Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Death, love, life

Tears rolled down my eyes today after a long time ... and it felt good.

The emotions were triggered by a song at the end of the latest episode of House. One of the characters dies in the beginning of the episode and the other characters are shown dealing with his death through the episode. The episode ends with a juxtaposition of powerful images, gestures and symbols set to a beautiful song in the background. You can find the later part of the song below (while it lasts):

Death can be such a moving experience. A very close family friend of ours died last time I was in Pakistan. His son is rather young, not older than 11 I think. He dealt with the death of his father in such a graceful manner that it left me in total awe of his strength and stamina. The only time I saw tears in his eyes were when people were covering up the grave of his father with mud. It made my heart melt and my eyes well up with tears.

Death also puts our lives in perspective. It gives us a chance to celebrate the life of the one who passes away in a way that we rarely do when the person is alive. It makes us think about our own lives -- of the reasons and emotions we want others to remember us by with.

It makes us realize the beauty and potency of the feelings of love we have for our loved ones. How those feelings manifest themselves through an outpouring of tears when people are separated. All humans, irrespective of culture or religion experience them. Humans commit atrocious crimes as well, but it is these feelings of love and sympathy that give me hope.

The emotions the song triggered and the tears that resulted were cathartic. I suddenly had this longing to pray because that is the only way I know to express myself spiritually. I did pray. Whatever little Arabic I knew, I was careful not to recite the verses talking about Muhammad because I don't believe him to be a prophet. I was careful not to recite any verses I knew the meaning of and that I disagreed with.

Humans need ways to express themselves spiritually. Religion provides them with such ways. Most religions go ahead and add in a healthy dose of supernatural stuff and doubtful and fishy claims as well. But they do provide the masses with means to express themselves spiritually. I haven't really given much thought to finding out new ways to do that for myself. I guess its about time that I did.


  1. Oh how I love House. I tihnk it's one of those rare shows that is both incredibly popular and very intelligent.

    It's easy to be a spiritual atheist. I was for a long time, before I started identifying as a theist. Here are a couple of mystical blogs that you might find interesting:


    And from a spiritual atheist:

  2. Thanks for the links -- much appreciated.

    I particularly liked the last one. It also reminded me that I should read more about such stuff. I read some books last year but haven't read any since.

    I should be open to such teachings from every religion and tradition; discarding the bits I disagree with and making use of the ones I agree with. But I find it rather hard to read stuff from the Quran or the Bible without getting all worked up inside. Maybe its because of the internal struggle I have had to go through to let go of the years of indoctrination of the Quran. Muhammad and Jesus did say some wise things but I still find myself resenting them because of the mass delusion they helped kicked off. Most other religions are culprit too, but these two are closer to home I suppose. I do hope that I get out this phase soon.

  3. Hey desiskeptic,

    Actually my feeling is that Jesus and Muhammad were quite different. The Christianity of Jesus is almost totally different from the Christianity of the later Church. Historical studies show that the early Christians were a nonviolent, apolitical group who basically just led monastic lives. Jesus was also remarkably gender-egalitarian and had female disciples. Eventually Christianity was hijacked by the Roman Empire and that's when it all went downhill.

  4. Can I send you a song I think you'll like?

  5. Interesting to know that stumblingmystic. I had a rather simplistic view of Jesus, considering his life story to be similar to that of Muhammad.
    I am not deeply aware of the teachings of the new and the old testament, but my perception is that the old testament contains much more barbarism, even more so than the Quran. The new testament might reflect more of what Jesus preached I suppose.

  6. Sure Butters. I would love that.

    In case you need to email it: skeptic.desi@gmail.com

  7. Hey desiskeptic,

    Here's one book on early Christianity:

    The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity

    Here's a Wikipedia entry on the female disciples of Jesus -- AFAIK, Jesus mixed with women freely and treated them with total equality, so it's remarkable that the later Church became so insanely patriarchal that some Christians were even debating whether women had souls or not:

    I typically say that I like Jesus but have no patience for most Christians. I really have no idea what's wrong with them, especially Christian fundamentalists in America. Their behavior seems to have nothing to do with the man Jesus himself.

  8. Did you get the song? I should have used my pseudonym 'Butters' so you'd know it was me.

  9. @stumblingmystic

    Insightful. I wonder why the stories of the resurrection and the virgin birth were weaved into the Bible. Perhaps its a common trick to elevate someone to a very high, almost supernatural stature and then use people's devotion towards him for political gains.


    Got it. And yes, I was able to make the connection :-). I will reply to you through email. Thanks!