This is the second part of Dr. Prabhakar Kamath’s latest series on Managing Life Without God and Religion In The Twenty First Century. Part 1 can be found here.
This was not to be my next article, but I felt compelled to write it after I received three comments in response to my last article on managing life without religion in the twenty first century in Nirmukta dated February 9th, 2011. The first comment reveals the internal (mental) conflict that sometimes goes on in the minds of some highly educated religious people. The second comment relates to the interpersonal (relational) conflict some orthodox religious people have with their progressive-minded children. The third comment pertains to bridging the gap between the stuck-in-the mud past generation and the progressive-minded future generation. I decided to discuss these three issues in this article as they defined the very purpose of my articles to come.
1. Mental Conflict
Below are parts of what “Sadhu,” a U. S. educated victim of Brahmanic brainwashing, wrote on Nirmukta on Feb. 11th, 2011 in response to my first article on managing life without religion. I recommend everyone to read his comments in full in Nirmukta. If you truly appreciate the mental conflict that went on in his mind before he began writing his comment, you would certainly feel empathy for him. The fact that he even read Nirmukta is significant:
“Dear Atheists and Rationalists of Nirmukta,
I have an identity crisis and would like your viewpoint as to who I am: a theist or an atheist or a rationalist or an irrationalist (sic). I am completely guided by logic and reason my entire life. I studied in one of the top Universities to be an engineer, I have an MBA from a US University, and even today shun everything that is so called superstitious, blind-faith, etc. I find the Hindu religion extremely logical – including its definition of Brahman, the supreme… I believe that the Hinduism is partly Atheist in its approach!”
If you read his commentl carefully you would realize that there was a struggle going on within this man’s mind. A small rational part of his mind, which represents his education and exposure to science later in life, was hopelessly pitted against the powerful irrational Brahmanic part of his mind, which was the product of relentless indoctrination during his formative years. The rational part was desperately looking for validation from rationalists of Nirmukta. This part of his mind wanted to assure him that he was a rationalist. To prove this, he had to declare that all the nonsense dictated to him by Brahmanic part of his mind was indeed logical, and some of it was even atheistic. Even though he believed in Brahman the supreme, the Vedas, and rituals to thank gods for water and air, he asserted that he shunned superstitions and blind faith. He desperately tried to deny any dissonance between my anti-Brahmanic assertions and religious tenets of Brahmanism. He thus denied its most fundamental beliefs.
Then suddenly the powerful Brahmanic part of his mind (the Dictator) became alarmleed. It thought that the rational part of his mind had gone too far. This internal revolt against Brahmanism must be ruthlessly crushed! The Dictator now sent in his troops with ‘shoot to kill’ order:
“Where will you guys even understand what is Moksha about when you are so much trapped in the physical body living a life of ignorance – while talking about rationality of all things! This ignorance has followed you for millions of years and lives – and you are going on committing karma that is going to make it practically another million lives before you come to your senses to understand about the cosmic science of Moksha! Your minds are trapped in life on earth – how are you going to understand what kind of life exists in other worlds that are embedded deep in cosmic dark matter that makes up 99% of this universe we live in! When will you understand that life moves on from this planet to others where there is more suffering and the world of Sri Vaikuntha (Means World of no diminishment) is the only abode where we can live a life of abundance in happiness! So long and good luck Stupid Irrational People!”
It is important to note here that the Brahmanic part of this man’s mind was chastising not only rationalists, but also the rational part of his own mind for rebelling against its dictates. In other words, it was playing the role of his harsh conscience. He began his comment with his rational mind’s rebellious statement: “I have an identity crisis and would like your viewpoint as to who I am.” And he ended his comment with his Brahmanic mind’s admonishing statement: “So long and good luck Stupid Irrational People!”
In the end his Brahmanic mind’s victory over his rational mind was complete. Having resolved his conflict, he is now at peace, at least for now.
2. Interpersonal Conflict
The second comment I received was equally thought provoking. It has to do with an on-going conflict a highly educated, rational-minded woman living in the U. S. has with her orthodox Hindu parents living in India. An orthodox Hindu is one who has accepted the dictates of orthodox Vedic Dharma a. k. a. Brahmanism without any reservation. S/he believes in the sanctity of the Vedas; Varna Dharma and Jati Dharma based on doctrines of the Gunas and Karma; rituals to worship gods to fulfill desires and protection from evil, and supremacy of Brahmins over other classes. Orthodox Hindus have no internal (mental) conflict regarding their beliefs. They are very comfortable with themselves, living in 21st century A. D. with the mindset of 1000 B. C. In fact, they believe that there is no religion like Hinduism. It is the greatest gift of god to mankind.
