Is Man More Than God?

Photo by Donald Giannatti  on unsplash   The long road

Swami Vivekananda, the celebrated propagator and progressive interpreter of Vedanta philosophy has explained his ideas of God, religion and man’s place in the spiritual practice in the book, What Religion Is:

Search for God

‘……. man, after vain search after various Gods outside himself, completes the circle and comes back to the point from which he started-the human soul; and he finds that the God whom he was searching for over hill and dale, whom he was seeking in every brook, in every temple, in churches and heavens, that God whom he was even imagining as sitting in heaven and ruling the world, is his own  Self. I am he and he is I. None but I was God and this little ‘I’ never existed.’

‘What does the advaitist preach? He dethrones all the gods that ever existed or ever will exist in the universe and places on that throne the Self of man-the Atman, higher than the sun and moon, higher than the heavens, greater than this great universe itself. No books, no scriptures, no science can ever imagine the glory of the Self that appears as man-the most glorious God that ever was, the only God that ever  existed, exists, or ever will exist.’

‘ I am to worship, therefore, none but my Self.'(The ‘Self’ is the soul of man.)

God of the masses

‘The religions of the unthinking masses all over the world must  be, and have always been, of a God who is outside of the universe, who lives in heaven, who governs from that place, who is a punisher of the bad and rewarder of the good, and so on.’

‘The God of heaven becomes the God in nature, the God in nature becomes the God who is nature,  and the God who is nature becomes the God within this temple of the body, and the God dwelling in the temple of the body, at last, becomes the temple itself, becomes the soul and man-and there Vedanta reaches the last words it can teach.’

‘Talking about God, and the Impersonal, and this and that, is all very good, but these men-Gods are the real Gods of all nations and all races. These divine men have been worshipped and will be worshipped as long as man is man. Therein is our faith, therein is our hope, of a reality. Of what avail is a mere mystical principle?’                                                                                                      The men-gods are only human, visible, accessible spiritual teachers to the people and not scriptural gods.

‘These great Teachers are the living Gods on this earth………They are higher than any conception of God that I could ever form.’

These ‘men-Gods’ are the great Teachers of the world- Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mohammad, Mahaveer, Basavanna and so on.

Universal religion

Swami Vivekananda emphatically preached that all religions are not contradictory, but supplementary to one another.

The twelfth-century Indian mystic, Basavanna established and spread an almost similar spiritual, humanist philosophy called lingayatism in south India. He taught that there is no heaven, no hell, no supernatural god, and so on and that we, the people could change this earth into heaven or hell. Man’s body is a temple, as it were, and man is divine. God is one and his names are many. Man can attain his ultimate spiritual goal through his own perseverance.

God of Islam

No God or prophet (‘man-God’) of any religion is the only truest  God or the prophet. Swami Vivekananda stresses the mistaken view of Islam that Islamic God is the only God and Gods of other religions are not Gods and highlights a historical fact:

‘In this line, the Mohammedans were the best off. Every step forward was made with the sword- the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other.  ‘Take the Koran, or you must die; there is no alternative.’ You know from history how phenomenal was their success; for six hundred years nothing could resist them. And then there came a time when they had to cry halt. So will it be with other religions if they follow the same methods.’

Religion is individualistic

Swami Vivekananda eloquently says:

‘Religion is not talk or doctrines or theories nor is it sectarianism. Religion cannot live in sects and societies. It is the relation between the soul and God; how can it be made into a society? It would then degenerate into business, and wherever there are business and business principles in religion, spirituality dies. Religion does not consist in erecting temples or building churches or attending public worship. It is not to be found in books or in words or in lectures or in organizations. Religion consists in realization.’

The spiritual leader’s words are clear, heart-touching, inspiring and convincing and awaken man from the deep and rigid grip of outdated superstitious religious beliefs.                                                                                                Two things stand out in the spiritual path of this revered Indian mystic:

Swami Vivekananda’s God is a  ‘man-God! His God is not a supernatural God living in heaven and governing the world.      

Swami Vivekananda is a staunch humanist.   

Is he not one of the spiritual greats?                       

