“ Bhagawan, Nomo Koro…”(that’s God bow to him)…these three words said with a tinge of righteous indulgence by numerous relatives are my first memories of this omnipotent and omnipresent being. The numerous idols and various shapes in which “Bhagawan” came was a real fascination for me but my first tiff with him started when at the age of 5-6 I started to wonder what exactly had he done to deserve my respect…and with the innocence and doggedness of a child who is convinced that he has stumbled upon the most important and hitherto overlooked question of the universe…I started to question my relatives “Bhagawan ke nomo keno korbo?” (why should I fold my hands and bow in front of God?)
A lot of rolled eyes and obvious rhetorics like “because you are supposed to…(as if that was an answer to my why)…” later I got one answer which I approved of, “ because God taught us the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness.” God, as a teacher was an idea which appealed to my six year old senses and justified the respect showered on him.
But, God turned out to be quite a strict teacher with a penchant for doing just the things he is not supposed to do like punishing kids who did not talk in class and therefore, I soon began to grudge his presence.
His adamant omniscience and omnipresence and his fascist dictatorial and blatant refusal, to let his students pass and go to the next class and consequently a new teacher, absolutely ticked me off. I revolted with all the 7-8 year old fury I could muster.
But, after all He was the teacher and I, a mere humble student, afraid, hesitant and full of guilt of doing the “wrong” thing. He did not help. He did not choose to show me anything that could win my faith. The reasons present accepted and known for evoking faith started appearing hollow, with people asking me to bow to a great ball of fire (the sun), that really was the last straw!! After all, I had my back to consider and it was not possible to bow so many times without doing some kind of damage to it and when I knew that the great ball of fire was neither benign nor benevolent and it was a mere chance that he bestowed us with light, and any closer to his divine self, all prayers notwithstanding, he would burn us to cinders, which anyways is our final fate.
I decided it was something I had to find out for myself, questions that I had to ask myself, answer myself and even correct them myself ( if only exams were like that…). The Herculean task turned out to be much more testing than any examination I had been asked to sit for. It was a journey taken to question things that appeared so obvious that nobody seemed interested in even sparing a thought to it.
In the course of this tryst with God my question started to change from “why God?” to “How can people be so blind?” I could understand the Neolithic man’s fear of the elements and hence their primaeval Gods but how could we in the 21st century still hold on to a concept that was so obviously baseless…our behaviour with all our knowledge was as primordial as that of the Neolithic man. The other thing that really shocked me was that the fear and fundamentalism on this issue was so deep-seated, so deeply ingrained into our system, that most of the times we do not even realise that almost all of our actions and words could be attributed to it.
As one of my friends once said when I asked her, why she wore a burqa to school in today’s world, when she is being educated, a student of science and the future of the emancipated woman, she simply replied, “it’s what we are supposed to do…” the ambiguous do’s and don’ts which we so “religiously” follow never really strike us and no one bothers to stop and scrap the useless junk. Another of my friends one day vehemently tried to convince me, why it was so necessary to be religionistic and why he could not be touched by me after I had non-vegetarian food.
I was shocked or rather so tempted to laugh at this entire debacle of the Super-Being that I kept quiet. God, shed all his halos for me that day.
Since, ages from Brahmins to priests God has just been a tool of the biggest con game of the history of mankind-RELIGION.
I denounced God, not because he did not exist but for the hypocrisy of men who forced him to exist. I would have bowed to Christ, the man but I simply refuse to believe in Christ who turns water to wine. I would pray to Mother Teresa but I hate the church that looks for “miracles” to award her Sainthood. I refuse to bow to the chauvinistic Ramakrishna who makes his wife walk back 100kms (as no other conveyance was available at that time) just because he feels that she has started her journey at an inauspicious time.
God & I go back a long way, we rarely agree, often fight and almost always avoid each other. When, it comes to me, God turns deaf and blind, and what can I say for people who still believe in “HIM”………..GROW UP.