Orthodox Hindu parents, however, often face another kind of problem: Interpersonal conflict with their liberal-minded children. Children growing up being exposed to the liberal ideas of the 21st century and broader world-view often rebel against their orthodox parents. The result is the War of Value Systems: The New Value System of children based on rational thinking, personal ethics, secular humanism, and doing what is right according to one’s conscience, is pitted against Old Value System of parents based on irrational beliefs, Amoralism, religious fanaticism, and doing what one’s Dharma thinks is right. The family of the orthodox parent becomes the battleground. This rebellion against the orthodoxy is the microcosm of hundreds of rebellions Brahmanism had crushed in its 3,500 yearlong history. The consequences could be very serious to adult children of orthodox parents. Brahmanic loyalists brand their defiant children as suffering from Ahamkara (egoism, self-centeredness), shun them, attack them emotionally, verbally and physically, or even kill them. All victims of “dishonor killing” go through this sequence of abuse before their death.
Let us now read parts of the comment written by this modern rationalist woman regarding her on-going battle with her orthodox parents, published here without alterations with her written consent:
“After all, I am a humane, socially conscious, scientifically inquisitive, successful and pleasant person in my own right. I have not hurt anyone intentionally, and go out of my way to help others, and also contribute significant time and effort in volunteer work.”
This quintessentially modern woman of India described the dissonance between her highly orthodox Brahmin parents’ faith (rooted in 1000 B. C.) and their keen interest in 21st century science.
“What is confusing to me is that my parents also like and appreciate science, logic, the wonders of the universe, astrophysics, the difference between scientific method and faith-based belief and all that. They listen with great interest when I take them to science lectures, and immensely enjoy watching educational programs on astronomy, math, physics, logic, etc.”
And yet, when she told her parents that she wanted to marry a wonderful, highly ethical, non-Brahmin divorcee living in the U. S., her father, who lives in India and visits her in the U. S. from time to time, threatened to kill her:
“My parents vehemently believe that all Hindus must follow the Hindu Dharma; especially two tenets as they apply to me: heed to the wishes of Mata, Pita, Guru & Daivam; and that every marriage is sacred and eternal (i.e. divorces are not valid).
One of my friends even told my father that he was acting like the Taliban, when he declared that he will kill me and there will surely be bloodshed if I marry against his choice. So much violence in thought from someone who preaches Advaita philosophy and surrendering to the ‘ParamAtma.'”
She describes the difference between her (guilt-oriented) behavior dictated by her conscience, and her parents'(shame-oriented) behavior dictated by Brahmanism. If one’s behavior is guided by one’s conscience, one does what is right regardless what the society thinks. If one’s behavior is guided by one’s religion, one indulges in behaviors, which conform to what everyone else thinks, even if what one does is blatantly antisocial or even criminal. So, if you ask a highly corrupt orthodox bureaucrat with a huge Nama over his forehead why he mercilessly extorts bribes, his ready answer would be, “Everybody does it.” So he has no shame in doing it.
“In the social circle, I am seen as a stray unethical immoral waif, while they are treated as knowledgeable elders. I have never cheated (don’t even buy pirated software or watch ripped movies), but they gladly do anything because everyone does it and we won’t get caught. My response that I have a personal compass to decide right from wrong gets tons of verbal abuse.”
She explains how they shunned her because of her New Value System:
“They look down upon my volunteer work because it is secular and not religious ashram related. They are very vocal in advising everyone within my earshot that it is better to raise a child as a deeply religious individual who is extremely obedient to parents even at the cost of education. They actually said so to me directly that they wished I didn’t go through higher studies (it has made me too egoistic and selfish) and instead was more like another cousin who is a stay at home mom with two kids. Not surprisingly, my parents are extremely affectionate towards my orthodox younger sister and her husband who spend several hours every day reciting prayers, while exactly the opposite with me.”
She describes their selfish motive in all this and their rigid thinking:
“What’s tragically funny is that while my parents and several elderly relatives genuinely believe that I am selfish for wanting to live my life with someone they do not approve of, they very openly beg me to live single and unmarried so that they can die peacefully! Noting that if such a selfless act on my part can truly bring them peace and happiness, it would a worthwhile dilemma for me; I advised them that they should instead peg their peace and happiness on things they can control rather than on whether their daughter or niece is married or single.”
