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How Religions And Human Beings Create The Illusion Of God

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One of the central tenets of all religions is illusion. There seems to be a congruence with the understanding of our world as ‘not real’. It takes some towards the idea of ‘hell and heaven’, ‘judgement day’ – or, as in Hinduism, an inward journey.

The understanding of the world as an illusion, I believe, would have proved anaesthetic to a largely-suffering humanity. It’s just the fact that at least in medical sciences, placebos are completely real! Anyway it’s sort of a sweet thing you know – to tell a dying child that it isn’t the end. And in a prehistoric world where a full lifetime was uncommon, it’s really not hard to imagine such consolations that arise from empathy.

Let’s take it a step further – more than empathy, we were desperately trying to convince ourselves of it. We needed it to be true – looking down the barrel of death constantly. And as is mostly agreed upon, it was fear of death that birthed God. Anyway, the imaginative human being wanted to explain the experiences of the senses it had no grasp of.

One thing I would like to state here is that the idea – at least, of maya in Hinduism – comes from a flawed notion of the macro matching the micro. That is, everything is made in God’s image – and so, we all resemble each other. The outside and the inside are the same thing. It was this flawed notion that led Francis Bacon to claim that there must only be seven planets because the human face has seven orifices – and he argued everything is in proportion and perfect geometry.

It is very important to acknowledge the limitations of a human mind. To know that which we call logic is nothing but the capacity of a human being to think in a derivative fashion. Kant, in his critiques, founded his basic argument from a very basic question – how do you know? His point was that we can never know beyond the realm of the human mind – so when we learn, we only end up learning the limits of our own comprehensive capabilities. The point of this is that we do not and cannot actually be aware of an objective reality. When some things are perceivable by a majority, that becomes a ‘human reality’. The way to understand it is to realise that we can never experience a colour we cannot see. It would simply not exist for us.

I want to prove the need for an illusion even more. I believe it arises from the capacity of an animal to feel betrayed. Think about it, reality betrays us- when we think we know something, and it isn’t so. What is the conclusion we draw? That there is no ‘real’. It is only the perception that can be faulty. The human brain feels all pain as pain; everything is reducible to an electric signal. The concepts of ‘physical’ or ’emotional’ are jumbled up in the midst of the rapid transmission of neurotransmitters and electric impulses. So I argue that it is very likely that an emotional betrayal is taken as a physical one.

The ‘illusion’ of Jesus addressing his followers

Let’s take this a little bit further. We make illusions everyday. And we are very aware of it. We make memories. Memories are our own personal bag of illusions. Memories, dreams, playing out possibilities, thoughts – all of these are our illusions. Now, as seen earlier, the brain cannot distinguish between physical and emotional pain. So, it cannot really distinguish between the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’ either. Our ability to experience illusions leads us to have the idea – maybe, just maybe, everything is an illusion.

Now, if everything is an illusion, what is the point of doing anything? Now, here’s when religion gives birth to itself. It gives us ‘laws’ that manage this illusion – the law of karma, for instance. In this case, it’s to ensure that I don’t kill shamelessly, knowing it is all an illusion. And I get scared- will I be killed too?

The birth of divinity or the supernatural occurs not by proving its existence. No, it’s done by proving the ‘nonexistence’ of everything else. The proof, of course, is thin, at the very best. But why do we believe it? Because we don’t want to die? Is that fear really so debilitating?

Existential philosophers deal with it head-on and conclude that life has no meaning. See – just because you create a God doesn’t mean your life has meaning. You are no more or less than a puppet if God is real. So, how do we feel like the ‘masters of the universe’ now? Obviously, we create ways to manipulate and appease the almighty. You may insert all your superstitions, rituals and prayers here. If there is one thing human beings seem absolutely convinced of, it’s the conception that they are really very clever. It’s like when we tell ourselves that we are the only ones who are ‘spiritually able’, and are able to ‘ascend’.

Now we get to the point. Human beings like to know that they know. We are curious, sure – but only to the extend where we can find answers. We do not like feeling stupid. When we don’t get it – the essence of our existence, for instance – we disregard it. It is our ego that makes everything an illusion. It is fine to say everything is an illusion, if you are able to control your dream, your vision. Not many can. Our need to prove we know, and that we are in on a secret, creates this theory. The beginning of divinity is the human being wanting to play God.

For instance, look at me. Writing this, trying to show you that you are egotistical – all the while finding satisfaction in the fact that perhaps I do actually know more. So I am the actual puppeteer. The actual God. The only enlightened soul in a sea of fools. But actually, I am just proving that I am so bloody human.


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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