Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pride and Belonging

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"If it is not intuitive, it doesn't mean it is not powerful - it means that we should put an effort to learn it. And no, I am not talking about software"

Let me begin this essay by talking very briefly (so as to not make it seem like my hobby-horse and bore non-technologists) about an editor called VIM. If you have any friends who are developers (and not hard-core geeks), ask them about it. Most of them would have barely heard of it, leave alone used it. Even those who have used it, will say that it is the least intuitive editor, that there are far more sophisticated and intuitive editors around. To be honest, it is a fact.

Let's take an average person and ask him to use the editors - vim and Sublime Text. You will find that he will find Sublime a pleasure to use. He will not like vim at all. Then you ask him to do a bunch of tasks to be done with the editor, and watch him struggle with vim as he breezes past while using sublime. Why? Is it because vim is not good at all? Wrong! Vim is an extremely powerful editor that can do all the things that sublime can, and more. But the fact that he doesn't know the powers make him feel that vim sucks.

This is the truth about anything - When you have two things, one which you know very well or intuitively understand, and the other which seems complicated or less intuitive, you will tend to go for the first one, in spite of the latter being better.

I find this very true with Hinduism as a religion. I have had the most remarkable experiences with many people who believe in God, who are faithful, but have no understanding of what it means. Then there are those who can think or rationalise and yet have no understanding. The first results in creating a breed of blind believers while the second result in a breed of agnostic and atheists. I was talking to one of my friends a long time back when I spoke about Brahma, and he said "I've heard that name somewhere" - Imagine, a boy in his 20s and doesn't know who Brahma is. Well, while this may seem extreme, most people don't know much more about Brahma beyond that he's a multi-headed old God with a white beard on a lotus who apparently created the world, and is one among the Hindu trinity.

When you don't know much about your heritage, your religion, your lineage, your country or anything that you belong to, you do not respect it. When you don't respect it, you don't have any attachment to it, you may even shun it as you have learned to live without it. You may even switch to an alternative because you find it easier - and easier it could be, but the problem lies in the fact that no attempt was made by you to understand that to which you belonged to.

Unfortunately, two factors aid conversion - One of my friends told me that he never attempted to read the Bhagavad Gita because of a notion that "you will be cursed if you read it partially and abandon it" and blind beliefs such as this will make fewer people understand their background. christian evangelists have been known to make use of similarities to aid smoother transition while proselytising. They use dates important to the victims and make it dates important in christianity.

The main purpose of this post is to point out a couple of things. Those among you, who feel that you are intelligent and smart, who can think rationally should pursue Hinduism as a subject, and try to understand the concepts behind it. It's not always about a supreme God sitting and creating the world and controlling people and circumstances, or about God who gets angry when you don't bow to Him or worship Him and will fire a lightning bolt at you for sinning. It's truly fascinating, some of the things that you learn. The rest should still make an attempt to know mythological stories - which are truly brilliant. I have always been a huge fan of Hindu mythology.

Remember, this is not merely applicable to Hinduism or religion. It's also about your nation or anything else that you belong to. Make a complete study of it, understand it properly before dissing it. It's easy to give up at any point, but pride and belonging - attachment etc. can develop only if you learn to accept it.

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