Recently I have been a part of many heated debates revolving around GOD. Many a times I was completely ambushed by my friends who are firm believers of Hindu religion. On other times I was enlightened on the issue by some intellectuals. Some questions didn’t let me sleep properly for last few days. What is worship? What is religion? Who are priests? Who is GOD? Why do we pray (read ‘beg’) to GOD? I never ever believed in going to religious places or fasting to make GOD happy. I am thankful to my religious family that they never imposed any religious practices on me. I always hated giving money in the the temples and to the beggars. I never prayed to GOD. My maternal aunt kept on reminding me again and again that I need to pray to deserve the blessings of GOD. Does this make me an atheist? I don’t think so. I firmly believe in GOD.

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In the recently concluded Navratras, Durga pandals were a common sight in every village of Kotma, Anuppur, Madhya Pradesh. I am lucky enough to work in development sector and to serve tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. Even in these poor villages, people give all their savings in the name of GOD without any doubt in their mind. One of these Durga Pandals was placed just behind my room in Kotma. The so called priests started their Bhajans at 5:30 A.M. in the morning and continued till 12:00 Midnight. It really gave me a headache for those 9 days. On it, they came asking for donations after the event was over. Even my office colleagues told me to give the donation warning me that otherwise these salespersons of GOD may resort to violence against me. But I never gave into their demands. I wonder why are these people maligning GOD by their acts of violence in his name. These priests can not be agents of GOD in any case.

In the district of Anuppur, snake bites are very common which in many cases are fatal. In a report published in Times Of India, most number of deaths due to snake bites take place in this district of MP. People resort to blind faith and Godmen when it comes to cure of such things. It is not the case that venom cure is not available for these snake bites in primary health centers but people don’t believe in it. They say that it is the will of GOD if a person dies of snake bite. Why do we always blame GOD for our own failures? If we fail in exam, do not get a job or fail to execute our plan then how is GOD responsible for it?

Similarly, we pay at the temples, beg in front of GOD and fast to make things happen. But even the GOD will agree that no one will get even a single penny without working for it. Having no offense to priests, I would like to say that they have made our country lazy. We have become overdependent on GOD. We must understand that when we fall on the ground, GOD will not come to lift us from it. We will have to stand back by our own efforts. Similarly we will pass in the exam only by our own efforts. A maulana or a pandit will not come and teach you for that.

Does praying to GOD makes him happy? Or is it our deed which brings us closer to GOD? If the answer to the former question is yes, then I will be happy to renounce that GOD. But if the answer to the latter question is yes then I feel that I have got more blessings from GOD than all priests combined.

I can only hope that our country release itself from the clutches of religion and blind faiths that claim the lives of our innocent citizens and loot them on everyday basis.

“If we need to fight over religion, Oh GOD I pray to you to make us all atheists.”

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