Friday, November 02, 2012

Idea of god

Just a flash idea. It came when I was listening to a Bhimsen Joshi's classical rendition - "main to tumara daas janam janam.." (I'm your servant for eternity, in this life and every new life).

Though god has been declared dead by many philosophers and in today's effluent society, the market value of god has gone down significantly, when the idea of god originated, I think it was really revolutionary!

So, this idea is about why it's good for a poor man, who may be constantly exploited by the man he works for, to believe in god. Consider that you are working for a man, who swears at you and treats you badly but you have no option but to oblige because you don't know what will happen if you lose this job. Then comes god! You say to yourself, I'm not bothered by what this man does to me. I'm only answerable to god. When the rich man you work for says,  "Just see what I will do to you, you xxxxx." You can say - ".... there is god" The rich man is not offended because the rich man also believes in the supremacy of god. You, on the other hand, believe god is on your side. It gives you solace. This way you have an invisible friend. Apart from a strong shoulder to lean on in difficult times (like death of a dear one), idea of god also gives you right to relax and take time off to celebrate festivals. When the rich man says - "Come on Sunday, I need this cleaned up." you can say - ".... not on Sunday, there is puja in the temple...." etc.

This thought helps me understand why the Black slaves of North America turned to Christianity. Same thing holds good to poor people working in a feudal society. It also explains why a revolutionary society (like Communist society) wants to ban religion. If one believes in religion, his response to exploitation will be naturally subdued. Karl Marx wrote "Religion is the opium of the people". This thought helps me understand Marx's statement better.

This thought is making me take pride in religion again. Long live religion! We just cannot afford to be a god-less society. But will religion stop revolution? Perhaps, but revolution is always run by a few frontrunners and rest of the people need god to lead a bearable life in his harsh world.

There is a corollary too to this idea. One can try to replace god by market in the above example. You are a poor man; you are exploited. Over time the society (including you) has outgrown god but you have a strong market. So you turn to the market (just like you turned to god in the above context) to escape exploitation.You quit your job and get a new one. You continue doing this till you get an employer who respects you and you find happiness. This should be the ideal situation in an ideal world. This will bring an end to all exploitation. But...the market is not infallible like god. When the market is good, you are fine but when it turns bad, you become a slave. But now, having lost your god, you have no one to turn to. You cannot be happy in this situation without god. Therefore, I believe, it's becoming more relevant to keep god alive in today's market-oriented world where poverty is on the rise and not the contrary.

If one believes that happiness and pleasant life is the single most important thing in this world for all people - rich and poor - and that a large percentage of the people in the world will always be poor, then one cannot imagine a world without god!


anilkurup said...

Karl Marx said that Religion is the opium of man, but he did not in his thesis advocate that opium or intoxicants (even God) be banned. And like opium God and religions too are opium .Intoxication and inebriation happens when enslaved by both.
I did not understand your last para – the corollary and the “market” etc

SHE said...

I think Marx used opium in negative sense. The Communists in the Soviet Union promptly followed this and shut down all churches during their reign. (at least during the initial years) That was because they thought revolution and god cannot coexist. According to me, the irony here is that invisible god (I'm not talking about worship of trees, animals here) itself was a revolutionary idea :-)

I'll rewrite the last paragraph.

anilkurup said...

Marx used the statement very much in a sense that is matter of fact.
Why the form of communism failed in Russia was because it divorced from mans longing for identity, expression and freedom.The yoke of the Imperial czars was simply replaced by the intolerance of the communist.

And your statement that there will always be more people in the needy bracket and hence God cannot be shunned is rather strange. Then what is the purpose of God if the vast majority of people are bound to be deprived?

SHE said...

That's the idea! Vast majority of the people are bound to be deprived and hence god is necessary to bring solace to these people.

In an ideal society where everyone is happy and fulfilled, god would be an overhead.

anilkurup said...

Solace from an entity that is as helpless as the hapless? How could that lend succor and alleviate suffering, avoid disasters?

Nahthan said...

It came when I was listening to a Bhimsen Joshi's classical rendition - "main to tumara daas janam janam.."

Indian classical music certainly needs to be secularized.

SHE said...

I read somewhere that after partition Muslim classical singers in Pakistan wanted to change the words (like Krishna, Radha etc.) they used in their recitals but I don't think it happened on a large scale.