Ganesha on Cigarettes is fine but on Shoes? Oh no! – 8 Sep 16

Ramona yesterday showed me a photo which an Indian friend sent her on WhatsApp. You can see the pictures above – and the message with the photo was: ‘This company shamelessly uses Ganesh ji on shoes! Let’s stop this and bring them down – as Hindus we can do it!’ This text and picture shows me two things. Number 1: religion once more uses trivial events to create disturbance and violence among people. And number 2: this friend does not know Ramona very well! 🙂

Obviously I would like to write a bit more about point number one. For anyone who may not have understood the point of anger here, I will explain it. Ganesh is the elephant god of Hinduism. Shoes and feet are deemed dirty and impure in India, which is why you never enter a temple or holy space wearing shoes. You also never touch your feet to anything holy. Both would be a big sign of disrespect towards god. Now you can imagine how disrespectful it would be to put god on shoes and then step on them with your feet!

Well, to other people who have nothing to do with Hinduism, a food is a part of the body just like the hand. People keep their feet clean and like them just as much as their belly, back, fingers or other parts of the body. Hindus might think that feet are lower and always dirty but the majority of people on this world don’t.

And here we are, fashion clashing with religious sentiments! The god Ganesh has been a favourite for artists around the world who started painting him in various ways already long time ago. People wear pendants, have small photos in their purse and he is printed on t-shirts in thousands of different styles. Now someone had the idea to print him onto shoes. Not a big deal you might think – but you can already see the uproar in such WhatsApp-messages and facebook statuses!

This is what I always say religion is doing: you can see here how believers directly incite others to fight – and it is not clear that this fight will remain on legal terms or verbal! Violence has often been the result of such small issues which have been made big and bigger by religion! Religious sentiments are easy to hurt and religious people feel they have the right to hurt others whenever this happens!

The consequences are hateful feelings among people who would otherwise have lived together peacefully. And that all because of the picture of an elephant on a shoe. We have seen worse, much worse, with the example of Islam and cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. They have led to death threats and life-threatening attacks!

Believers however don’t want to see that. Another controversy here is that there is a cigarette brand that prints Ganesha on their packages. The packages are emptied and then thrown down onto the floor where they obviously come under the feet of people and land in the gutter among dirt and sewage. People walk on them, they get much dirtier than your shoes would normally get! This doesn’t matter – but the print on the shoes does! So much that people need to fight against it!

Maybe that’s how Ramona got this message. The girl knows she is not Hindu. She may not know that she is absolutely non-religious – but she believes she needs to spread the message that nobody should wear or even produce shoes with god on them! Even if the person to whom she sends this message doesn’t believe in that god!

What is the Connection in between Religion, Sex, God and your Ancestors? – 13 Oct 15

Today is the start of Navratri, a series of auspicious days in the year of Hindus. Instead of telling you however what Hindus will do in these nine days, I would like to write about something they don’t do: Sex. Yes and to top that, we have just finished a stretch of another 15 days during which believers didn’t copulate either. This makes a stretch of 24 days EVERY YEAR during which a good Hindu does not have sex! Wow!

I actually got this realization after a talk with a friend of mine two days ago. He is a religious person from a higher caste who follows Hinduism quite strictly. In talk he mentioned that during the past two weeks he had not had sex. In his life, he has never had sex during this time which is called Shraddh. I then remembered the upcoming festivities and asked ‘So in the next ten days, during Navratri, you won’t have sex either?’ His reply was no, he wouldn’t. Navratri is too holy for having sex!

I don’t know how many Hindus will be cursing me right now – the first day of Navratri and I am talking about sex!

In the past 15 days, it was the time during which Hindus think of their ancestors. They do ceremonies on those days of the week on which their ancestors died. It is a time during which they believe the dead ones are close to them. It is a time during which they don’t start any new work as it could be bad luck for the project. There should be the thought of the ancestors in whatever you do. Having sex would be disrespectful, like an insult to your parents, grandparents and other ancestors!

