Science, Religion

I watched Angels and Demons a couple of weeks back. Good movie – no more, no less. Ditto with DaVinci Code. And what about the books by the same names? Entirely different matter. When I had read these books (DaVinci Code and Angels and Demos) 4 years back, I was truly and completely hooked!

But this post is obviously not about books or movies, is it? These books and movies are all about the conflict between science and religion. Though both books and movies conclude by finding the middle path, it is sad that both books have given rise to controversies. I don't comprehend this. Because for me, religion is science.

I am a Hindu and proud to be one. Having said that, I am compelled to make a strong statement - I hardly see anyone following the religion in its true spirit these days. Let me explain.

Every ritual that we follow has a reason. I know the logic behind some of the rituals – hence I have no qualms in following them. Most of this information has been preached to me by elders; while quite a bit of it also came from a PDF book I received a couple of years back which details the rational behind several of the rituals and practices that we Hindus follow. It is amazing – how what we think is religion, is in fact just a way of encouraging people to live a scientific life! Religion is Science.

There are other practices which I feel are either rudimentary or pure superstition. Perhaps, there may .. just may be some reason behind those; but until I know this reason, I find it very difficult to follow those practices (I do end up following some of them just in order to not appear as an “outcast” but that's a different topic). On the other hand, I see people everywhere blindly follow superstitions. This is also true of people who are otherwise very reasonable. Which is again difficult to comprehend. How do people who are considerate and reasonable suddenly undergo a transformation when it comes to religion?

One sad point in the the whole matter is the perversion of the religion in the name of customs. There needs to be a clear distinction between “religion” and “custom”. Many of the atrocities which we pass off as “religious customs” have nothing to do with religion at all! Dowry, female infanticide, Sati, ostracization of widows – I do not believe any of these are looked upon favourably by Hinduism (or any religion for that matter). All the sins which are ostensibly committed in the name of family honour, I am sure, are nowhere promoted by the religion. These are just customs which came about for selfish purposes – for people who wanted to dominate over others – for example when man wanted to dominate women; or when people of a certain profession wanted to keep those of others “in check” (that's what must have led to the utterly despicable caste system).

The final point which I want to make is about another characteristic of Hinduism which has been diluted these days at the hands of self-appointed custodians (Mr. Pramod Muthalik and co. for example) – the absence of force. Religion is a guideline for people on how to lead their lives. The moment someone claims that my religion mandates something – the credibility is lost. In my opinion, many of the practices suggested by Hinduism might have been relevant to a certain period of time – but the contributors to the religion would have foreseen that the world might not stay the same forever. That is the reason I believe nothing was enforced in the religion. Just like science, religion too has space to accommodate for change. Religion is science!

I originally intended to put forth dozens of points in this post – but I think I'll stop at this. More on this topic another day. I conclude, as usual, with a hope – I Hope that people start following religion in spirit rather than by the word. Half of the problems of the world (well, India at least) would be solved if this hope sees the light of day!

13 comments to Science, Religion

  • Very true, that's why I say in "About me", that I am an "Indian By Religion".
    I wanted to go more broad on the lines of "Vasudhev kutumbakam", but didn't go yet, as still I want people to understand this much first.
    And, yes there were reasons why we have some religious practices from the ancient times, because at the time, religion was the only thing to force something really valid and logical to people. They used to have fear of GOD, but today people don't have that fear, and so they use all these for selfish reasons, and amend those practices for their own selfishness (practices like dowry, girl-child abondon, male-dominate etc etc).
    And Muthalik ki to baat hi mat kar yaar, such people are insects, we need pest-control for these insects.

  • I have to disagree with you.

    Religion is science? I guess not.

    The other way round may be true - science is religion - to some extent - it may be true.

    Religion implies one's beliefs, creed and credo - Hinduism, Islam or Science - whatever it may be. It is a tool to explain the unexplained.

    Claiming religion to be science is sacrilegious. Science may be a religion but not the other way round.

  • I agree with you on most points.Hinduism has often suffered because of self proclaimed 'pundits' who wanted everyone to act according to their own whims and fancies.But somewhere down the line,we ourselves are responsible for blindly following suit and not questioning the superstitions which tarnish an otherwise beautiful religion.

  • I agree with U n Bambi too.

    "we ourselves are responsible for blindly following suit and not questioning the superstitions which tarnish an otherwise beautiful religion."

    beautifully put!

    plz write more about this topic, its nice to discuss religion scientifically!