 

 

Reading Two Answers To Two Universal Questions Makes You Rational

The genius of science on the universe and God

Stephen Hawking, the genius of astronomy and cosmology has the profoundly path-breaking and rationally impactful insight into the origin of the universe and the idea of God. He says in his book, Brief Answers To The Big Questions:
‘ You can’t get to a time before the Big Bang because there was no time

Photo by ardito Harrissna on unsplash

before the Big Bang. We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in.’

Self-created universe

‘I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science.’

‘Time did not exist before the Big Bang so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It is like asking for directions to the edge of the Earth-the Earth is a sphere that doesn’t have an edge, so looking for it is a futile exercise.’

‘There is no God’

‘Do I have faith? We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either. I think belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking. There is no reliable evidence for it, it flies in the face of everything we know in science. I think that when we die, we return to dust. But there is a sense in which we live on, in our influence, and in our genes that we pass on to our children. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that I am extremely grateful.’

The universe was self-created and God had no chance or time to create it!

What Is The Opium Of The People?

Opium Of The People                                                                                                           Karl Marx, the venerated German icon of the world proletariat, philosopher and the pioneering revolutionary asserts that religion ‘is the opium of the people.’It is an intoxicant. It offers temporary relief to the working people from their daily hardships of life.

Photo by Juliana Arruda
Photo by Juliana Arruda            Unplash

Birth Of Illusion 
Economic poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, ill-health, debt, and other widespread social maladies of the class society render the working class helpless and hopeless and constrain them to seek a helping hand in the form of God, Messiah, saint, savior and so on. The working class finds temporary solace in its illusory world of God, heaven, etc. But they do not get a permanent solution to their frustrating privations and agonies by resorting to this illusory world of religion.
Religion is thus a human product; it is not a divine gift or creation.
The capitalist class, one of the historical ruling classes legalizes various forms of injustice in a class society and brainwashes, through the religion, the working people into believing in illusions of God, his grace, his protection, rebirth, afterlife, heaven and hell, and so on. This is in a sense something akin to the Hindu karma and rebirth theory. The exploiting class not only blunts their rebellious sharpness but also weakens their combative spirit, in this invidious and secretive way, with the potent spiritual tool of the all-pervasive irrational religion.
Historical Fact
There was a time when there was no private property; there was a time when there was no religion. The ancient tribes lived happily by using natural resources commonly for their livelihood and needed no God.

Private property divides society into the class of capitalists and the class of workers where the former exploits the latter by applying, among other things, the opium of religion to them. Class society is one source of sustenance and prevalence of religion. A classless society will be one without religion.

How Religion Ends
The Marxist solution for establishing a classless society is a social revolution and abolition and socialization of the private property. The Marxist idea and aim are that private property, the historical source of class oppression should not be a means for exploiting the socially weaker class of workers by the dominant property-owning class, the capitalists. Religion loses its influential status as a powerful tool in an exploitation-free classless society.

Religion withers away just as the State as the symbol of the power of the ruling class and the ‘organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another’ withers away.

Karl Marx expresses the essence of religion in his following inimitable words:

‘Man makes religion, religion does not make man.’
‘Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world and the soul of the soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusion.’

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Miracle Is a Myth.

It is a matter of rationality. The word ‘miraculous’ has two meanings:1) literal and 2) figurative. The literal meaning is ‘supernatural’ and the second meaning is ‘remarkable’ or ‘surprising’ as in miraculous escape, miraculous recovery of health. Walking on water, for example, is a miracle.

I choose the first meaning of the word for my comment

Miracle Is A Fiction

A miracle is a pure fiction. Being supernatural, it cannot be proved, as it has no provable evidence. It is against the laws of nature.                                  Anything against the laws of nature is unreal and untrue. Natural laws govern the world. Miracles are,therefore, based on man’s misconceived perception of events and things.

For example,  the required friction between two stone pieces creates fire. A matchbox and a matchstick are necessary to add fire to paper. Nothing is created out of nothing and nothing happens against nature’s laws.

Science Is Progressive

If something is unknown to us or unexplained by the science, it does not mean it is a miraculous event or thing.                                                                  Richard Dawkins, the well-known scientist says,’There are things not even the best scientists of today can explain.”Science continues to investigate such things or events to explain them by uncovering the presumed mystery behind them and reaching the truth. The march of the science for truth is perennial.

