Sometime or the other, you would have faced the question in your life. Do you believe in God? Same with me!!! I spent some time thinking about it and decide to blog about it..
This post is not the reflection of whether I believe in God or not!! Just my thought about the origin of the concept called God and the question..
If you have any comments, feel free to post!!
Long back, there could be somebody who might have started thinking about the origin of life. That person would have thought and thought and thought and would have come to a conclusion that there should be somebody who would have created life and that is God. And that person would have discussed and debated and finally convinced a set of people. And all would have agreed that God exists. And those people would have defined the qualities for God. That, God is powerful, good, helps people in need, destroys evil and punishes evil doers,… And they would have spread the concept in the hope to prevent people from doing bad things or follow somethings that would be good for them. May be if somebody refused to follow a certain practices, they would have associated it with God and said, If you do this, (only ???) then God will do good/help for you.
Also, It is quite possible that some of the God’s stories that we hear/know are actually some real “normal” person’s story and they would have been polished with a touch of God’s characteristics as and when necessary/possible.
Some of the rituals we follow and the possible reasons behind them: I am familiar only with Indian/Tamil culture. So my examples are based on that. If you have any such ideas, it would be my pleasure if you can add it as a comment.
Lighting lamps in the evenings -> Actual reason is, at that time there was no electricity. Lamps lets the travelers/passers by, know that there is somebody living nearby and if they need any help, they can approach. What we are told is, Only then Goddess Lakshmi will come to our house and give all wealth.
Using rice flour for Kolam -> Actual reason is, there are thousands of small lifes living around our house. Rice flour is to feed them. If it is for feeding, why not just dump the flour? Why Kolam? If that is your question, It could have been followed for sometime. Then, somebody with a creative mind would have thought, why to just dump it.. I can draw something so that the front of my home will look good as well. This could be the origin of Kolam. What we are told is, again, Only then Goddess Lakshmi will come to our house and give all wealth.
Using cow dung to clean houses -> Actual reason is, Insects can come to into the houses and nobody wants them to.. And, cow dung keeps them away. What we are told is, Cow is a devotional animal and so we have to do it.
Shouldn’t cut nails at night -> Actual reason is, at that time, there is no bright light at homes at night. So, if a nail falls on floor, it will either prick us or gets mixed with food. And this is the same reason people say not to throw garbage at night. As some valuable articles may get mixed with garbage (by mistake), we’ll end up throwing it. What we are told is, if you do this, you will loose your wealth/money..
Chant God’s name if you are not sleeping at night -> Actual reason is, If we are not sleeping, our mind will keep thinking something or the other. They would have thought instead of thinking about unnecessary things, let them focus on one thing and let it be God.
Fasting in the thought of God -> Actual reason is, I heard from somebody that, if we did fasting for a day in a week, it is good for our health/stomach. A rest for stomach. So, they dedicated each day for a God and gave options to people. If you pray that god, you can fast on that day..
There will be a lot more of such actions that will have an actual reason. But, they are covered under the name of God/ritual. Some people who don’t believe in God, as these practices are associated with God, wont follow these things.
If you see, most of such actions are all defined for the well being of people. Those ancestors successfully associated these activities with devotion and convinced people to follow it. And this wouldn’t have been achieved by one person or in one generation..This should have taken centuries..
To Believers: If you are following some rituals, realize why you are doing it. Somethings are not applicable in today’s world.
To Non-Believers : If you are deciding not to follow some rituals, think again. You may be loosing something.
And coming back to the question: Those ancestors would have defined qualities for being a good person. And told people that “if you are good, God will help you, otherwise they will be punished by God and they are categorized as bad.”
So, when they meet others, if they want to know whether they are good or bad, they cannot directly ask “Are you good or bad..”.. Instead they asked, “Do you believe in God?” If the answer is yes, then that person lives his life based on certain rules and will not do evil/bad things. This is how it would have started..
But, nowadays, this question is becoming irrelevant. Reason: We know a few “Ananda”s who claimed they are saints and we know what they did and where they are now. Also, there are a lot more “non-Ananda”s who does whatever they want, and all in the name of God.. And we know quite a lot of people who denied/denies the existence of God and they have changed human life in a good way. (Either did things for others, or inspired others to do things like them.).
So, next time, if you are going to ask this question to somebody, think what you are really trying to know from them and if it makes sense to ask this question, go ahead!!