Religion: a tool to find answers

In philosophy, a belief is generally defined as an attitude towards a proposition (a propositional attitude). An attitude is a psychological state of mind or disposition (like: love, hope, fear etc.). So as propositional attitude, a belief is not isolatable. It is constructed based on a complex support system, an individual is born in. General assumption may lead to think that, support system of belief is correct. But that cannot be inferred by logic alone. Elements of experience and preference play an important role in determining one’s dominant system of belief. So logic can be used to prove any belief as long as a person is willing to add additional assumptions to support this belief.

It can prove whether an argument is valid or invalid, but logic is not about true or false.
Let’s look at it from the following two ways of argument

A) Valid argument : i) All the presidents in India are spiritual leaders; ii) Ram Nath Kovind is the current president; iii) (from i & ii) Ram Nath Kovind is a spiritual leader. It is valid because, if its premises (i & ii) were true, the iii logically follows.
B) Invalid argument : i) Neelkanth flower is blue; ii) the logo of the company general motors is blue; iii) (from i and ii) ergo, the sky is blue. So all the propositions (i, ii, & iii) are true. But the argument is invalid, as the conclusion does not follow the premise.
So logic can be used to demonstrate the internal consistency of an argument (i. e. it follows its premise). But it cannot prove whether the argument is consistent with the observable universe. The religious belief is based on the premise of God; evidence of which is universally disputed.

Earlier fear and lack of understanding of the cause & action of things (natural disaster, day-night etc.) led to the idea of an overall powerful being who kept watch over the activities of man. Early theological inventions prove, they worshipped the Sun, Sea & the Wind. With rising population & different cultures, religion also evolved and diversified. Gods evolved as well. They morphed from simple Sun and mood gods to Gods with complex stories and personalities. During this evolution man made god in his own image. Religion is simply an explanatory tool used before we had the ability to get the right answers.

Contributed by Aritra Das

on ‘Can logic be used to prove religion?’

To cut a long story short

owl-reading-vector-clipartWords are getting shorter and our attention even more so. Perhaps technology is to blame, but what good has ever come out of blaming someone/something without doing your own bit to correct it. Long emails tire us, long WhatsApp messages are ignored – shorter and crisper the text, happier we are reading it. It’s all fun and games, until you need someone else to read your text

Sit down to write a page and you realize that neither your mind or your hand supports your endeveours as easily as the last time you tried.

Perhaps the same can be said for finding that elusive hour or two on a Sunday – to do nothing but sit and stare blankly outside a window. As we grow older, we appreciate that however, its even more required at an age when you’re taking life decisions and trying to figure out how you want to live your life and shape it. Sometimes reading a relaxed, spaced out story helps – it calms down the tumultuous rush in your mind and actions to meet a deadline. Writing your thoughts out help the same way.

I’m all for reading on the internet (such as this blog!) however, I find that with multiple windows open often I don’t finish what I started, even if it’s a 1000 – 1500 words text. On the phone, there are messages being constantly flashed begging for attention. Life is fast-paced and everyone/everything seems to want attention right here and now. Ignoring is hard when your work involves a fair bit of the internet.

Therefore, I’m revisiting my olden days by picking up some books. These baby steps towards a calmer (rest of my) life are going to begin with the collection by skillful masters of short story writing. If you, too, do the same then share your thoughts with me.

contributed by Tapasya


Logic: a much required fine line

Since time immemorial man has adhered to some belief, faith, exercises to fine tune the existence of human kind. With due course of time these beliefs, practices and faith all clubbed together into a set pattern which further put the society in order giving birth to various religions. So, the elementary idea behind the philosophies of each and every religion in the world is kindness, humanity and propagates the modest knowledge of harmonious coexistence of man and the universe. To sum up, religion is purely a way of living.

The practices followed in each religion has an objective of its own. With the application of logic and rational thinking religion and its beliefs can be dissected thoroughly for a better understanding. All religions have varied ways of worship and prayer. Thousands and thousands year old practice of worshipping the nature as a Goddess and Earth as a Mother in Hinduism is just not blind faith. It was means to train the human mind to conserve and take care of the natural resources and judiciously use it. The existence of sacred groves across India is the proof that worshipping the nature was deliberately and logically put into religious practices for man’s benefit and nature’s conservation. The azaan (Islamic call of worship) is a form of meditation, concentration building practice and regulate the biological rhythm among its followers. Something as minute as blowing a conch shell has health benefits.
Logic is thus the best tool to define religion and draw a fine line between religion and superstition.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.” – Albert Einstein

An opinion by Sritapa Mishra on

‘Can logic define religious belief?’

