think that He resides in the sky. Still many preach that he dwells in our hearts. Isn't it a bit confusing! The logic which is given to justify God's different interpretations is that He is imageless and still has countless images; He is beyond our senses but still can be felt if we follow the certain way of life; He lives in the sky but He is omnipresent too. Different faiths are the different ways to reach the Supreme power. This argument has many flaws. There may be many routes to reach the destination but if the destination is the same, there must be a point where all the travellers should converge upon. However, in the faiths of the present era, no followers of two different faiths can tolerate each other. Therefore, there is no way these faiths can come together. Hence, let me concentrate upon the negative effects of the institution of the religion.


 

Dangerous Consequences of Faith


 

We have now ample reason to state that the power of our faith can prove to be miraculous at times. For instance, Tulsidas, the Author of the great epic, "Ramacharit Manas", crossed the river with the help of a corpse believing that the corpse was a wooden trunk. He climbed the window of his wife's house with the help of a snake thinking that it was a rope hung by his wife for his help. In both the cases, had he been aware of the reality of the objects, (corpse and snake), he would dare not touch them. Likewise, those who believe in ghosts etc are afraid of walking alone in darkness, lest some ghosts should not attack them. They are frightened by the slightest of sound or light in the darkness. For others, who do not believe in supernatural powers, there is no problem. What I mean to say that our strong faith can make miracles. If it is positive, the effects will also be the same and if we believe in negative things, the results are bound to be harmful. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "if you say, I am, I am; so shall you be. And if you say, I am not, think that you are not and day and night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, low and miserable, nothing shall you be."

The person with a strong faith and a concentrated mind can hypnotize others who are a bit less confident than the hypnotizer. The magicians use this technique to charm us with their spell. But those who have more concentrated mind and superior faith than the magicians, cannot be spell-bound. This is a simple fact which is not new to the psychologists. It is this power of faith which should be trained to work in a positive manner but I am sorry to say that presently, it is being used in the most negative manner.

Now let us see how the religious leaders (Gurus, Peers, Aacharyas, and self-proclaimed Gods etc) cheat us and make money.

We are aware of the fact that in the very beginning of the origin of the institution of the State, the king was considered as the representative of the God. As we cannot directly in conversation with the Supreme power, the king was established, by the institution of the religion, the representative of the God on earth. It was proposed that the king will collect the taxes in the name of the God. All the orders of the king would be followed as the orders of the God. Those who did not follow the orders of the king, would face the anger of the Almighty. This ideology was convenient to the religious leaders too. The king and the religious leaders joined hand in the exploitation of the innocent and illiterate. In different parts of the world, different mechanisms were designed so as to exploit the common masses. In Europe, the Church took this responsibility. In Indian region, the Brahmins did the same with a scholarly vision. In the Arab world, the followers of Prophet Mohamed fulfilled this sacred duty with zeal and enthusiasm. Many religious faiths emerged to counter these atrocities inflicted by religious institutions. In India, Jainism and Buddhism came into being to restrict the systematic exploitation of the masses by the religious Gurus. Most recently, Sikhism came into existence in order to protect Hindu culture against Islamic agony. As the self-interests of different religious leaders collided with each other, many religions got divided in numerous subsections and subcategories.

The institution of the religion divided the human being in different rival followings. These different faiths have been in incessant clash with one another so as to attain wealth and power. Religious crusaders were prompted by their leaders that the God's wish should be fulfilled at any cost. And what was His wish? It was that their religion was the only one which was the right and all others were to be converted to it. It is the holy duty of the crusader to convert all humans into his religion. And this age-old "crusade" is still going on. Every religious faith declares that their path is correct and all others are wrong. Religious leaders shamelessly live a luxurious life whereas their followers are constantly made fool of. Twentieth century ended with a new concept of religious fanaticism – religious terror. Sant Bhindran wale was one of the originators of the religious terror. (The readers may correct me.) he established his empire in the famous Golden Temple. Innocent Sikhs were brain washed and used as a tool to spread terror in Punjab. Our hostile neighbour Pakistan mad full use of this situation. Basically, Bhindran Wale was the man of Congress but in no time, he was playing in the hands of Pakistanis. He received money and weapons from there. Somehow, the Indian Government curtailed this menace. But the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to sacrifice her life to the bullets of the Sikh fanatics.

After the failure of this tool, Pakistanis began an era of Islamic terror. This terror is still continuing. Sikh terror was limited to India only but this new "Jehad" is felt all over the world. Maybe, more religions can join it soon. In the present circumstances, the Marxist view of religion seems to be correct. He was of the opinion that the religion was like the opium which serves no purpose. Religious persons believe their leaders. They have full faith in them. If the leader wish to misuse their faith, who can stop them? Presently, all the leaders of different religions lead a very comfortable life, full of all the modern conveniences. On the other hand, the legions of the religions vaste their precious money in the temples, churches, mosques, Gurudwaras etc in the belief that all the sins committed by them will be washed away. How silly. How the God can be just if He forgives the sins in the tinkling of some coins. But the so-called faithful persons believe in this theory. And I have mentioned herein, that the faith can make miracles. Thus, this game of religious faith continues.

Unless we stop becoming the puppets in the hands of the so-called religious leaders, we cannot realize the god if He really exists. We need no interlocutors or arbitrators


 

The Creative, energetic presence


 

Society is made of relationships, which are maintained through the application of ethical and moral codes. Often, we hear an outcry for enforcing "moral
order" or for returning to "old-fashioned values''.

