Sunday, November 25, 2012

Namma alateyannu…

There is a famous essay by Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth titled “Namma alateyannu meeralarada devaru” which, loosely translated means “The god who cannot exceed our limitations”. Dr. Karanth, a quintessential rationalist explains the origins of God in our minds – how the magnificence of the god who created the universe* is entrapped in the puny imagination of humans.

I read (well, was supposed to read, but skimmed) the essay in my I PUC Kannada text book and I’m unable to locate it now. However, I remember the summary of the essay very well – that God is essentially a creation of the “puja” establishment, and therefore, he does not exceed human limitations.

You ask, why bring this up now? Well, I reached a tipping point in my antipathy towards organized religion on a recent trip to Kukke Subramanya and I was trying to find that article so that I could write this blog!+

Have you wondered how similar the god of an organized religion is to a King of the ancient times ? Kings are all powerful in their realms and have the power of life and death over their people. Kings have huge egos and need frequent displays of obsequiousness to satiate them. They take offence easily and frequently run campaigns of terror against their offenders. And nothing offends them more than praising another king. Kings offer protection for *their* people, and only until the protected acknowledge the protection and are (publicly) grateful for it. Access to kings and favours dispensed by them are mediated by agents beholden to the king. Replace kings with God and agents by priests, and what do you have? organized religion!

And while we are at it, I (naively) hope the overzealous internet police of India do not see this post and haul me off for arrest, but instead focus on tackling real security issues like the violence committed by Shiv Sena activists in Mumbai.

* I am not saying that a God created the universe, nor am I refuting current physics which believes that the sum of the energy and mass in the universe is zero, which is a convenient place for a self-starting universe. I’m merely stating scripture.

+ On an aside, I am terribly disappointed by the lack of Kannada literature, particularly classic Kannada literature on the web. Is the Ka Sa Pa listening?

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