Recently, I had two questions/observations put to me:
1. A Pakistani blogger friend observed that a lot of Indians she is interacting are calling themselves atheists, which she found rather strange. Why, is this happening she asked?
2. Another blogger friend had these experiences where she was convinced that other people several thousand of miles away could read her mind, including what she was about to think! How can this happen, she wondered?
At some level both these questions are inter-linked.
First, to start with, both the questions, deal with that phenomenon which the conscious mind cannot fathom or even observe. If at the foundational level there is an interplay in the world of sub-atomic waves, mind can hardly second-guess it. Since we have been taught that only that we see and hear is the truth, we believe that anything which cannot be explained should be in the realm of “miracles”. Little realizing that the larger and vast primordial energy can work in its own ways, and one of the properties in non-locality, which John Bell helped his generation stumble upon. It is believed that somehow electrons at vast distances have shown properties that suggest as if they are communicating with each other… although for this to happen their interacting medium would have to move faster than the speed of light, which given the other scientific understanding is still an impossibility. So, non-locality of our foundational blocks is a truth, which we may not believe or be able to fathom, is a reality that cannot argued against. And how these blocks function is as real as the “action and reaction” principle of Newton. There is nothing miraculous about it. It is the VERY property of our existence.
Second, and this addresses the first question – God was also an invention of a mind which found reason to assign a name and existence to someone running the show of all the miracles, when these were never miracles to start with. There were two needs for which God was invented – One, to answer (or rather, assign an answer) to the question – Who Am I? The more you ask this question, you keep coming to a point that has no answer. The brave and self assured minds dealt with that point by letting the point be (and they finally got the insight into the final stage).
The timid and those with lesser self-belief had to come back from that last point with an answer, so instead of returning “empty handed” and letting the consciousness take over, assigned an answer – they called it God. Others, even lesser mortals gave different names to this assigned answer and thought they had a better answer! The truth was that everyone was simply moving a falsehood back and forth and feeling superior to the other.
That is why, in earlier texts, like Yoga Vashishta, the learned ones called those who believed in “Divinity” as fools and ignorant. The direction of argument was the same as above. That there is no God “out there” if you are looking for a protagonist who is responsible for the miracles that you cannot explain! The best way to get over these “miracles” is to enhance self-enquiry. The more pointed and honest the self-enquiry (purushartha) the more of these miracles will enter the cloud of knowledge. The creation of God was therefore, quite rightly and correctly a mark of ignorance!
When all is One, then how can one part of that whole One be exalted and other not?? Such exaltations hits at the root of the very basic belief that all is One and One all!
That is why to start with, and in its purest form, Vedanta started off as atheistic philosophy. God was NOT a protagonist in this entire interplay. In fact IT was no different from anything else. Brahman, that is the ONLY main protagonist in Vedanta, is NOT the same as Brahma of the Hindu trinity. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh were perceived as manifestations and would these manifestations would eventually dissolve into the universal Brahman.
Now, this form of atheistic philosophy was “enlightened” as it looked at the creation in its eye and did not bat the eyelids to step down with inadequate answers. It was also, and importantly, NOT a reaction to the theocracy or blind and unfounded belief in a God. It was just plain and hard logic that needed no cructches to walk on.
Atheism of today, inspired by the West and even worse, by communism, is as blind and superstitious a belief as blind belief in God. There is a yearning to move away from the rituals of religion, but the atheists do it as a reaction, and NOT as a leap of intelligence. If one wants to find the truth, then one must NOT run away from something… rather, one should stand his/her ground and reason until ignorance is burned in the fire of unhindered enquiry.
To appropriate an answer is no difference from the theists, who did not find in them the strength to live with the point of NO ANSWER and let the consciousness take over and instead satisfied themselves with a answer which was a product of their own mind – a mind which cannot go beyond the ordinary and the material. Hence, they appropriated an answer which was called God, and atheists are their modern day versions, just that their appropriated answer is ‘NO GOD”. Same difference.