Monday, 7 November 2011

Evolution of God-Ideas

B Premanand

Agni - God of Fire
If we go through the history of the gods and religions organized around them, we find that the human mind created these gods and religions by propagating miracles and the belief in fate. The ruling classes and the priestly classes made gullible people believe in miracles and fate to keep them subjugated to their rule.

Thousand of gods and religions disappeared when the propagators of new gods and new religions exposed the miracles of the old gods and proved them frauds. Today only very few gods and religions have survived these exposure. This has happened not because all powerful gods protected there believers, but the followers themselves have started protecting the gods and their religions.

It is not the same old pre-historic gods which we have with us today. Gods have also evolved even as science has progressed. The first gods were our ancestors, our great, great-grandfathers, and grandmothers and the heroes of common tribes. And then came nature gods. Natural calamities like flood, volcanoes, landslides, thunder, lightning, earth quakes, cyclones, forest fires, the ocean tides, drought, pestilence and death made primitive man suspect some unseen being was cause the them. For each natural phenomenon they invented a god with a particular name. They propitiated these gods the same way they propitiated their clan leaders. To get absolution for sins they offered them food, human and animal sacrifices, and women as slaves. When the natural calamity subsided they thought it was through such propitiations and the gods were pleased. So again they propitiated them for their benevolence. At this state human were living off nature and moved about as nomads in search of food and water.

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From early nature gods, the next evolution of god was the Mother Goddesses. Death was brought on by natural calamity or by wild animal or tribal conflicts and diseases. If a particular clan had to survive such onslaughts, more numbers were necessary. Since children were miraculously born from the womb of the woman, they believed woman was the First Cause – The Adi Parashakti. They them started propitiating woman as mother Goddess.

Though humans lived on nature like any other life, drought and failure to get food forced them to experiment, understand and exploit nature. Though they first wondered how plants suddenly sprouted from the earth, they found that if they collected seeds these could be sown in prepared land and they would germinate and sprout as plants. And if they took care of the plants by watering them, manuring them, destroying the weeds, and protecting them from wild animals, birds and insects, they could harvest a better yield. From a nomadic life, they established settlement near rivers and water sources. They domesticated animals to plough their fields, and for milk and meat. It was from animal husbandry that they learnt the mystery of birth. They found that it was from the union of male and female that offsprings were born.

Thus the major evolution of the god-idea was in the symbol of union of male and female and humans started propitiating the LINGA (Phallus) for fertility. The propitiation of the fertility gods was through mass sexual orgies in primitive agricultural communities with the aim of increasing crops, animals and human beings, and to bring rain.

In course of time, they found that union alone would not make the female pregnant. The sperm from the male and ova from the female should also unite for conception to take place. Thus evolved the most sacred mantra – the mantra of creation – the Srushit Mantra – AUM – . Later with the domination of males over females, Male Gods were invented as the creator of the universe. With the progress of science in the century, the formulation of the theories of conservation and relativity, and the manufacaturing of genes, the basis of life from methane gas in a laboratory, and the mystery of life is slowly being solved. We now know that life evolved from matter through physical and chemical reactions taking place in matter.
Scientists too wonder about how the world began. They agree that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. But who or what created the universe. And when? If there is a need for a creator to create the universe, there would also be a need for someone to create the creator himself. To that religionists reply that spirituality and metaphysics is beyond science. In fact, religion starts from where science has failed to explain the truth behind the First Cause. Nevertheless, whatever has been explained so far of nature and the universe is only through science and not through religion.

If we go through the genealogy in Maha Bhagavata, even Vishnu, the god of the Aryans, is said to have taken form by himself (Swayambhu) in Ksheera Sagara, the milky ocean. So the ocean of milk existed before Vishnu, the supreme Godhead. Similarly, Yahovah, the god of the Jews and Christians appears himself in space which means space existed before Yahovah. That matter was there as space. So the first definition given to gods as the creator of the universe has become meaningless with the progress we have made in finding explanation to the universe.

There is a beautiful chapter in Rig Veda, where universe, god and life are discussed in Mandala 10, Sloka 129, Nasadiya Sukta, Mantras 1-7, and the conclusion is:

  1. Nobody knows when creation sprang
  2. The one which came to be arose at last, born of power of heat.
  3. Even gods came after creation.
  4. Even the Supreme Lord of the universe may after all not know what creation is and how it came about.

In this century, god has become abstract, like absolute truth and universal love. There is no absolute truth because truth is relative. Only ‘0’ (nothing) is absolute. Thus god would mean nothing. As far as universal love is concerned, what do we mean by love? When a child says he loves ice cream, what he does is to purchase the ice cream and enjoy it for himself. When we claim to love a girl or a boy, what we want is to possess the girl or the boy, and enjoy her or him ourselves. So love means to posses the object of love, and to enjoy the same for oneself. And when we think of universal love, we want the whole world to come to us so that we can enjoy them. This is what the religions and godmen do – they enslave their followers to exploit them for their own selfish enjoyment.

Truth is relative of three things – place, time and condition. When one stands looking at the sun rise, the space towards the sun is east. But when one goes a few meters back, what was west just before becomes east Thus an abstract god is also becomes meaningless.


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