Atheism in India

Oct 5, 2012

Discussion by: harpreet
India is widely considered as the most spiritual country in the world. It is the birth place of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism which when put together contribute more than 20% of world population. Its also has the second highest population of Muslims in the world. 
I have always wondered what keeps us united ( mostly). Religions are intrinsically divisive in nature and time and again, in India as well, we see the differences and tensions it causes. But still I see a vast number of Hindus visiting Muslim shrines, Sikhs going to Hindu temples etc etc. What is that thing in this society that somehow makes people see the bigger picture yet keeps them loyal to their respective religions ( none in case of mine).
Is there a hint of Agnosticism  ( if that’s the correct word) or if I may dare Atheism in our culture. I can’t help but notice that all the famous poets ( and later hailed as saints) in the last 1000 yrs have in one way or other spoken against the ills of the prominent religions of those times. Some have gone to the extent of challenging the idea of worshiping god. And yet rather then being ridiculed they were and still are considered as the “wise ones” and in many cases treated as saints ( unfortunately).
Here is a famous couplet ( pardon my poor translation) written by Kabir Das in 15th Century:
“You make a mosque of stones and rocks.Mullah climbs on top of it and shouts to the GOD. Is the GOD deaf??”

PS: I am a stern atheist and on Richard Dawkins scale of 1-7 I am 6.8 ūüôā

38 comments on “Atheism in India

  • 1
    dazzer84 says:

    I wouldn’t say the religious people of India are truly united, the whole state of Pakistan exists in order to separate vast numbers of Muslims, the 2002 Gujarat violence and many terrorist attacks recently show that religious-based trouble can easily flare up in a violent way in India.¬†

    What I would say is that in many cases, religious trouble only flares up when you have hysterical priests, imams, politicians and ‘scholars’ whipping up their dogmatic mobs for their own gains, most of the time in India, people are far more bothered about the poverty and inequality in society to concern themselves with feuds over religion.¬†

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  • 2
    LJofSpades says:

    Personally, being of Indian heritage myself, I think that it’s the culture that keeps the relative peace (emphasis on “relative”). The idea of being “Indian” seems to¬†supersede the religious boundaries somewhat. Obviously, this is not to paint it all as being fine and dandy, but I definitely see your point.

    In my family, any religious practices tend to be cultural rather than for any reverence for a deity. But that’s sort of besides the point.

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  • 3
    Aguazul says:

    It seems to be a more practical and flexible approach to religion, i.e. use whatever tradition meets the immediate needs. I guess if you need a contemplative moment, it matters little whose church it is that offers that peace from the noise of the street or from home life (when home isn’t a quiet place).

    The importance of ritual is underestimated in the West. Here in Peru, something isn’t “real” until there has been a ceremony of some sort, like all those witnesses hold the reality of what happened. I mean if hundreds of people saw you getting married, then you’re definitely married, right? — whereas some small event, it all seems somehow less concrete, not helped by people constantly saying “I didn’t know you were married” which makes you begin to wonder yourself — if you’re the kind of person whose realities float around like clouds, at least. So performing some ritual (of whatever tradition) makes whatever you’re doing more real. The process of creation for us humans is about taking something from our imagination and making it physically real. Performing physical rituals is about demonstrating and fixing an intention, making a project more real by physically going through some form of extended ceremony. Then when you have doubts, you can remember the ceremony and use that as a foundation to continue on the path of creating whatever it is you’re creating — building a house, starting a business, whatever — for those people who need this kind of structure and reinforcement.

    Regarding free use of various religions, I can think of various traditions in the Americas and Caribbean that have freely incorporated parts of previously external religions into their traditions, picking and choosing what they feel to be the most powerful saints or deities. I think this is again is a practical choice based on how well these figures serve the purposes of these practitioners.

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  • 4
    Jos Gibbons says:

    There is an atheistic strand of Hinduism, which I think is bizarre (for one thing, what of Brahman?) but never mind that. 

    To be honest, I think what tolerance has historically existed in India is attributable to the fact that Vedic religions aren’t as bothered about infidels as are Abrahamic ones. As far as I understand Vedic doctrines, although post-death existence is contingent on pre-death behaviour, it is not contingent on pre-death beliefs; and, if you “fail” the test, you are reincarnated into a finite life for another chance rather than subjected to eternal punishment. Hinduism can welcome other religions’ profits as avatars of Vishnu or whatever, and Jainism expressly commands religiously tolerance, which is why Jains often work in other religions’ tables. Sikhism was literally founded in response to the is-God-Muslim-or-Hindu debate of its era, giving the answer: neither; God is just God.

    But it hasn’t all been hunky-dory; Islam has been in conflict with Hinduism for centuries because, whereas Islam can never release land it seizes, Hindus who follow the Bhagavad Gita can’t stop trying to regain that which was wrongly taken from them, at least according to one discussion of viraswargam I read:¬†… [Google prefers the spelling veera swargam, mind.] ¬†Interestingly, the gods whose commands are discussed on that page are “Aryan”, meaning noble. This is the origin of the use of that term that is now famous in the West, if you catch my drift.

