Spirituality -Is It Natural To Human Beings?

Spirituality Is Natural To The Human Being

I am entering a restricted or prohibited, sensitive and sacred area.

Religion-practitioners lay down the adoption of God, acceptance of scriptural literalism as God’s voice and religious miracle stories and rituals as prerequisites, and so on for a lofty spiritual human life. Faith can move mountains and prayer to God can bring rain to the divine creation of nature. Into the religious spirituality, rationality has no entry.

Contrary to this general conception, religion (faith) is not essential for spirituality in human beings.

Human beings are not only social animals but also spiritual beings. Spirituality is inborn and natural to them. Religion is an external imposition on them; God is an external burden placed on them. Both are not requisite for either human welfare or their spiritual expression in art, music, writing, sports, drama, adventure activities, dance, philosophical speculation, and so on.

The poet sings out of joy inspired by the sublime sea or sky, a young man, full of his intense love for his sweetheart, sings a romantic song, a musician plays his musical instrument inspired by his inner urge, and so on.

What  Spirituality Is

Human spirituality is a human’s inner world, his mental realm, his realm within.

One popular view is that spirituality breaks human perceptual boundaries and enables the human to unite with the cosmic existence. This is described as self-realization, nirvana, and so on

Another stream speaks of spirituality as the process of the ultimate union of the individual soul with the universal soul or God, moksha, liberation from birth and death, and so on.

The well-known Indian mystic, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says in his book, Inner Engineering: ‘When you say ‘spirituality’, you are talking about a dimension beyond the physical. The human desire to transcend the physical is a completely natural one.’

A mystic’s self-realization is the highest stage of spirituality. Sam Harris, the American neuroscientist and philosopher observes, ‘Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not.’

Yoga is a way, a potent scientific tool to break the borders of human physical life and to unite it with the borderless nature or creation or cosmos, whatever one may call it. This is self=realization. The ancient yoga path is a science away, far away from God.

The Sadhguru continues:

‘That is why the yogic system does not talk about God. It does not talk about the soul or heaven. Such talk makes people hallucinatory.’

‘The problem is that religious nuts around the world have exported everything that is beautiful about a human being to the other world. If you talk of love, they speak of divine love, if you talk of bliss, they speak of divine bliss. If you talk of peace, they speak of divine peace. We have forgotten that these are all human qualities. A human being is fully capable of joy, of love, of peace. Why do we export these to heaven?’

No involvement of religion is perceptible in this spirituality. Spirituality is not the monopoly of the religion which imposed its God-linked spirituality on the people. Religious spirituality has faith without evidence as its basis and inevitably results in human enslavement to irrational dogma.

 Massacre of Innocent Citizens

Extreme and blind loyalty to the scriptural literalism, a form of dangerous religious idiocy takes the dogmatists to violence and homicide. The horrifying explosion of religious fanaticism, its increasing network, and organized violence against people have shocked and shaken the world to its roots again and again.

The dogmatists are hardened robots remorselessly indulging in massacring innocent citizens with alarming ease and absolute fearlessness- with the divine scriptural sanction!

(Alas! Is there no way out for the world to vanquish the religiously indoctrinated robots and end religious dogma and their lunatic violent homicidal rampage?)

Decline Of Spirituality Of Religion

Jerry Coyne, the reputed American evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and rationalist provides the statical evidence in support of nontheistic people in northern Europe:                                                                                                                          ‘The degree of pure atheists-those who agree with the statement, ‘I do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god or life force’-runs between 25 and 40 percent of the population of countries like Germany, Denmark, France, and Sweden. The level of nontheistic spirituality ( ‘I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force, but not God’) is even higher: 25 to 40 percent. When you add the two groups to get the total population of nontheists, it is a majority:71 percent in Denmark, 73 percent in Norway, 79 percent in Sweden,  67 percent in France, 52 percent in Germany, and  58 percent in the United Kingdom. In contrast, nontheists in America constitute only 18 percent of the population, while 80 percent affirm a belief in God.’

The European and American nontheists have been living their emotionally, culturally, spiritually, intellectually fulfilled life. They have been normal healthy human beings. Their secular rationality has not impacted their life in any adverse way.

Future Belongs To Rational Spirituality

 This is a solid, incontrovertible and directly visible proof that religion is not needed for good human life ‘inspired by love and guided by knowledge.’

There are nontheists in other countries too, who also enjoy happy and fulfilled life in every field.

Human beings are borne free, but religions have enslaved them to irrationality. Let the religious irrationalists assiduously try to re-gain their-

‘Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head,

breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning call of the future.’

