Rituals and mythology
Religions are linked with myths. Making of mythology was the outcome of human imagination, showcased by distorting reality of the world and natural phenomenon. Falsification of facts comes from the fear and ignorance of the primitive man. Myths are living even now because the followers need them to keep their religions alive. Therefore the naive continue to rely on these stories but mythology differs from religion to religion.
Central philosophy of religions is broadly comparable. Like for instance there is a supreme power, Allah in Islam, God in Christianity and Brahman in Hinduism and so on. The Kaba, or cross or an idol or portrayed as symbols. Places of worship mosque, church and temple etc for the devotees to pray. The comparative study reveals that the basic pursuits of all religions are the same and the rest are cultural interpretation or variations of the path to these goals.
Religious edicts contained in the scriptures conformed to social context prevailing at that time. These diktats can be understood in the backdrop of social history. The genesis and practice of religion can be understood by adopting a sociological approach.
Wandering bards and story tellers carried tales by word of mouth. Every story was or not historical but the story tellers tended to exaggerate the goodness of the hero, the beauty of the heroine and the wickedness of villain. These exaggerations distorted both religions and history.
Mythical tales are exaggerations in works of faith. Story and the characters are kept open to personal interpretation so that people can identify themselves with these characters and tend to become the icon of their life, this ensures continuity.
People need myths as they symbolize their culture. Embedded in faith the power of myths is massive, it brings a common understanding of the social order that binds individuals and communities together. Which is why, myths make profound sense to one group of people and not to everyone. Myths cannot be rationalized. We either accept them or not. Society’s constant search for heroes creates myths. Human heroes eventually die but mythical heroes are immortal.
There is no evidence of an ideal world but such worlds do exist in mythology, human mind long for it. This longing inspires art, establishes empires, sparks revolutions and motivates leaders such is the power of myth. Mystical veneer as the cosmetic of religion creates an exclusive brand. Mythology is a tool for marketing religion.
Religious theories are speculations based neither on logic nor on facts but religious scriptures are considered infallible. There authority cannot be questioned nor can their text be amended. Followers have to stick to them much against their wishes. We need to reject this rigidity which is in conflict with the natural state of change. Nothing is final. In the modern context these medieval Holy Scriptures are useless. They should be discarded because they curb freedom of thought and are no more a source to create social values for 21stcentury.
Even today Magic and miracles sell religion by making statues drink milk, by healing people, by mass awakening of (Kundalini) spiritual power and by statues shedding tears of blood. The religious preachers claim that these supernatural events have no human explanation. But actually all these claims have proved to be spiritual frauds played upon the gullible followers. When God is on dope then the priest are all drunkards and religion is the opium of man.
In the sphere of several sacred books reality is mixed with a large dose of nonsense. Fabrications of facts act as poison to distort the mind. Many try to know truth from these false books and in the process they also swallow lies. Truth contaminated with falsehood must be avoided.
The greatest burden in the world is superstition. Fear is the mother of superstition. Fear produced religion. In the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience.
Forecasting the future is astrology. Sometimes the guess are correct but most of the predictions go wrong, there is hardly any consistency in the accuracy of predictions, just like the bulls and bears in the stock market, astrology is also based on assessment and probabilities.
There were many fearsome events that bothered the caveman. It was natural to look up to the various facets of nature such as the sun, moon and stars as entities to be worshiped, apart from the concept of the Supreme Being, God.
With the farming civilization, the seasons and the year became important. besides the waxing and the waning of the moon in the lunar month, around which collected much rituals and myths, developed the solar calendar.
The regular rotation of the heaven and the movements of the heavenly bodies gave rise to the argument if these effected nature as particularly observed with seasons and tides, they should equally affect the condition of man. There were efforts to correlate events of human life with the positions and movements of heavenly bodies; within limited statistics many correlations were found. It is from these origins astrology arose, which connected the human conditions with the positions and movements of various heavenly bodies and prescribed times for action and activities and particularly those having religious and social nature.
Since than there has been a major revolution in science, in technology and the manner in which they have manifested today in all aspects of human life. Advances in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology has given as a detailed picture and understanding of the universe around.