Logic and religious belief

Through the ages logic has been applied to validate religion. The process is nothing but a cunning conspiracy to befool common men. Religion is nothing but a trap used by some power seeking fanatics. In creating this trap they sometimes try to fit logic in it. Religion and logic are two binary ideas. Most of the time we see the clash between the two; be it the assassination of Copernicus, be it the imprisonment of Galileo. In denying them freedom to their opinions, the religious superiors invented a logic that suited their own narrative. Again when Darwin came with his magnum opus, the whole notion of Christianity became fragile. Thus new scientific discoveries gradually murdered the superficiality of religion.

Use of logic is often seen to impose certain ideas of religion. Example can be drawn from contemporary claims. Instances from epics are compared to new age technologies; pushpak rath and aeroplane is a good example. Sometimes some baseless logic is so imbued with culture that revolutionary steps to come out of it is denied by the common mass. For instance, majority of Kerala’s women are against Sabarimala Verdict.

Someone once told me that the different Avatars of Vishnu portray different phases of evolution. Thus sometimes far fetched ideas are put together to prove superiority of one particular religion. I also believe in religion, but that religion is of mankind where no superficial logic is required to prove its existence.

An opinion voiced by Ishita Mandal

on ‘Can logic be used to prove religious belief?’

An open discussion on mental health


On October 7, 2018, an open discussion was held in Geetanjali Hostel in sync with the Mental Health Day that is recognized on October 10 every year. A group of residents, including the warden, gathered over tea in the hostel premises to put forward their views, perspectives, and possible ways to overcome any issues and maintain health.

The conversation started with the concept of opening up, hovered over how mental health is still a taboo, and there is a fear in the masses of making any discussion related to this matter public. The reasons of taboo were discussed which may be religious affiliations, it being considered a permanent damage, and the fear of judgment that may arise on disclosure.

There are reservations of opening oneself to others with concerns over being admonished, especially in today’s time with the prevalence of social media and the scope of virtual reality. We have come to fear the thoughts of the ones in our vicinity but are open to being free with a stranger, primarily because of the fear of judgment. There is a rise in the demand of privacy, so much that people have begun to distance themselves to avoid contacts in the real space. Due to an increase in introverted tendency or so people desire to say, face to face interactions are being lost, so is the art to do so., and our predilection about clash of personalities and opinion. In addition to this, another factor is to accomplish our need to find validation in others’ opinion, and looking for like-minded people, who we expect will understand us better. And because of this search of validation, we often forget to turn to the more truthful aspect, and possibly undesirable of a notion and fall into a trap of seeking benefits by way of a giving a favourable verdict to one’s call. It was thus considered that social media is a tool to be used extremely cautiously and wisely, as virtual reality might not be as it is portrayed.

Amidst discussion, a point that was raised was that though abundant in number now, going to a psychiatrist is dismissed because of certain reasons. Mental sickness being a talk of closed doors and hushed tones, high fees of sessions with a professional, discomfort in allowing someone to peep into minds, makes psychiatric centres a stigma and an unapproachable institution.

The discourse also delved into how more cases of depression are noted in women as compared to men. The possible reasons cited were higher expectations and greater scrutiny towards women. The era that we are in, women are fighting to bring gender parity to the world. There is more onus on their shoulders, to carry their stereotypical roles as gracefully as breaking away from them. Thus they are constantly put under the lens, their actions dissected and analysed. This brings in the fear to tread carefully, and be mindful of their undertakings.

The sentiment about feminism and patriarchy took the foreground for a while, with various points of view coming to assess the role of these two institutions in affecting the psychiatric state of a person. Though patriarchy is held accountable in part for a person’s mental state, by typecasting the roles of men and women, thus binding them in a pigeonhole of socially acceptable duties; it may actually be the patrilineal way of society that should be held accountable. The gender equality efforts of Sweden were brought up, informing about the high percentage of women in their workforce, their rules to use more gender neutral terminology, and disregard of gender bias.

Thus, bringing evenness between the two sexes is a necessity, but it doesn’t mean women have to do all jobs that men do. By virtue of differences in the physiology of male and female body, some tasks are better divided between the two, keeping in mind that the two should be able to make their decisions at par with each other, and at par with the bounds of their bodies.

Reverting to the old course, the circle got to knowing each other’s ways of recuperating with stress and solving problems. These included, probably most importantly, talking to someone you can trust and are comfortable with, expressing verbally or through art forms, writing it out, taking a series of steps to deal internally if enough strength is felt. Depression, the most common form of a mental illness, can be general or clinical. Based on how it is, there can be various ways to overcome it- by going to clinicians and doctors, or by taking a positive outlook to life. But the essence to freeing up yourself is by letting go.

Thus the discussion concluded by making a consensus on adopting positivity and becoming a harbinger of goodness.

contributed by Shruti Khanna

Let your heart come alive


The way you embrace, that pretty fake curve on your face.

So well it cache, all you are, all you were.

But doesn’t that heart crave more?

To fly. To breathe.

In this insanely beautiful space??

