It was a beautiful morning. Nice weather. A nice morning ride. One hot cup of tea…. And then I connected with the real world. Horrific… too horrific news. It was running on every news channel. 5 police officer shot dead in an ambush attack during a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest. Person who did this killing was not a terrorist. He was a 25-year old-young man. He wanted to kill white people. White people who are police officers. Just 2 days back and since last many years, we were seeing the videos and news of police officers killing black people/kids, in their shuffles and interactions.
In Dhaka, some young educated people with gun, were telling their hostages to recite verses from Quran. Those who didn’t obliged; they were murdered.
We are killing people because they have a skin color different from us; or they follow Jesus, Raam, or none; but not our specially anointed God.
Who is killing whom? It is no longer clear to me. Are Muslims killing us? or, white police officers are killing us? or, black people are killing us? I don’t seem to understand here… who is killing whom?
A killer is a killer. Whom this killer have killed – he was a son, he was a brother, a father, a lover, a friend, a human. He had an identity. The person you have killed just now, based on his skin color, or the religion he follows; that person was a human. He had so many other identities than just being black, or white; or Hindu, or Christian, or Muslim. He was a living human, taking breath, air filling his lungs every second. A person. A person with life, with future, with family, with hope. You have not killed his skin color, or his religion. You have just killed his family. His mother. His sister. His daughter. His wife. His friends. His family. You have killed everyone who have loved that person. You are a killer. Not less than that and not more.
You are just a Killer.
No, you will not go to heaven. No hundreds of ‘hoors’ for you. No, you have done nothing to save black lives. No, you are not keeping your community safe by killing a 15-year old black boy.
What you have done is, you have planted seeds of Hate in this community. You are growing Hate. What you sow you will reap. You will get hate only. You are a Trump. You are a Zakir Naik. You are a hater. You will get hate only. And no, you are not helping your specific community. You are pushing them into hatred.
Where is this hate taking you? Don’t go to a point of no return. Spread Love. Not Hate.
Why can’t you look beyond the color of my skin, or my sexual preference, my religion, or my country of origin? Why would you kill me for a part of my identity? I am much more than that. Much more than anything worth killing for.
We do so many little things daily without even thinking. These habits become a part of our daily routine. Brushing our teeth, eating breakfast, taking breath. Everything is a routine.
Is praying to God is also a part of your routine, or do you pray when you feel like it(not necessarily a predefined time) ?
I have enforced some habits into my kids. One is to take blessing of Parents and God. But, it is easier to see your parents, and know how important they are in your life; like they give you food; they wash your clothes; they take you out for fun activities and buy you toys; but what about God?
They are not seeing God. They don’t know exactly what and who is, God. Well, this part is what most of us also struggle with.
My kids they are in a habit of taking our blessings daily, morning and night. But, for God, I have to answer a lot of questions first to convince them. It’s pretty hard. Like, when I told them that God is everywhere and he/she is watching us and will protect us always. Otu, my son, questioned me, “but bathroom has no windows, so how will God see me when I am in bathroom. How will he save me there?”
We do tell them stories of Raam, Krishna, Jesus, Hanumaan, Durga, and basically any story we can tell them. So, they do know who Raam is, just they don’t know why they should pray to Raam.
And no, it is not a concern to me. They have their whole life to figure out a God of their own, in whom they will believe.
Meanwhile I did a mistake one day. I played an animated movie for them – Ramayana, story of Raam.
There were Lord Raam, killing all the monsters with big horns over their head, teeth dipped in blood hanging out of their mouths, laughing hysterically with their humongous bodies.
Raam was killing all such monsters/demons easily and helping all the sages. He was saving monkeys of his army. He was killing a 10 headed Ravana with ease; and Hanumaan, when he prayed to Raam, he got all the powers to fly over the ocean.
What my kids deciphered from all this was that you should pray to Lord Raam, if you want to have powers and stay safe from deadly monsters.
Next day all of them were praying by themselves.
But, this was not what I wanted. I would never want them to pray to God, in fear. Maybe one day they will not.
This made me question, isn’t all of us are a part of this fear propaganda – called Religion.
What has religion taught us? More precisely what these representatives of Temples, Mosque and Churches have forced into us?