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  • 5
    papa lazaru says:

    Not so peaceful in 1947. 

    Buddhism and Hinduism don’t seem (at least to me and my limited knowledge on the subject) ¬†outwardly aggressive, and seem to not be as ‘expansionist’.¬†On the other hand,¬†Christianity and Islam, … Powertripping!

    Christopher Hitchens was a big advocate of bringing India further to the front of world politics. He often cite it as an example of a pluralistic culture that actually works. And if it’s good enough for Hitch and Gandhi, it’s good enough for me.¬†

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  • 6
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    India has a rich history of atheism going back thousands of years. I don’t feel up to beating this point to death, as is often required, so I will just mention one school to show I’m not making stuff up, but there are many such schools.

    For many ancient philosophers, Indian logic led to a conclusion that a creator god, a first cause, was illogical. There were many explicitly atheist schools of thought, but they didn’t thrive amidst the superstitious mentality of an illiterate population. Ancient atheism did influence Buddhism, and the emphasis on causality is expressed as “dependent origination”, which precludes creator gods. Buddha even mocked that the gods would have have to evolve out of natural processes. Buddhism then goes on to deny the existence of souls and afterlife. However, as it spread, Buddhism suffered from syncretism, becoming hermetically atheistic, adopting mythologies that the clergy holding them at the arm’s length of Joseph Campbell, but promoted mysticism amongst lay followers. Sadly, Buddhism is one of the only relics of ancient Indian atheism.

    The world is changing rapidly, and India is an excellent example of this. Indian Rationalist organizations have been exemplary. Between contemporary trends and ancient heritage, I have looked to India to lead the world in a rationalist revolution. I know this is an optimism naive to the daily struggles and even horrors of daily life in a nation steeped in superstition, but I remain an admirer and believe in India’s potential to surpass and lead Europe and the Americas.

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  • 7
    hellosnackbar says:

    Thanks for your opinion TINAM,
    It’s very well written!
    But your optimism with regard to India’s future economy and world status is in my view extreme.
    There is of course no doubt that India is on the up.
    But the number of Indian professionals doing well in Western countries is amazing.
    Whether that’s an advantage or not is questionable .
    But if they return?a good option because of their savings ;or they stay in the West.
    Eitherway life’s very good for young energetic Indian professionals.

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  • 8
    avallark says:

    What you described used to be almost true about ten years back. Especially in the southern states of India. There was a greater sense of being than what was permitted by inherently divisive religions. This I would attribute to two things.

    Firstly, our rich cultural heritage. Every village , town or state in India had their own festivals, their own ways of living and their own fine art form.  This had imbibed in us a lot of pride in our culture that everyone no matter what you believe would end up celebrating Christmas, Eid and Diwali.

    Secondly, Hinduism in its barest form was paganistic. More importantly, everyone in India used to belong to this paganistic tradition. Each village used to have their own deities and forms of worship. It is only after the advent of Islam and christianity into India that Hinduism restructured itself into an organized religion.  This fact and the knowledge that everyone used to have the same religious ancestry brings a level of we-are-one thinking to people. Unfortunately with the opening up of media and pouring in of fundamentalist ideas from the middle-east and the west, this harmony has been lost.

    Now there is a lot more tension between religious extremist up to a stage where people/priests claim that it is wrong to celebrate local festivals or even to enjoy local cuisine. The rise of mullahs/preists in India is brilliantly similar to Asimovs preists in foundation. They believe it to be so true that fervently teach fundamentalism. This is the fall of Indian traditions.

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  • 9
    sansun007 says:

    Well being an Indian myself , I find my upbringing comparatively lot easier in Terms of Religion.¬† As I was born in traditional Hindu Family , i figured my beliefs to be more atheistic and since then i have been following atheism since i turned 18. [ For some it may not have been that easy] but that being said , being a spectator outside of religion , gives you first hand perspective of how religious and blind faith has led to down-grading / or restrictive growth of current modern day society. Religion sometimes referred by its preachers as¬† epitome of Forgiveness and Mercy , sometimes fails when it comes to so called “blasphemous” speeches often given by non believers are then prosecuted or often sent to exile away from their family or friends. Due to this , I sometime witness or hear about instances of moral policing that has been seen to sprung up in a sovereign nation like ours

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  • 10
    aftabdarogar says:

