Wednesday, November 26, 2008

God’s cool: Here’s how we see Her

God’s cool: Here’s how we see Her

10-City TOI-TNS Poll Finds Religion Thriving In India


   India, they say, is a land of god-fearing people. That’s only partially true. An exclusive opinion poll conducted for The Times of India by TNS, a leading market research agency, shows that while threefourths of Indians are strong believers, God is perceived by many more as a source of energy rather than someone to be feared.
   Asked to respond to the statement, ‘I think I fear God’, only 41% said they completely agreed and another 33% said they mostly agreed. On the other hand, in response to the statement that ‘God is a source of energy in my life’, 56% completely agreed and a further 32% mostly agreed.
   The survey, done across 10 cities with 1,007 respondents, shows Indians are not convinced that God is a micromanager, that is, someone who controls our actions on a day to day basis. Rather, S/He is seen as the Creator — 91% feel God controls macro affairs like the rotation of the earth or the cycle of life and death. A significant 46% said S/He was an observer, not a controller.
   Interestingly, the single largest chunk, 43%, said religion was a private affair compared to only 29% who saw it as a social affair and 28% who said it was both private and social. This might explain why a high 54% said they were against the broadcast of prayers, hymns or bhajans over loudspeakers.
   In a finding that confirms anecdotal evidence, God is also seen as cool today. The number of people who said they are more religious now than they used to be was considerably larger than those who felt they had become less religious. The largest chunk, about 42%, said they were just as religious as in the past.
   God is seen as responsive. A good 54% said God answers all prayers and another 41% said some prayers are answered. S/He is also seen by most believers as someone who loves both believers as well as non-believers.
   Interestingly, while most people do not see God as having a specifically male or female form, views on how old God would be are more crystallised, although very evenly divided between those who think God is young and those whose conception is of a middle-aged or old Almighty.
   For those who think belief in divine — and not just holy — texts is essentially confined to semitic faiths, here’s a revealing figure: 49% think the religious texts have been written either by God or by messengers of God, that is those who communicated directly with the Almighty.

Do you believe God answers prayers?
Yes , all prayers     54%
Yes, some prayers  41%
No                             5%
In what can you feel presence of God??
All human beings                51%
Children                              55%
Parents                                54%
Nature                                 51%
Idols                                    34%
Animals                               26%
Holy places                         54%
Gurus                                   23%
Do you think....
God is always unjust             18%
Sometimes unjust                   25%
Never unjust                          54%
What is singlemost important role of God??
Creator of universe                 46%
Source of life                          10%
Supreme manager                    20%
Observer                                  7%
Judge and jury                           8%
Conscience keeper                    6%
Note: This set of answers is reflective Hindu thinking, who like to exercise their free will and reason.
Do you God knows everything you do?
Yes                  80%
No                   17%
It is not necessary to be a believer to be a good person
Agree              65%
Disagree         35%
Note: These responses are reflective of Hindu thinking, where deeds are held above faith.
Disbelief? Just call it self-belief

Whom do you lean on in times of crisis?

FAMILY & FRIENDS             23

SPIRITUAL GURU                               2

MYSELF                                   59

OTHERS/CAN’T SAY                         16

Note: Gurus and sermonisers and preachers are the distant last in the scema. Another Survey had brought out that Indian youths are the happiest.  A strong emphasise on self and family support is the key.


Do you have a spiritual Guru??

Yes               45%

No                53%


Who do you think wrote religious texts??

God                                     18%

Messengers of God             31%

Wise men                            34%

Ordinary humans beings     10%

Note: reflects the rational and pragmatic approch of a Hindu. Takes nothing on face value or say so of siomeone.


What practices do you follow??

Visit places of worship              90%

Pilgrimage                                   62%

Religious music, books etc.        52%

Observe fasts                              52%

Pray at home                               83%

:Note : temples are important but not the sole of worship. Home is the best place.

Take god's name                        56%


Do you believe in reincarnation??

