Serial Bus

One post per week

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

I Do Not Worship Thee, O Motherland!

with one comment

Should Muslims in India refrain from singing Vande Mataram?

To answer the question fairly, one must consider some other questions such as:

Should the state government of Maharashtra make it compulsory for cinema halls to play Jana Gana Mana before every show and exhort the audience to stand up for it?

Should Turkey make it unlawful for women to wear scarfs as a symbol of their piety?

Should China continue to ban the practice of Falun Gong?

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Written by serialbus

November 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Happy Diwali and Sal Mubarak

with one comment

Obama scored another first. No, not the first American president to win the Nobel in the first year of presidency. That too – but perhaps more sanguinely, the first American president to light a ceremonial diya at White House on occasion of Diwali. He also recorded a video message to convey Diwali greetings to a cross-section of minority groups in the US of Indian heritage. As I watched his message, I thought of all the possible machinations in the background that would have culminated in Obama recording the message.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by serialbus

October 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Debate as the Test of Faith

with one comment

Recently, I happened to read the wikipedia entry about Adi Shankara. Although his story is well-known to those who grew up in India, I kind of re-discovered his larger-than-life personality. His iconoclastic thought, the legends of his childhood, his deep yet humble intellect, his travels across India, his enterprise in establishing lasting centers of learning came across as heroic.¬†While reading about him, one learns of how he single-handedly reversed the declining course of Hinduism against the formidable school of thought that was Buddhism in the 8th-9th century AD. He did that largely by inviting people to engage in Shastrartha (Scholastic Debate) with him. Whoever lost the debate would accept the supremacy of the winner’s philosophy / religion and convert to it. Typical of Shankara’s times, whenever a big Buddhist scholar lost a debate, several of his followers would automatically convert to Advaita (non-dualism), Shankara’s brand of Hinduism. I imagine this method of winning over people is perhaps passe in today’s times – today, politeness (and political correctness) demands that you can not even broach religion with anyone.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by serialbus

June 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Primitive and Modern

with one comment

I am going to describe two very different places below. I want you to guess which one is primitive and which one modern.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by serialbus

April 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Octuplets: Intelligent Creation?

with 2 comments

Last week, everyone was agog about the amazing birth of octuplets in a suburb of California. This is the second known case in human history when so many babies were born alive. Apparently, the 46-strong team of medics that delivered them weren’t even expecting the eighth baby. When I heard about it Monday morning, I found it fascinating. Presuming this was natural, my wishes were with the parents. Then, news broke that the mother had 6 other babies earlier, taking the total to 14 now. These were all conceived artificially, through implanted embryos. Today, I learn that the woman in question was ‘obsessed’ with babies. Although I defend her right to conceive and deliver as many babies as she wishes, I am beginning to question the intelligence in all this creation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by serialbus

February 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

All Vipassana and No Chit-Chat

with 2 comments

When Charles Dickens traveled to the US in 1842, he wanted to take out time to see two major tourist attractions: Niagara Falls in upstate NY & Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) at Philadelphia. When Nidhi & I visited Philly last weekend, we also wanted to take out time to see ESP, amongst other places. As we entered the castle-like facade of the former prison, we were handed entry passes for $12 each; they were designed to look exactly as the passes given to curious visitors like Dickens in the nineteenth century except that admittance was free of cost back then.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ik Onkar i.e. One God

with 3 comments

Every Monday morning, Nidhi drops me off at New Haven. As we drive out at 6am, it is still dark with a flicker of morning sun in the distant sky. We like listening to music in the car and the number we always start with is ‘Ik Onkar’, as sung by Harshdeep Kaur in Rang De Basanti, set to music by Rahman. I have always found the rendering very moving and spiritual. Today, I decided to find out what it means.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by serialbus

October 5, 2008 at 9:07 am