 

 

 

 

About

I am an Indian, living in Bengaluru and a retiree from the government job of Indian labour law enforcement inspector for 23 years.

Two Passions

I have a passion for the rational and  humanist outlook on life

My purpose in blogging has two elements:(1) to outline the basic tenets of rationalism and humanism in my way in this blog site and (2) to publish blog posts, guest posts, and so on in this niche for monetization.

The great thinkers like Charvaka, Confucius, Lucretius, Epicurus, Spinoza, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, M. N. Roy, A. C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett and many others and scientists like Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and many others have shown the road to rationality, freedom, humanism, and, ultimately, the good life that human beings can live.

 To Be Free Is To Be Rational

To purge people of the centuries-old superstitious beliefs, bigotry, religious intolerance and hate and terrorist bloodbath, blind faith, miracle, and magic is the first element of my blogging purpose.

The spirit of rationality and humanism should pervade human society and man should be the only centre of all human activities.

If some people become convinced of the soundness of the concepts of rationalism, humanism, freedom and good life and subscribe to them, the first element of my purpose will be fulfilled.

I am taking steps in the implementation of the second element of my blog purpose, blog monetization.

 

To Live Good Life, Man Must Be Free

                                          

Rationalism Is the Light

‘Good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge nor knowledge without love can produce a good life.’-Bertrand Russell.

I am free from the historical and’ biological baggage’ of non-existent God and his alleged intervention in human affairs and am rational to be free. As a rational man, I  am capable of living a ‘good life…inspired by love and guided by knowledge’.

I  am liberated from the pervasive grip and shackles of the illusory God and the accompanying superstitions of faith in, prayer to and worship of, God for his favours and gifts. I have thrown away as baseless and illogical the religious apologists’ concept of God as the supernatural governor of the universe issuing commands to human beings as to what they should think, say,  eat, wear, whom to marry, and what is right or wrong and an afterlife, soul and karma. Such a God is an ILLUSION created by man himself under pressing historical situation.

The religious apologists have three main cosmological. ontological and teleological arguments for the existence of God. These three stances are just ingenious rationalizations of their already accepted beliefs without ANY evidentiary basis. Since knowledge of existence of God cannot be gained directly through our five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste or indirectly through the use of special instruments like microscope and telescope and through the scientific or logical methods, God is inescapably found to be a pure illusion, a human creation or a human assumption.

A.C.Grayling, the British philosopher’s   comment on God in his The God Argument(pp 26 -27) is weighty and relevant here:

‘If a god is loving, merciful, kind, compassionate and the like, how can it tolerate pain, misery and arbitrary suffering, independent of the merits of the sufferer? How could it create or tolerate a world that is sometimes brutal to sentient beings, in tsunamis, earthquakes, terrible diseases, violent death, terror and panic?                                                                                            Few human beings would inflict any of these things on those they have created(their children) or about whom they care.                                                      The existence of natural evil-disease and disaster-appears to be inconsistent with the idea of a benevolent agency, most especially if that agency designed and created such a universe.’

Indian Rationalism

About Indian rationalism and atheism, Deviprasad  Chattopadhyaya, the respected authority on Indian philosophy has the following remarks:

‘Only two of the major philosophies of India can be considered as theistic and even this not without important reservations. All the other major Indian philosophies were atheistic. This means that, except for a negligible minority, the Indian philosophers found no use for the concept of God; they moreover actively engaged themselves to demonstrate-philosophically speaking-the concept of God was not in the least acceptable’.

‘By contrast, Buddism, Jainism, Purva Mimamsa, Shankhya, Lokayata, Nyaya-Vaisheshika in its original form were philosophies of committed atheism in India.’(Indian Atheism, pp.24 and 29).

Man must courageously shake off the age-old involuntary and irrational burden of his belief in the concepts of God, heaven, hell, afterlife, karma and soul and their accompanying meaningless rituals of prayer and surrender to God imposed on and heavily weighing down his mind and become TRULY FREE. The rational man is the free man!

Man, the Maker Of His Destiny

Man is the maker of his own destiny. He does not need the non-existent external support of the supernatural agency, the God for his activities. He may need and can get the help of his fellow humans in all his endeavors, sorrow and for solace and peace.

