The Superstitious Abrahamics

Hinduism has often been accused by Christians and Muslims, of superstitions and backwardness (in terms of idol worship/ caste system etc). But my travels in Europe, USA, Dubai, Nigeria and my stay in different parts of India made me realize that the issue was completely different from what is normally portrayed. The issue is with the Abrahamic faiths themselves. Abrahmainc religions (those descended from the mythical Abraham/ Ibrahim) like Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are those faiths which all evolved from a common core among the barbaric and primitive tribes of the middle-east, and these faiths are replete with instances of extreme primitiveness and superstitions, mixed with lofty ideals.

The other day while watching television I came across a very dumb comment, which for some reason seems to have become the norm nowadays on television. Stupidity sells. Anyway, so this lady, who claims to be a Sufi singer, was insisting that through the medium of Sufi songs, one could establish a direction connection with God ("seedha upar-wale ke saath connection"). And she kept on harping about the universality of Peace and Love in Sufi songs, about how there is only one God and how all religions are same. Unfortunately she was not a Muslim and had never read the Koran or the Hadiths - nor was she a student of history and thus had no idea of the history of Islamic imperialism in India or even about the origin of Sufism.
This reminded me of an incident a year or so back in Hyderabad while going to office. So this man in Islamic costume (white robes and caps, beard, no mustache) suddenly accosts me on the side-walk and starts using some large feathers and waving them in front of me to do "jhaar-phook". I got terribly pissed and ordered him to stop waving the feathers and directly get to the point. He demanded some money as he was going on some Islamic religious tour to Ajmer where apparently some Sufi saint was buried. I asked him to go to the local masjid (mosque) and ask money, or better still ask the government  - I had no intention of funding his (or anyone else tours). The moment I said this, he blocked my path and 3-4 other Muslim guys in their traditional Arabic attire materialized out of nowhere and surrounded me and demanded Rs 100. A direct connection had been established with my wallet.

And this made me remember a still older incident in Zurich in 2008. On my way to office I came across a lady on the sidewalk (associated with the local church) who was distributing free candies along with pamphlets which proclaimed "This is a Direct Hotline to God". I took the candies and ate them and pretended to listen to her ramblings on how God would answer my questions if I called on this hot-line number. The pamphlet I disposed.

So this got me thinking about the primitive nature and superstitions inherent in these middle-eastern origin faiths. I had questions about these Abrahamic Gods - Which God? A "wrathful" and "jealous" God? A male God? An anthropomorphic God? And the fact that I had grown up in a traditional Hindu family  where philosophy, mysticism, rituals and inclusiveness were equally important, made me question this Abrahmaic claim of "direct connection". For example, Patanjali's Yoga-sutra is a clear exposition on how to practically achieve Oneness with the Universal One - but till date I have not received a single proof of "direct hotline" from the Abrahamics.

These incidents reinforced my belief that we need something other than mullas and Christian missionaries. Something that is spiritually elevating and stimulating, and addresses the highest and loftiest questions of humanity, existence, life, work etc and the Abrahmaic faiths were not the solution - although I do find it very surprising to find an uncanny resemblance of Spinoza's work and Shankaracharya's Advaita Vedanta.