The War Of Value Systems
This War of Value Systems is going on right at this moment in thousands upon thousands of families in India. This is far more common these days as India is becoming more liberal in all spheres of life. Here are four of many possible outcomes of such clashes between secular humanist children and their orthodox parents:
i) Alienation from parents leading to guilt, grief, liberation and growth: This person decides to do what his conscience dictates him (or her), and lets go of parents. He will go through a period of guilt and grief. He recognizes that he cannot change his parents’ belief system. He realizes that problems such as this will need great sacrifices to solve. He lives out his life based on the New Value System. If his parents want him in their life, they should recognize him as an individual, not as their tail hanging from their behind.
A case study: A Brahmin young man fell in love with a fine woman of another caste. His angry father did not attend his wedding and cut him off from all communication, and wrote him off from his will. When the young man had a baby two years later the father relented and made up with his son. This reconciliation was more out of his own selfish need to have a grandchild in his life than out of any enlightenment on his part.
ii) Reluctantly falling in line with parent’s wishes leading to emotional disorders and interpersonal problems: This person meekly submits to his parents’ force, suffers chronic stress because of accumulating resentment, anger and hatred for them. This mental conflict often leads to various stress-related disorders such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and the like. He becomes chronically unhappy with his life. Marital problems, divorce, custody battle, etc. follow. I know quite a few young men and women in such predicament.
A case study: An orthodox Brahmin man, IIT graduate working in the U. S., fell in love with a Brahmin woman from another caste. His highly orthodox parents living in India resorted to emotional blackmail to force him to marry a Brahmin girl from an unorthodox Brahmin family of his own caste. The father always treated his son as his own appendage. When the daughter-in-law could not bear children, the boy’s father repeatedly crossed his boundaries and began to discuss personal matters with his daughter-in-law. When she protested, the gutless young man made excuses for his father. The son dared not ask his father to butt-out because he had been blackmailed by the father that he needed him in his life to “pour water in my mouth at the time of my death” so he could go to heaven. The daughter-in-law attempted suicide twice to force the son to take a stand with his intrusive father. Even though the son resented his father as the cause of all his problems, he could not let go of him lest he would not be there to “pour water in his mouth at the time of death.” The couple ended up in divorce after ten years of acrimonious and highly stressful marriage.
iii) Suicide to escape from the trap: This “boy” does not have what it takes to do what he thinks is right (#1 above), and risk losing parental love and support. On the one hand he cannot think of living without his parents in his life no matter how evil-minded or stupid they are. On the other hand, he cannot think of living without his lover in his life. So he decides to end his intolerable agony and punish his parents at the same time by the act of suicide.
A case study: Two years ago a Brahmin young man in my hometown in India hung himself by the ceiling fan because his orthodox parents opposed his decision to marry a non-Brahmin girl. The father was a retired professor of a local college. This young man did not have enough coping skills to deal with this personal crisis. He did not have the courage to tell his parents, “Look here. I am an adult and I want you to treat me as such. I want you to respect my views and wishes just as I do yours. You are the product of Old Value System and I am the product of New Value System. You live your life, and I will live my life. Please do not impose your views on me.” The problem here was that the stupid father did not know how to cope with his own shame in a highly conservative society if his son married a girl from outside his caste. He could have said to people in his community, “I respect my son as an individual in his own right. He is quite capable of making decisions for himself. As long as he is happy, I am happy. I shall not impose my view on him in the name of caste.”
iv) Killing of children to save family’s honor: “Dishonor killing” is on the rise in India. Those of you who read NDTV.Com regularly cannot fail to read incidents of killing children by parents to escape from the shame brought on by their children’s rebellious behavior. Dishonor killing is a socially sponsored desperate act, slightly different than Sati in the medieval times. In both these cases, the murderers and society enhance each other’s “prestige” by sacrificing their victims.
3. Bridging The Generational Gap
Here are parts of two comments I received from a young man. I recommend readers to log on to his blog. I am publishing here his comment with his permission. He wrote:
“I had recently written a post indicating my feelings and decision
about being a Brahmin on my blog (link below):
Ever since I published it, I knew I would face challenges from people
around me. However, that is not really concerning to me; perhaps it is
easier to face strangers than it is to face parents. My toughest
challenge now is to convince my parents on why I had to take the
decision I had taken, and try and make them understand that I am only
de-labeled but not changed as a person. Could you suggest me a
strategy, like you did in your articles.”
Vinay continued in his next comment:
“But the biggest challenge seems to be in my newly discovered role. We
would be the bridge between our future and our past generations. How
do I satisfy my past generation and make my future generation at the
same time? I do not want to pay too heavy a price on human
There is no simple solution for this problem. Much depends on what level of orthodoxy one’s parents are. For the sake of discussion, I divide Hindu parents into three categories: Orthodox, Unorthodox and Indifferent (Chalthahai).