‘Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world,

where movements are started through brainless wires,

repeated through mindless habits,

where figures wait with patience and obedience for the

master of a show to be stirred into a mimicry of life’

(The above quotations are parts of a stirring poem of Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate, which was passionately addressed to India when the nation was not free.)

The world calls upon them to become rational and free from the religious spiritual cage.

The reader can easily understand who has been a ‘puppet,’ who has been a ‘master of a show’ and which are ‘brainless wires’ in the realm of religion.

The faith spirituality is fake and has an ignoble past and no future. Rational spirituality, reliable, ennobling and robust, has a bright future.

Comments are welcome.

 

 

Why Basavanna, the Rationalist and Humanist Thinker Is Relevant Today

Basavanna ( about 1115-1167) meaning elder brother Basava ( he is also venerably called as Basaveshwara or simply Basava) was a  rationalist revolutionary, unique prophet, pragmatic humanist and irrepressible social organizer and reformer. He revolted against the Vedas, their unjust social caste structure and irrational and harmful religious rituals. He founded a new religion named as Lingayat with the support of the common people of all social statuses. Basavanna uniquely stands out as a rationalist revolutionary.
This religion has no supernatural God as its governing and guiding supreme head. The rationalist Lingayat religion has been enjoying the whole-hearted support of the Lingayat people of the Karnataka State of India from the 12th century to this day. The scripture of the Lingayat is the prose-poems composed and described as vachanas(in the Kannada language)by Basavanna and other writers from the 12th century onwards.
Basavanna’s views are solidly based on rationalist and humanist principles and contained in his vachanas.
Basavanna’s concept of God is that the God is only one, that He has various names and that He is formless, invisible and omnipresent. He goes further and affirms that human conscience is the God and that a godly man also is a God. Kudalasangama Deva is Basavanna’s symbolic God who is man’s conscience itself. This God is not in any temple. This God is in the human mind as his conscience or symbol of dhyana or meditation in the form of ishtalinga(personal God) on the devotee’s palm. This God is neither a gift-giver nor a gift-taker nor a miracle-maker. This God demands that man should be of good conduct and work. He should work not only for himself but also for the society. Man must make his destiny individually for himself and, as part of the society, for the society. Man can become more than the symbolic God, Kudalasangama Deva by contributing to the various types of daasoha( free offering of useful thing or service) for the society.
‘There are some gods
That always watch by the doors of the houses of men.
They do not depart, although told to depart.
They are worse than dogs, these same gods.
There are some gods
That live by begging from men.
What can they give?
But our Kudalsangama Deva
Will give you whatever you ask.’

‘I did not see those so-called gods alive,
When the four yugas (ages) and eighteen cycles
Of those yugas were being destroyed;
Nor do I see them now.
I did not see them,
When all was burning,
Nor do I see them now.
Neither that day nor this day,
Do I see those gods
Except Kudalasangama Deva.’
‘God Is One, Names Are Many’
‘God is one, names are many.
A chaste wife has just one husband.
Should she desire another.
He will chop her ears and nose off.
What would you say then of those
Who relish leftovers of many gods, Kudalasangamadeva?’
Priests as God’s Mouthpieces
Priests have been dependent upon God and exploit the common innocent followers of a religion for their livelihood in the name of God. Basavanna has very harsh words of his righteous anger against the ignoble profession of priesthood throughout the human history.
‘Is there anybody in this world who says to another
“Eat for my body, and enjoy my wife for me”?
Hence you yourself ought to work with eager mind.
You yourself ought to work, laboring with your body.
If you do not work with your body,(and mind together),
How will Kudalasangama Deva be pleased with you?’
To reach God, a man should directly approach the isthalinga (personal god) or meditate on it for his spiritual growth and goal without using the intermediacy of any priest. Priests have been parasites on God’s devotees in the name of God!
Vedas
He rejected the Vedas which perpetuated human exploitation in the form of four castes structure of the society, etc. and were (and are to a large extent) against the interest of the common majority of the people.
‘I shall put leather sheath to Vedas
I shall put shackles on the Shashtras
I shall skin the back of Tarka
I shall cut off the nose of Agamas.’
‘The Vedas shivered,
Scriptures stood aside,
Logic became dumb,
Aagama just went away,
All because our Kudalasangayya
had his food in the house of untouchable, Maadara Chennayya.’
‘Shall I say scriptures are great?
They praise karma.
Shall I say the Vedas are great?
They tell of animal sacrifice.
Shall I say shruti is great?
It searches what is before one’s eyes.
As you are not in any of those, Kudalasangama Deva,
You can be seen in nothing but three kinds of daasoha. Temples of GOD
Those that are rich build temples for God
But alas! What can I do?
I am a poor man.
To me my legs themselves are pillars.
My body itself is the temple.
And my head itself is the golden crown.
(The stationary perishes, but not the moving one.)
Man’s body itself is the abode of God. Man purifies his conscience with the aid of meditation on the isthalinga, the physical symbol of God on his palm. To enable man to be away from the temples and the priests, Basavanna created man’s personal God in the form of isthalinga on his palm. If the devotee did not need to go to a temple to propitiate God, the priest had no chance to mislead and exploit him. Man was free to meditate on his ishthalinga always worn on his body at any time and place. This God was not stationary but mobile together with his devotee.
Superstitions
Basavanna had the indomitable courage and waged a relentless, organized and peaceful war against the Vedic superstitions. He held that heaven, hell, rebirth, astrology, devil, auspicious day and time, etc. do not exist and are deluding and harmful illusions. But they had gripped most of the masses at that time. When a man has no rebirth, heaven and hell have no raison de etre . Man’s real heaven and hell both are here on this planet. Man’s good conduct and good work make for heaven, and their opposite leads to hell, in this world itself.

