The Second Solution

Let us examine now the second method. The second method of solving the fundamental problems of life is to coalesce observation with conjecture and speculation and to arrive at opinions about life's problems through these means. Three different straits of thought arise out of this method and each strain of thought produces a particular type of behavior.

(1) Polytheism

One school of thought believes that this universe is certainly subject to Divine control, but that there is not one God, but many. Different forces in the universe are being operated by the hands of different deities. Man's prosperity or misfortune, success or failure, profit or loss depends on the kindness or displeasure of a plurality of gods. The protagonists of this viewpoint have also made an attempt on the basis of their conjectures and speculations to identify these divine powers and those in whom these powers are vested. They have set up those things as gods which have caught their fancy.

Characteristics of the Polytheistic Behavior

The distinctive features of human behavior which bows out of than viewpoints are as follows:

Life fill of Superstitions

In the first place, man's whole life becomes a target of superstitions. He believes that there are many things which exert a good or bad influence on his fortune through supernatural means. He arrives at this conclusion on the basis of bare, subjective: thinking; his belief is not supported by any proof of knowledge. The devotee of this faith, therefore, dissipates most of his energy in entertaining false hopes of good fortune or in imaginary fears of ill-luck. Sometimes, he pins his hopes upon some gray: for the accomplishment of his desires; sometimes he trusts that an idol will turn the wheel of his for fortune to a better end; sometimes he exerts himself to flue utmost to propitiate soars imaginary god; he feels crestfallen on seeing a bad omen; sometimes he starts building castles in the air or the appearance of what he considers a good omen. All these things deflect his ideas and endeavors from the natural course and set him on an utterly unnatural course of action.

Endless Cycles of Rituals

Secondly, this viewpoint establishes a lengthy hotchpotch of worship, devotion, offerings, supplications and other rituals and caught in this complex web a large part of man's efforts and activities goes in vain.

Frauds committed by Impostors

Thirdly, the Protagonists of this philosophy of polytheism and supers on fall an easy prey to the wily tricks of fraudulent men. A man sets himself up as a king and claims descent from the sun, the moon and other gods. He thus makes the people believe that he is a god too and that the people are his bondmen. Someone becomes an attendant at a shrine or a temple and sets himself up as an intermediary between the people and some supernatural power who rules over the destinies of mankind. Someone becomes a `Pundit' or a peer' (a saint) and by the stratagem of amulets, charms, sorcery and practice of magic; hoodwinks the people into believing that through these supernatural means all their desires can be obtained. The progeny of these tricksters form themselves into hereditary family groups and classes whose rights, privileges and influences continue to grow and become entrenched with the progress of time. This belief, therefore, thrusts upon the necks of the people the yoke of slavery of royal families, religious functionaries and spiritual guides. These self-styled gods enthrall the state of mulch animals and beasts of burden.

A Life of Errors

Fourthly, this doctrine provides no enduring base for knowledge and art, philosophy and literature and culture and politics, nor do men receive from these imaginary deities any guidelines which may be followed in daily life. Man's connection with these gods is limited to the performance of a few rituals of devotion with the main end to solicit the favor and support of these deities. As regards the affairs of life, man is left to himself to frame laws and regulations and devise codes of conduct. Hence a society which believes in the plurality of gods virtually follows the same paths which I have described earlier in connection with the society which is guided by a faith based on sheer ignorance. The rules of morality, the code of conduct, the culture, the politics, the system of economy, knowledge and literature are almost the same in both societies. There is, therefore, no difference in principle between doctrine based on, sheer ignorance and faith in polytheism.

(2) Monasticism

The second doctrine produced by coalescing observation with conjecture and speculation lays down that world is a Place of Torment and physical existence is constantly subjected to pain and torture. Soul is incarcerated in the body of man as a condemned prisoner. All sensations of pleasure, desires and physical needs which are the natural consequences of worldly existence are; in fact, yokes, and fetters in which man is enchained. The more man craves for the world and its things, the tighter grows the grip of these chains and severer torment shall lie in store for him. Salvation lies in renouncing all connection with the affairs of the world; to strangle all desires; one must abstain from all pleasure; deny all physical needs and demands of passion; purge the heart of all affections born out of kinship of flesh and blood, and put this enemy (i.e. one's body and passions) through a sever trial of torture and hardship so that the soul is freed from the dominance of the body. In this ways soul shall become light and refined and will gain sufficient strength to soar in a state of 'Nirvana' to the vantage point of salvation.