    Well being an Indian like to point out that yes unlike dark age europe or extreme islamist middle east the “atheists” in India were not persecuted that much but the persecution was there and post islamic influence and rule in India and even while it was under their rule atheism took a backseat and most atheists in history were anti theist or agnostic instead of true atheism ¬†from scientific background the so called lauded Indian ‘Spirituality’ or ‘Spiritualism’ is nothing more than a type of agnostic approach also atheism has never influenced governance in India. And do not confuse civility with atheism the major religions have co existed with their members visiting each other religious sites and paying their respect has nothing to do with atheism its more like you can only go on killing each other for so long before you get tired and the one who is winning needs someone to do the constructing later on why not use the one you just conquered. Being from Muslim and Hindu parentage I have faced¬†discrimination¬†everywhere from all religions most of the time its subtle and rarely breaks out in violence but with rise of hindu extremism in response to muslim¬†extremism and also to¬†perceived¬†rise of christian extremism its becoming difficult to live in India being an open¬†Atheist¬†with strong political views (Secularism,¬†separation¬†of religion and state). Also India has never embraced true Secularism and Rule of law. People have virtually no concept of civil debate unless under the scanner, no concept of freedom of religion or for that matter no religion (everything is fine as long as you praise their religion but dare you point out the fallacies in any religion especially theirs out of the window goes ‘civil’ debate esp the civil way of¬†disagreeing¬†in peace). The government still tries to make laws to appease the religion creating the maximum racket be it hindus or muslims depending of the issue being rioted on instead of stating the basic ediths of the¬†constitution¬†“freedom of religion” “Freedom of speech” “equality” “separation¬†of religion and state”. like for example sale and consumption of pork is banned by law in muslim dominated areas and beef in hindu dominated states. its a small issues its food after all lets appease them some may say, but all major screw ups in history have started from such small concessions given to¬†extremism take for example Neville¬†¬†Chamberlain (the great appeaser) letting Nazi Germany getting away with the annexation of Czechoslovakia when Hitler was just testing the waters and checking British response, rest as they say is history. Also take for example the ‘Hate’ Speech law¬†never mind¬†the content of the speech even you utter any fallacies of any religion its considered ‘hate’ speech. Its OK to bash extremist religious nutjobs but dare you talk about the religious¬†ideologies¬†they are basing their extremism on, its like clipping few leaves off a¬†parasitic weed instead of ripping it out of its roots. And people thought that UN Blasphemy law scene was shameful, well welcome to India. Its not all rosy here and we are not a model of “civility” and “secularism”¬†¬†as we like to portray to the world. I can go on if you like but I will leave it at that.

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  • 11
    C.Wood says:

    It really bothers me that no one seems to know the dark side in India. A culture where women are subservient (but they like to say they’re not), a culture where honor still kills (much like Muslim “honor” does), a culture where they are extremely proud of themselves (with all the problems that come from that pride).

    I do not respect any of India’s religions or cultures one tiny iota. The first “WTF” moment was when I heard someone say they were extremely proud of their culture, because in a few decades, Indian workers would make up 25% of the world’s workforce. I was so amazed to hear it coming from someone who is by all means brilliantly smart, that I just let my chin drop before asking “so… what about overpopulation? What about all the misery and hunger? What is it with your culture of breeding as much as possible to show the man is fertile and… well, manly?”

    That is just one tiny example of the kind of things they’re told. What about “marriage comes first, love comes later”? As in, parents will marry you off, and you will eventually learn to love that person they chose for you. This is ¬†taken to the point of marrying off a 12 year old and calling it “romantic” when her new in-laws call her “daughter”.

    This is atrocity made spiritual, if you ask me. Off with all this spiritual nonsense.

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  • 12
    aftabdarogar says:

    C Wood…Really loved your piece our culture is not perfect and not exactly “braggable” we have misogynist view like most of middle east and other third world places its just that atleast in cities its getting better a little bit, move to the real India ie the villages the problem of 17th century thinking is still about forced¬†marriages, honor killing, caste system, women considered¬†subservient¬†to men(almost considered property), social and cultural ‘morality laws or concept of morality’ winning over individual and legal rights and they make 70-80% of the population ¬†hence the kind of governance we get.¬†frivolous¬† and nonsensical issues like negative impact of ‘western civilization’, ‘evil spread of any religion or that religious population numbers(whichever they choose to hate depending on demographics, there have actually been calls from pro hindu political parties to breed more for the hindu families to counter growing muslim population “menace” )’, ‘vulgarity in public(couples celebrating valentines day or PDA)’, ‘sexually open debate in TV or cinema’ and so on taking precedence over real issues like over population( no concrete measures have been ever taken to stop population growth because¬†children¬†are ‘gift from god’ ), lack of basic¬†necessities¬†like timely emergency services like medical ambulance¬†accident¬†assistance or electricity or good roads or education or better government run medical services ( as in other commonweath countries India has supposedly free healthcare). India has the Ostrich syndrome ie if I put my head in the sand ever problem will go away on its own. Also we have “Love India or Leave India, no matter what” syndrome which smacks exactly like Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, and I am hated by almost all for saying that. We are not the greatest we can learn a lot from the world and the rate of change is too slow especially when we have numerous examples from the world dating back 100-200 years on how to be really Secular, Civil and truly be democratic and patriotic.

