God and Religion – Do we need them?

According to the Oxford dictionary, God is defined as "a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes" and Religion is defined as "a set of beliefs, feelings and practices that define the relation between humans and God’

So, what is the need of God or religion? Let me explain it to you. According to me, there are two sets of people in our society as a whole. One, the people who really understand the meaning of religion and sprituality and two, the people who blindly follow whatever is told them to do. Here I am talking in context of religion and the things related to it. The major diference between these two lots of people is right kind of education. The first set is more educated with respect to the subject of religion and spirituality than the second. Hence I think that the need of religion is directly linked to the the second lot. This article is majorly referenced to the second lot of people.

From the day we are born, the fear of God is instilled in us by our elders. If you do this, God will punish you and if you do that He will be happy on you and all that stuff. Why this fear has to be introduced to people? What is its need? The answer is that this fear makes people do the right things, or to be specific, socially right things. Everyone is threatened from their childhood that you have to face the wrath of God if you don’t follow the rules of religion. People are said that these rules are the instructions designed by the ancient saints and sages in order to lead a happy life. This set of rules to follow is nothing but religion. You need to make people fear of something to make them do the right things. And this is the principle on which religion as a concept is based on, and hence the need of religion.

Religion tells people that there is only one who controls the past, present and future of humans, and that is God. God has created everything on this earth, everything in this universe is His creation. So, in order to lead a happy life, you must please God. And here my friends everything goes haywire! People are made to follow religious activities and rituals to make God happy, to please Him. For example, you’ll have good luck if you break coconuts in a temple or before starting a project, you’ll lead a healthy life if you light a candle in a church, Allah will be happy if you place a chaddar in a mosque. These are just examples of our day to day life. There is a place called Rajol near Gandhinagar in Gujarat where people put ghee near the feet of the local deity on the final day of Navaratri as an annual ritual. Lakhs of litres of ghee is literally wasted on that day!!

These type of rituals are just sheer wastage of resources. On one side there are people spending so much on rituals and on the other side there are roadside dwellers who don’t have the surety of even one meal a day. Is it a sensible practice? Surely it is not. It is just pure foolishness, but such are the rituals. They intend to please God by wasting resources in front of an idol made of clay. God will not be pleased by this stupidity. He will be pleased if the same candle which is lighted in the church is instead lighted in a poor man’s tent, if the same chaddar placed in the mosque is instead given to a beggar shivering with cold on a road.

The theory of worship-places is quite complex and only some people can understand (just like the theory of relativity). We see around us temples, churches, mosques etc. What is their significance? The people of God, as they call themselves, had introduced this concept of worship-places centuries ago. Worship-places are defined as the place of God. God resides here they say. People visit these places to pay their respect to God. So the question is that, is God really present at that place? Is God present in the idols/statues/graves where people oftenly find Him? I would like to share an incident here.

Everyday after dinner, me and my dad take strolls in our house itself. This is the time when I ask him whatever I feel like. So one fine day, I asked him, "Dad, does God exists?" To which he answered "First of all ,tell me what or who is God?" I said that I don’t know. So he said that God is an entity which you look up to when you are down or when you want something. He is the one who holds a very special place in your heart. God is different for different people. Not by religion, but by choice. He said that someone may look God into his parents, someone may find Him in his/her work, sopmeone may find God in a family member. People find God in idols, in places but the reality is God exists in yourself. This answer of my dad changed my concept of God forever. Earlier I visited temples to pray to God. But from that day, I visited temples with a whole different thinking. I started to enjoy the atmosphere around the temple. The ambience of that place started fascinating me. I finally realised that in the history of our country, these religious places have been only the cause of violence and riots, nothing else!

Last 5-6 years of my life have taught me that man worships God only to fulfill his needs. People pray to God that give me this, give me that, keep me happy etc etc. People even try to bribe God. I’ll break this many coconuts if You give me this, if You fulfill my wish. Even I got entangled into this trap once. I would like to share another anecdote from my life here.

In 10th standard, there was a girl in my tuition class. We liked each other a lot. Soon this liking of us turned into a nice and healthy relationship. At that time, i used to look towards God as the Almighty, as the Creator and prayed to him a lot. I visited the temple everyday. But after a few months, our parents came to know about our relation and opposed it a lot. We both were going through a very rough patch, but I had hope in God. I thought God will make everything fine again. I thought that God will never do wrong with me as I have been never wrong myself and started praying to Him more and more. But at last, the relation failed due to the opposition of our parents. It was a severe shock for me as well as for her. I started thinking that even after praying so much, even after loving her from the bottom of my heart, I failed to save our relation. And then I ceased to believe in God. I vowed that I won’t visit any temples from now. So the moral of the story is that people see God as the provider of happiness. They worship Him for their own profit.

The conclusion of this article is that guys, don’t believe in the God which is created by man. Don’t become blind because of religion. Find your God somewhere, in your work, in your parents. But don’t bow in front of the one present at the worship-place, the man-made God. Follow your dreams, work hard, be honest, be kind, be confident and no one in this universe can stop your life from being happy and prosperous and this great nation of ours a peaaceful place to dwell.

There is one dialogue in the movie OMG-Oh My God. Paresh Rawal says, "Jaha dharma hai, bhagwaan hai, vaha satya ke liye jagah nahi hai, lekin jaha satya hai, truth hai, vaha bhagwaan ki zaroorat hi nahi hai!" One last thing from my side "As a responsible citizen of our country and as a good human being, we should see that HUMANITY comes before GOD, ALLAH and BHAGWAAN".

Kshitij Jaiswal