  • The moment I saw your status on GTalk and the topic - it was evident that the topic stemmed from Dan Brown novels - there is no one who has put forth the war between religion and science in a better fashion, all coupled into fantastic page-turners.

    Adding to it - incidences which Devaki, Resha and I were discussing the other day - about how the Mahabharata, even being so old had several facets which contemplate change in the world - the dawn of one generation over the other (like that of kalyug over dwapar yug etc - pardon me if I got the order wrong). The stories in the Mahabharata speak of what also happens in the world today, and associate with the types of incidents which have happened in the world till date.

    It would have been great had scientists and divine 'protectors' of religion had joined forces in helping out the world. There is definitely a lot other than religion too, which even though may seem minor does have impact on our lives - like fate, astrology etc. It is also well known that so many pioneering scientific discoveries are named after religiously significant God's, mythological beings etc.

    Science can be described as what's based on facts and reason - but of course, it depends so much on belief of the people - which befolds experience, discovery and so many other things. Its not just a coincidence that Religion is what is entirely based on belief of the people too :)

    Well written :) - nice to see a post on a simple topic from your side which we all can associate with ;) - kudos!

  • Kiran,

    I agree more or less with you..

    Btw, could you send the pdf that you were talking about?
    i couldnt get something i can completely rely on through google..

  • It is good to see a discussion on god, and religion, and practices. Because this is the need of the hour if not need for of the second.

    While discussing I would like to remember
    "All religion as god/s but GOD has no religion (pl don't attach your own religion to god)"

    As HE IS PURE LOVE, the moment we attach our religion to him, we start seeing what is round us today.

    About Science - Religion,
    If science fails to explain some phenomena of life, religion explains, in other words,

    "When science ends; religion begins, when religion ends; spirituality begins, when spirituality ends; reality begins, when reality ends bliss begins"

    So the journey is just began!!

  • @Deepak: Agree with most of your points - except the comment that religion was used to force people to follow something. I think thats not true - it was used to guide people.

    @Mainak: "Science is religion" - I agree with this statement but in a context different from what you might have meant. I follow science religiously - and look for meaning of life in science - hence Science is religion for me! Equating science and religion is sacrilegious? I strongly disagree with that. But of course - thats my opinion. Yours is welcome and respected :)

    @Bambi: Well-said! I couldn't have put it better!

    @JSincro: Yes - this is a fascinating topic - but I am not sure how far I should go in discussing this - lest I suffer a backlash. No-no! I don't care about the backlash from Muthalik species; but from my people closer to me. As it is, I have already written two posts before which paint me as an atheist!

    @Ashish: Agree with the gist of your comment. Especially the last part about both religion and science being based on beliefs not being a coincidence. And yeah - I think you got the order of the eras right :D

    @Vamsi Krishna: I got that PDF years ago. I will have to do quite a bit of digging to retrieve it - but yeah - I will send it to you if i do find it. Pls drop a comment with your email ID. The comment will not be published of course :)

    @Harish: Welcome to this blog. And that was a really deep comment! Thanks for making this post more meaningful with such a comment!

  • Hey Kiran,
    I may have used wrong word here "force", but I meant to say that if you relate anything to religion, people will follow that.

  • I really liked both the books and it left me pondering over a zillion Qs!

    N u’ve posted abt a very interesting topic. Even I have believed that many “customs” & “superstitions” came about for a reason and a valid one. Of those many are valid TODAY is sumthing we got to take stalk of.

    Unlike you I am NOT aware of these reasons and so I follow wat I can w/o too much of an effort and wat doesn’t harm anything or anybody in any manner.

    It would have been great if you would have added a few such customs n the reasons associated with it to this post. Is it possible for you to send me that pdf?

  • @Deepak: Agree - to the dot

    @Pavi: Quite a few people have been asking me for that PDF .. unfortunately I seem to have misplaced it - can't find it. However, i'l keep digging .. and when I do find it, i'l share it.

    Secondly, I have come to know of a book in Kannada which deals with the topic. I'm trying to find out the publisher/author of that book. I'm sure it must have been translated to (or from) other languages. If I do find the details of this book, i'l share that on this blog too.

  • Incognito

    read the pdf document available at this page to know about 'religion'-

  • If you were talking about 'true spirit' of your religion, you'd have called it Sanatan(a) Dharm(a). Nowhere in Ved(a) or Geeta or in the ShAstr(a)s the word 'Hindu' has been mentioned.
    Well written anyway :-)

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. All the views and opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, organization, relatives, friends, acquaintances or any other person/entity.