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  • 13
    harpreet says:

    Totally agree with you. But must say that discussion was about Atheistic ideas in Indian culture. In no way I am advertising that Indian culture is great or better. The topic was that in India atheistic elements are welcome and sometimes celebrated in religion. 
    Can the same be said about Abrahamic religions?
    As far as spiritualism is concerned, it depends on what u mean by it. If finding a way to god is spiritualism Рthen it is bull shit. 
    But if spiritualism means how to be happy without being stupid ( they are related) then its beautiful.
    For me Dawkins and Bertrand Russel are more spiritual than so called famous Gurus in India. But then spiritualism means something different for me.
    In its general sense, I would say I am not spiritual but I am not indignant to Sufi poetry as well.

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  • And my point is that while atheism may be welcome in India’s religions (and according to what you say, it seems to be), it doesn’t seem to do much good either. Religion is still able to go around and mess with everyone’s lives.¬†At least here in the West people have to deal with atheism, and we can use that as a force for change.

    My complaint is that people seem to talk about India like it’s a spiritual paradise. It’s not. And I dare say, to me it’s the second worst culture in the world, in terms of freedom, human rights and civilized¬†behavior,¬†right after Islam and not that far behind.

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  • 16
    jake_wallflower says:

    Hi Harpreet,

    The same can be said about the Abrahamic religions, in fact I think all religions are atheistic by nature as Richard and Sam Harris once put it, “Chrisitans are also atheists, with regard to islam or hinduisum or thor or apollo, they just never notice the irony” lol.

    But jokes aside, yes there are Atheist Jews, and Atheist Chrisitians (I’ve met quiet a few) , and just like Atheist Hindus, they cherry pick the good moral aspects like “treat others the way you would want to be treated” and leave out the supernatural stuff. Its just not that prevalent, but lets face is we are a MINORITY , we always have been.¬†

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  • 17
    jake_wallflower says:

    Tell me something, how long did it take western democracies to reach where they  are today ?.
    Point out ONE example where it was achieved in a matter of just over 60 years (that’s how long its been since the country gained independence).

    It has taken centuries for the United States and Britain to reach where they are today, why are you holding India to a different standard ?.  

    Even so within the 60 years of independence, the country has had two women lead the country 
    – Indira Gandhi (as prime minister)
    – Pratibha Patil (the current president)
    – A woman who was not even born in the country lead one of the major political parties into election victory (Sonia Gandhi) when Barack Obama is treated with such disrespect because his father is Kenyan, and a¬†significant¬†population of the U.S believes he wasn’t born in the U.S and therefore should not be president.
    РTwo presidents who were considered to be from backward casts or Dalits (K.R Naraynan and Abdul Kalam). How many Prime Ministers were of Afro/Carribean background in British history ?. And it took more than two hundred years for the U.S to elect Barack Obama.

    Yes, the country still has MAJOR problems to deal with , wide spread¬†illiteracy and poverty along with religios B.S is causing major women’s rights violations. But these are not problems that can be resolved overnight, they take time , Rome was not built in a day.

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  • 18
    jake_wallflower says:

    I would be hesitant to say religions have always co-existed¬†peacefully¬†in ¬†India. But this is only in the case of Islam and¬†Hinduism, especially in the Northern states because of the long history of conflict between the two that dates back centuries, when the Mughals invaded, they destroyed and looted many Hindu temples , and the two have been at odd ever since. I think the biggest mistake was to split the country in two (especially when the division was based on religious identity), Nehru (who was an Atheist) knew this and was even prepared to step aside for Jinna to be the first prime minister, its a shame they couldn’t resolve the issue.


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  • 19
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    ¬†Don’t forget the Sikhs. There’s a lot of blood involved, and they’re persecution by Hindus still continues.

    I also don’t see mention of Sanal Edamaruku and his work, Rationalist International, FIRMA, etc. Below is a link to exposing the claims of tantric magic. A guru claims he can kill a person with magic, Edamaruku says g’head, do it. Lulz ensue.


    I don’t know how complete the article is on the story, but the guru said he would try again, but needed to go out into the desert with a bottle of booze and a concubine to enhance his magical powers enough to kill a person. He would also have to cover himself in ash, or something.

    I’m trying to find the origins of the Indian Rationalist Association, but as I recall it began with a study group from one European’s personal library, and grown into a formidable force against superstition.

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  • 20
    aftabdarogar says:

    do you know how much Sonia Gandhi is hated by the religious conservative parties and people?
    do you know the instances of rapes are put on western dressing and morals?

    And yes India has been independent only 60 years and US 200+ years but then US and UK were breaking new ground in equality and human rights and secularism and when that new ground and understanding has been found the excuse that India has only been independent 60 years does not hold water when it has real world breathing examples in front of it.

    Its like saying saying it took US 150 years after independence and 70 years after invention of electricity grid to get the whole of the country connected on the grid and since India has been independent only 60 years it still has 20-90 years to connect itself onto the grid!

