Monday, 3 December 2012

The Problem of the Gods' Successors

Too often, when something goes wrong, or when someone commits a heinous act, we are quick to blame the religion of that person for encouraging them or perhaps planting such thoughts in their minds in the first place. Most often this is seen happening with Islam, but in no small measure has been happening with other religions like Hinduism, Christianity and others. But look carefully at the true teachings of any religion and you will find that all of them are exceptionally good, kind and strive to maintain peace and order. And yet we find faults with their beliefs. What we don't realise is that, it was not the God who perpetuated irrationality. It was someone else.

image source unknown

It is often said that there are many interpretations of the various holy books of every religion. And so there are sects in every religion who conform to a specific set of interpretations. And yet the creators of these religions believed in and preached a single philosophy. The problem was never with the God. It was with the so-called scholars of those religions upon whom fell the responsibility to carry forward those teachings after the God's time. They either failed to understand the teachings themselves, or could not do justice to them.

It is my belief that many of the age old customs that we are now brave enough to call 'draconian' originated with noble intentions. However they were conceptually so flawed that they were cosmetic attempts to find a solution without addressing the root cause. Take, for example, the now-thankfully-junked Hindu custom of shaving a wife's head when her husband passes away. In olden days men were seen as being protectors and I think the custom originated for protecting the widows from other men once their husband is no longer there, simply by making them unattractive. Again, this was a small bandage to a much deeper problem- mentality. Such things, of course, are not unique to Hinduism at all. You'll find them everywhere.

On a wider scale, this problem is not unique even to religions. The case of the Indian Constitution strikes me. When read in isolation, the Indian Constitution is extremely well written and stunningly detailed, taking into account a plethora of scenarios. But it needed to be changed with time. This responsibility was given to the Members of Parliament, the 'successors', with the hope that they will do justice to its spirit. What has happened to it today is hugely disappointing.

The question is the same everywhere. How do you ensure that after your time your words will be taken in spirit, and not be twisted to such an extent that people start cursing the original itself ? Can we find an answer to that when even the Gods had trouble doing it ?


  1. exceptionally well written!
    What struck a chord was this post was really relevant and not like many articles that are wrote jut for the sake of it.

  2. I feel everyone is proud of their own religion or culture or whatever is theirs. It is natural. If it stops there it wouldn't be a problem. But with some little people, there is a spirit of competition. Ours is (or has to be) the best and in order to maintain that they ridicule the hateful others or tell their own people how badly the others treat or think of "us".