ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

It Is the Only Perennial Philosophy of Life

‘Man is the measure of all things.’

We have been asking big questions:

Does the supernatural Creator exist?

Does the soul exist?

Has anyone seen heaven or hell? Do they exist?

Is rebirth true?

The rational answer to these questions is ‘No.’

The supernatural Creator, soul, heaven, hell, rebirth, and so on are superstitious beliefs. They have no evidence of their existence. Yes, superstitious beliefs. Fictions of human imagination.

Basavanna, India's outstanding twelfth-century rational mystic, and humanist rejected the Hindu scriptures in his vachanas(prose poems):

‘Shall I say scriptures are great?

They praise karma.

Shall I say the Vedas are great?

They tell of animal sacrifice.

Shall I say shruti is great?

It searches what is before one’s eyes.

………………………………………’

‘ I shall put a leather sheath to the Vedas

I shall put shackles on the Shastras

I shall skin the back of Tarka

I shall cut off the nose of Agamas

……………………………………’

The Vedas, Agamas, and Shrutis are all Hindu scriptures that have supernatural Creator as their spiritual head. They are not the literal word of the supernatural Creator as claimed by their adherents. They are human products according to rationalists.

The scriptures of all religions with a supernatural Creator as their spiritual head and their interpreters and the priests have misled and exploited human beings for centuries by indoctrinating them with illusions of supernatural Creator, soul, sin, rebirth, immortality, and so on.

The rational thinkers realized that a new human-centered philosophy of the rational and humanist view of life and rational spirituality should replace the pervasive religious irrationality in society.

They formulated, step by step, the genuine philosophy of life founded on reason and human experience. This is humanism- to guide human beings on the path of their life, the good life without religion they dream of and can attain.

‘So, no one invented or founded it. The word describes a certain set of linked and interrelated beliefs and values that together make up a coherent non-religious worldview and many people have had these beliefs and values all over the world and for thousands of years.’- Andrew Copson.

It is subject to change as per the needs of society and is not a dogma. It is a flowing river and not stagnant water. It runs on reviewing and renewing itself with relevance day by day.

It is the non-theistic, non-religious, secular, and naturalistic world-outlook, according to which:

1. Human beings can shape their lives and destiny without the aid of an outside agency like the supernatural Creator or the scriptures. They can look after their welfare themselves individually and collectively.

2. Human beings as the creations of nature and social beings are innately moral and empathetic to one another and need no commands of the divine scriptures for their moral life and no fear of divine punishment for the scriptural breaches. They are self-dependent and not servants and puppets of a supernatural agency.

‘It can hardly be disputed that the social feelings are instinctive or innate in the lower animals; and why should they not be so in man?’- Charles Darwin.

3. Human beings have values governing their individual and social life. The values to be practiced are listed by the American Humanist Association (AHA):

a). Critical thinking

b). Empathy

c).Responsibility

d). Ethical development

e). Altruism

f). Peace and social justice

g). Humility

h). Service and participation

i). Environmentalism

j). Global awareness

The AHA calls them ten commandments in answer to the scriptural ten commandments!

4. Human beings do not believe in the soul and the afterlife. Death is the end of human life. The human being has only one life-only one life.

Bertrand Russell says: ‘I believe that when I die, I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive.’

5. Human beings have an equal right to happiness irrespective of race, gender, and social class.

6. Human beings have the right to life, liberty, and security.

7. Human beings have the right to freedom of thought, expression, and conscience, and freedom to change their beliefs.

8. Human beings should protect their environment and non-human beings such as animals, birds, and so on and maintain sustainable environmental balance.

As Bette Chambers writes:‘Humanism is the light of my life and the fire in my soul.’

The wonders of nature(the sea, the sky, the sun, rain, sunrise, and so on)and man’s art (literature, music, painting, drama, yoga practice, sports, and so on) and scientific inventions and discoveries and love, friendship, and family life, and human’s courage and nobility are all inspiring us to constructive action and enabling us to enjoy our lives.

The only life we have we should aim at transforming into a good life.

We can protect our self-interest and social interest and manage any conflict between the two in an amicable way.

Most people celebrate the supremacy of human beings now. The foundation of the religious irrationality in human life has been continuously shaky and tottering.

The summum bonum of humanism is to empower and enable us to live ‘the good life’ and accomplish happiness. ‘The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.’- Bertrand Russell.

Humanism is the sacred magnetic mantra of mankind. It is the spirit of the age, growing and flourishing. It is the philosophy of life for the present and the future.

I have been a committed follower of humanism since my college student days.

I shook a heavy burden of irrational religious baggage off my head. Love of truth and courageous and tenacious pursuit of truth enabled me to throw off the irrational baggage tormenting me.

I am aware that it is not easy to break free from and purge oneself of the age-old and deep-rooted irrational religious beliefs. Love of, loyalty and commitment to truth can empower you to spring out of the powerful mental trap. The task seems Herculean. But when you take the first step towards rationality, you will unfailingly start purifying your mind.

To be free, you have to become rational. No other way.

I have been living a life of full freedom, meaning, well-being, fulfillment, and happiness with my family. I am happy that I embraced the right way of life at the right time.

I believe no one has any hesitation in choosing humanism as his way of life.

As a discerning reader, you may take a decision for yourself.

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Bheemaray.K. Janagond

Writer on rational and humanist outlook on life and personal improvement