As the great battle of Kurukshetra continues, both the Pandavas and the Kauravas suffer huge losses. Great warriors are killed. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives. Bhurisraba kills ten sons of Satyaki. Bhagadatta mounts his elephant and almost kills Bheem. Ghatotkach engage in a ferocious battle with Bhagadatta. In the camp, Bhishma keeps trying to bring some sense into Duryodhan, while the blind King Dhritarashtra laments alone in the palace of Hastinapur.
Recently I watched this wonderful TED talk by Alain de Botton. He was talking about atheism, but unlike many other more radical atheists, he did not reject religion altogether. His philosophy is that, there is a class of people who do not really believe in the existence of god or gods, but they like the other aspects of religion like the rituals, the music, the literature, the art, the myths. Alain says that these aspects of religion, the more popular aspects which enrich us in many positive ways, we don’t have to reject them. I don’t want to go into the details of his talk, you can watch the video and listen for yourself, but this concept which Alain calls Atheism 2.0 rang a bell in me.
I love to attend our Durga Puja festivals, love to hear the mythological stories associated with Durga and Mahishasur although I don’t believe they really exist. I love to listen to the sonorous chanting of the “Chandi” or listen to the ecstatic Kirtan music and feel elated. I love Shyama Sangeet, I like to watch plays and listen to stories of Hindu mythology and the epics, although I don’t feel compelled to believe them as historical truth. And I believe, I am not alone. Many of us who have been sitting on the fence of religion, wondering which side to land on, now have this third option – Atheism 2.0. We refuse to be indoctrinated by religion, refuse to believe that ours is the best and for that matter any religion to be better than any other. But we gladly accept the goodies that these religions offers us and thus enrich ourselves with those aspects.
I would like to know what others think about this.
The intelligentsia (as defined by Wikipedia) is a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them. You can very well attribute this term to the Bengali society who fits this definition quite well. But what does a timid and herbivorous (although Bengalis think goats to be omnivorous – chhagole ki na khay) mammal like goat got to do with this elite group of people? The answer to this is well known to all of us – Bengalis love goat meat. Although in other parts of the World, goat milk and milk products (cheese) are also extremely popular, but we the Bengalis don’t care much about the milk. It is the meat that is most important to us – the ultimate food in any Bengali plate. Historically, goat meat is the only kind of meat that Bengalis (especially the Hindu Bengalis) ate. Goats were the most popular offerings to Goddess Kali and Durga – and the meat then cooked in a recipe void of any garlic or onions and hence termed as “vegetarian meat”.
Ananda Mandiis celebrating Sri Krishna Janmashtami on Sunday, August 24 From 6:00 AM to 9 :00 PM.
Sri Krishna Janmashtami Sunday, Aug 24, 2008 Extended Temple Hours 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
6:00 am –Mangal Aarati
6.30 am –Sri Krishna Sahasra Naam Path
7.30 am – 9.30 am –Nitya Puja
10.00 am -11.00 am –Srimad Bhagavad Path
3.00 pm – 6.30 pm –Bhajan Sandhya
7.00 pm – 8.30 pm –Janmashtami Puja & Aarati