The Effects of Monasticism

The characteristic features of the human behavior produced by this doctrine are these:

Individualism instead of Collectivism

In the first glare, this doctrine changes all human tendencies from collectivism to individualism and from culture to bewilderness. Man turns laic facie from the world, floes from all responsibilities and non-cooperation and renunciation of all personal relations becomes the hallmark of his life. In short, he adopts negative moral values.

Good Men become Hermits

Secondly, this doctrine impels good men to renounce the world and go into seclusion in order to attain salvation. This pages the way for wicked men to take the reigns of authority in all worldly matters into their own hands.

Smooth Fodder for every Tyrant

Thirdly, with the penetration of this doctrine into the society the people begin to adopt negative kind of moral values. They exhibit unsocial and individualistic tendencies and become psycho paths. Their creative Powers, are, sapped. They become under morsel for the tyrants and it is easy for every despotic government to coerce them into obedience. In point of fact, this doctrine works like magic in taming the common people to become the willing slaves of the tyrants.

Conflict with Human Nature

Fourthly, a constant conflict rages between human nature and this doctrine of monasticism and the latter has always to capitulate. When it receives a setback the monastic doctrine seeks refuge in Penances. As an aftermath the ritual of Penance is invented; the stratagem of Allegorical Love is employed; and finally, under the cloak of renunciation the protagonists of this belief display such love fog the world as to gout the most covetous lovers of the world to shame.

(3) Everything is God

The third viewpoint which emerges out of a coalescence of observation and conjecture holds that man and universe are unreal. They have no real existence of their own. In facts there is one Being who has created all these things as a manifest of His Ownself and the same Being is working inside them. If we go into its details we shall find maps ramifications and myriad aspects of this doctrine, yet there is one strand of thought that terns through all of them: all things are mere shadows of one single Being, only this Being exists, all else is illusory.

This doctrine inculcates the attitude in snare that he doubts the reality of his existence; he loses all initiative; he considers himself a mere puppet that is made to dance by someone else or perhaps some externs! spirit is dancing within i ; he forgets himself in the stupor of leis illusions; his life is rudderless and has no set course or purpose. The train of his thought runs like this: I am only a shadow; no work has been assigned to me; nor can I accomplish anything by myself. That All-Pervading Being which casts into shadow through me the entire universe and which will hold sway from the beginning to the end of the world is the Mover. Everything is accomplished by that Being alone. If that lacing is perfect, I am also perfect. Why shall I act then? If that being is endeavoring towards perfection and is heeding towards its climax taking the whole universe in its stride, then as a shadow I shall automatically move along with this Being. I am only a part; it is not for me to know whether the whole is moving or where it intends to go.

The practical consequences of this doctrine art yearly similar to those which I have already described in the course of the discussion on the Doctrine of Monasticism. In certain respects the attitude of the devotees of this belief is akin to that of the protagonists of the doctrine of Ignorance. The man who believes himself to be a snare shadow succumbs to passions; he gives fret reign to his passions and does not care what direction they take, for according to his line of thinking, it is the substance which is the prime mover of his passions and he himself is only a puppet.

These three concepts, like the first one, are based on Ignorance and the kind of human behavior which flows out of these concepts is also characterized by sheer Ignorance. None of the above concepts is substantiated by proofs based on knowledge. As a matter of fact, a variety of concepts has been formulated on illusory and conjectural grounds. Experience denies the validity of these concepts. If any one of these doctrines were valid, its practice would not have entailed bad consequences. If you observe that whenever and wherever it is taken, a thing causes pain in the stomach, you rightly infer from this experiment that this particular thing does not agree with the anatomy and temper of the digestive system of man. In the same manner when it is an established fact that the doctrines of polytheism, monasticism and existentialism have by and large caused mischief to humanity, it is a positive proof that none of these doctrines is compatible with Reality and, on this basis, all are invalid.