We know enough to discount the probability of human functions, activities and lives been determined by planetary configurations and motions that astrologers talk about normally. There is no evidence that stabilizes conclusively any such correlations, leave alone any understanding of how such correlations could come about. This is in total contrast to what one encounters in the natural sciences and particularly in its power for precise prediction. The viewpoint of their impact on human life can only constitute an exercise in ritualism. We are aware of the distant past, when alchemists were important, their aim was to transmute base metals to noble metals such as gold, that is all now history.
Our present knowledge of the genetic basis of living systems, of their structure, development and functions, the deciphering of humane genome, suggest a completely deterministic description of a living organism.
While one may not agree with this extreme and insist on the importance of the environment and nature, what role the stars will play in this? The human being is very complex, there are many aspects in him, which cannot be regarded as rational, there are the deep recesses of the human brain and the manner, in which it functions, remains unexplored and un-understood. It is in these that human concepts and intuitions relating to the existence of a supreme being, the meaning of human existence, fear and securities relating to the future and much else exist. It was because of this that human beings would seek any means to know; even with a great deal of uncertainty a glimmer of what lies ahead. It is in this that astrology plays a role, which can be seen by its popularity.
The role luck play in people’s lives: some people cope with all sorts of adversities, why do some sail through problems and unhappy situations, while others are destroyed emotionally and physically by the same challenges? We know the answer, luck is a triumph of nature and that peoples personalities influence how they are treated by fate. When confronted by a problem, people fall in to two groups, the internalists and the externalists.
Internalists: They analyze, act and learn from whatever the outcome is, they believe there is connection between them and what happens to them. Externalists: They believe they have no control over their fate and just life wash over them, they are passive. If they fall over they just blame bad fortune instead of trying to work out why they fell over and how to prevent it happening again.
The question of how much control humans have over their destiny has exercised philosophers for centuries, some holding that fortune is the arbiter of one half of our actions that leaves to direct the other half. Despite the decline in religious beliefs, such faith in fate and luck has persisted, a majority of the people felt it was better to be lucky than clever, gamblers belief in luck remains unshakeable and all gamblers are highly superstitious.
Nevertheless psychologists are increasing convinced about the role humans play in creating their own luck, they are almost certain people are the masters of their own destinies. Lucky groups tended to be optimistic, extroverts and risk takers. Those seeing themselves as unlucky, wee more introverted and convinced from an early age that they would fail, while lucky group were making their own luck by taking more chances and meeting more people who might help them, in the school of luck people can learn to be luckier.
How did the zodiac signs originated? Astrologers developed the idea of zodiac more than two thousand years ago. They observed the changing position of stars that accompanied the change in seasons and astrologers believed they influenced people as well. They used the representation of the zodiac to draw a chart called horoscope, this chart supposedly reveals a persons character or future.
Scientist have debunked the claims of astrology describing it as superstitious nonsense, the study debunked once and for all, astrologers central claim that our human characteristics are molded by the influence of planets at the time of birth. Scientist tracked more than two thousand people, most of them born within minutes of each other for forty years. It failed to find any evidence of similarities among these individuals.
The superstitious nonsense of astrology has nothing to do with the science of astronomy; astrology could hardly claim to be accurate since even its basic astronomical observations were erroneous and inaccurate. Astrology treats the influence of stars and constellations on the destinies of men, of auspiciousness and non-auspiciousness of time and horoscopes etc. treat this as fraud and never learn or teach any book on this subject.
Too many planets for astrologers to swallow, pity astrologers and their creaky old celestial mechanics because scientists keep discovering more and more of our solar system that simply refuses to fit into the mumbo-jumbo of horoscopes, sun signs and the zodiac, now there is a tenth planet which lies outside the orbit of Pluto, considering two of the planets, which are supposed to influence us, namely rahu and ketu, don’t even exist in reality. Astrologers who claim to be scientific often trot out gravity and magnetism as the operating force, it has been demonstrated once and for all that astrology is not only bunk, it cannot keep up with time either.
