What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Ramadan Makes no Sense!

To a Heathen like me that is. It makes perfect sense to the rest of the world.

Friday July 20th (if online calenders are correct) marked the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During this month Muslims across the world observe a fast abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual activity from sunrise to sunset. According to the Quran fasting is supposed to promote chastity, humility and temperance - and a sense of God consciousness if you will. It reminded me of my one week of heathen fasting during a quarter of Ramadan two years ago. I kept a very stringent fast despite being sick with a terrible flu and spent half my time worrying if I would break it by choking on my own spittle.

Ever since then I've kept contemplating if I want to dare myself to keep a month. Obviously, I've decided not to. Ramadan does not make bloody sense to me. Well at least it makes a whole lot more sense than the Hindu fasts my family keeps which means eating enormous portions of a most delicious potato dish and an Indian fry bread known as puri. Allegedly that is fasting food. I thank the Gods that I was born to such indulgent Gods who are so liberal with fasting meals. Ramadan makes damn more sense than karwa chauth where women observe a fast for the long life of their husbands. At least it is not misogynist and sexist. Although, I have a sneaky suspicion that most karva chauth fasts are not out of love but a desperate desire to die early enough and be rid of pesky husbands and hope they live long floundering about helplessly in their senescence and soiled underwear. Again, I thank the Gods for birthing me in liberal family. If karma were true, I'd say I must have been a gem my past life and I don't know what sort of heinous sins people must have committed in their pasts to be born into such stern fasting and abstinent cultures.

My main problem with Ramadan is the logic of sunrise to sunset. Till today, I have not received a satisfactory explanation. As a teenager growing up in the equatorial region - sunrise to sunset was a good measure of time. It was steady, reliable and rarely floundered in total volume of time. Living in the northern hemisphere, well north of the Mason-Dixon, made me go - now wait a minute. Ramadan always came in winter when I grew up. So it must have been sweet keeping the fast up here. The wont rise till 8 AM and sets by 5 PM. You just don't eat for a work day. I've done that on several occasions unwittingly. It must be even sweeter up in Norway or Siberia where daylight lasts just a few hours.

However, as Ramadan moved into Summer I started freaking out. Bloody Hell! The sun comes up like 4 AM and does not set till 10 PM. You are supposed to not eat, drink or be frisky for over sixteen hours? And what do the poor folks in the land of the midnight sun do? Starve for an entire month? I've asked several Muslims if the sunrise to sunset rule is still the only criterion considering the earth's rotation and revolution and the various measures of day time that vary by latitude. All of them have given firm affirmation. The Quran also does spell out clearly that it is sunrise to sunset, which makes me quite convinced that Allah probably did not count on the earth tilting on its axis and spinning around the sun. Allah also probably didn't count on his gifted people making a lunar calender even when the Mayans and other civilizations eons before knew the sun is the right calender. If I were Muslim I'd go to the substation in Antarctica for Ramadan this month and fast during short siesta time. You could even game the system by working night shift and gorging on food at night and sleeping through most of the fasting hours.

Anyway, I've been quite a disrespectful heathen up until now. To be honest people fasting with reverence does inspire awe in me. Not just the fast of Ramadan. I'm just fascinated by people who can deprive themselves with so much faith and conviction. Whether it is Orthodox Jews observing a strict fast, a political protester making a point or whatever cause of faith drives a person to push themselves to their limits. Faith can be the only explanation. People espouse benefits of fast like detoxing etc, but there are scientifically proven, healthier ways to cleanse and detox the system of all the garbage we put  in ourselves. Some say it gives an understanding of hunger. I don't think it does. I don't think I have the audacity to ever think I will understand hunger. I've experienced a tummy rumble, but I've always known that food is just within reach and that if I push myself too far 911 will be right there pumping replenishing fluids in my system. How can any human think a self prescribed fast can even bring us remotely close to understanding hunger, real true and painful hunger, the kind where you never know when your next meal will be, the kind where you don't even know if anyone will care saving you when your body begins to die, the kind where any breath maybe your last? Some say it is sacrifice that gives you that God consciousness. Power to them, I say. I figure, only some deep seated faith can drive that.

Although as a flawed human, I often wonder - is it really faith, conviction and true sacrifice or a misguide sense of self superiority and pride? I call myself a heathen, but I'm extremely spiritual with immense belief in the infinite, the unknown, the absolute - the force that governs the ever expanding universe. But no amount of faith can drive me to such fasting. Fasting out of pure faith is unfathomable. One might say I'm just a heathen with no true faith. But the reason I can't fathom it is because I am human. I can fast. I know very well I can fast. I can do it for more than a month of scorching summer if I wanted to. However, it would be driven by ambition and desire. It would be to prove to myself or others that I can do it. It would be to feed my ego. I might even do it for a good amount of money. Those are not very noble reasons. I don't think that is the reason any religion would want as your driving force. Even if I do it for what I believe in, I don't think the thought will be pure, it will be for the selfish reason of proving my belief or bribing salvation through my belief. The only purest reason I could ever imagine doing it is out of love, simply because I committed to standing by them through everything.

I can't buy the notion of sacrifice either. I don't think sacrifice can be something planned or marked on a calender or a conscious decision. To me true sacrifice is an impulsive action, not driven by thought processes but by genuine selflessness. If I sacrifice food, I view it as a conscious decision to serve a purpose. But if I am hungry and out of nowhere comes a hungry child and I give my meal to them without thinking even for a second, that would be sacrifice.

I don't even understand how it promotes chastity or faith. When I am hungry, I don't think of God or faith. I know only hunger and food. When I am thirsty, I don't think of God or faith. I know only thirst and water. If I have to be chaste and keep my thoughts and actions pure, I don't think of God or faith. I know only lust and desire.

People of faith have a plethora of tools at their disposal. They have rituals, sacrifices, fasts, customs and traditions serve as tools to strengthen, promote and deepen their faith. That is their path to feel alive and connected to the cosmos. But even I feel alive and so connected to the cosmos. When I look within myself, I see myself surging with my own deep faith and spirituality. I have none of these tools at my disposal, yet faith does not seem deeper and God (the force) cannot be more strong and beautiful than now.

So it got me thinking, what is it that drives me, what drives me - the heathen?

To be continued......

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