Monday, May 18, 2015

"I Believe" - G. V. Desani

Friend Todd Katz has posted a .pdf of Professor Desani's paper "An Indian View of God, Cosmos, Love, Marriage, Sex, et cetera".  It is linked on the samples page at  Click here for that page.  There are several other papers linked there.  A direct link to the "I Believe" .pdf is here.  I quote from the paper:

"In the late ‘60s The Illustrated Weekly of India published articles by “an especially selected panel of Indian religious leaders, artists, writers, philosophers, scientists and politicians,” under the broad title “I Believe”. Each contributor was encouraged to described his or her personal philosophy by answering the same set of questions. G.V. Desani’s response (below) was published Dec. 7, 1967.

"Desani later adapted his article plus his edited summaries of the responses of other participants into an academic paper for the University of Texas Philosophy Department and the UT Center for Asian Studies. The title was "An Indian View of God, Cosmos, Love, Marriage, Sex, et cetera."

And, I consider this next excerpt particularly germane to me personally:

"People who go about asking questions about “God” and demanding satisfaction – without realizing it – request answers to all these questions [see above] and more. To put them off with, “… ‘God’ is a word, a symbol, a concept, a construction by the consciousness, a creation of the mind of man,” or “ … is a cipher, something intuited, a ‘no, no!’” could be an evasion, a subterfuge, and “no! no!” would be an item quoted from an Upanishad. Some pious folk, on the other hand, are satisfied with the authoritative answers given by the founders of religions. By accepting personal testimony, such people are said to have “faith”.  Folk so blessed should not ask anybody questions about “God”. They should look up their scriptures.

"I happen to presume, however, that everybody at all believes in “God”: if the word means the highest value. It is by one’s highest value that one weighs and measures the worth of anything at all. So – bringing this abstruse term within the compass of empirical knowledge, hence discussion – money is “God” for most people I know.  Power is “God” for some: ego, assertion, conquest, possession – including possessing people, their “love” is covered by the term."