Dealing with orthodox parents: Rationalist youngsters who think they could change their orthodox elders’ thinking should accept the reality that deep-rooted religious belief system cannot be changed. If they persist, they could create serious conflict with their parents, leading to alienation and break up of relationship. Rationalists, Atheists and Secular Humanists who criticize religious people for their ritual-worship behaviors based on delusion of gods must have empathy for them for they are merely victims of early life brainwashing of such finesse and thoroughness that no amount of education or scientific training of later life could eradicate them. The delusion of religion is hardwired into the brain to a far greater degree than the temporary delusion associated with Stockholm syndrome. It has extremely high order of value for one’s survival, social acceptance, and social status. Ordinary people cannot give these up easily without suffering serious emotional crisis.
Even if we present to them the irrefutable evidence from scriptures themselves that over one thousand five hundred years the ancients successively created nature gods (Indra, Varuna, Vayu, etc.), Brahman, Ishwara and Parameshwara to address specific social issues in the ancient times (as I explained in my series on the Gita), and having served their original purpose they have no place in our current circumstances, they won’t believe us. They would rather believe the misleading interpretations of these scriptures by duplicitous Brahmanic Acharyas.
The truth is that many orthodox people are uninformed about their religion. In fact, most of what they believe is utterly false. For example, they worship Brahman side by side with Vishnu or Shiva. They do not know that in the Bhagavata part of the Bhagavad Gita, Brahman was permanently retired and swallowed up by Parameshwara. Because Brahmin editors scrambled the Gita to hide the Upanishadic and Bhagavata revolutions to overthrow Brahmanism, reading the Gita gives one the false impression that these two entities exist side by side in Hinduism. And because orthodox people’s ritualistic behaviors are perfectly consistent with their firm religious convictions, they consider themselves perfectly rational. It is as if the virus of religion had disabled some aspect of their software of reasoning. This is no different than a mentally ill man believing that he was perfectly rational when he killed in self-defense someone he believed tried to control his mind by relentlessly bombarding his brain with radio signals.
Dealing with Unorthodox Hindu parents: This is somewhat easier on rationalist children. Most Unorthodox Hindu parents participate in Hindu ceremonies not knowing their true significance. As a matter of fact, to them it is “Just a way of life.” Not much thinking is involved in their ritualistic behavior. These parents go to temple and offer Poojas; perform Ganesha Chathurthi, Krishnashtami, Varshika Kriya for parents, etc. at home because, “Our priests told us to do so.” These rituals are mere traditions. If they did not perform them, they would feel quite guilty about it. These parents might be open to learning something about the origins of these mindless routines. I think rationalist youngsters could explain to them the following aspects of Hinduism when they are in a mood to listen:
The belief system: The entire farce of Hindu religion is based on the following belief system:
There are gods somewhere out there who are all-powerful. If we please them with prayer and ritual-worship, they would fulfill our desires and protect us from evil.
Children can try to educate them with the following facts:
This belief system is rooted in the belief system of Arya immigrants who came to India 3,500 years ago. They worshiped various nature gods by means of Yajna to thank them for their natural bounties (BG: 3:10-14). Later on Brahmins and Kshatriyas corrupted these Yajnas for their own benefit rather than to please gods (BG: 3:16; 2:41-44; 16: 10-20). So Upanishadists kicked out these petty gods and installed Brahman as the Supreme and replaced Yajna with Yoga. Later on, after Brahmins destroyed the Upanishadic revolution, Bhagavatas kicked out Brahman and replaced It with Parameshwara. Brahmanism overthrew all opponents, and reinstated its ancient worship-rituals in disguised forms, such as Poojas, Abhishekas, etc. All that we see in our temples and homes are these methods of pleasing gods.
The method of pleasing gods: Since god is invisible, first make him visible by making an idol of him. Put him on a pedestal and build a structure over him to protect him from nature. In the morning wake him up from sleep by ringing bells and beating drums. Then bathe him with Abhisheka, deodorize him with sandalwood paste, dress him with Peethambara, adorn him with flowers and jewels, entertain him with song and dance routine, praise him with Mantras and Bhajans, warm him with Aarthi, feed him with rice, coconuts and bananas, offer him smoke of Yajna, take him for a ride on palanquins and chariots, bribe him with donation, so on and so forth. If these activities are not plain stupid, what is?
