Only 10% of the world’s population does not believe in God which is termed as Atheism. This has been the situation for thousands of years. ‘Spirituality is not my cup of tea’ is what most atheists feel. This is because, they believe that spiritual progress is something related to God. After reading this Holy text, they will realize that this perception of theirs is wrong.
1. Atheism – The reasons for this belief
Nearly 90% people who practice Spirituality in order to make spiritual progress follow Bhaktimarg (Path of Devotion). Hence, some feel that to make spiritual progress they have to have devotion and since they do not believe in God, they cannot develop devotion. Thus, they conclude that ‘all this is not meant for us’. They do not realize that for spiritual upliftment there are paths other than that of devotion. Even Saints who followed the Sankhya Philosophy of Sage Kapil (worthy of being the Master of atheists) made spiritual progress and attained Moksha (Final Liberation). Only 7 out of 195 verses in Bhagawan Patanjali’s Yogasutras pertain to God. The remaining 188 verses do not even make a passing reference to God. Should these atheists follow them, they too could certainly make spiritual progress and attain Moksha !
The second important reason for confusion among atheists is that they have not understood the real meaning of the words ‘Moksha’ and ‘spiritual progress’. In brief, making spiritual progress means obtaining the experience of Anand (Bliss) which lies beyond happiness and unhappiness. Experiencing that state continually is itself Moksha. After comprehending this, which atheist will say he does not want spiritual progress or Moksha ?
Generally, high-salaried people are atheists. The more the salary, greater is the extent of atheism. The reason for this is the assurance of getting a fixed salary every month. The salary is more than the expenditure. Hence, they do not feel the need to believe in God. However, those who have businesses are not atheists due to the uncertainty in business and handling of large responsibilities. Hence, they are constantly in need of some support and always believe in God. Only a rare salaried person may not be an atheist. To summarize, atheism is rampant amongst intellectuals and highly educated people. There are less intellectuals among businessmen.
Due to atheism, some make ridiculous statements as illustrated ahead. The sister-in-law of a lady-seeker told her, “Why are you following Baba (His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj) ? Why do you not join some course instead !”
The definition of the word atheist is – ‘नास्तिकोवेदनिन्दकः । – Mahabharat, Udyogparva, Adhyaya 35, Shloka 40’, meaning, those who criticize the Vedas (The most sacred Hindu scriptures, revealed directly by God) and do not accept their concepts are atheists. The amusing part is that most atheists have never read the Vedas!
Atheists do not believe in God. Then we should question them as to who should we fear to maintain a righteous code of conduct ? The Upanishads say, ‘भयात् तपति सूर्यः ।भयात् तपति सूर्यः । ~ – Kathopanishad, Adhyaya 2, Valli 3, Shloka 3’, meaning, the moon, the sun and the earth revolve fearing God. We too behave righteously fearing Him alone.
About 55% people feel ‘let those who have a liking for Spirituality study it; of ‘What use is it to us ?’ They do not know that in the life of an average person, 20% of physical and psychological problems in wilful actions performed are caused due to factors other than spiritual. The remaining 80% problems are caused by spiritual factors alone. In other words, of every five distressed people, four can acquire happiness merely by undertaking sadhana (Spiritual practice); so four out of five people in a family, relatives and friends definitely need Spirituality. Sadhana enhances our ability to endure destiny. All this of course is from the worldly perspective. To attain Moksha, however, there is no substitute for Spirituality.
2. Atheism – Meaningless intellectualism
The functions of each of the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind and intellect are different; for instance, the mind perceives emotions, while the tongue recognizes taste. It is impossible to measure through intellect such things born of experience. Just as it is impossible for us to measure the proportion of acidity in a substance with the help of a weighing scale, so is this. Therefore, it is incorrect to think that ‘only that which the intellect understands is true’. Spiritual experiences obtained during spiritual progress too are beyond the comprehension of the intellect. What then is the use of rational thinking here? Just as the aura, waves, distressing and pleasant energy etc. are aspects beyond the comprehension of the intellect, so is God.
If this be so, then one will wonder why there is a need to read this Holy text at all ! The answer to this is that though the taste of sugar is beyond the comprehension of the intellect, yet to experience its taste one needs to obtain it by using the intellect. Similarly, we can enjoy the Anand of self-realisation, which is beyond the intellect, by practicing Spirituality with the help of the intellect. The Upanishads were not written to convince the intellectuals about spiritual knowledge on the basis of intellectual thinking, but were written to show the jidnyasu (An individual curious about Spirituality) the path of anubhutis (Spiritual experiences).
Some intellectuals do not realize that it is wrong to write or speak on any subject without first studying it. A question from a book published by a women’s liberation organization asks, “We worship the Female Deities along with the Male Deities when performing puja (Ritualistic worship); then, why do we not exclude Female Deities from ritualistic worship for four days when they menstruate?” This has been written by one who is unaware of the meaning of a male and female Deity. To put it briefly, since Deities do not have physical bodies and since menstruation is a function of the physical body, the question itself is unscientific and ridiculous. However, the temple of Kamakshi, the famous Female Deity of the tantriks (One who practice the science of Tantra) in Assam, India, is customarily kept closed for four days in a year because the jagrut (Awakened) Idol has been humanised. In the Vaishṇav sect too, the temple is kept closed for reasons such as ‘now God is having His meal, He is sleeping’ etc.
When the journey beyond the intellect commences, undue insistence on using the intellect proves to be incorrect. In short, it would only be appropriate for rationalists to perform sadhana themselves for a few years and only then speak on it. People study the writings of Saints like Tukaram Maharaj but do not follow these Saints, that is, they do not perform sadhana. They just savour the fruit, but are reluctant to toil for it (perform sadhana) from the time the seed is sown till the fruit is borne.
Not just in Spirituality, but also while undertaking the study of any other subject if we have a perspective that ‘I do not agree with it’, then we fail to understand the subject. However, if our perspective is ‘I do not understand it’, then the one explaining the subject will elucidate it further. Intellectuals should keep this in mind.
Difference between intellectuals and seekers is given in the table ahead.
|1. Motivation to realise God||Absent||Present|
|2. Spiritual practice||Absent||Present|
|3. Proof||Actual proof||The word itself is the proof|
3. Atheism – Charvak philosophy
People love this philosophy because Charvak itself means ‘melodious speech. ‘Charu (चारु)’ means melodious and ‘vak (वाक्)’ means speech. Charvak (चार्वाक) thus means ‘melodious speech’. Hence, people love this doctrine.
यावज्जीवेत्सुखंजीवेत् ऋणंकृत्वाघृतंपिबेत् ।
Meaning : So long as we are alive, we should live happily, feasting on ghee (Clarified butter), even by incurring debt; because, once this body is reduced to ashes, it will not be acquired again.
Who would not like to listen to such advice? However, very few are inclined towards thoughts which say that we must serve and sacrifice ourselves for the spiritual cause.