Yes     62%

No      34%


Does going to heaven depend on your behaviour??

Yes                                              37%

Only for believers                       31%

No, fate is pre-determined           8%

There is only one afterlife           3%

There is no afterlife                    8%


If God had a human form, would God be...

MALE           23

FEMALE      11


BOTH         49



Seems that religion is upbeat in India.



BibleGod vs Krishna

BibleGod  vs Krishna
Put Jehovah and Krishna parallel with each other. The former, "from the clouds and darkness of Sinai," said to the Jews:

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."
Contrast this with the words of Krishna [Bhagwad Gita Ch 9] "I am the same to all mankind. They who honestly serve other gods, involuntarily worship me. I am he who partaketh of all worship, and I am the reward of all worshippers." Tags: ,,,
Compare these passages. The first, a dungeon where crawl the things begot of jealous slime; the other, great as the domed firmament inlaid with suns. . . .

The "first" is the god who haunted Calvin's fancy, when he added to his doctrine of predestination that of Hell being paved with the skulls of unbaptized infants. The beliefs and dogmas of church are far more blasphemous in the ideas they imply than those of the benighted Heathen. 
The second is a God whose refuge is available to all, including christians only if they honestly serve their Jesus.
The first is ready to punish many generations for the perceived sins of one generation, the other has no such threats.
The first will reward those who dash the babies on the rocks, the other SHALL protect the babies even in the womb, and SHALL punish those who kill the babies, born or unborn.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

13th April 1919


Udham Singh had told the court at his trial: "I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed (sic) him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What a greater honor could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland "

Singh was hanged for the murder on July 31, 1940. Jawahar Lal Nehru applauded Udham Singh in 1952 with the following statement which had appeared in the daily Partap: "I salute Shaheed-i-Azam Udham Singh with reverence who had kissed the noose so that we may be free".

O'Dwyer's killing marked the end of a chain of events that began, in a sense, at 4:30 p.m. on April 13, 1919, when Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering in Jallianwala Bagh.


On April 13, 1919, a multitude of Punjabis gathered in Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh as part of the Sikh Festival "Baisakhi fair" and to protest at these extraordinary measures. The throng, penned in a narrow space smaller than Trafalgar Square, had been peacefully listening to the testimony of victims when Dyer appeared at the head of a contingent of British troops. Giving no word of warning, he ordered 50 soldiers to fire into the gathering, and for 10 to 15 minutes 1,650 rounds of ammunition were unloaded into the screaming, terrified crowd, some of whom were trampled by those desperately trying to escape.

Amritsar Massacre

Here is what Dwyer had to say.

''I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.'' ......Dyer's response to the Hunter Commission Enquiry

General Dyer said he would have used his machine guns if he could have got them into the enclosure, but these were mounted on armoured cars. He said he did not stop firing when the crowd began to disperse because he thought it was his duty to keep firing until the crowd dispersed, and that a little firing would do no good.

He confessed he did not take any steps to attend to the wounded after the firing. ''Certainly not. It was not my job. Hospitals were open and they could have gone there,'' came his pathetic response.

AND the one and only CHURCHILL could have said it.

"The Indians were 'packed together so that one bullet would drive through three or four bodies'; the people 'ran madly this way and the other. When fire was directed upon the centre, they ran to the sides. The fire was then directed to the sides. Many threw themselves down on the ground, and the fire was then directed on the ground. This was continued for eight or ten minutes, and it stopped only when the ammunition had reached the point of exhaustion".....Winston Churchill

Can you detect a word of remorse or condemnation ???


The atrocity was ardently backed by the missionaries - the massacre at Jallianwala Bag. Indeed, Ms Marcella Sherwood, speaking on behalf of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society and Rev Canon Guildford, speaking on behalf of the Church Missionary Society, lauded Gen Dyer's brutality,saying it was "justified by its results".