    Or its like saying say if¬†tomorrow¬†US and UK put a AIDS vaccine on its healthcare, India can say it needs to rediscover that on its own and in the meanwhile patients will have to die so sorry about it…

    world does not work like that sorry and if thats Indias excuse I get to call it Bullshit.

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  • 21
    jake_wallflower says:

    The U.S was breaking new grounds in secularism soon after independence ??????.
    РBlack Americans did not have the right to vote until the 1960s  
    – Women had the right to vote only in 1920 in the US and 1928 in the UK

    You are totally missing the point, its not the time span that matters but human nature.
    Violation of women’s rights, religious dogma, rape etc, are symptoms not the actual problem. The problem starts in the human mind, not matter how much evidence you point out to someone who is a creationist, he/she will never change their mind, the nut jobs who perpetrate rape for western clothing are exactly the same. That very mind set has to change , unfortunately changing the mind set of people is¬†not analogous¬†to introducing electricity or a vaccine. The¬†time span¬†is merely a measure within which a no of things can happen that will trigger a change in people’s mind set¬†
    Рnew generations with a different mindset 
    Рviolent revolutions 
    – protest movements

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  • 22
    jake_wallflower says:

    And while, Sonia Gandhi is hated by the conservative fascists, the discrimination she faces is nothing akin to how the Republicans have been disrespecting Barack Obama during his term. 
    РThe Birther issue 
    РTea party fundementalists who are spreading vicious lies that 
    he is a kenyan muslim who is an ex CIA spy.
    РThe NRA that has been actively campaigning against him saying he will outlaw the right to bear arms.

    If he wasn’t born in the U.S Obama could have never run for office

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  • 23
    jake_wallflower says:

    I understand where you are coming from, but the sad reality is these things take time.
    We can either campaign for them vociferously, be part of the generation that stands a chance in getting rid of it or slign mud at each other comparing different cultures trying to decide which one is superior.

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  • 24
    aftabdarogar says:

    well I am not mud slinging and I with all my energy try to bring about a mindset change but unfortunately the education system and society in these backward areas is so steeped in non sense that its hard and unfortunately they constitute 70-80% of voting depth for politicians so they are least bothered not even laws imbibed in the constitution are strictly implemented. In India Social acceptance and Social law is more important that Individual Rights and liberties (granted by constitution).

    I am all for allowing the newer generation to bring in change but when I see ¬†them rabidly indoctrinated in the same BS I lose hope in the future. I am of the thinking now we need to enforce the laws of the constitution even if we need to alienate these people for a generation so be it. The South did not like the Yankees ‘taking away their freedom of owning slaves’ but what is right has to be enforced we cannot wait for people to change out of the goodness of their own heart.

    And talking about issues faced by Sonia Gandhi let me say this as per the ‘culture’ once a woman marries she becomes an¬†integral¬†part of her husbands family and her honor has to be protected by them, but sonia Gandhi is called an Italian, non Indian, Italian spy and so on and when I call that hypocrisy I am told the ‘culture’ only applies to Indians!!!!!¬†

    The cultural gap between Urban and Rural India is so on that the departments of Indian government are non functional ¬†for example there was this rape of woman who was going to a pub in my city almost a year back and the response of the female police officer was “they are all whores they deserve it” this is because of the cultural difference Indian police force is from the Rural India and they cannot understand how women can drink go out and party in the night and so on, because they have never seen such freedoms. There has been a recent drive by a rural social courts to bring the legal age of¬†marriage¬†for girls down from 18 years old to ‘avoid instances of rape’

    Whenever something horrific like this happens there is a lot of hoopla in the press but soon it cools down and nothing concrete is ever done.

    The majority of the Tax income of the government comes from cities and most people in rural areas are tax¬†exempt coz of the income tax bands made on annual income, hey if they¬†ain’t¬†paying any tax they better not be passing laws on our ways of life as well. No representation without taxation.¬†

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  • 25
    himanshu092 says:

    yeah,i think the point you made is true and people tend to fear god out of nothing on baseless reasons,that’s why i think people visit shrines of different religions,fearing some god might cast wrath on them,if god is one as believed why worship different deities and overall why god would be angry on anyone ¬†as god is not human who is binded by different ¬†humanly emotions

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  • 26
    himanshu092 says:

    but still in the inner veins of every indian religion flows,as if they dont follow it and some god might cast spell on them

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  • 27
    sandeepn81 says:

    The very nature of Hinduism is secular.
    Hinduism is not a religion in the sense of the middle-eastern religions. It is a set of beliefs accumulated over ages. And because of this, it allows to accommodate any new belief  without necessarily causing conflicts, while the emphasis is more on the greater good, knowledge, beauty, science or pseudo-science.

    There are over 3 million gods and godesses in India. And until the advent of Islam and Christianity, there have never been any persecutions or fights in the name of God in India. At best there have been arguments, plenty of them, which have been encouraged on the grounds of rationale and reason.

    Because by the very essence of Hinduism, most Hindus believe that god is one, but could be invoked by any name or form, or even without any name or form. And they also believe that this is only “a” belief, and the alternate belief that there might be no god¬†¬†is equally scientifically reasonable, and no belief should be criticized unless it causes violence.