Thus deluded by Brahminic shenanigans, millions of people visit these temple-casinos hoping in vain that these gods would somehow fulfill their desires and protect them from evils of life. And the Brahmins operating these temple-casino complexes are having a good laugh at the stupid people lining up to get a Darshan of their stone idols, while they are lining up their own deep pockets with rupee notes.
Now Unorthodox parents might ask: Is this all there is to Hindu Dharma? Is there no wisdom or ethics in it? The answer to this is: There is not one naya paisa of ethics in these rituals. The entire wisdom that can be distilled from the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, which is applicable to life in the 21st century, could be found in two secular shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita:
BG: 2:62-63: If a man becomes obsessed with sense objects such as person, wealth, power, people and honor, his mind becomes disconnected from his inner wisdom (memory, judgment, reasoning, insight, knowledge, ethics and virtues) and he will ruin himself.
These two shlokas were designed by Upanishadists of post-Vedic period to warn corrupt Brahmins and Kshatriyas of Brahmanism who were ruining themselves and India by their greed. There is not one politician, bureaucrat or businessman in India today who understands this truly astonishing wisdom of Upanishadic Dharma. There is not one naya paisa more wisdom in Hinduism than this. All the rest is hocus-pocus. Case closed.
Just as the Saraswati River, which is holy to Hindus, lost its way into the dreary desert sand of Rajasthan some three thousand years ago, as Tagore put it, in Hinduism, “the clear stream of reason has lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.”
Dealing with Chalthahai Hindu parents: This is just a piece of cake or Jelebi. The choice is yours! All you need to do is to tell your parents not to waste their money on rituals. If they have excess money, they could donate it for a worthy cause.
World Is Flat And Shrinking
The conflict between the Old Value System and the New Value System is likely to get worse in the years to come as the world is not only becoming ‘flat’ but also it is shrinking rapidly. Western values, for better or for worse, are creeping into ancient lands of the East, often resulting in violent reaction by the orthodox religionists. Looking at India today, the divorce rate in youngsters of middle and upper classes is perhaps a hundred times higher than it was fifty years ago. Youngsters working in Call Centers and Technology Industries of India suffer from the same personal issues as their counterparts anywhere in the world: Break-up of relationship, betrayal of trust, divorce, alienation from parents due to differing value systems, unhappiness with job, sexual harassment at work, stalking, assault, spousal abuse, etc. “Love marriage” and “inter-caste marriage” are on the rise, and consequently conflict between orthodox parents and their open-minded children is on the rise. Celebration of Valentine’s Day among the middle and upper classes of India has become common, arousing indignation in the orthodox, right wing sections of India such as RSS and Shiv Sena. The causes of stresses of everyday life are increasingly becoming identical all over the world in spite of significant cultural differences, and sometimes because of them. What we are witnessing in India today is a society in a great flux, and ominous days are ahead for young people of India.
Even Coping Ways Have Become Identical
Even the ways of coping with stresses of everyday life among the young are becoming alike: Indulging in pleasurable activities such as drinking alcohol to excess, taking street drugs or tranquilizers, promiscuity, overspending, and whatnot. Others take to jogging, weightlifting, doing aerobics and other mindless physical activities as coping methods, not realizing that stress is a product of the mind and not the body. Still others get away from it all by traveling, cruising, trekking, and the like. Some youngsters resort to religion, spirituality and meditation to escape from the hounding life-problems. They run after Swamis, Gurus and Sadhus seeking “spiritual solace.” All these and many other coping methods have one thing in common: They have no rational bases. They merely help to numb or distract the mind on a temporary basis. Once their benefit wears out, one has to face the music once again. For example, a young woman upset over emotional abuse by her husband, his parents, or even her own parents, cannot expect to cope with her serious life problem by any of the above mentioned inappropriate coping methods.
New Knowledge And Result-oriented Methodology
Our energies are best spent in teaching India’s youngsters whose brains have not been corrupted by Brahmanic hogwash. I have written this series of articles with the purpose of giving youngsters new knowledge about various causes of misery in the modern world; how they might affect them; how they might react to them; how they could cope with them by appropriate means, and how they could manage life wisely to prevent these miseries from occurring. If we succeed in imparting this knowledge to them, hopefully they would not feel as helpless in the face of evils (life-stresses) as their religious-minded elders did, and they would feel empowered enough to take charge of their own lives, and not resort to religion, Babas, Swamis, gods and mindless worship-rituals on one extreme, and suicide at the other extreme, to deal with them.
In the next chapter, we will review the fundamentals of mind’s functions knowing which one could be better prepared to deal with life in 21st century.
(To be continued)