Today and in the coming nine days, the situation is different. Navratri is a good time during which Hindus do ceremonies, start new projects and believe that the blessings of god will be on these projects, securing a good outcome! And they would not like to taint the beneficial energy of this time by having sex!

Oh no, sex is something sinful, it could spoil whatever good you are hoping for! Sex is so bad for people here! One can only imagine, if this is what you think of sex, how guilty you will feel whenever you are doing it! If your purpose is not procreating, which is pretty much the only case in which sex is sanctioned, you can only be wrong if you enjoy bodily love!

Getting close to the one you love, kissing, playing, enjoying and last but not least satisfying physical needs is thus related to a whole lot of bad feelings. Even people who rationally understand that it is not wrong can have a deeply rooted feeling of guilt when sleeping with their partner even on a normal day. You can only imagine the situation on all these other days! It is not only now, there are so many more auspicious days and festivities during the year on which the ritual of love will be completely forbidden for those who believe it is a sin.

It is so wrong I don’t even know how to fully express it! The most beautiful thing on earth, the union, the melting of two bodies to one, the sensation and emotion connected with it, this all has been demonized by religion. We have to get away from these limits not only to our actions but to our hearts and brains!

Love and its expression are not wrong but simply beautiful!

Belief can make you drink and eat Animals’ Excrements – 8 Oct 15

While I wrote about a very serious political issue here in India yesterday, today’s issue might make you laugh. Or shudder and cringe. Or both. It is something which is now promoted even by government agencies and of course Hindu fundamentalists even though there is no scientific proof for any benefits: the consumption of cow urine and cow dung!

Oh yes, there are a lot of people here in India that believe that consuming the excreta of cows could be beneficial to them. They actually think it could heal hundreds of different diseases. Apart from that it is, of course, holy. Holy because it comes from the holy cow, whom religious Hindus even call the ‘mother of humans’.

This is not actually something new. In fact, quite ancient scriptures mention that a mixture of five cow products – milk, yoghurt, ghee, urine and dung – can be ingested in a ritual which will purify the body. Here in Vrindavan, Krishna’s town, the home of the ‘divine cowherd’, products made of cow pee and poo have been popular for years already. Now, with a party in power that promotes Hindu religion, tradition and values, all those products have suddenly boomed!

Obviously there is a lot of nonsense in the advertisements: not only do they claim that the excrements of cows have healing effects, up to healing cancer – the most popular claim for miracle cures. No, they even have the nerve to lie, saying the NASA had accepted the benefits of taking into your body what came out of the rear end of a cow! I would really like to know what would prompt the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the US to examine cow pee!

On a more serious note, I believe it is a way to keep people’s minds focused on cow excreta and thus avert their attention from real problems in this country. With the whole idea of the cow being holy however I cannot help but notice once more how hypocritical these believers are! They call cows their mother, worship them on special occasions and drink and eat everything that comes out of them with the feeling of holiness – but they don’t care what happens with cows once they don’t give milk anymore, they don’t care that they roam around the streets eating plastic and garbage and they use leather products like leather shoes and belts without a second thought! Where is your divine cow mother now?

It is the disturbed view of religion making one animal’s excrements holy! There has been a certain popularity to people drinking their own urine for treatment as well. Now you are drinking cow urine – you could drink donkey or monkey urine as well! Any good enzyme in cow urine could be in there, too!

Seriously, though, I would not recommend that! Dung and urine are products that the body has expelled because they are not needed, they are waste! After having been through several organs, these products could not be used anymore! So why would you drink or eat that? I have even heard of a certain danger of infection due to bacteria of the intestines which is found in cow dung!

This is the real power of religion! It can make you drink an animal’s urine and eat an animal’s dung. It is the same religion that keeps you from accepting a glass of water from the hand of a human being who is considered ‘untouchable’!