Such talks of morality are essentially driven from one or the other institutionalised religious teaching. For example, one may come across an impassioned plea to stress on the moral values based on Christian belief. But then, is morality of Christians different from that of the Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists?
If yes, then there can never be peace in the world.

Since time immemorial attempts have been made to reduce God to a set of concrete, conceptualised and ritualistic definition. This may have served the purpose of the priest in asserting non-empirical factors in shaping religion into an almost chaotic, superstition-ridden random belief system; it certainly deprived people of the experience of God as a presence rather than as a person. Today, science carries implicit pressing message that the universe is nothing but an energetic presence. As science continues to go deeper into the matter, it is mystified in observing the fact that matter is essentially a mass of energy, that it is energy, which is manifested, in myriad forms throughout the universe. Undergoing a radical change in its perception and understanding, it is now being realised that science and spirituality are not "separate and mutually exclusive". Science also has come to see that it is an expanding universe. The very word Brahmn, too, means that which is ever expanding. In other words, God is not the Creator, but creativity. God is an uninterrupted process of creativity. As humans, our ultimate fulfilment is in creatively manifesting our energy.
Osho said: "The urge to create is the first stirring of the divine within you. The urge to create is the presence of God. You have the first message; the first ripple has reached you. It is the beginning and the birth of prayer... To be creative is to be spiritual ."

In the ongoing creative process, God is what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: a catalytic agent. God does not do anything, only his energetic presence works. Hydrogen and oxygen become water when electricity is passed through them. It is the missing link. Electricity does not mix or do anything; it is simply there. Krishna says, He does not create, His very being, His very presence makes creativity possible. In the tenth verse of Chapter Nine in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: "With Me as the supervisor, Nature brings forth the whole of Creation, consisting both sentient and insentient beings; it is due to this cause that the wheel of samsara is going round. That is, "My very presence alone creates the universe and in my very presence itself the universe keeps dissolving and recreating again."
To be religious, therefore, is to realise that God is a creative presence; that you are a manifestation of God's creativity and you too can creatively manifest God. Religiousness consists in recognising that we need to create God every moment we are the rock, we are the sculptor and we are the carved image of the Divine as well.


 

Conclusion


 

Thus, to realize the God within oneself, one does not require to be bound by one or the other religion. It is our intellect which leads to creativity hence ultimately the God. God is nothing but the realization of the ultimate truth. The absolute knowledge of the Universe, which still is far away from us, hides the God in the process of its origin. Religion was basically evolved to make humans follow the social norms, customs, traditions etc. it had been a kind of social policing. However, in the modern times, the institution of religion has taken a new turn. It has become a tool to earn handsome amount of wealth and prosperity by engaging onself in religious lectures and by making the masses overwhelmed through showing miracles to them. These days, religious institutions like the temples, churches, mosques etc have composed a lot of wealth. Sometimes this money is used to create extremists. The religious leaders try to mingle with the political leadership and gain favours and influence. Religious States have come into being which pose threat to humanity. In fact, every religion tries to prove that it is the best of all. This creates hate between different religions. Here I would like to quote a story from one of my friends:


 

I was staying in a small village in an aboriginal community in Bastar. The people reported to me;
a few days before, something had happened in the town. A Christian missionary came. Now those are very primitive people, absolutely uneducated, still live in the nude, are utterly unaware of what has happened to man. They are not contaminated by civilization yet.
The people told me that a Christian missionary had come, "And he convinced us, he had almost
convinced us that Christ is the true savior."
I asked them, "What happened? Why do you say 'almost'?"
They said, "Because a Hindu sannyasi came and disturbed the whole thing." I asked them the whole story; the story was beautiful.
A Christian missionary came. Now if you want to convince these poor uneducated people, you
cannot talk philosophy, theology. You have to be very practical, and the Christian missionary was very practical. He brought two statues, one of Krishna, one of Christ. Krishna's statue was made of iron and Christ's statue was made of wood, but they were painted alike. From the outside it was difficult to say which was which - which was wood, which was steel. He talked about both, and then in a bucket of water he dropped both the statues. Naturally, Krishna was drowned, Christ continued to float.
So he said, "Look! Your God cannot even save himself. How can he go to save you?" And the
people were really convinced. They had seen it, the miracle was there. They looked, and it was
true. Simple people....
But next day a Hindu sannyasi entered the village and he heard about it. And he said, "Let us see
it again." So the missionary was called again. He did the show again, and the sannyasi could see
what was the matter with it.
So he said, "Now, light a fire, and let us throw both in it, because fire is more of a criterion
than water." And the primitives agreed: "That's true. Fire is certainly more powerful. That will be decisive."
The missionary was very reluctant, but what could he do now? He had to agree, and both the
statues were thrown into the fire. Christ was burnt immediately - poor Christ - and Krishna came
out perfectly. And they were again convinced that Krishna is the true God.
This goes on happening at the most primitive level and at the most sophisticated level. This is
the whole effort of Christian priests and Hindu monks and Jaina priests and Buddhist philosophers; this is the whole effort: they go on quarreling with each other. Nobody is concerned with opening the door! Everybody is claiming that my key is the right key. In fact, there is no way to decide whose key is the right key, unless you try it and unlock the door. But the argument continues: that the Bible is the REAL book, or the Vedas or the Koran. And they go on finding clever and cunning arguments.