Of Miracles and Faiths

What makes us believe in miracles or the hand of God?  Rather, what is the stuff of which miracles are made up of?  One answer could be that something  unusual happens which is seemingly difficult to explain logically but readily fits into a belief system.

Ancient Egyptians believed that frogs were generated out of fertile muddy soil itself. Medieval Europeans thought that flies or maggots(larva of household fly) and even mice were self-generated.This argument was extended to conclude that God created everything out of nothing! I read an interesting story about medieval times about a christian priest who created a recipe for making mice. The recipe : Take a dirty underwear, place it in an open pot  and dump a few wheat grains. And wait for 21 days! Yes, this recipe worked beautifully and confirmed the spontaneous creation theory!! Here is yet another equally incredible miracle story. By beginning of 18th century, microscope was invented and for the first time people could see  unfamiliar unicellular organisms such as bacteria on spoiled foods such as chicken broth. Many believed that the invisible hand of God was responsible for the creation of these organisms, which lent further support to their religious theory of spontaneous creation by God. It took almost 150 years for dispelling this myth. Louis Pasteur proved that air-borne microorganisms invaded the broth and spoiled the same!

Now turn the clock back to 4000 BC. What did our sages say? They said pretty much the same thing about  creation…..that God created the entire universe with just one thought. In fact there is one entire Text , Purusha Sooktam in Vedas, devoted to nitty-gritty of creation – the sequence of creation, which species came from which part of the Lord etc. Other religions developed similar theories of creation. Darwin debunked the myth of creation with his theory of evolution, which has been tested and verified repeatedly by scientists. As a compromise religious leaders came up with a theory of Intelligent Design. This was also falsified by scientists, who said there is nothing intelligent about this design. They proved that evolution is a random process supported by Natural Selection.

Turning the clock back to the modern times, we still find lots of people who turn a blind eye to scientific findings. Today, most of us are ready to look at science objectively as long as the findings do not shake our basic beliefs. The moment it questions one’s fundamental beliefs, science is not welcome!

Spirituality says there is a grand design and purpose behind the creation of the universe. Science says that as the Universe keeps expanding, it will grow colder and dilute and eventually head towards a simple and lifeless end.

We all love our little stories, right? Our minds love to make up a story out of random events and find a philosophical message even where there is none. A psychologist once screened a short film wherein 3 geometric shapes (one circle, one big triangle and one small triangle) were chasing each other randomly and after a while two figures just vanished from the screen. People were asked whether they saw any meaning in the film. Interestingly, every one had a story to tell using each figure as symbolic of different aspects of human nature.

If you read my story a couple of weeks back in the post on logic and faith, it is the same mental phenomenon at work. The Mind will never accept the happening as a random event without any significance. (There was a small twist in my story which I didn’t mention in that post. After TTD staff  threw me out from the senior citizen’s Q, I returned to Bus Stand frustrated. I got into a waiting bus, bought a ticket and settled down in a seat. But before the bus left, a TTD employee got chatting with me and assured me that there was no crowd in the ‘300Rs Q’ and that I should go back and try again. I went back and had to spend another 3 hours in the Q for darshan. When I shared this with some people, an explanation was promptly provided! I was told that this was again the handiwork of Lord Balaji who, it seems, was bent upon playing the joke on me!).

However, we miss the real big miracles in life. For instance can anyone explain the miraculous or magical effect classical music has on our minds! It casts a spell on the mind when you listen to Rag Jog or Darbari rendered by a great musician. Within a few seconds of starting the Rag , a restless mind turns meditative and as the Ragalap progresses, one experiences complete bliss. It stirs one’s consciousness as one is transported from a mundane world to an ecstatic world! (By the way, in the last 3 days I had this wonderful experience as I attended several Hindustani concerts organized by Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan in Mumbai). If this is not a miracle what else is? It is this kind of experience that make one believe in some higher consciousness or Life Force and this belief is, in many ways, quite different from the beliefs surrounding personal Gods.

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Published in: on December 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Say what you will – the fact that a random stranger convinced a person who hates noisy crowds, scoffs at ritualism, and who at that point had zero inclination for darshan, to actually renounce his return ticket and go back after barely few minutes conversation – this is textbook Venky (i.e. divine) intervention 🙂
    This story gets better with each rendition!


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