Don’t you think something is wrong there?

Shameful and painful Situation in India – 7 Oct 15

I normally don’t write about politics in my blog. I use social media for that but as the situation in India seems to deteriorate and the issues gain international attention as well, I would like to register my unhappiness and protest, if you will, in this way today.

Recently an incident in India made headlines in big newspapers all over the world. Maybe you have heard it as well. In the Hindu temple of a village, the temple’s priest announced what the son of a leader of India’s ruling party, the BJP, had told him. It was the rumor that a Muslim family of the village had eaten beef. Upon hearing this, a mob was quickly formed which marched to this family’s home and brutally attacked the family’s father and son. Their strikes and blows killed the father and the son was admitted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. In the aftermath, it turned out that they had not even eaten beef but lamb – but that did not revive the dead husband and father!

It is an outrageous story which was rightly covered internationally but even more appalling are the reactions of other members of the leading party! That son of a BJP leader, due to whose words this all happened, and some others were arrested. The leaders of their party however excuse their behavior, saying these young adults, who were all above eighteen, are innocent children, just kids who got too excited! They don’t want them to be booked for murder!

At the same time however, they openly approve of their actions, saying anybody who eats beef should get this kind of punishment! A member of parliament of our nation’s ruling party said that the cow was our mother and if you killed our mother, you would be killed as well! These people are ready to kill someone due to the consumption of cow meat!

Of course all these politicians are hypocrites! The most expensive restaurants of the country sell beef, in many states, beef is just normal food for the local population and this all is no problem! But they use this sentiment of the normal, religious Hindu for consciously provoking violence so that the country’s population polarizes and they get more votes!

Yes, it is a big plan. Another BJP leader said ‘If there are riots, we will win the election’, shortly before state elections, and in the past, this has proven true! Political leaders provoke violent reactions from different religious groups, mostly Hindus and Moslems, separating and splitting the country in this way. Some people will die in the riots. In the end, they get the Hindu votes, thus a majority. And that’s how those who were accused of rioting some years ago now sit in the assembly! It is an easy strategy to get votes on the name of religion or caste!

To top it all, our Prime Minister keeps his silence. His party shows its main aim the economic development. Even this is just a farce, something that happens only for the rich. They get richer while the common man and the poor one are still in the same situation as before! Worse even, if they are not religious Hindus, they are even in danger. Unfortunately with this right-wing party ruling, extremist and nationalist Hindus are in power and have the strength as well as political support to provoke violence against those who believe something else.

Well-known rationalist, atheist writers have been killed due to the same reasons and religious extremists have a list on which they already have their next target.

It is a sensitive time for our country and that’s how I am writing here today. I told you yesterday how even a little effort helps and many renowned writers of this country had the same thought. They gave back rewards to the government which they had got for their work as a sign of protest. We all have to show that this is not the India that we want to have. This is not the open, multi-cultural, welcoming country which we claim to be!

Rape within Marriage doesn’t exist in India because of the Institution’s Divinity – 6 May 15

I would like to write about an issue which is an evergreen in our society here in general and also on my blog: women in India. The reason to write about these problems today again is the statement of a government minister who recently said that the concept of rape within a marriage just didn’t exist in Indian culture. Isn’t that great?

Let me explain how we came to this ridiculous statement: a female Member of Parliament quoted the UN Population Fund which had found that 75% of married women in India get raped by their husbands. The MP asked the government what they were planning on doing about that.

The reply by a minister of the ruling party was that this was an idea which came from the west and didn’t exist in India. Something which is ‘not good for our country’! As in India, according to him, a marriage is a divine and auspicious connection and because of the religious beliefs and culture of India, this just doesn’t happen in India.

Are you shocked about such a statement? I tell you, we can hardly expect anything better from a pro-religion government that focuses on preserving ancient culture and traditions! Nevertheless, as an Indian, I just sit there and wonder about the lack of thought or even intelligence in such voiced statements!