    Even in the modern Hindu society, I feel it amazing to see that even within a single family, members adhere to different beliefs, worship different gods, some visit temples, some rarely, some chose never to. And these beliefs keep changing, evolving, rediscovering, and maturing time to time.
    There is absolutely no compulsion, or a strict sense of absolute truth which everyone has to stick to.
    And more importantly, there are no punishments prescribed for oneself or others for either believing or not believing.

    Infact, the core of the Hindu belief does not even believe in hell or even in evil. Although there are a few minor schools and books which say sinners go to hell and good doers to heaven, the majority of  Hindu consent is that these are just attempts at moral stories and the authentic Hindu belief is that there is no hell or evil, as per the higher scriptures of vedas and upanishads. 

    Infact, these higher scriptures hold that the entire world is an illusion, there is only a supreme universal conscience (which most people incline to call god), and the nature of this conscience is – truth, good, and beauty (or happiness). It is this conscience that manifests as the self, and as everything in this world, which means nothing exists, apart from this eternal happiness, let alone hell or evil.

    In this sense, Hinduism is more a deism rather than a theism.

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  • 28
    sandeepn81 says:

    Thanks for posting your reply “dazzer84”.
    A couple of points I would like to suggest on which I disagree with you:
    1. The state of Pakistan is a strictly religious state, a follower of one of the strict monotheisms of the middle east. It is nothing akin to the secular, albeit highly religious India that existed until the separation. Hence it should not be taken as an example for the purpose of the context being discussed in this thread. For this case, the current state of India, excluding Pakistan has to be taken into consideration.
    2. You say – ”¬†most of the time in India, people are far more bothered about the poverty and inequality in society to concern themselves with feuds over religion”.
    Although I would go into disagreement on this fact as an Indian, I would like to point out that poverty or progress has less influence, if not nothing, on religious fanaticism. In fact, it is the other way round, the more poor and inequal a country is, the more fanaticism and religious feuds it is likely to see. We can look at any number of  places around the world including but not limited to Afghanistan, Rwanda or Zimbabwe to verify this.

    The reason there are no feuds in India, or there are as few an exceptional cases are any democratic country can expect; is because India and Indians believe in democracy, secularism and human rights. And I assume we do not have to go into a debate that these virtues indeed result in reduction of religious feuds, but in case of doubt, look at any number of places around the world including but not limited to Canada, UK, Australia, Germany and last but definitely not the least, the great nation of United States of America, which was built on these very principles.

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  • @¬† This Is Not A Meme
    ¬†Hindus never persecuted Sikhs. The massacre of Sikhs happened at the behest of the then Congress party in retaliation against Mrs.Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards.And this is what Mr.Rajiv Gandhi’s said “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.It’s heinous crime by the then Govt.In a way its a state sponsored pogrom.
    ¬†¬† ¬†Hindus believe sikhs as their protectors since Guru Nanak’s time.So please don’t make sweeping statements without knowing the facts.

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  • @¬†¬† aftabdarogar
    I think you don’t know anything about Sonia Gandhi. In her 2004 election affidavit she claimed she passed out from Cambridge University when it was cross checked the University said no person by that name passed out.this case was fought out in Supreme court and instead of cancelling her membership from Parliament the Chief Justice of India asked the petitioner Dr.Subramanian Swamy to let go off her as she said she will correct the mistake in the enxt affidavit.
    One more reason is she and her children can’t become PM of India.The reason is they are still Italian Citizens and as per reciprocity law if Indians can’t become PM of Italy Italians can’t become PM of India.
    And more over she looted India than anyone can imagine in their dreams.You can see the scams that are coming out on a daily basis. The mother of all scams hasn’t been in public.Let me give you in advance,it is $1 trillion Thorium scam.

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  • 32
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    ¬†There is a conflict. Sikhs claim to be persecuted. They have evidence. They are a minority. There are still ongoing campaigns. Are you claiming all that info is the result of a mass conspiracy to influence international opinion to win Punjab their water rights? That’s absurd. There is a conflict.

    Saying they are not persecuted and forgetting to mention why the assassination occurred (Blue Star) is intellectual dishonesty. You must be a partisan.

    I would say Hindus never existed as it is an academic contrivance invented by a Muslim scholar, but somebody persecutes the Sikhs, and they are savage, misogynistic, woo peddling, primitivists who endorse a caste system. If that’s what a Hindu is, then yes they persecute Sikhs.

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  • @¬†¬†¬†¬† This Is Not A Meme
    I’m talking about 1984 riots I don’t know which other one you are talking.The Indian media isn’t pursuing it because most of the media houses are incurring huge losses every year and main income source is Congress led UPA.You can imagine what a subdued media can show news.I don’t know whether I’m permitted to place this link,if not I ask the moderator to remove the link.
    Please go through the following website  to know about the corrupt Indian Mainstream Media.