If you research history of Bible, you will find that church officials have edited the bible so much to erase the kind face of God. Instead God is one who will bring wrath to you, the moment you commit a sin. He will only save you if you are committed to him. God is masculine. God is he, not she. ‘She’ can be weak. But, a ‘He’ is so strong. So, they kind of committed to mention that God has a wife. In fact basic nature of changes that have taken place in bible are to make sure that people fear God and come to church regularly out of fear.
Same is with representation of Jihad by Islāmic extremist. I saw in TV an extremist of Islam saying t his followers, to rape women of other religion, as this will make their God happy. If you kill people of other religion, you will get some 30 or 40 virgins in heaven. Above all you are not a true muslim if you do not believe in such ideology. Your God will abandon you if you indulge in music, or support woman education, or help someone of other religion. This fear of your Lord abandoning you. Fear that you may be cast as not true muslim. Fear of going against your religion.
If you think that Hinduism is free of this fear, just take a look at the line of a Shani temple, every saturday. Look at the lemons and chillies hanging on every shops. Look at your women fasting whole day without food and water, fearing if they will not do so, their God may become angry and take life of their husband or son (sadly daughters are not this important) as a punishment. We do ‘Pind-Daan’, we do ‘Shraadh‘, we perform so many rituals after someone is dead, so that the dead’s won’t get angry and stay happy wherever they are. You didn’t perform one ritual the way it was supposed to, now something bad will happen to you. Even Raam said at one point – “Bhay bin hoye na preet”, i.e. Love cannot exist without fear.
We are always trying to please God.
If we want a job, we should first please God, by donating some money to his representative. We want to get married, lets fast for 16 Mondays. You want to be a suicide bomber, first pray to God to make you successful in this holy deed, and also reserve you a god spot in heaven.
You did something bad, for sure you are going in hell. You will burn in hell for eternity.
You had sex before marriage, for sure you are going in hell. By the way have you seen the view of hell. Just do one good thing today and search google for what Hell looks like as per each religion.
I may never know the answer to whether Fear of God is necessary or not, but for me my God is to me, like I am to my kids. I would never want my kids to fear me. I would want them to love me, unconditionally. I would want them not to please me but to understand me. I would want them to believe in me and trust me. To believe that no matter what; no matter whatever worst thing they do in their life, I will always be there with them, to show them the correct path and to protect them.
I have read so many mysteries and thrillers, but most mysterious and thrilling stories are from our Religious notions. There is so much that we don’t know, still there is so much that we believe in. Believing in something which we don’t know fully, still we have full faith in our beliefs. I am writing this post cause my curious mind took me to a journey of some of the widely practiced religions and stories behind them.
I am ashamed to say that I knew so little about them, even right now, I am so unsure of my limited knowledge(rather say ignorance), but I am eager to learn.
For instance, I didn’t knew that three of the most popular religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, originated from one. But, I did knew that, Hinduism is considered as the oldest Religion and it has given birth to several most widely practiced other religions too, like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Most astounding fact being, that all these religions emerging from Hinduism are in accord and harmony (as far as I know).
The case is not same with Christinaism, Judaism, and Islam. They started from the same Abrahamic belief, and then along the way they distinguished themselves and took separate paths. A path which now seem, so extreme from each other that one can never imagine that their roots were in the very same area of Jerusalem.
A holy place captured and attacked so many times in history, and now surrounded by walls reaching the sky. A holy place which is the center point for the most controversial religious debates between three major Religions of the world. I wonder if God still resides there, enclosed in those walls.
This actually reminds me of my visit to disputed Ram temple site of Ayodhya,India. A place of worship and faith, surrounded by army and police, guarded in such a way, to make you feel like, distant from your own God. I read about and also watched some documentary on Jerusalem, and the only thought that came to my mind was, why can’t they all live in peace accepting each others Religion. What’s wrong if person of two religion wants to pray in a single place?
It strikes me, how I felt about the Ram Temple and Babri Masjid disorder. How would I feel, if I am praying their and at the same time my Muslim friend is offering his prayers too? Will it create more discord, or, it just won’t matter, as long as we both have a right to express our religious beliefs freely?
It’s too complicated, or maybe not. I am trying to understand, what need not require understanding. Religion is not meant to be interpreted. It’s for believing. It’s for practicing my beliefs, without hurting others. It should be about love and closeness with the Lord, and not about building walls. I believe in that.