According to our old religious culture, there is also no concept of divorce! Divorces started in India only when India got its freedom and our constitution was written. In the Hindu Code Bills, the provision for divorce and rights for women were made. Only from that time on, it was illegal to marry a second wife. There were big protests in that time, with the argument that it is not in Hindu culture to leave your husband because according to Hindu religion, a couple gets married for the next seven lives. Protesters said such laws would finish the auspicious religious culture.

I guess this minister also forgets that it once was a tradition in this great culture to burn the widow together with her husband once he died because she will be born again as his wife then. Rajaram Mohan Roy made a law to finish this tradition – but nevertheless there were people who carried on for a long time and believed it would destroy their culture if they didn’t!

In that time, Hindus were still allowed to have many wives and in temples, priests and religious leaders had religious prostitutes, called devdasi, to fulfill their sexual desires!

This all was once our culture. You can see the situation of our society, of this country’s traditions and of people’s beliefs in history! And throughout the history, Hindu religion considers women as second-grade citizens. They are only items, there for using and bearing children.

The UN can say that 75% of married women get raped and it should be considered a crime. Our nationalist, religious government however doesn’t agree because it is ‘against religion and culture’! Yes, in this country, men use rape to show women their place, to show that they are the ‘weaker gender’! And if any woman complains about being raped, it was her fault – she forced the man to rape her by wearing the wrong clothes or acting in the wrong way! If you are a bit more generous, rape is a ‘mistake of young boys’ – as our state’s chief minister’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav once said.

In traditional Indian culture, a woman is her husband’s property. He has all rights on his wife. Women get to know this early. A man won’t allow his daughter to look at unknown boys or talk with them. She is donated to a stranger on her wedding day and forced to sleep with someone she doesn’t know. Is forced arranged marriage anything less than rape?

But no, rape within marriage doesn’t happen in our country. The UN must be wrong. Every woman complaining must be wrong.

The hilarious Report of non-Hindus urged to take Part in religious Ceremonies in India – 26 Feb 15

I told you many times that we enjoy having guests at the Ashram very much! It is really nice when you have people of different countries at one place, everyone sharing their thoughts and their opinions. Of course, they also tell us what they have seen and experienced in India – and a recent report didn’t only make us laugh but also gave us a few thoughts on people performing religious rituals, trying to make others participate.

Two of our Ashram guests had gone to Keshi Ghat, which is the place in Vrindavan where stairs lead into the river Yamuna. Currently the river has very low water but that doesn’t keep people from daily performing a fire ceremony for pilgrims to worship the river. The couple went to see this ceremony – and really, their report was first of all hilarious to watch.

Usually, people sit on the side and watch what is going on from a certain distance. They came to the place and were still wondering where they should best sit, when some pilgrims came and made movements for them to come along. They followed and soon found themselves in the middle of a crowd, doing things that they were told to do, in order not to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments and of course also to make this unique experience.

And unique it was! They told how they got pieces of dough to throw into the river, how they had to hold burning ceremonial candle holders, swing them around in the crowd while taking care not to burn their neighbours and even place little candle boats into the shallow river with the help of a long stick that they had to somehow balance on the way. At one point they were given a hollow horn of some kind which was then filled with milk and which they were told – with gestures – to hold over the river to let the milk pour in there. It was a balancing act, trying to hold the horn far enough out so that the milk would reach the water while trying to not fall over the barrier themselves! They were relieved when it was finally empty – and shocked when someone came by twice to refill it!

Back at the Ashram, they imitated the actions and caused big laughter among everyone. Obviously, they enjoyed and said they had been really involved but at the same time they were exhausted. It was a lot of noise, the river was not flowing and rather stinky and they had to do a lot of unusual movements. And they also made a little fun of those actions. And it is obvious: they did not really know what they were doing, what the logic or symbolism behind those actions was!

