I finally purchased Richard Ashcroft’s album Human Conditions a few days ago and until now I have given it at least 6 listens – back to back. I just cannot put it down. This album is a heavy dose of R. Ashcroft’s spirituality. He basically states that his belief in god is questionable but his spirituality is rock solid. It’s hard to identify a “best” song on this album but the one that really shakes me is “God in the numbers’. There is a para in this song :-

the more I learn history the more I hate it.
cause we repeat the things we did a thousand years ago.
we’re still building palaces of fotunes in the sky.
there’s an underclass dying whilst we smile.

Wow!! Here is another exceptional one….

Most of his songs have such powerful lyrics and the way he sings is as if he is sitting in front of you in a dark room and singing for himself and you. It’s truly amazing.

I guess you can tell that spirituality and religion really fascinate me. I am not religious but at the same time I am not an atheist. I don’t know if there is a word for what I am but the one thing I am is a firm believer in respecting the other person’s religion. Throughout my life (especially after I left India) I have tried to understand various aspects of any religion I came across.

When in Middle East, I was exposed to Islam. My first reaction was – disdain. This was probably the result of the heavy dose of anti-islam rhetoric that I had been exposed to in India (I left for Middle East in ’97 just when BJP – the Hindu Nationalist party – was vying for power). But over the course of a few months whatever “disdain” I had for islam was replaced by respect. Respect at how Islam was embedded in a Muslim’s life. How it governed their thoughts and their actions. And no, not even once did I come across the hate that most westerners think that muslims have for other religions. This fact is simply not true. Of course there are Islamic terrorists. But which religion doesn’t have it’s own hardliners. And 9/11 and 3/11 and other Islamic terrorism acts? They were based on differnces in politics NOT religion.

After coming to Canada, I was exposed to Christianity or rather different forms of Christianity. And among Christians I find that religion is considered an extremely personal matter. Do not go about asking questions about a Christian’s faith. That’s the first thing I learned. The next thing I learned that there are so many sects that I don’t think anyone has a clue how many sects there are. I think that christianity is a religion that, more or less, places great emphasis on an individual. The individual governs the religion in one’s life. The individual is to follow a set of rules which determine if he is going to heaven or hell. The individual repents any actions that he or she has performed that does not fall within the boundary of Christianty otherwise he/she is not a good christian.

What about my official religion? Hinduism. To be honest I have very little idea what my religion means to me. And throughout my life I have always felt guilty about this until I realised that hinduism is a way of life. It’s what you feel, it’s what you think, it’s what you do. The fact that I am putting these thoughts of mine on “paper” is religion. My love for my daugther is religion. My work ethics is my religion. And if I go to pray in a temple OR a church OR a mosque OR a gurudwara, I am expressing my religion. In other words my whole life is my religion. My actions have to be consistant with the fact that they should do some good for everyone involved. My belief does not stop with believing in Vishnu, Krishna or Shiva. They begin with them and extend to everything, a stone, a person and the world as a whole. Once I understand this (I am still learning), I will have understood Hinduism. It’s a journey which I hope will make me a better person.

2 thoughts on “Religion

  1. Anonymous April 10, 2005 / 3:22 pm

    A person who does not believe in religion but at the same time is not an atheist is called Agnostic!!

  2. Anonymous April 10, 2005 / 3:23 pm

    sorry..didn’t put my name down!! :)


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