Part III– Questions about Religions and God
Some suggested that I should turn to religion in order to find the happiness that I want. But I do not need religion nor do I need God in order to be happy. Whatever happiness that I get is because of my achievement and as a result of my hard work. Who needs a religion or God to find happiness? If there is a God who is fair, then life should not be this unfair. There are millions of children who are born with nothing to eat and many who do not have the basic amenities of life. They have only just been born and have not done anything in this life to deserve such hard ship. Some are born deaf and some are born lame. How can there be a God who is fair and yet tolerates this kind of extreme disparity in life? No, I do not believe in that kind of God in heaven or up in the sky watching over me and every action that I do. You cannot be free if someone is watching you all the time, can you?
This is all just brain washing to keep religion in circulation by duping all the gullible ones. Some promise me eternal heaven if I follow them and threaten that I will go to eternal hell if I do not. I did not have a past life but I am supposed to have eternal life in heaven or hell after I die. No one ever come back after death to tell us if they are in heaven or hell because they followed or did not follow such and such religion. As some one said, everybody is heading towards a hell, since according to each religion, other than those who believe in that religion the rest are going to hell. So, by a process of elimination, everybody is going to hell. This is what happens when one believes in any religion.
I do not need any religion or belief in heaven and hell. In fact I am better than most of these religious fanatics, whom I find are hypocrites, teaching something that they themselves do not follow. I am an a ethical person. I mind my own business. I do not hurt any one unnecessarily or intentionally. I respect others’ rights and privileges. I try to help whenever I can. I am a good person by any standards. I do not need any religion or God to reciprocate kindness to fellow human beings. If there is a God in heaven, which I doubt, he should know that I am a good and decent person. I live a good life and will die one day. Well, this is my autobiography and as far as I know, is that of many in the world, who just live to make the best out of their lives and one day kick the bucket.
The fact remains however, whether or not I am religious, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, what I am looking for is happiness that comes with fulfilment in life. The effective promise of heaven is to have this happiness through fulfilment of life itself. Who wants heaven if there are going to be disparities there also, where some are luckier than others; some are closer to God on first name basis compared to others who are treated as third class citizens (of course on the basis of heavenly standards). Some religions and even Vedic philosophers claim that there are hierarchies in heaven too and there are some who are eternal servants of God. If the lot of some is better than that of others, all we are doing is transporting all the problems of this world to heaven too, but of course with the promise that we are going to be happy there since we are nearer to God. Everybody is happy in heaven, but some are happier than others since their lot is better or they are closer to God. Do not ask me why, but that is so. My apologies if you are offended for the way I have expressed my self. These are some of the thoughts that I went through before I was exposed to Vedanta.
Although I presented my state of mind as I live through this life, I still have lot of questions in my mind: Is there a soul that is different from matter? Where was I before I was born and where I am going after death? Is there life after death or life after life? Is there really a heaven or hell and God that religions talk about? Who is supposed to be controller of all these? Why I am born to particular parents and go through certain experiences that others do not? Is there a meaning to life?
I need convincing answers that my rational intellect can accept, not some beliefs and dogma that I have to believe in with the threat that I will be dammed if I do not.
I find in the world to some extent that there are cause-effect relations. That is the fundamental postulate of all objective sciences, too. They make controlled experiments and observe how the system responds and, from the effects that are observed, they determine the cause. Many of the effects in Nature previously though to be mysterious, are being resolved by rational analysis. Many of the superstitions are removed by the progress of scientific thought and analysis. Scientists are examining the origin of the universe and the nature of the fundamental particles of which the universe is made up. But, when it comes to psychological analysis of human beings, questions such as why am I born?, is there a soul?, what is happiness?, why is life so unfair?, why cannot I be happy all the time without any worries? etc. remain a puzzle. People are more comfortable with modern amenities, but not necessarily more happy. I need to find out why and what is this life or the purpose of my existence. Is there a God that controls everything? What is he, who is he and why is he? etc. are some of the puzzling questions that need to be solved to my satisfaction.
With this kind of background we will look at the Vedantic approach to life and see what Vedanta can provide to address the issues that are raised by a rational intellect which is always skeptical about religious beliefs and dogma.
Proceed to the next essay.