Has anybody else thought why Hindu Gods are very rich, always decked up with expensive precious stones , Gold and silk clothing’s? So, what does it take to be a God – pleasing personality, Be extremely rich and should have a “Vahana- vehicle”?
Even an elephant God travels in a mouse!!
My disclaimer for this article : I am not an atheist, nor I believe in any form of idol worship. I am just finding my own reasons, how this all could have started. Well I am not a historian either , but I am just trying to connect dots out of curiosity!
Raised in a conservative Hindu family, I was exposed to different Hindu Gods types, different festivals and a strict protocol to celebrate. I didn’t know the reason for each, shlokas and mantras uttered during different times and situations. I don’t remember asking questions back to my parents, as kids these days do ,but just followed instructions. Believed strongly that God is watching me and I am supposed to be in his good books to earn what I want.
Apart from just festivals , I have heard zillions of stories about good and evil fight and how God saved the world. Be it Mahabharata, Ramayana and many other regional stories as well.
My grandmother was a beautiful story teller. Whenever she narrates , I used to really visualize the scenes so candid , that by the end of the story I would have done a virtual video. Giving a face to the God, based on her descriptions I still rerun those videos sometimes. As a kid , if I pick up a fight with my friend or do some mischief , I used to get nightmares based on the stories etched in my brain – guess the fear factor definitely helped me shape up better !
Later in my teens , I started questioning myself many things but still religiously followed the rituals. Now that I have my own freedom to think and write, my questions about this run deeper.
Are these stories real ?
If God is so powerful, why do people suffer ? If its due to Karma – why does it happen in the next life ! Do we really have 7 lives ? Are the dogs on roads payback for their last life ! Nope none of the dots connect based on logical questions and answers. But the stories shared over the years remains fresh, kudos to the skill of the orator.
Well, all of us know Author Canon Doyle and his master piece – those days people really used to go and look for Holmes and Watson in Bakers street. The reach was so huge that the character lives in everyone’s memory still. And so is Harry Potter, by J K Rowling , we know its a fiction but still many readers don’t utter the bad spell – thinking it might bring in curse.
In Hindu Mythology, the stories are not just made with fake characters, they are real which though not proved with strong evidences, the region where the incident happened and names of the Royal lineage are all proved to be true ! The interesting fact about great Indian epics is – God himself plays a vital role, Lord Krishna in Mahabharata and Rama , an Avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The authors creativity and granular descriptions to bring in the characters so true, creates a mental model as we read through. You might have heard many people crib the movie is not as good as the book ! Thats purely because their mental model doesn’t match with the movie characters and places and we don’t like to accept ! Again the skill of the writer or an orator comes into play.
See the dots getting connected ?
In the chronological order , as the history could trace back, we cant find how stories of God started , who wrote / started this , who painted/ gave a figure to it. If it really happened , who was there as an eye witness for these- but it definitely was not created/ founded by one person in one day.
The first ever written Hindu Veda – Rig has hymns about nature , the five elements – Air (Vayu), Fire ( Agni), water( Varuna) , space( Akash), earth (Prithvi) etc. and the entire Kingdom of all these natures is run by Indira ( Devas and Asuras). It is quiet obvious from the rock paintings, stone inscriptions, hymns in Rig – everything was focused on nature – five elements, animals, birds which beautifully explains why people have written these inscriptions , they were thanking the elements which helped them and warning the next generations about the danger ! To make it more visually appealing and easy for a reader to follow may be each of these elements and nature was personified with human figure. So basically this must have been the early story writing and telling skills which passed to generations to the level that thanks giving slowly became worship. Which was followed with rituals with strong caution by creating terrorizing Demons to bring in certain discipline in the society.
Hinduism itself originated with a synthesis of traditions and culture followed by different sects. It is the early science man discovered, God fearing rules became the law of the land, it brought discipline even the everyday routine – like you shower go to temple and have food and go to work ( routine definition), and don’t forget about the temples in hill – they were built to make people do the modern day trekking, offerings / sacrifice gave the concept of sharing. Social stories helped to build confidence and courage in oneself. In fact some of the Hindu Gods like Kali, are pictured with scary features , to bring some fear to people who dare to even think about any misdeed. That worked very well , as most people obeyed these Godly law and rituals, and these had to be augmented with stories for better understanding which we still follow and pass on.
And of all the thought deep seeded in every man that there is an invisible soul watching him always.
This is a very smart achievement I would say as a steppingstone for civilization , religion – brought in discipline, decorum, empathy, love and affection towards fellow human beings, Nature and animals.
If you start relating every ritual in all festivals or social functions, there is an untold meaning behind it as created or passed on by our forefathers.
Also these faith brought in entertainment in their life – life cant be just eating and sleeping , So came festivals and gatherings , to share and rejoice with neighbors and relatives.
But Hinduism was not built in one period in the history, it has been varying or modifying itself over the years ! The Vedas , Epics , numerous regional stories with real life characters and preaching’s of how to lead a life are all the base for this religion!
The adept of the writer lies in using real life characters so we still are debating if these really happened or works of fiction! It really does not matter as long as these beliefs helped in the development of structured civilization and acted as a support system to march forward confidently. The thought that some invisible person is watching them stopped them from doing wrong deeds. The concept of God is definitely good , but in the long run there were many unwanted superstitions added up along with the rituals , which sometimes I feel could be the reason for many people claiming themselves to be atheist.
My dots finally connect this way – many unknown extremely skilled orators, poets, and writers have brought law & discipline to the society by means of beautiful social stories of God. And generations followed it as the intention was to teach people to understand between the good and the evil. GOD – rules the world including man and nature with various department heads- is it not beautiful how a corporate structure and process has been designed in bygone days without any excel and power point, but just through oration and writing hymns??!!
Well anyone who really wants to understand about Religion & God should just try to understand the well defined organization structure, the roles and responsibilities of each God, policies and rules defined for living , and appreciate how beautifully it has been passed on to generations, with full faith and confidence – just rhetorically!
In continuation to this article ,I am planning to deep dive further and understand the complete structure ! Stay Tuned !!