Monday, November 4, 2013

Warpaint of the Gods - Nila Sagadevan

Man has progressed miles technologically and even knowledge wise but in the matters of wisdom, has slipped below par. Why is it that we are killing one another over religion, over god, is what the author is anguished about and he offers a path to move to a rational world ad towards peace using the essence of what religion has to offer. The premise of the book is that non-institutional and non-dogmatic spirituality brings peace.

In the 20th century alone its said 110 million were killed in 250 wars - 6 times more than in the previous century. Sagadevan questions the mindless hatred, the loss of perspective and sanity, blind faith which is based on the concept of superiority, missing the commonality of all religions and instead interpreting to find differences, the sheer evidence that we are not the only lives on this planet just because we are so small in this universe, the journey of the soul and reincarnation, the concept of unity in the god we seek, the going back to a child like state where religion has no meaning and the way to freedom from this thought by adopting a new way of thinking.

The book is full of interesting quotes - in fact one half of the book is only quotes. Starting with Carlos Santana who when asked what his religion was famously replied - If you'll tell me God's religion that is my religion. And then the quote from the Bible - The Kingdom of God is within you. And the Mahabharata - Seek truth within yourself. Or Sufism - I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.

More quotes that I liked. These about universal brotherhood or  loving one another.

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men do to you, do ye even so to them." - Jesus

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." - Confucius

"No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." - Qur'an

"And thou shalt love thy neighbours as thyself." - Judaism

"Good people proceed while considering that what is best for others is best for themselves." - Hitopadesa

Another one I liked - Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. - Confucius

Nila Sagadevan is from Sri Lanka. He studied in Britain to be an aeronautical engineer, turned into a pilot, and left Scotland for America in 1972. A life altering experience led him on his quest to understand the religions of the world and extra terrestrial phenomena.

Sagadevan's effort is pure and honest and his intent noble and almost idealistic. The madness that we see humanity perpetrate upon itself in the name of religion is nothing but a manifestation of greed. It has nothing to do with religion except that it wishes to use religion to get to its end. To try and explain the same through religion is perhaps futile because the perpetrators are well aware of what they are doing. To control, to divide, to set upon, to breed and feed upon ignorance, to wilfully mislead, to misinterpret and to bully, these are but the traits of those who seek to gain control through religion. They are not rational, not scientific and not spiritual. But the vast majority that follows them can open their eyes and see the anguish that flows from Sagadevan's pen. Good and noble effort and I do hope its message reaches out to many across the world, and certainly to those who head various religious outfits. Thanks Junie Aunty for lending me this wonderful book.

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