The Genesis of Religion – Part 2

Read the first post here

Once we are convinced of our Rishi Munis to be the modern day Scientists, let us start by enlisting some of the developments that they brought forth for the benefit of the humanity.

Tulsi Leaves: In times immemorial, of course our earth was fuller of flora than it is now. Even today if you walk into any of the jungles/rain forests, there are a myriad of trees and fauna to be found. No doubt without a proper system of knowledge such as Taxonomy or Botany, it would be a Herculean task for a common person to identify the different species and study them. It is difficult till date to identify a plant with good properties for us vs. the poisonous ones – as was then millennia ago. Yet to have done exactly so was the real achievement of years of R&D by our rishis sitting on the forest floors. Out of the millions of plants that they saw in the jungle, they identified Tulsi leaves to be highly beneficial after years of experimentation. It cures cough and cold and is among the few plants that gives out Oxygen during the day as well as night.

Now the challenge in front of them is one that every brand manager acutely faces till date – how do you promote such a plant with good properties to each household so that it benefits everyone. You must agree, that there is definitely a layering in people’s intellect and hence the ways in which they respond or yield to even some of the good facts. Even though it’s expected that the smart and highly intelligent people will take the Tulsi leaves if said to do so, with support of scientific reasons, but expecting the same from a man with not so developed intelligence would not be right, He usually yields to the fear, and the unknowns. Not everyone acts out of love, kindness or grace.

Several approaches have been taken for this by the various scientists of old – they infused the scientific thoughts in common life under the garb of faith and religion. They scripted the myth of Tulsi’s power vis-a-vis Krishna, the most powerful one in all of the God’s pantheon – an avatar of Vishnu. In one particular story, while the lord rested on one side of a double balance, an equal amount of gold as to his weight was put on the other side. As it seems that since Vishnu catered to the whole wide world, as if the weight of the Universe was on his shoulders, obviously the balance tilted to Krishna’s side. Then one single Tulsi leaf was put on the other balance, and lo and behold! Krishna’s plate moved up rapidly. Tulsi just became heavier than the supreme lord and hence much more potent too!

The message in the above myth is of course to that Tulsi is a very powerful plant and its benefits far outweigh its weight. By mixing the Science with Religion, a path was laid out to propagate good discoveries to every household – all without any marketing, coaxing or the use of resources! It is just a simple story that ensures people yield to it, without any force. This has the ultimate achievement of Religion. After all, when we use a detergent or fridge at home, or ride a motorbike do we really care about the science or logic behind it. Some do, but must do not. We have faith in the advertisements and the regulatory bodies believe in them to have verified and validated the claims. In the same fashion, people accept the religion in good faith. No doubt there always will be use and misuse of anything, but what matters is the proportion in the composition. Definitely pundits, maulvis and popes have exploited people in the past and continue to do so, but the core message of each religion is the same – to aid in a better living on this earth, and this message must not bear the brunt of our cynicism for the former.

Cow as a holy animal: Just as flora was in abundance in the yesteryears, when Tulsi was identified, validated and incorporated into religion, Cow has been a gift from the Rishis too. It is the only animal among thousands of others each by-product of which benefits us. It’s milk helps us to feed and sustain our children; its excreta cow dung has antibacterial, microbicidal and medicinal properties and hence used at homes for coating the floor; and its urine is well known to be an excellent detoxifying and cleansing agent. After all, why wasn’t a dog, a cat or a donkey made to be a sacred animal? Just imagine how much we still owe to the presence of cows in our country – India is the largest milk producer in the world, only because we do not kill them in numbers out of sacredness accorded to them by the decree of religion.

Such stories and examples abound – the Banyan tree provides shed and respite to the weary travelers, and is a good source of oxygen too. The Neem leaves are well known for their medicinal value. The use of Sandalwood ‘chandan’ on the forehead every day, by our brothers in the South keeps their body cool and blood pressure under control.

Only if we after all the higher education are first willing to believe that there is a goodness in the rituals and customs of our religions, can we delve deeper and understand its true essence. Why not, after all it will benefit our own lives. So next time, when somebody keeps a fast at your home, do not dust it off as ahogwash or think of your mom as superficial. Rather debate, reason and try to find out why does she really do it. The answer is that it helps detoxify our body!

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