The Christian Missionary Review, described Gen Dyer as a "brave man". Yeah, a man who showed his "bravery" against unarmed, peaceful men, women and children who had assembled to observe a holi day.

This incredibly, made him a martyr to millions of Englishmen. Senior British officers applauded his suppression of 'another Indian Mutiny.' The House of Lords passed a measure commending him. The Conservatives presented him with a jeweled sword inscribed "Saviour of the Punjab." (Saviour of Punjab from Punjabis?)



A young Sikh teenager named Udham Singh saw the happenings with his own eyes. He vowed to avenge the Amritsar massacre.

On 13 March 1940 at 4.30 p.m. in the Caxton Hall, London, where a meeting of the East India Association was being held in conjunction with the Royal Central Asian Society, Udham Singh fired five to six shots from his pistol at Sir Michael O'Dwyer, who was governor of the Punjab when the Amritsar Massacre had taken place, to avenge the massacre. He actually wanted to have revenge on O'Dyer, but killed O'Dwyer. But both were the culprits of that black day.

On the 31st July, 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London

"He was the real culprit. He deserved it. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I [had to] crush him." Udham Singh, telling the trial court why he killed Michael O'Dwyer.

image"The impossible men of India shall rise and liberate their Motherland" -- Mahatma Gandhi, after the Amritsar Massacre.

The prophecy was fulfilled within a generation's time.

The effects were profound indeed. Till then the Congress Party was demanding Home Rule. But this incident steeled it into demanding full independence. The people were galvanized across the nation, and the British had a tough time. During WWII, the things reached a head and large scale revolts by the Indian soldiers sealed the fate of the empire.

Lali in turbo play

The Christianity Challenge to Hinduism

Wherever Christians went to "heathen" lands, they tried to force their faith on their hosts. They were used to converting the locals and had gathered the "experience" of evangelization. But the tide of Christianity petered out in India.

The 500th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in South America was observed by the indigenous people as a day of their own defeat and shame. Millions of people died in the process of evangelization. The figures that are given are in excess of 60 million.

Fr George M Soares discussed this issue in his article “Religion and Communalism: The Christian Dilemma”.

"In their ‘spiritual and temporal’ conquest of the East and West (the Christians) unleashed a reign of violence and destruction unparalleled in human history. Religion fueled their violence. It fed their racial arrogance, legitimized their insatiable greed, and added to their depredations a ruthless ferocity which only religious fanaticism can give..... It was the deeply religious Spaniards and Portuguese, armed with their Papal Bulls and stirred up by their fanatical friars, who perpetrated the massive genocides which ‘utterly destroyed’ the great cultures of pre-Colombian America and decimated its people. "

"Indians put to death or condemned to the galleys by the Inquisition at Goa, because they remained loyal to the faith of their fathers. Yet their death has surely lessons for the theologian reflecting on Christians exclusivism in communal India today."

Though such tactics succeeded elsewhere, they failed against Hinduism. In case of S. America and Africa, christians had gained swift military victories and the locals were shocked and awed into submission. In India, they could not repeat it. French, Portuguese, Dutch, Spaniards and the British were vying for Indian empire. When not fighting the Indian rulers, they were fighting each other. Since missionaries were seen to be associated with firangis, they did not have much success by persuasive means. Force was used only by the Portuguese in Goa, and results in that tiny enclave were EXACTLY like those in S. America in quality , but not  not in terms of numbers. Local population was exterminated and persecuted. They preferred to die than convert. Most escaped to the neighboring Hindu and Muslim kingdoms.

The lesson that sank into the christians was :  It would not be possible to marshal large enough power to force conversions.  British learned this lesson, and they did not collude with those missionaries, except giving some privileges.

Jomo Kenyatta, “When the European colonizers came to Africa, we had the land and they had the Bible. They asked us to close our eyes and pray. When we opened our eyes we found that they had the land and we had the Bible.”

No, this did not happen India so rapidly. British finally established the empire, but were never able to dispossess the Indians like the Africans. They were reduced to abject poverty, but their spirit could not be broken.


