Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Kids and Banyan Tree!

In my childhood, on my way to school, there used to be a great banyan tree. It is so huge with a think trunk and thousands of branches, that whenever I have to imagine a big tree, that tree is what comes to my mind. I always used to wonder how difficult it would be to grow a tree like that until I was old and wise (I know one necessarily does not follow the other 😉 enough to understand that all it took is a small seed – the seed that is not even a millionth of the tree size. Behind the enormous complexity is a beautiful simplicity.

So why did I remember that tree again? I was reading multiple posts on rediffiland and the ensuing comments from individuals from various backgrounds, belief systems and languages. It is interesting to say the least and enlightening if I have to stretch. These reminded me of that huge banyan tree. Like all of us standing under that tree as kids, trying to talk of how big and complex the tree is; how wonderful are the colors of its leaves; what a miraculous sight of it hanging roots; to basic questions like who used to water it when it was small; to more erudite kids talking of photosynthesis and the green of chlorophyll. All of us have a strange curiosity to know more about the tree, albeit from different perspectives. It intrigues us, it excites us, provides us a chance to show who is more knowledgeable and also to prove who is more correct.

The very fact that we are all thinking together and sharing our thoughts – courtesy internet and blogs – has a reason, possibly. I used to wonder all the time why asking for a scientific proof to spirituality is a blasphemy. Why are humans made to be so dumb and ignorant that they should only imagine God but never see him? I was frustrated when people mentioned that there is God and then we. Rama is God, Krishna is God, Jesus is God, and here Buddha is also God (“Unhe Iswar mein tha aviswaas, inhone unhee ko bana diya Bhagwan” -In Harivansh Rai Bachan’s satirical ‘Buddha aur Naach Ghar’ poem- one of my all time favorites!)

I totally appreciated Lissome’s post ( on Rediffiland blog which opined that Ram, Sita and Lakshman were humans. Yes, they were humans, very much exercising their free will and independent thinking all the time. They had emotions, feelings of love and betrayal, to be disappointed by someone who they trust and love. No, I have no qualms in thinking and saying that probably Ram was never God. But honestly and deeply praying to Ram, a lot of common people realized What God Means and I believe that fact though I don’t know how. So did people who prayed to Krishna or Shiva. And when all these people talk or sing, if you listen to it taking out the writer’s bias (as Sarath put it) you realize that they are talking about the same thing with different names. They all saw the same thing and that I am sure! I think they all saw the seed, when we were fighting over the banyan tree.

The common thread that combined a few names of people who I personally think did realize God as a concept and as a ‘real’ source and not as a theoretical possibility (Read this wonderful post for theoretical feasibility from Sarat titled Universe 1) is the simplicity of thinking and the thinking which is introspective. The only problem I have with Science, as I wrote earlier, is that we can go on searching and finding a new species every day! But we are not reaching anywhere with that, we are just counting the leaves of that great Banyan Tree. I believe that we as people are to search for similarities, if the search has to be meaningful, be it in people or nature. There might be hundred different emotions displayed, but the basic root sources for all those emotions and words are just a handful of feelings.

So which side I am on? Am I an atheist or a believer? Why should I belong to either of these categories? Why can I not be a God-believer who thinks Faith is nonsense unless proven otherwise? Why should I belong to one class just because I said Ram is not God and who in the first place defined these classes? Read this beautiful post on Kalama Sutta Dhamma, by T nA )

I am for now calling myself an amateur scientific spiritualist; I realize that any search requires the seeker to be disciplined, determined and open to possibilities – I have not even started the journey and the search, I am just gearing myself up for it – physically and mentally.

Finally, I am trying to move away from the banyan tree, so that I can get a holistic view of it, to appreciate it in full and not just its leaves and the branches. I have started to move away from it so that the random words of people shouting underneath it do not influence me. And while I walk away from it, I have a feeling that I am going home, just like in my days at school!