The world has become walking dead. Everybody is running a race, a race towards death. But this race is about how well you go. And in this hassle to make the most of one’s life, we often forget to take a break and appreciate our own presence, this gift of life, and the marvel that is our mind. Often to achieve the societies’ parameters, we overlook what oodles of expectations and shallow impressions we burden ourselves with. In the hopes of future filled with all things beautiful, don’t we try to make our present a little cumbersome? We forget what life is, life is here in the present. We should make our present happy. Yesterday is dead; and tomorrow isn’t going to arrive anytime soon. We have just one day, today,  to make all the difference for the rest of our life and we have to make it better. But how???

  • Become your own best friend first. Love yourself. Challenge your negative thoughts. It’s OK if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise up like a whole damn fire.
  • It’s high time to find a hobby and develop a positive addiction. Write your heart out, read it out and burn. Let that burden off your soul. Everyone has a negative and a positive. But be careful, water the flowers, not the weeds.
  • Ups and downs are a part of life. It does not matter who hurt you or broke you down. What matters is who made you smile again. Happiness depends on what you can give, not what you get. Celebrate love, family, friendship. Appreciate beauty.
  • Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is PERFECT. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. One door closes, another opens. So my dear, keep looking with an open heart.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Make your heart come alive, and surely your days will be filled with so much light that everything will be clear, just like the sky after an abounding shower of rain.




Contributed by Neetu Yadav

Louder Than Ever Before!

Talking about Mental Health this month, let’s dig deeper and introspect if we have ever been a reason for hurting someone’s mental or emotional well-being.

Though no one would like to align themselves with it but let’s all agree to this, that yes, we have all been a partner in crime especially when we talk of body shaming. People tend to lose their emotional peace because over and over they are being reminded of their “fat” or “skinny” bodies by the society.These people loose their confidence,and their faith in themselves, just because other people do not find them perfect!

This is the song of a girl who tries to give herself another chance to come out of the perception of others and live life her own way..




Continue reading “Louder Than Ever Before!”

Change your perception


“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.”

Somebody rightly said the above lines, but we, the “normal” people as we say we are, we define a boundary or a parameter of normalcy at just 2πr. If you are inside this circle you are normal…but how do you know what’s going on in someone’s else’s mind? If I am found talking with myself then I can pass off my action as being an ‘occupied scientist’…but if my maid does so, she will be simply called ‘mad’. Well, busy-ness and constant planning of the next move is common in both of us, and therefore, the situation can ideally arise in both of us. And of course, there are people who are both busy and calm at the same time…exactly! So here comes the word perception – about us and others.

Let’s talk about people suffering from Alzheimer (a disease mostly seen in older ones) in which the common symptom is dementia, which itself is characterized as a syndrome in which functional and cognitive abilities keep on declining, the reason being toxic changes in the brain especially starting from a region called Hippocampus which is supposed to be responsible for learning and memory. The neurons (cellular unit of brain) die due to abnormal deposit of certain protein, and with the progression of time neurodegeneration spreads in the whole brain. Similarly, in the case of Parkinson disease – we know this is age related problem in some people, but In our society we still say “sathiyaa gaye hain” and give lots of directions to them. How many times do we suggest somebody who has a broken wrist to shake it off?!

Nowadays depression and anxiety is common even in children. These diseases have their own biochemical basis. Instead of telling the children to just pull themselves out of it we should ensure their medication and psychotherapy on time. Even in some cases of mental illness like Schizophrenia instead of seeking a doctor’s help people go to a Baba who in the name of religion behave harshly and in some cases beats patients up brutally by proclaiming that a Devil/Shaitaan/Bhoot has captured the body.

We need to increase our medical facilities for the treatment and therapy of affected people. According to WHO Mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population) includes psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07) which is quite less in number as compared to our population.

Most of all, we need to change our behavior towards mentally ill person, because they are behaving only as their brain wiring is allowing them to and we need to understand and help them instead of judging them on our own standard set parameters.

contributed by Shumaila Iqbal Siddiqui

Help wanted


Ma, lock the door of your room from inside every day when you sleep. Please, ma, don’t argue. Do it. I don’t want to hurt you, ma.

A summer morning, when ma woke up, she found a crowd in her small house. Looking at her, shuffling feet – who’ll break the news to her? The fan in her room was noisy but the silence defeating and deafening.

He was gone.

The love of her life, a vagabond, the rebel, the confused one. Gone. And before he took his life, he made sure that his friends were around to take care of his ma. Those buddies of his, unsuspecting of the events -a regular day of drinks and TV. An alcoholic, is how family described him, irresponsible in how he treated his ma. Sometimes feeding her with his own hands lovingly and sometimes, screaming choicest cuss words that neighbors could hear. Ma never complained. Must be the alcohol and his cursed friends, she always said .

