Wednesday, May 20, 2009

God in a Gucci - Shobhaa De'

This is an article written by Mrs. Shobhaa De in sunday Times life for the column "God in a Gucci". I really couldnt find any other better argument on this subject. .

IT is important to de-link spiritualism from religion. I believe that a religious person can be deeply spiritual and not be seeking anything. Not even God. A spiritual approach to life is far more important to one's sense of well-being than blindly following religious texts and rituals. The idea of GOD is a reflection of man's own insecurity. The most pathetic aspect of this is the way in which we foolishly fight over 'our' gods. Claiming superiority of one over the other, as if these various gods are competing in some absurd religious Olympics, featuring winners and losers. Belief is personal and frequently irrational. Nobody has the right to question it. Or declare a race to the finish line. Why do we hanker after 'answers'? Who has them? Has anybody met God? Since I am not really looking for God, I don't feel the need to search for Him. Or Her. Or 'It'.

As for whether one can be wearing an expensive Gucci or Cavalli and still be deeply religious, and whether we can be sexy and religious, materialistic as well as spiritual, and whether one precludes the other, I would say, it is not a valid debate at all.

What a person thinks, feels, is the key to understanding the bigger picture. To equate wealth with evil is to confuse issues. Not every rich person in designer gear is morally decrepit, just as not every poor person in rags is a saint. Nobody has been able to 'explain' inequalities. These value judgements are childish and irrelevant. Besides, even the most evolved ascetic can slip up and make terrible mistakes. That is the challenge of being humane and human. To think of God as an allseeing, stern headmaster, punishing the wicked, and rewarding the meek, makes the Almighty sound pretty dreadful! These are small consolations we dream up for ourselves, that's all.

There are thousands of people who put everyday life on hold to go off in pursuit of happiness or spiritualism, outside the realm of daily concerns. It's a matter of personal choice. Who can challenge that? It is an individual option. Only someone who has taken this route can comment on its validity, that too, in a strictly personal context. What compels an individual to go down this path? Who knows?? I am sceptical at the best of times since I have yet to meet a 'genuine' fakir. Renunciation is for those who can't cope with domesticity and life's petty struggles or simply refuse to.

I abhor rules and regulations that dictate to me what I should do if I want to reach God. These man-made pre-conditions were created in a specific historical scenario to offer guidelines that would discipline those the state could not effectively subdue. They have little relevance in an age where individual freedom precedes virtually everything else. Religion offers a matrix for those incapable of thinking for themselves. Organised religion is politics by another name — a way to control people through fear and punishment. It is easy to manipulate the uneducated, ignorant masses by talking of God's 'wrath'. This gives God a bad name!!

Seeking God does not necessarily have to be about listening to the silence within. I am not attracted to silence. I like chaos and noise. I can generally reach the spot I need to within myself, by concentrating on it briefly. This can happen even in the midst of cacophony. I love visiting temples, churches and mosques. I feel energised by the atmosphere. Other people's faith touches me deeply.

People, the world over, get possessive about 'their' God and spend time looking for imagined insults, and reacting to them. A confident believer is not as easily rattled. If Cavalli decides to put some image on inner wear, does that make God any less important? Or does it reflect Cavalli's ignorance? True spiritualism frees you from such bondage. It liberates while it celebrates differences. When our very existence is so ephemeral, why look for 'concrete' proof? God can wear Gucci, a dhoti or nothing at all. It's all about loving an illusion.

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