The future is unpredictable so the end is unknown to us. This is the mystery of life. We use the art of probability trying to unravel the future.
Is astrology a science? If not what is the secret of its attraction for the human mind? Astrology is a belief in a seemingly unscientific system. Astrology is a ‘therapy’ traditionally used for emotional disorders. Astrology contributes significantly to the feeling of ‘centrality’ and ‘open’ in the human mind. One is more likely to believe in astrology when one is experiencing some sort of suffering or pain by connecting one to cosmic forces and movements of planets, astrology treats feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness. It imposes a feeling of order in life, which is crucial for those suffering from emotional disorders. ‘Hope’ is the possession of ‘future’ and this is what astrology makes available for the average human being. The remedy suggested by astrologers is therapeutic as an agent of his own destiny.
Astrology’s backbone: Human characteristics are determined by the position of stars and planets at the time of birth, scientific study tracked more than 2000 people, most of them born within minutes of each other and called “Time Twins”, according to astrology these people should all be very similar but scientist have failed to find similarities between the time-twins, scientist have now shown that astrology is bunkum. These findings do not predict a bright future for astrologers but will these findings affect people who are, in varying degrees, addicted to finding out their future? Surveys show that astrology is becoming more popular, a business worth million of dollars despite the fact that astrology’s principles are invalid. It is an exercise in deception.
There exists no mechanism known to the entire organized global body of scientific knowledge by means of which a planet, star or other heavenly body could have any kind of influence on the character, personality or future of a human being. Practicing astrologers are hoodwinking customers for cash, the only thing astrologers tell unbelievers to keep an open mind about is that there is a relationship between the heavenly bodies and human beings and that relationship can be interpreted, just because the mechanism of a phenomenon is not fully understood doesn’t mean it can be dismissed.
As long as there is uncertainty in peoples mind astrology will have excellent scope. A relentless fight against obscurantism and superstition is needed. Astrologers have been vague and woolly in their predictions, one practitioner’s objection has been that the mind is not a machine and therefore one cannot use the tools of mechanical science. This kind of pettifoggers conveniently overlook the fact that the two genuine behavioral sciences of psychology and psychiatry whose subject is also the mind, use the same tools to arrive at their own validating or falsifiable conclusions
We cannot imagine the complex forces behind every event that occurs in our lives, life works through your own karma and coincidences. Trough karma we see cause and effect relationship, chance meeting, ironic twist in life, up and downs, new ideas that branch out in completely new directions etc are coincidences along the way.
The intelligence of nature through harmony, synchronicity lies beneath the surface of everything that is happening invisible to us but connected fully and wholly beyond the boundless field of space-time, beyond conditional consciousness. “You are what your deepest desire is, as you desire so is your intention so is your will, as is the will so is the deed, as is your deed so is your destiny” (Upanishads)
All of us mold our actions according to a number of scripts, our professional script are different from our home scripts, these different scripts help us sort through differing expectations and potentially unpredictable circumstances, your success depends from many sources, professional credos, organizational policies, laws, interpersonal negotiations and social norms.
Whenever things don’t happen the way you want them to, you call it destiny, this is how you deal with failure, you are consoling yourself and most of us simply exist in reaction to the situation we are placed in by birth, circumstances, our question is “ why was I placed in such a situation? Is it my bad luck, is it my destiny?
Luck factor: why do some people have all the luck while others never get a break they deserve? Why some people are always in the right place at the right time, while others consistently experience ill fortune? People have almost no insight into the causes of their luck; their thoughts and behavior are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune. Take the seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not. Unlucky people are tenser than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people are more relaxed and open and therefore see what is there rather than what they are looking for. Being lucky is to spot chance opportunities, listen to your intuition, expect to be lucky and be more resilient to bad luck.
