Finding God? The Twisted Road To….Perdition

In The Lap Of Nature

For those who want to know, I took this photograph in Orccha, Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Idols, and forms of the great God, Shiva, lying in the midst of rubble and the trees. Exactly, in a sense, how it should be.  Shiva, the God of destruction, is much more than that. He is, in a sense, God of the cycle of life, of nature, of the mysteries of nature.

Unlike Pan, he did not die. Yet, in the sanctimonious manner in which he is worshipped these days, he may as well be dead.

Yet, as usual, I get ahead of myself. Like Bertie Wooster, I need to back pedal just a bit.

The idea of God and religion, in many a way, define us. These ideas play a great role in defining who we are, how we act and how we react.

Yet, as a wise teacher once told me, we have never seen God. What we see, are depictions of our notions of God.

So, where did it begin? What was my own journey?

When I was about 8 years old, my family returned from England, we were staying with my grand parents until we found our own place. I chummed up with a lady, who was a devotee of the Hindu God, Krishna. Krishna is an avtaar of Vishnu, the second of the triumvirate of Hindu Gods.I used to help her dress him up, and would take part in all the rituals.

When I was about 10, I was shifted to boarding school in the hills. This was run by the Irish Christian missionaries, those of proud Roman Catholic stock. One of them tried to convert us, and I very nearly did.

In college, I discovered Carlos Castaneda, hallucinogens, and the memories of the great starry skies that I used to see in the hills, became an even greater sense of wonder. What lay beyond, I asked? Then, I discovered Schrodinger, and the mysteries of the universe extended to the atoms.

In my early twenties, I discovered photography, and when I saw the light twinkling on a leaf, I sort of understood the first lines of Blake’s “The Auguries of Innocence”.

Later, in my late twenties, I discovered Shiva, and started following Shiva. I also became – thanks to the bakery trade I was in – how religion dictates what we eat and when we eat. I also started to observe the absolute hypocrisy in the manner in which many of us behave.

Then, I came upon a quote by, I think, Samuel Butler, in which he essentially stated that the only animal that does not know how to enjoy life – is man. And, I came upon another, by a forgotten author who argued that to call a certain behaviour ‘bestial’ is unfair to the beasts and animals. After all, they gather together at the pond to drink water.

We, not only do we poison the water, but we also devise ingenious ways to poison each other.

This is when I switched to atheism, and I read Richard Dawkins. While I bought his arguments with respect to organised religion, I did not buy his arguments in which he denied God. While a theist cannot conclusively prove that there is God, likewise, an atheist cannot prove that there is no God.

We all want our God to be the One God. It is about power and money. And, sex.

I switched to agnosticism, but this did not fit too well on my skin. It was too much like sitting on a fence, I thought. And those who sit on the fence, don’t realise that the boards of the fence can sneak their way into the crack between the two halves of your bum. This, I am sure, can hurt.

When I was out of the corporate world, and rediscovered photography, I also rediscovered nature, and our environment. Of course, much of what business/ corporate/ political leaders say about sustainability, is all bunk. They just want you to show them the money. Toby was never so right!

So, I rediscovered Shiva, I rediscovered Pan, and I rediscovered nature.

That is when I decided to call myself a pagan of sorts.

Yes, in the original, a pagan is one who does not follow one of the world’s major religions – Christianity, Jewishness, and Islam.

There is a world beyond them.

There is also a world beyond Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and all other such organised religions.

All major religions started with a sense of wonder, of mystery, of oneness with the world and with nature. This is where, I believe, the truth lies.

If this is what makes me a pagan, then so be it.

It’s been a long and twisted road to perdition, but it’s been worth it.

And now, we march on..




  1. This is wonderful and profound, Rajiv. Many of us share your frustrations with organized religion and its failures. I totally agree with your thought: “All major religions started with a sense of wonder, of mystery, of oneness with the world and with nature. This is where, I believe, the truth lies.” Maybe this is the best way to “frame” our spiritual quest here on earth.

  2. You really have toured through religions. Paganism, if that is what suit you, you must indulge no matter how many criticisms out there. Religion is something else. So many misunderstandings, so many openings of doors of corruption, so much rot but they do give people something to hold on to.

  3. After I found the crack between the worlds I stopped for a good hard look and then, turned back around and wandered on. I’ve seen some things that can’t be explained…

  4. Very interesting to see the development of your spirituality, Rajiv. We all search for the truth and that can have many twists and turns. “All major religions started with a sense of wonder, of mystery, of oneness with the world and with nature. ” To me, this particular statement is very close to the truth. Sadly these religions have diminished into nothing more than “big business”.

  5. Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    Reading first hand accounts of one’s Personal Search, is not only Inspiring, it is Awe Inspiring. Hence Kudos and Thanks to Rajiv on this his post.

    I do have a few comments on this, which I post here.

    Rajiv has said: “All major religions started with a sense of wonder, of mystery, of oneness with the world and with nature.”

    I would posit that this Sense of Wonder that exists in the beginning itself is not Religion but Spirituality. Religion is the WAY We deal with, Express and Relate to that Wonder, etc. (Religion=Relationship).

    Religion is not meant to ‘Define’ Us. But it does become one of Our ‘Tags.’

    On ‘We all want our God to be the One God. It is about power and money. And, sex,’ I would like to say that Many Spiritual Greats have been there for whom Power and Money, etc, have meant Nothing. Those who come Immediately to mind are St. Paul, St. Francis of Assissi, and Shirdi Sai Baba, to name just a few.

    Do peruse in full.

  6. That makes a whole lot of sense, Rajiv. All of our religions merely interpret God as something that we feel we can relate to in our limited human experience. Christians sometimes refer to God as ineffable, which comes close to what I feel. I suspect that He/She/It is totally beyond our human understanding.
    Incidentally, which hill school did you go to? Was that in Nainital?

      1. I’d better not click ‘like’ for that! I wondered, since I did walk past the college when I was there. I hope it was a good experience otherwise!

      2. It was, actually, quite nice. I loved Nainital then. I hate what the government has allowed tourists to do… Pardon the bad grammar.

        It was beautiful. Now, the climate has changed, and it is crowded and polluted..

      3. I was there ten years ago. Certainly it was quite crowded, and parts of it noticeably polluted. But the lake was lovely – I got into the habit of walking around it early each morning, in the low sunlight. Lovely.

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