My Reflections: Man and his Religion
A religion is as good as its followers are, and how they behave among themselves as well as in a multi-religion environment.
As you know, the earliest man was living in forests, like other animals. He hunted for food and reproduced like other animals. But in many respects, man turned out a lot superior than other creatures. His brain was endowed with a lot more features than the rest. As a result, he started evolving at a faster pace than the rest. He started making discoveries and inventing things to help himself with life’s basic needs.
To start with, he made stone and later on iron weapons for hunting animals; he made fire for warmth, protection from animals and cooking; afterwards, wheel was devised for transport. Then started a whole chain of discoveries and inventions. Agriculture, i.e., growing food in fields and domesticating animals for milk and other useful purposes brought him to a more comfortable and organized living. Man started living in groups and communities. With that, villages came into existence.
As communities came up and people came into closer everyday contact, a sort of unwritten code of Do’s and Don’ts started evolving to make some order from the chaos.. Together, they were trying to arrive at a perfect, ideal way of living. That ideal way of living, with strong stress on morality, gradually gained currency among the masses and came to be termed as ‘manav dharma’ (human religion). Sense of goodness, virtue, compassion and love became the foundation of the civilized society. Humanity had started taking shape. Morality automatically became the key word. The entire code revolved around good and bad, virtue and sin, and all those things required to make a civilized society. Man was logically evolving, from the barbaric to a civilized society.
Through all that, human greed started playing its dirty role in causing conflicts among people. ‘Might is right’ became the unwritten law. Evils and sins too started growing and raising their head. People in general were put to untold sufferings. In such dire circumstances, when humanity was extremely endangered, sometimes, there arrived on the scene, an extraordinary, benign character who conquered and vanquished the evil and liberated the virtuous to carry on on their path. The rescued, liberated souls heaved a sigh of relief and were so filled with gratitude and awe at the liberator’s deeds that they started worshiping him and praying to him in any distress thereafter. The liberator became a legend and with the passing time, and came to be worshiped as God.
Thus, the moral code of conduct for the civilized society evolved into a religion which basically amounts to the ideal way of living. It’s tenets and guidelines teach the communities and believers the art of living in their own distinctive styles. If they are followed in letter and spirit, people are able to live a happy life full of peace and prosperity.
Looking from global point of view, religions appear to be a region-specific phenomenon, and so are their gods. For instance, the Indian sub-continent produced the Hinduism and its various gods, starting with the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; or the West Asia got its Judaism, Christianity as well as Islam. Later on they spread out all over the world. They had their founding Gods/Prophets in Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus (Christ) and Prophet Mohammad respectively.
As such, all deities are divine and benign for the masses in general. Hindu deities, according to their belief, were mostly incarnations and manifestations of the supreme God, coming down to earth to accomplish some special purpose. So did the Gods and Prophets of all other religions.
In a multi-religion world, the most pragmatic approach would be to give due respect to all religions and their deities, and pursue the path of evolution each religion shows us – of human love, compassion and peace for all. Then alone can we claim to be true homo sapiens, the best creation of the God, almighty.
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# Ashok Misra