In our race to live life to the fullest, lead successful lives, we have forgotten to live meaningfully and be led by values.
We are careful about the food we eat because we value our physical health. We take the trouble to choose the best books, films and education for our children because we are concerned about their mental health. We take our economic and social health seriously, but spiritual health is not even on the radar of our concerns. In fact, even speaking about it is a strict NO-NO in most circles.
The ‘secular spirit’ is so enamoured of its penchant for keeping equidistant from all religions, all gods, all scriptures that it borders on pseudo-communism in its urge to be blind to the existence of the reality of religion in our society and the grip of God on the society’s consciousness.
To show what I think true secularism is, I have two small offerings from the rich and ancient Hindu tradition of music and poetry. Both verses are from south India, where many different languages are spoken. India itself has no common language though Hindi is their national language and English is a link language:
Says one ‘Kannada’ poet:
“There may be 330 crore gods and more
if one counts all the countries and cultures that have been
since the dawn of civilization
and the gods that they have worshipped.
Don’t all their songs and prayers reach the very same God?
Don’t all their forms merge in Jagannatha, the Lord of the World?”
(jaga-world; natha – lord).
A saint in his ‘Tamizh’ composition, at least a thousand years old, says:
“Each worships Him in the form that occurs to his mind;
Each surrenders his self to this God of his;
Each one’s God is no less than the other’s God;
It is circumstance that gives each one’s God a different form.”
If some of the most revered poets and saints belonging to one of the world’s oldest religions, living in one of the world’s most traditional societies, can take such a broad view of God and Religion, it should not be difficult for more modern societies to talk of God more openly and include Him more in our every day lives.
This is necessary for rescuing religion from vested interests and for making it a source of comfort for our children so that they may turn to God when they find none else in the world to befriend.