‘My brothers, behold,
What are called the divine world and the mortal world
Are not far away.
To speak the Truth is the divine world,
And to utter a lie is the mortal world.
Good conduct is the divine world
And bad conduct is hell.
For this Thou Thyself art our authority,
O Kudalasangama Deva.’

‘The pot is god
The winnowing fan is god
The stone on the street is god
The comb is god
The bowstring is god
The measuring vessel is god
The small cup is god
There are gods and gods
No place to set foot in.
There is just one god, Kudalasangama Deva.’
There were-and are- thousands of Gods in India in so many strange forms! Basavanna harshly disapproved of them. For Lingayats, there is only one God, the symbolic Kudalasangama Deva.
‘Offering sheep to tiny troublesome gods carried on winnowing fan
They dance in joy.
Does sheep die and protect those with whom Shiva(a Vedic God) is angry?
No sheep, no calf,
Just worship our Kudalasangama Deva with leaves, it is enough.’
Basavanna condemns animal sacrifice to propitiate Gods.
CASTE SYSTEM IN HINDU SOCIETY
‘Father is Maadaar Chennayya,
Elder uncle is Doahara Kakkayya,
Uncle is Chikkayya,
Elder brother is our Kinnari Bommayya.
Why do you not know me as such Kudalasangayya?’
The followers of Basavanna named in thisvachana were of the lower social rung. Basavanna, though born in a higher caste, asks God to identify him as one of them. His view was that they are equal to him and all other people of higher social status irrespective of their lower social status. His other followers did not discriminate against them in any way. MORTIFICATION OF BODY
‘If you quell the senses you are guilty.
The five senses will hereafter come and torment you.
Did Shiriyala and Changale abandon the pleasures of life
And that enjoyment of happiness as husband and wife? Curbing the five senses is physically, mentally and spiritually unhealthy. One need not necessarily be a bachelor or spinster or celibate to achieve the spiritual and social goal of Lingayat which is universally open to every person irrespective of his or her social status, gender, age, educational level, marital status and social caste. Lingayat embraces sinner too and teaches him to attain the goal of the Lingayat.

Women of all social statuses were equals to men in the spiritual and social parliament called as Anubhava Mantapa spiritual and social think-tank) set up by Basavanna. They actively participated in the collective activities of the of the Anubhava Mantapa.
Basavanna’s sparkling rationalism and humanism shines in his stands on God, priests, Vedas, temples of God, religious superstitions, social caste system, mortification of human body and gender equality. Basavanna’s new view of pragmatic humanism is strikingly similar to the modern concept of humanism pithily outlined by A.J.Ayer, the British philosopher and humanist:
‘Humanists think:
‘the world and this life are all we have (and) we should try to live full and happy lives ourselves and, as part of this, make it easier for other people to do the same.’
Robert G.Ingersoll, the humanist expresses a similar view in his book, The Gods:
‘ Reason, Observation, and Experience- the Holy Trinity of Science – have taught us that the happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief, we are content to live or die.’

Basavanna makes man the centre of all human activity both as an individual and as a member of the society. To him, what matters is man’s all-sided interest only both as an individual and as a member of the society. He does not make us pursue mirages.

Basavanna is a star in the galaxy of the outstanding rationalist and humanist thinkers of the world.
The lingayat religion founded by him deserves the lofty status of a world rationalist religion.