I went to the room next to her, with his neatly ironed office shirts and trousers arranged in the open shelf, and wondered where I went wrong. And I wasn’t alone. The chair placed on his bed told us that we had failed him. If only we knew, if only we had read him right. That the incidents of violence were as painful for him as they were for ma and his sisters. How he must have cringed at the thoughts. Clasped his head in those young hands of his time and again. Perhaps sat on the edge of that bed multiple times, telling himself to throw those negative thoughts about his mom and sisters out. Sisters who had brought him up, covering up for their deceased father and diabetic, overweight ma- laughed, played and taught him. They left one by one, dutiful wives to loving husbands now. Happy to be away from his screaming. He was left alone, with his thoughts, dilemmas and thousand contradictions. This inexplicable chaos in his head had needed help. Help that no one could provide for. For no one, including him, understood and no one thought for him.

That night was special. He smiled. He ordered food and made his friends comfortable. He knew they had a long day ahead. He was ready to kill the beast inside the 28 year old body and he planned well. Everything was in place. Just as they were on his neat shelf. 

Did I fail my science, my knowledge on mental illness, clinical depression and what-nots? What good was knowing these buzz-words and definitions if I couldn’t recognize its wrath on a loved one? Have I been so busy with my work that I forgot to interact enough with my family?

Talk. Reach out. 

Like any other lesson, whether its by reading of someone else’s experience or learning from our own, we need to introspect.

contributed by the Blogging team

(We are talking of mental health issues, experiences and perspectives this week at the Geetanjali Hostel and all the articles with the hashtag are a part of that initiative)

Mental Health Issues – Perspectives and Understanding

New Project

Ugh!! These exams are giving me anxiety issues..
My life/job is so depressing..

These are some of the sentences one often hear in a casual conversation to express one’s frustration and anger towards some ongoing inconveniences in life. However as the lifestyle goes in the modern world, terms like depression, anxiety, etc cannot be considered just as an insouciant expression of a mere complication faced in day to day life. These are the terms which comes with a whole baggage of serious implications for a person suffering from mental illness more now than ever.

Speaking from the viewpoint of a person whose close friend suffered from the anxiety and depression issues for quite a few years, one can be assured that these can be cured with proper care and treatment. One of the first steps and need of the hour is that people should always be able to have a go to person with whom they can share their life’s happening and feelings without the fear of being judged and with a high degree of comfort level. The sudden surge in the demand for counsellors around the globe points towards the decline of personal bonding and sharing in the fast technologically advancing age. People are more engrossed in social media to maintain their connections with far away friends that they forget to interact with their immediate neighbours and acquaintances. Evident from the recent depression suicides committed live over social media, even the efforts to remain in influential touch with online friends also goes in vain.

Baya Voce, the host of ‘The Art of Connection’; web series, in a TEDx talk reveals how each one has their go to people of group in times of happiness and also the gloomy phases of life… These ‘Anchors of Connection’ are the support system and basis of a happy life. And also how the consistency of maintaining these conversations and relations are the things which make one’s life more valuable, happier and worth living.

Besides sharing, one needs to do away with the taboo of mental illness as the sign of person being mad which is incurable and needs to be sent away to a mental asylum. People need to be made aware that this is like any other physical illness which can be treated with proper assistance and consultation.

The most important factor in treatment is the support of family. It is a major, though not sole factor, which gives person the confidence that he/she will be able to survive past the illness. This is not to say that treatment is impossible without family support but it would be definitely faster and with more chances of being successful if family and friends have the backs of the patients.Awareness at the ground level will also help in identifying symptoms at an early stage and combating the problem before it takes form of a serious illness.

To avoid the mental issues from setting in the minds of children and teenagers (which is increasing at sky rocketing rates), parents need to encourage and motivate their child instead of comparing him/her with others and demeaning them. Inspiration and moral support is the key to ensure that a person emerges from a failure with a determination to work harder instead of going into a downward spiral and losing the will to live. The fact that failure is a part of life’s ups and down need to be embedded in the consciousness of children from an early age.

Along with the precautionary alertness, awareness needs to be brought into the society regarding the grave consequences of the mental ill-health. The society needs to do away with the stigma around mental health concerns, so that the victims are able to ask for help without hesitation. With the existing ignorance and superstitions surrounding the mental health, a large number of people are deprived from their right to lead a health and respectable life in society.

Therefore, the understanding that mental health is as important as physical health and it can be cured in the same way, contrary to the belief that a mental health patient can never lead a normal life, is at the core of making society a better place of living for all.

The sensitivity and gravity of the subject urgently calls for immediate action and
transformation in the mentality of people all over the world and no one is better
equipped to make a difference than the young generation.

It’s so common, it could be anyone. The trouble is, nobody wants to talk about it. And that makes everything worse.  ~ Ruby Wax

                                                                                           contributed by Arushi Kapoor