Creative Arts

All I Ask Is That Each Book Be Read! (A Poem)

All I ask is that each Book be read!



The Word, to the pious, comes from God…

To others, it’s just in Man’s mind bred!

In sheer disbelief, though you may nod…

All I ask is that each Book be read!


Reduced to writing in earthly ink,

These are heavenly decrees it’s said.

When it means the world to us, some think,

All I ask is that each Book be read!


“There is but one Divine Decree!”

By this call were countless armies led!

Before a preaching or killing spree,

All I ask is that each Book be read!


In dead silence under mystery’s shroud,

By unread Scripture is hatred fed!

Before rousing rabbles in the crowd,

All I ask is that each Book be read!


What was wisdom in a bygone age,

Our modern mind may view with dread!

Viewing with Reason’s eye every page,

All I ask is that each Book be read!


-Arvind Iyer

September 8, 2010

About the author

Arvind Iyer

3 Comments

  • Glad to be here, Ajita! At first sight, this piece may sound more like a call for ecumenicalism than for freethought. There is a self-serving myth prevalent among apologists that a skeptic is a skeptic only because he or she is ignorant of their scriptures and will cease to be a skeptic on reading them. However any apologist who encourages the study of comparative religion must also prepare for the eventuality that such a study of religion may well produce a studied disgust in the explorers (and often rightly so, if I may hazard to add). The line “It seemed to make sense till I read it and thought about it” may be inevitably heard. Here we ask not only that each Book be read, but recommend that they be read as Prof. Dennett suggests or as Dr. Prabhakar Kamath does in these pages: treating the scriptures as a fossil-record of meme evolution.

  • What was wisdom in a bygone age,

    Our modern mind may view with dread!

    Viewing with Reason’s eye every page,

    All I ask is that each Book be read!

    My response: HOW TRUE!

    Iyer said: Here we ask not only that each Book be read, but recommend that they be read as Prof. Dennett suggests or as Dr. Prabhakar Kamath does in these pages: treating the scriptures as a fossil-record of meme evolution.

    My response: Indeed, these scriptures are valuable fossil record of meme evolution. They are like archeological sites, which need to be carefully unearthed and correctly interpreted. The problem is that vested interests (Gurus and Swamis) have misinterpreted them deliberately or out of ignorance (Read my article on Shankaracharya in the Truth About The Bhagavad Gita series). There is no short cut. If we are to gain any credibility, we must study them in depth and explain their true meaning in the correct context, and expose the fraud perpetrated by the so-called guardians of religion. This is true of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. That is one of the ways by which we need to counter the pervasive deceit of religious leaders.

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