Friday, March 30, 2007

A passing thought

Do good intentions necessarily do good?
I think, at times an action or even an advice with a good, perfectly noble intention may do more harm than good, or do no good at all. Still it is often followed, and often believed to be gospel truth ... not because of the merit in the advice or action, but due to the tag of good 'intentions' attached.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Failure ... under the public scrutiny

The performance of Indian team in the cricket world cup has disappointed millions of cricket fans (... or the word 'fans' is an understatement!) across the country, and I too am one of them. But isn't it that we are going overboard with it ? Like burning effigies, attacking the houses of players, or a politician going overboard by saying "I can play better cricket than the team" among many other derogatory things. Yes, they were same people who were adulated and at some places, even worshipped and now they are suddenly living under a constant threat, by the same junta.

Cricket is not alone. Often in various other fields, people love to see you rise, then adulate you once you are at top, raises its expectations and then they literally rip you apart if you fail to meet their great expectations even once. This might be most in case of sports (cricket in this part of world), but even other fields have ween the same. For example few years ago bollywood had seen a sensation called Hritik Roshan. Yet, after few films he was literally ripped apart by the critics (though he later bounced back is another story).

On a smaller level, suppose a person from a neighbourhood makes it to an excellent undergraduate institute, does really well and lands up at a plum job, he will be treated like a hero. But if for soem reason he makes a small mistake and for a short duration he doesn't grow professionally, the same 'hero' may be at the recieving end of criticism with many fingers pointing towards him and many people advicing on many things what he could have done.
On the other hand suppose a person is excellent in any other field like sprots or music or acting, he is often not being allowed to excel in it and instead the focus is on "study well ... get good job", more often than not because of public scrutiny and what people will think.

Maybe, it is often this fear which prevents from taking risks to grow in life, to try out something new, to venture out, to make it big in life. And probably it is the same fear which becomes the biggest crippler in terms of performance orwhich sees potential genius getting bogged down by pressure of great expectations. This is probably more so in this part of the world where everybody is apparantly concerned about everybody and has an opinion or advice for everybody. And this may be one of those things which become potential stumbling block on the way to greatness - as an individual, or as a society.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Does God exist?

Why do people believe in God?

Is being religious tantamount to believing in God?

Does God exist?

These are few questions which have kept many philosophers and thinkers busy since ages, and often at loggerheads with each other and with the society. I am no philosopher, nor a great thinker. But yes, these questions do arise in my mind, and too often especially when I see the countless customs and traditions, which often overlap with some superstitions, when I am told to perform rituals or puja, when I am criticized for being an atheist as I am unwilling to indulge in sycophancies to please gods for favors and often here and there. I am not an atheist. But I am not a great believer either. Actually I am a terribly confused person.

I am not sure why do people believe blindly in an all powerful supreme being without questioning, and accepting (or pretending to!) everything that comes their way – good or bad as the will of god. Maybe it is just because it is convenient to do so. It often becomes a lot convenient to pass the hard time with blindly accepting them, rather face it. Also, more often than not, it frees them from taking responsibilities and gives them someone to blame with things not going that way and accepting everything as will of god. With so much suffering and injustice all around it may be too comfortable to say them to be will of god, and ASSUME that justice will be done sooner or later. This may not be true, but it is definitely an assumption which would make most of us a bit more comfortable, rather than facing the fact that we are helpless or we would rather not take responsibility.

But the question is that is god really all that great? One of the main arguments against is that if it is true, then why is there so much suffering all around? Why is there so much inequality? If god is all powerful why doesn’t he do anything to stop it, or why does he allow all these to happen? Why does he live like king (in many cases it is true), while much of the mankind is still poor.

Many religious interpretations ask us to serve god selflessly. Though much of us serve him mostly out of fear of going to hell, or in a hope to get a undue favor, or to have a better life after death. Most of these motives are selfish. Why does god need so much sycophancy to be pleased and so many dos and don’ts (some of which may not be related to morality at all).

Often the problem may lie with interpretation of religion, especially by religious leaders. Most people in this world have been killed in the name of religion than anything else in history. Also a lot of superstitions are promoted by claiming it to be ultimately sourced from god. And so are many of the caveats. For example I once sat in a Satyanarayan puja (often these pujas are showoffs than real feelings) . In it was mentioned repeatedly the consequences of not performing that puja. More than a puja, it seemed like a threat to perform puja!

God is said to be all powerful. Still there exists concept of heaven and hell. If you serve lord well, remember him endlessly (maybe, investing time for primary education would be a better idea), serve Brahmins well (is god a believer in caste system?), or do good deeds and are moral, you will end up in heaven, else in hell. However, god being all powerful controls everything. So, are the ones going to hell paying price of the mistakes made by god? Probably yes, if we consider most of the religious beliefs.

Maybe someone would argue that I’ll be condemned to hell after writing all these, but if god is really that great (if he exists!), he would definitely understand my cynicism and respect my doubts and opinions.

(These may just be few of the points in my mind that I can remember. Such opinions were in my mind since quite long, more in last few days. However, I couldn’t write them. But today, I read an article by Bhagat Singh - http://www.boloji.com/spirituality/051.htm

and its contents were somewhat similar to what I believe, and this became one of the main drivers for this being written)