    About bluestar if they were anti social elements then I don’t give a damn if they are from Hindu,Muslim or any other religion or sect,they have to be dealt firmly.
    I totally agree with you about the invention of the word Hindu.But there is a reason we have to continue with it which is if you look at the history of India for the last 1000 years Hindus have been persecuted by Islamic invaders and looted,raped, murdered our ancestors.British systematically looted us by intentionally corrupting the literature like the Vedas,Manusmriti,etc.
    In 20th and 21st century, Christians and Islamists and Marxists are converting Hindus by force or spreading misinformation about Hindu Dharma or seducing with monetary benefits.In these difficult times the word ‘Hindu’ can unite us,the simple reason is the converted Christians and Muslims ancestors were Hindus.The present India is down with appeasements,we say abolish reservations with immediate effect so that everyone can be eligible on merit.Its is the shortest path to unite everyone.If you take India or Vedas you have to start from scratch.¬†

    There is no caste system in the so called Hinduism.Varna is often confused with
    caste.There are four Varnas which are Brahmin(one who possess
    knowledge),Kshatriya(Warrior),Vysysa(Wealth) and Shudra(Land or less
    skilled). In ancient times Varnas are not birth based it depends on ones
    educational or professional qualifications.Nowadays it’s irrelevant.

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  • 34
    This Is Not A Meme says:


    Let’s say Blue Star was the most pure and righteous of use of military on civilians in world history, executed without an iota of stupidity or insensitivity towards the Sikhs as a people. Let’s say the Sikh separatists were utterly insane, had no right to occupy their own temple, had no economic or political grievances, an event like that indicates an oppressed people. Let’s say they deserved everything that happened in Blue Star… are you really trying to claim an extermination occurred in the absence of oppression?

    That’s almost absurd.

    If identity politics are strong enough to warrant Blue Star, that indicates oppression. The massacre also indicates oppression. The implication of your statements, is this would be the most unique atrocity in human history, occurring independently of oppression before and after. This would be the single most interesting case study for sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, epidemiologists, political scientists, historians, and any other related field.

    Such claims are often made by members of preferred groups, usually through strawman reasoning. Israelis say Palestinians are not oppressed, because the Gaza Strip is not a Krakow ghetto. White people say American Blacks are no longer oppressed, because they are no longer in chains. Men say women are now equal because their allowed to read and vote. It’s a cliche, and I don’t mean to insult, but you’ve fallen for it. What you are claiming is almost impossible, and only believed by people in your group. Sikhs are one of the famous oppressed groups; along with Ainu, Gypsies, Jews, Palestinians, Tamil, Kurds, etc…. Of course, it’s unique. Each case is unique, but we can know things. The Universe is not random, and Sikhs are an oppressed group.

    Oppression happens on many levels. Sikhs are portrayed as buffoons in the media, another cliche of oppression. They have regional resource issues and a long history of being a minority with beliefs contrary to the majority (such as being egalitarians in a caste-driven society). Mass sympathies translate into political power and economic access. Their are many tools of oppression, such as denying them their identity as Sikhs. The attempt to ‘unite’ India’ under Hindu identity is harmful and offensive. There is even a campaign to say Sikhs are Hindus. That’s attempting to destroy their identity. That’s what oppressing a group is, their destruction.

    Sikhs are not the body-guard appendage of a Hindu society. They are Sikhs, militant egalitarian monotheists. They are not Vedic. They are not part of Hindu unity, so it’s easier to exploit them, deny them resources, and treat them with cruelty. India oppressed it own people before the Moguls and British got there, and continues to do so. Hindu identity is just a new oppression. Unifying people under a single banner sounds nice, but it’s also a synonym for oppression and domination. That’s often HOW the unification happens.

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  • @¬† This Is Not A Meme

    Give me a¬† link from authenticated¬† sources that Sikhs are persecuted in the present day in India or Indian¬† state¬† of Punjab and¬† if it¬† is true do you think Punjab state would sit silent.The¬† one who¬† commanded¬† the Bluestar was a Punjabi.May be you are¬† not living in India¬† and devoid¬† of¬† facts.Why don’t you ask Navjot Singh Sidhu,Montek Singh,Manmohan¬† Singh,SainaNehwal?
    You¬† don’t know Indian History and more importantly if you are¬† Sikh then its¬† very sad you don”t know¬† the¬† story of¬† Guru TegBahadur’s sacrifice¬† protecting Hindus. May be this link might help you

    Let¬† me tell you real story of persecution.In 1980’s more¬† than 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits were¬† driven out from their¬† own state by raping, looting and murdering them by the Muslim dominated state Jammu & Kashmir.Search in Google more¬† about¬† them. 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits living¬† as¬† refugees in their own country¬† India.

    And stop¬† spreading¬† lies about Sikh persecution happening in present day without any authenticated sources. If¬† you are a khalistani then I¬† won’t discuss further.

