by Ambareesh Sr Ja

Atheists. Agnostics. Theists.

So like you all, I do know the meaning of all these multi-syllable words. In the literal sense, at the very least. I am no expert to glorify or reproach their claims or ideals. Bring to mind an amused kid – walking around gaping at the nude sculptures, kicking the sand, and howling out loud- gleaming in delight on how deep the echoes sound.

Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram – has been in news recently for – I am no judge – a lot of reasons – but nevertheless, I was ushered in for an early morning Darshan by my parents- to pray to the almighty to stay with their son, in times of mirth & peril. Clad in Saree and the ceremonial Kasavamundus, the party of three went inside to glimpse the lord in gold- the protector of our *city and the treasurer of our riches. I can almost hear him smirking when I type these words out.(*Thiruvananthapuram is named after Ananthan a.k.a Lord Vishnu)

My staunch intentions of ending this piece of mind within a couple of pages, restrain my runaway mind from reporting an array of amusing incidents that I got to see inside (and partly outside) the temple. However, the gem of the day was when an adorable girl – of about two feet (I am bad at guessing ages, but my eyes are fair enough to gauge height)- ran free from her mother’s grasp to explore the big wide world. A small temple (within the main one, attributed to Lord Ganesha) caught her attention. Kids – rightly admired for their unbridled curiosity – seem to have a fascination for the elephant-headed-mouse-riding God of means. She ran straight up the small steps of the Sreekovil housing the Prathishta(idol of the deity). But there were too many steps and her father, presumably- prevented her from taking a peek inside. Unceremoniously, amidst much hue and cry, our pretty heroine was lead off, with- “You shouldn’t have gone up there, aren’t you afraid? That is the Lord, how dare you…”, and similar words of rebuke in the native tongue.

Fear. Fear is a captivating emotion. Much like lust, anger and jealousy – it’s pure and instantaneous at best. It inspires, encourages, motivates and checks us. The ‘look’ part before the ‘leap’ adage- is strictly attributed to fear. Fear of failure, embarrassment, emotions, betrayals, pain….yada yada yada. Who needs an account on fear? It has been programmed into our neurons and all of us have felt it umpteen times. But if progress and growth is only to be attained when we stop to face and overcome fear- I am trusting the philosophers on this one- should we be afraid of the unknown? Stop, if your thoughts ran away to banishing the prophets or burning the Holy Gita. I am not suggesting anything. I am not manipulating your thoughts or trying to, either- but asking a hard question. I am honestly looking for an answer. Believe me.


If we are asked to fear something much before we attain a basic knowledge level of accumulating rational thoughts- isn’t that notion wrong? I think so. However, it seemingly has its own unique purposes. If Magellan (Ferdinand) wasn’t braving the fear of falling off an ‘un-spherical’ earth, back in the 1520s- he wouldn’t have been hailed a hero when he set off to sail around the world. We would no longer be fascinated by snake charmers or lion tamers or trapeze artists. They all play with fire. And fire kills – not always – but it can – and has – and therein lies the thrill it inspires. If fear of breaking open my skull, can keep me away from perilous roof tops, thus saving my life – fear might be good. More than good, I admit.

But I am not too sure of that in the religious front, though. With constant references to the almight(y/ies) and devil forms in popular culture; beliefs – mine and I guess most of ours- is really messed up. Again, there is no one to blame. It would be amazing to have a Morgan Freeman-ish God for sure, but I am no big fan of the ‘destroyer’ tendencies. Even Gods have anger management issues it seems.*Chuckle*.The debates of God-fearing Vs God-loving has sure got a lot of interesting aspects. But then, so do the atheist-theist wars. And who can forget the annoying agnostics- c’mon! Take a stand guys! Excuse my sour jape, but the tone was getting too grave.

So if God does not exist – God forbid 😛 – then none of us are at fault. If he/she/it does – Ric Dawkins forbid 😛 – even then, none of us are at fault. As it is, “….if he (God) doesn’t have a problem with ‘em atheists, what in the devil’s name, is Your problem? Goddammit!”

But so long as we aren’t quite sure of either- we can believe in whatsoever we whatsoever want, and sleep in peace. So simple, so profound.

You are welcome. 🙂

-SrJa   [01/07/2013]