Simply by praying to God-

Can man earn his livelihood without doing work? For him, ’work is worship’

Can he enjoy good health without taking good food, essential exercise or physical labour and proper rest?

Can he gain any knowledge of the world and life skills without education/self-education?

The answer is NO. The God can have NO role here, as he is non-existent.

Has God ever answered man’s prayer for gifting something in the entire human history?

Has God ever punished a man for his immorality, crime and violation of his alleged commands in the entire human history?

The answer is NO. The God, therefore, is imaginary, illusory and non-existent and, hence,  can have NO part to play in human life.

How can we then assert that he is the supernatural governor of the universe, both animate and inanimate?

Man is, therefore, the maker of his own history. Man is to man a brother. friend, father( to his children) and a fellow human being and participant in the eternal and harmonious flow of life in society. His bond with his fellowmen is and will be one of love, dignity, goodwill, sympathy, fairness and social unity irrespective of anyone’s creed, caste and colour.

The irrational mind is the enslaved mind!

Rationality is the unfailing flame shedding light on and eliminating centuries-old intellectual darkness in the human mind!!

Religious fundamentalist hate, intolerance and human bloodshed will be rooted out.

Art, music, literature and culture will bloom in full in the secure, secular society of rational and free men.

‘Man is the measure of everything’-Protagoras

Humanism nourished and led by rationalism is the right road map for all-around human growth.

 

 

 

Does God Exist?

Bigots’ Rage

  Recently, a woman journalist by name Gauri  Lankesh was shot dead in Bengaluru, India allegedly by religious fundamentalists in a rage against her rational and secular views and relentless fight against social injustice and socially harmful bigotry and superstitions. Three other such murders were recently committed, before the latest crime, in a similar fashion in India.  The ghastly inhuman crime stirred me again into questioning again the argument for the existence of God whose votaries commit such crimes.

Non-existent God

Does God exist? Have the believers ever rationally questioned the existence of God? Believers characterize God as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. We may look at the point as a layman from a common sense position.If God is omnipotent, why there is no plenty of everything of human consumption?  Why there are poverty and disease? Why there is injustice, crime, ill-will, hate, social strife, and war in society? If He cannot solve and prevent these social maladies and evils, He proves himself to be powerless and illusory. He cannot both be omnipotent and not be omnipotent; He cannot be both existent and non-existent at the same time. The argument inevitably leads one to the conclusion that God is a historically circumstantial human imagination.God did not create man; man created God under certain compelling historical circumstances.

Nature Is God

Nature gives birth to life.Nature created man.Nature feeds man.Nature is governed by her own laws and eternal.The question is perennially pertinent: Who created God?Believers swear that God is self-created, beyond human understanding, mysterious and ineffable.The believer has faith that God is the self-creator,self-designer and self-appointed governor of the universe and has no satisfactory answer to the next inevitable question: Who created God? This question is endless.He has no logically valid answer to this question: his illogical answer is that God is beyond human comprehension, mysterious and to be simply believed.His answer does not pass the test of logic.

The universe is not a gift of God.The good Earth is not a gift of God.I am here on this planet because of my parents. About religion based on God, Bertrand Russell, the great philosopher says that ‘my own view of religion is that of Lucretius’:”I regard it as a disease born of  fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.”According to Karl Marx,’Religion is the opium of the people.’    Love, friendship, family bonds, culture and, above all, humanism should replace the religion and its superstitious practices.Man should matter the most and be the measure of everything in human life.

Payment of Employees’ Wages Into Their Bank Accounts Will End Violation and Malpractice

Non-payment of wages into employees’ bank accounts                                          The unorganized and ununionized employees, the largest workforce in India are not paid their wages(salary or pay ) into their bank accounts of their employers.

These employees work in private small factories, shops and commercial establishments.

The labour law applicable to these private factories like rice mills, flour mills, fabrication units, shops like groceries, stationeries, bookshops and commercial establishments like hotels, lodges, laboratories is the Payment of Wages Act,1936.