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  • 36
    RDnet_Moderators says:

    May we remind users that this thread is about ATHEISM in India, and that our Terms of Use require comments to remain on the topic of the OP.

    Please do not post further off-topic comments, as they will be removed.

    Thank you.

    The mods

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  • I am commenting two years + after the fact on this thread and as a reply so people, if they stumble upon it, will see it. The author says, “Here is a famous couplet ( pardon my poor translation) written by Kabir Das in 15th Century:
    ‚ÄúYou make a mosque of stones and rocks.Mullah climbs on top of it and shouts to the GOD. Is the GOD deaf??‚ÄĚ

    The author wants to imply that Kabir somehow supports atheism. This is an EGREGIOUS misusing of Kabir and displays what I often see as the abysmal ignorance of the atheist community toward mystical traditions.

    Kabir was one of the most famous mystic saints-avatars in history. His spiritual elevation was incalculable. The quote above reflects Kabir’s impatience and irritation with empty outer ritual as opposed to authentic connection to “Source energy-aka God”.

    So he wrote this
    “O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
    Lo! I am beside thee.
    I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
    Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation.
    If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
    Kabir says, “O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.”

    And this
    “I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
    You wander restlessly from forest to forest while the Reality is within your own dwelling.
    The truth is here! Go where you will‚ÄČ‚ÄĒ‚ÄČto Benares or to Mathura; until you have found God in your own soul, the whole world will seem meaningless to you.”

    Get it? It is an extreme violation to use Kabir to think he supports atheism, although he would be tolerant of it. Look I support your right to believe what you want, i want secular separation in society, and I don’t like the shunning and even persecution of atheists.

    But folks, get it right. As a metaphysical mystic of 45 years, Dawkins positions are infantile, lack any understanding of diversity of religious or spiritual thought, refuse to grasp the maturity of higher experiences and deny evidence of the most elevated spiritualists in history as well as those of regular folks.

    Kabir was not only great in communion with Source, he was a great poet to write about it. Here is one of his greatest after a tremendous personal revelation. These revelations in Hinduism are called” Samadhi” (super conscious state).

    Here’s Kabir the (sic) atheist. Puleeeze. “Brahma is the Hindu word for God. The Yogis know God is one. Please stop with the ignorance.

    “When He Himself reveals Himself, Brahma brings into manifestation
    That which can never be seen.
    As the seed is in the plant, as the shade is in the tree, as the void is in the sky, as infinite forms are in the void–
    So from beyond the Infinite, the Infinite comes; and from the Infinite the finite extends.
    The creature is in Brahma, and Brahma is in the creature: they are ever distinct, yet ever united.
    He Himself is the tree, the seed, and the germ.
    He Himself is the flower, the fruit, and the shade.
    He Himself is the sun, the light, and the lighted.
    He Himself is Brahma, creature, and Maya. (illusion-that this is all “real”.)
    He Himself is the manifold form, the infinite space;
    He is the breath, the word, and the meaning.
    He Himself is the limit and the limitless: and beyond both the limited and the limitless is He, the Pure Being.
    He is the Immanent Mind in Brahma and in the creature.
    The Supreme Soul is seen within the soul,
    The Point is seen within the Supreme Soul,
    And within the Point, the reflection is seen again.
    Kabir is blest because he has this supreme vision!”

    Want to be an atheist? Fine. Don’t appropriate Kabir or others out of ignorance.

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  • Ken Dec 31, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    The author wants to imply that Kabir somehow supports atheism. This is an EGREGIOUS misusing of Kabir and displays what I often see as the abysmal ignorance of the atheist community toward mystical traditions.

    The details of particular mystical traditions have little bearing on atheists’ understanding of of the physical world or the biological processes of the brain.

    Kabir was one of the most famous mystic saints-avatars in history. His spiritual elevation was incalculable. The quote above reflects Kabir‚Äôs impatience and irritation with empty outer ritual as opposed to authentic connection to ‚ÄúSource energy-aka God‚ÄĚ.

    Worshippers of personal gods often express dissatisfaction with formal religious organisations and rituals. This simply illustrates the great diversity of conflicting religious beliefs arising from unevidenced faith-thinking.

    But folks, get it right. As a metaphysical mystic of 45 years, Dawkins positions are infantile,

    I’m afraid it is the childish infantile mind which is besotted with introspection, and is unable to grasp the evidenced physical reality provided by science.

    Dawkins positions are infantile, lack any understanding of diversity of religious or spiritual thought,

    I take it you have not read his scientific works on the subject of religious thought! His book “The God Delusion”, would be a good start to your studies.

    refuse to grasp the maturity of higher experiences and deny evidence of the most elevated spiritualists in history as well as those of regular folks.

    The delusions of “elevated understanding” and assertions these are “higher forms of thought”, simply fail under objective testing.
    They are simply the illusory superiority of those too wrapped up in their introspections to dispel their ignorance of wider perspectives on the world, the galaxy and the universe, achieved through mature rational evidence-based thinking.

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