While I believe they have a great deal of memories from this experience and while we always recommend people watching the ceremony to feel the atmosphere, I also think they should not have been pulled in.

Really, if you are performing your own, obviously Hindu ceremony, and a person comes who is very clearly non-Hindu, so who doesn’t know your rituals and traditions, why do you try to get him to follow? If it is to show him your religion, it would not have been necessary to make this guest do all these things he didn’t understand. He did not get to know your religion any better through this! Do you want to show off your own religiosity? Again, for that you would not need to make another person do what you are doing! Or do you only do that to get a donation in the end? A religious farce for money?

Then again, I had to think about those Hindus who participate in the ritual. Many of them in reality don’t know either what they are doing! They just follow the actions which they priest does and which their parents and ancestors have showed them and repeated with them over and over again. They don’t know the symbolism or the implied sense behind it. So in a way, it is for them also just a game. A game with the benefit of a possible divine blessing.

I can understand that you would like to share the fun of a game with a foreigner. But let me tell you that this also exposes you to getting ridiculed, made fun of – and I know for sure you would not like that! So why can’t we just do it this way: if someone comes and actively shows interest to participate, let them. If not, just let them watch! Don’t force anybody and just do your thing.

And most of all, when you have a bit of free time, think of that river, its pollution and other problems and what a nonsense you are actually doing there! 🙂

Shiva Lingam – How the Worship of a Penis started in Hinduism – 17 Feb 15

Today is Shivaratri, a Hindu holiday in India which is celebrated as the wedding day of Shiva and his wife Parvati. For every Hindu temple, this is the day of the biggest Shiva worship of the year. Many of you will already know that Shiva is worshipped in the form of Shivling or Shiva Lingam, a penis-shaped statue. Today I would like to present you the story written in Hindu scriptures which is behind this worship.

This story is mentioned in different scriptures and, as usual, with some variations. I will give you two of them, so that you get an idea:

Shiva’s first wife had died and in his incredible sadness, he was roaming around restlessly, wandering alone in a forest, naked and like a madman.

In that forest, there lived many rishis – which are holy men with special powers called siddhis. They had wives, too, and while Shiva was wandering around like that, these women saw him. They could not hold onto themselves when they watched him walking by naked, his divine body in full display. They ran after him, admired him and finally started touching and hugging him.

As luck would have it, just in that time, their husbands, the rishis, came by as well. Seeing their wives in close embrace with Shiva, they got very angry, accusing him of immorality. They combined their powers and cursed Shiva, no, cursed his penis, saying it should be cut off and fall down at the spot!

There is another version in which they pick up stones and throw them at him, which with their sharp edges cut off his penis, so that it falls down.

No matter how exactly it happened, the penis fell down to earth and where it fell, it stood erected and started burning like wildfire. Wherever it went – my wife asked how it ‘went’ but I cannot exactly tell you – it caused inferno and chaos. Bad things started happening in the world, as if the earth’s last day had arrived. Mountains burst, fire was spilling everywhere and people were in panic. Had the world come to its end?

All demigods and rishis went to Brahma, the creator of the world. He got to know what had happened and, together with everyone, reached Shiva. Everyone started pleading with him and praying: ‘Please, take your penis back, it is destroying the world!’

Shiva was appeased by all these prayers and agreed, but with one condition: ‘Only if you start worshipping my penis, will I take it back!’

And that is how Shiva Lingams were installed across the earth in temples everywhere and the worship of Shiva’s penis started.

There are some of you who think that this is a joke? No, it is not – and you may also enjoy the following variation:

In this version of the story, Shiva was already married to his second wife Parvati. He was nevertheless running around in the forest naked – not out of grief, just because he felt like it – and encountered the rishi’s wives. They could not withstand the power of his attraction and hugged him. Their husbands were not amused and cursed his penis, which promptly fell down, causing chaos and apocalyptic conditions all over the world.