When we fail to see reason, when we face emotional problems, our weaknesses lead us to depend on the unknown superstitious powers. Lack of self-reliance and not tempering emotions with reason leads us to blind beliefs that is why we get pulled into astrology and religious rituals
Good luck and fate: Practices as fortune telling, wearing magic charms for protection, fixing lucky sites for buildings and fixing lucky days are useless superstitions. Then why people believe in them? Because of greed, fear and ignorance, it is honesty, kindness, understanding, patience, forgiveness, generosity, loyalty and other good qualities that truly protect and gives prosperity. People who are interested in luck are always trying to get something, usually more money and wealth. Being learned and skilled, being well trained and using well spoken words, is the best good luck, to have simple livelihood and simple living is the best good luck, being generous, just and helping others and blameless in ones actions, this is the best good luck, to refrain from evil and steadfast in virtue is the best good luck, reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude is the best good luck.
Be the master of your own faith: The best laid plans go awry. There are instances in every life when fate seems to be unjust. Natural laws and unknown energies may or may not hold sway over ones life. Struggle to transform, believe in your potential and give direction to your fate. Have faith in your ability to modify your destiny, to reinvent life. Discover that the power which controls your life is within you, than in the planets in the sky
Freewill: Thinking seems to be a constant drone in our waking state. Thinking often is also the root of many psychosomatic ailments. The process of thinking is essentially quasi-voluntary and spiritual seekers aim to reach a state of thoughtlessness. There is no specific centre in the brain that has been identified as the originator of thoughts. It would be absurd to conclude that thoughts arise empirically and randomly. Logically there has to be some cause-effect basis of thoughts arising.
Perception of the outer world lays the substrate for thoughts, responses and actions. Hence perception and thought initiation must have some source code which is unique for every individual. Every human being comes with an inbuilt program. This is the data base of all past karmas and vasanas. Vasanas are un-manifest thoughts; it pre-empt all thought and actions. Thoughts are constructed on the foundation of vasanas. Vasanas precede thoughts and thoughts precede actions. Action thereafter generates further vasanas and this cause and effect cycle generates karma, this is our inbuilt program, however we have freewill to ignore this inbuilt program and script a new program. With intense determination and control, it can be forbidden to enforce the encrypted script. Otherwise life travels along the uncontrolled path of destiny. Life vacillates between surrendering to the inbuilt program and endeavors to exercise freewill to change the script of destiny. The meek submission and the freewill to use this power reside in every individual. Make a choice.
Freewill is considered as independent consciousness and ego, when we analyze the field of consciousness, marking a person’s conscious experience of the decision to perform an action, we observe: Normally we believe that a person first thinks of doing something. The thought process is transformed into impulses in the brain which signals the required muscle to carry out the act but experiments suggest that the brain associated with action actually occur before the person consciously thinks about deciding it. This shows that the idea of having any ownership over our actions is merely an illusion. In reality our will or ego is only a second level player comes at a later stage of the activity when the process of action has already been set into motion. This makes a mockery of freewill as we understand it. Even though we don’t have a hand in initiating action, our consciousness still retains veto power over it This happens when we stop ourselves from performing the action but the difference in time between the onset of action and the will to act happens in split second hardly enough time to take remedial action. Does this mean we’re all living in delusion? Are we the master of our destiny? But this implication clearly indicates that a higher self is really in charge. It’s something spiritual masters have been trying to tell us
Star-gazing and astrology, forecasting lucky or fortunate events by signs, prognosticating good or evil, all these things should be forbidden. Such low arts as divination by dreams, prognostication of good or evil by omens and stars, indulging in prophecies, discovering magical virtue in gems, boasting of supernatural powers, pretending to perform miracles and wonders, the employment of spells and supplications, sacrifices to god, witchcraft, quibbling, all of which involve lying and deceit are unworthy of the seeker, after higher life. It is not right for the fraudulent man to make himself an accomplishment of superstition taking advantage of the superstitious character of the ignorant. Apart from the so called gurus indulging in these nefarious activities, lying and fraud under the name of advertisement and competition are accepted methods of trade and commerce. A consideration of money sways every other consideration. Even professionals have wrongs. The lawyer sells his knowledge to the highest bidder; the doctor pampers the rich for a fee. Compromises are being made for the sake of money and selfishness. To make a living society fosters competitiveness starting from upbringing itself. When people have to make a living, they make it, by hook or crook. We need to conditions to develop virtue and moral character