The method of payment of the employees’ wages prescribed by this law is in currency notes or by cheque or credit into their bank accounts.Now payment of the wage into employees’ bank accounts is NOT compulsory and statutorily binding on the employers.Here the employers never comply with the request of the employees to get their wages paid into their bank accounts and force their employees to accept payment of their wages in currency notes.Cash payment of the wages leads to payment of less than the legal wages. This results in glaringly exploitative malpractice stubbornly followed by employers for decades for the main reason that the employees are either illiterate, semiliterate, ignorant of their wage rates rights or simply afraid to demand their legal wages from their employers.Their fear is that their employment may be terminated immediately, though illegally and they may face the dreaded unemployment.

This widespread and chronic malpractice has resulted in extreme injustice and unfairness to the employees.It is stressed that it enables employers to pay less than the minimum wages fixed by the Government or wages mutually accepted orally by the employee and the employer, though their wages payment record shows correct but UNTRUE figures of minimum wages or mutually accepted wages.

Hurdle In Enforcement

When the labour law enforcement officer inspects the factory or shop or commercial establishment, the workers, in most cases, do not come forward to give true information of their actually received wages or refuse to sign their statement about their wages. In some rare cases, they reveal the payment of less than the minimum wages or mutually accepted wages.In very rare cases, there will be tally between the wage figures in the wage register and actual wage payment figures.The law enforcement authority is helpless in such an unfortunate situation of non-cooperation from the employees and cannot offer effective and efficient service to the employees.

The pressing legal solution to the legal deficiency is, therefore, an amendment of Section 6 of the Payment of  Wages Act,1936 to the effect that the employees’ wages should be compulsorily paid ONLY into their bank accounts.This amended law will finally end the long-established, extremely exploitative and unjust practice indulged in by employers for decades.

The Indian Government has enacted an amendment to the Payment of Wages Act,1936 on 16-2-2017( vide: labour.gov.in/wages) for the adoption of any one of the three options of wage payment by the employers: in currency notes or by cheque or credit into employee’s bank account.

Payment of Wages of Workers Into Their Bank Accounts

The amendment does not uproot the malpractice. It needs to be re-amended and made applicable to all organized and unorganized employees working in factories, shops, and commercial establishments and statutorily binding on the employers COMPULSORILY to pay their employees’ wages ONLY into their bank accounts. Paperless payment of the employees’ wages into their bank accounts will also be in compliance with the two recent major government policies of paperless money transactions of the citizens and the opening of a free bank account by every citizen of the country. The suggested crucial amendment to the Payment of Wages Act,1936 will end the violation of the law and the malpractice.

How the Largest Informal(unorganized) Workforce In India Can Get Justice

                                                    Digital  India   Programme 

  The government of India has implemented two popular programmes  for Indian citizens:

1) cashless and paperless economy or digital money transactions by the citizens.’ Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the government of India’  and

2) opening of zero balance savings accounts in the bank by every more than 10 years old citizen, literate or illiterate.

Digital money transactions by the citizens are grouped under ten categories:

1) credit card/debit card/cash card, etc.,

2) USSD,

3) UPI,

4) mobile wallet,

5) banks prepaid card,

6) points of sale,

7) internet banking,

8} mobile banking and

9) micro ATMs and

10) AEPs.

(For details of these two major programmes,visit:cashlessindia.gov.in and pmjdy.gov.in)

                        Payment of workers’ wages into their bank accounts

In pursuance of the first scheme, employers of unorganized or informal workers are mandatorily to be made to pay their employees’ wages by credit in their bank accounts by amending Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act,1936.

In pursuance of the second scheme, all unorganized employees can and will open their zero balance savings accounts in banks, as the scheme is for their benefit.

The unorganized workforce is the largest in India, that is, about 93 percent of the nearly 500 million workforce(Deccan Herald dated 14-10-2017).

Once the employees’ wages are mandatorily paid by crediting in their bank accounts, the law enforcing inspector will check the employees’ wage register with their bank passbooks/account statements. If he finds in the employee’s  bank passbook/account statement  payment of less wages   than the legal wages or non-payment of the wages, he has the perfect and unchallengeable documentary proof of the offence(in the form of employee’s bank passbook/account statement) committed by the employer and can prove the offence easily in the criminal court. The oral corroborative evidence of the elusive and uncooperative witnesses is not required for proving the employer’s offence.

The suggested amended payment of wages law will enable the inspector effectively to enforce the wage payment law and to do full justice to the largest section of the workforce in India, the unorganized or informal employees.