Everyone got together in crisis to find a solution. Who could catch Shiva’s penis and hold on to it? Where should it go once captured? Oh yes, once the saving idea was found, it was very clear: only Parvati would be able to hold Shiva’s penis, in her vagina!

They all prayed to Parvati and that’s how it was done: from that time on, Shiva Lingam was worshipped, erect and fixed in the vagina.

For more stories and my comment on the biggest of hypocrisies of Hinduism, surrounding Shiva’s penis, you can read my next blog entry tomorrow.

The Hindu Hypocrisy of the holy Cow – 26 Jan 15

Not very long ago, we had quite an interesting conversation in the evening, when we were sitting around the fire with a few guests. We were talking about their experiences in India when one of them, a doctor from Germany, asked: ‘I have read about cows being holy in India but when walking in town, I saw many people wearing leather shoes, belts and bags. How does this fit together?

I actually had to reply her with one simple sentence: people are hypocrites. It is true, how else would you call that? How to explain such a thing to a traveler in India?

Hinduism tells that the cow is holy. That is correct. Nevertheless, you just have to go out on the road to see that there are cows that are in very bad conditions, walking homeless around town, eating every dirt that they can find, often including plastic and other waste products. They are haggard and ill. How does this work with the idea that they are holy?

Or are cows only holy as long as they give milk or can do your work? Because that’s what happens: milk cows are the ones who, when they cannot give birth anymore and thus don’t give milk anymore, are just left outside on the road to die.

Slaughtering cows is illegal in nearly all Indian states, except Kerala and West Bengal, but at the same time, the Indian leather industry is huge. It “has an annual turnover of more than five billion dollars and is responsible for 4% of the country’s total export earnings.” It just doesn’t fit together – cows must be slaughtered, too, in order to reach such figures for leather. And religious people wear and use it, too!

What do you think are the drum heads of the tablas and other instruments made of which are used in temples? I looked it up – goat or cow skin. Do you think every musician asks when buying his instrument? Do you think the temple priests check on that before those instruments enter the holiest area that they can imagine?

I doubt that very much.

I can also assure you that not every Hindu is vegetarian. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s population is Hindu. And only about 30 percent of India’s population is vegetarian. That makes a whole lot of Hindus who are not vegetarian. McDonalds may sell burgers made of chicken or lamb but do you think whenever these Hindus eat a little piece of meat mixed in a sandwich or other dish, they ask to confirm it isn’t cow?

No, they don’t.

And all of this makes me say they are hypocrites. You pretend to be loving cows, worship them and even drink their urine, believing it will give you some weird divine power – but then you have them slaughtered, eat them, wear their skin and drum on their skin in your sanctuary!

In the end, I always remain with the question: why the cows? Worship the cow and kick the dog. Save the cow and eat the pig. Why?

Social and religious Reasons that keep Indian Women in abusive Relationships – 2 Dec 14

I told you yesterday about the mother of a school girl who doesn’t even consider leaving her husband although she earns money and he drinks and beats her. I wanted to write a bit more about the reasons why Indian women often stay although the situation in their home is abusive, sometimes worse than one can imagine.

As I mentioned, financial security is normally the very first reason. Many women have not learned anything, have never worked anywhere than in their homes and have thus never earned their own money. Obviously, they have the feeling that they cannot provide for themselves, let alone for their children!

Another reason, and the bigger one I believe, is the view of society on divorce. How horrible it is for a woman to be divorced. To have had a partner, no, a spouse and now not anymore. The blame usually goes to the woman, not the man. Even if she says that her ex-husband had been drinking and beating her, she might get a response like ‘Clapping never happens with one hand’, indicating that she must have done something wrong as well and he thus had a right to lay his hands on her. Domestic violence is unfortunately also still too common for people to be shocked by this accusation!

Another reason for staying in an unhappy, abusive relationship is religion. Yes, I believe every religion tells spouses, and especially women, that matrimony is sacred. That you should take care of your partner. As a woman, that you depend on him as well. That you have to obey.

