for ISKCON News on Feb. 25, 2013
A recent super-hit Bollywood movie OMG: Oh My God!
, that showed a rational atheist taking on arrogant godmen made millions of people think critically about traditional religious practices.
Though the movie conveys some good, logical and reasonable observations regarding the commercialization of religion and the misuse of it by godmen, it errs in the direction of blanket generalization probably because of its own ignorance.
The new book entitled “Oh My God! Re-answering the questions”
by Chaitanya Charan Das presented logically and systematically, carefully prevents the rejection of all of religion in the name of some of these observations. At the same time it answers the wrongly answered or otherwise unanswered questions of the movie in particular and of the people in general. Hence the subtitle: re-answering the questions.
The author is a monk with a degree in engineering who has spent over fifteen years studying, living and sharing the Vedic wisdom-tradition of ancient India. This is his tenth book.
The author beautifully explains in the book how the “time-honored Vedic traditions give us a world view which is so cogent and coherent to explain these fundamental questions of life.”
There is God, there is religion and there are religious practitioners. We cannot mess up our observations of religious practitioners with God and religion. Religious practitioners not being aware of the educational aspect or misusing the process aspect of religion does not warrant any mockery of religion or God per se.
The book points out how the “ideal of saintly devotion does exist – definitely in principle and limited in practice”. We have to seek out such saints, though such quality is always rare in any field.
The author writes this book on behalf of such saints who have combined the sincerity of their devotion and the rationality of their mind and the command of their fidelity to propagate the message of God.
The book is written as a “ series of questions and answers to make it more accessible, so that the reader can directly go to any question that interests him/her, however since each successive question builds on the previous one, the reader may gain more by reading from the start to end.”
The book answers 32 questions like: Do we need middlemen to approach God? Does God help atheists and oppose god men? What is the definition of religion? Is religion made by man or God? Doesn’t the institutionalization of religion kill its spirit? Doesn’t religion make people violent? Why do bad things happen to good people?
Credit to the author for his time and energy in clarifying these misconceptions and explaining their true spirit and credit to his brilliant reversal of the gaze and exposing the grandeur expenditure involved in the non-religious world in the name of entertainment by those who criticize the capital involved in religious traditions and rituals as apathetic expenditure and as a wastage of time and resources. Such criticism is simply pretending to be a part of the solution while in reality being a part of the problem.
This brilliant exposure of the self-defeating logic underlying critical questions raised against specific religious practices can totally shift the paradigm of the readers.
For those who have become doubtful or disturbed by watching OMG, and for those who want to have the knowledge of how the divine interacts with this world, this book will be a great asset and an enlightening guide.
This book will empower its readers by giving them a whole new view of how they look at religion and life, thereby illuminating their path with wisdom and happiness.
The book is 96 pages and is available on Amazon as a kindle edition as well as a hard copy that can be ordered from the author’s site www.thespiritualscientist.com here.
The author has done his graduation and post-graduation from IIT Kharagpur and is currently working with Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst from Mumbai. He has interests for writing and teaching in the theological areas of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.