Military conquest of S. America was followed by systematic eraser of the past legacies of the people. It was found necessary to obliterate the past.  This objective of expunging ‘all the traces and remnants of the past’ has been followed by Francis Xavier. In a letter dated January 27, 1545, he wrote:

“When I have finished baptizing the people, I order them to destroy the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters.” (The Letters and Instructions of Francis Xavier, translated and introduced by M. Joseph Constelloe).

It succeeded not all. Similar tactic by the muslims too was thwarted. When temples were destroyed, Hindus made small shrines, sometimes only one or two feet in size, in well hidden places. Destruction of temples did not lead to destruction of Hinduism.

Abbe Dubois, a French Roman Catholic missionary operating in India in the early 1800s, wrote:

“On their arrival in (India, the missionaries) continue to look at (Indians) with European eyes, and European prejudices, and to act accordingly; but finding themselves disappointed in all their attempts to make an impression upon them on the score of religion or otherwise, they, in their fiery zeal, or rather in their despair, avenge themselves by lavishing every kind of abuse and insult not only on their religion, but also on their institutions, both public and private, sacred and profane.” (Letters on the State of Christianity in India, Asian Educational Services, Delhi, 1995, pp 148-9.)

This is the last resort of the evangelists. During the last 200 years it did not bear significant fruits, and now this tactic too cannot be used. Indian laws make it a crime to abuse or insult any religion in public. If someone is too arrogant or shortsighted, the consequences can be tragic too. Native preachers are well aware of such laws, but sometimes the foreigners are not well briefed.

Christian challenge has been met by the Hindus. Tide of evangelization has been dissipated by the Hinds. It reminds me of what Arnold Toynbee said:

“Today we are still living in this transitional chapter of world’s history but it is already becoming clear that the chapter which had a western beginning, will have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in self destruction of the human race. "

How India Reconciles Hindu Values and Biotech


2001. President Bush restricted federal funds for stem cell research. He was influenced by the Republican Party's evangelical Christian base. It disappointed many American scientists and businessmen, but not the Indians. there was talk of India emerging as a powerhouse in this field.

It is happening. With highly trained scientists, the country is one of the leading biotechnology powers along with Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Sweden, Britain and Israel. [Ernst & Young's Global Biotechnology Report in 2004]

American scientists and businessmen note enviously that religious and moral considerations do not seem to inhibit Indian bio-technologists. Would Gandhi have been appalled?? Most likely, given that those Indian scientists and businessmen are Hindus, mostly devout too. But then, Hinduism has infinite capacity to re-adjust to any development. It readjusts, without changing itself.

Indeed, most evangelical Christians, who believe that the embryo is a person, may find more support in ancient Hindu texts than in the Bible. And their would be a lot more reason than Christians can muster. Hindus see the soul - the true Self (or Atman) - as the spiritual and imperishable component of human personality. After death destroys the body, the soul soon finds a new temporal home. Thus, for Hindus as much as for Catholics, life begins at conception. But similarities end almost at this point.

One of the major reason why Hindus can reconcile to stem cell research is that: Hindu theologians never dictated to scientists. They recognized the value of keeping the secular sciences, like Ayurveda, separate from the religious teachings. Thus medical and surgical research was held to be for the purpose of larger good of humanity. Never a talk of interfering with God's plans. Centuries Christian church opposed anesthesia, Hindus had known its value, and Ayurvedic treatises contain a chapter on this topic, with pretty detailed dos and donts. A very old book, Garbha Upanishad, contains surprisingly accurate description of development of an embryo.

Second reason is the belief of Indian faiths that the corporeal body is just a shell or clothing or a vehicle for the Atma or soul. Thus any research into cloning, stem cell lines etc is nothing but a "recycling" of the body. And if it relieves human sufferings to some extent, then it becomes a recommended way.

Scientism has few detractors in India.