In Hinduism, leaving your husband is a sin. A marriage is holy and you are not supposed to break this sacred bond which has been blessed by the divine. In fact, when you marry in Hinduism, you don’t only marry for one life but for the whole long time of seven lives!

When I told this to Ramona, she answered dryly: ‘So what? Maybe this was the seventh life already?’ and I had to laugh. Of course – how would you know?

In this religious country in which a majority of people puts much emphasis on traditions, old values and trying to live their life in a ‘decent’ way, a woman who stands up for herself is not greatly appreciated. A woman who seems to destroy her marriage, who takes the father away from their children or brings shame on her family.

Or a woman who actually values herself. Who respects her own life, herself, her body, mind and emotions. Who wants to be able to look into the mirror without bursting into tears. Who has the strength to face all that goes against her and do what is right. To protect herself and her children.

Stand up for yourself, get on your feet and take your life in your own hands again. You can do it – and although there will be many against you, you will also have those who are with you!

When Gods rape – Effect of Hindu Mythology on today’s Society – 3 Nov 14

Today is a holiday here and a big pilgrimage day in Vrindavan. In Hindu mythology, this day is when the gods awoke after a four-month-sleep. It is also the wedding day of Vishnu and Tulsi, marking the start of the wedding season here in India. I would like to take a closer look at the religious stories and its effect in today’s blog entry.

I will start with a short summary of the mythos:

There once was an evil demon called Jalandhar. He had the power to change his shape and thus could incorporate anybody he wanted. He used this power to meet women, disguised as their husband and thus cheating them into having sex with him! When the men found out and came to fight with him, nobody could ever kill him – he had such big power due to the fact that his wife Vrinda was very loyal. Yes, the loyalty of his wife saved him from the revenge of his rape victims’ husbands.

The husbands turned to Vishnu, the highest of gods, and asked him for help. Vishnu decided to use Jalandhar’s own methods to defeat him: he assumed Jalandhar’s shape and seduced the demon’s wife. Her loyalty was thus broken and her husband lost all power connected to it. Vishnu could finally kill him.

Vrinda, angry at Vishnu for cheating her this way, cursed Vishnu and turned him into a stone before jumping into the burning cremation fire of her husband, killing herself.

She was reborn as Tulsi, a holy plant, and finally the bush Tulsi and the stone Vishnu, which is called Shaligram, married.

This is the mythological story everybody knows. Let me just point out the four consequences that this fiction had on today’s culture in India which is very obviously shaped with the big influence of religion:

1. If someone rapes a woman, you can rape his wife. Your God did the same.

There are such events of people taking revenge by raping a rapist’s family members.

2. Women should be loyal and pure in order to prolong the life of their disloyal, rapist husband.

In today’s society in India, it is common that a woman should always have the image of a pure virgin while a man can be a gigolo and flirting with every girl he sees.

3. After the death of her husband, a woman should commit suicide.

This was common until about 200 years ago in India. The tradition was called Sati and it was a subject of pride to commit suicide like this, as it showed your loyalty. Raja Ram Mohan Rai ended this practice with a law but in my teenage time, we could still read about such cases in newspapers. Still today there are temples in Rajasthan where women who died in this way are worshipped.

4. A Rape Victim should marry her Rapist.

In the village courts in rural India such decisions are not uncommon even today. Both families usually agree that this is a logical consequence.

You can clearly see the situation of a woman in this culture. She has to bear rape for rape, has to do effort for her husband’s long life and protection, she even had to kill herself for her husband and finally has to marry her rapist, serving him until the end of his life.

And in the hypocrite religion of this country, they say that a woman here gets the respect of a Goddess. How can you expect me to respect this kind of religion and culture?

P.S.: To anybody having the urge to abuse me for my words here: read your scriptures first and insult those who wrote them, not me. I am just pointing out the consequences…