I present an account of how my search for truth set out the questions that had haunted me ever since I was dismissed from my scientific career at the University of Greenwich in 1997. It narrates the events that generated sparks of internal awakenings that led to questions being raised in my mind about God, religion and set me on my path in the pursuit of knowledge of the spiritual kind.
If man is simply a social animal why did the idea of there being a God strike human beings? What is the nature and proof of God? What should be the attributes of a God from man's perspective? Did man create the idea of a God in order to instill fear in the hearts of his fellow human beings so as to control and manipulate them? Or is religious thought God-transpired designed to provide some order to life in an otherwise disorderly state of affairs in creation?
I started writing these memoirs of my thoughts and actions for self analysis and in order to maintain a record of my experiences in case it proved to be of worth in the study of delusional mental illness, mystical states and religion. I was recovering from a mental condition but at the same time had found myself intent on understanding the true meaning of my studies of books that had accumulated in my possession, my scientific learnings, and my life experiences. If my illness was truly of a serious nature that required treatment with drugs, electroconvulsive therapy and hospitalisation there should be a record of it so that other cases may be diagnosed correctly and man is not left to wander about aimlessly in life.
The question also arose as to whether the prophets, saints and prescribers of religious thought at different times through history all suffered from a mental delusion that they had received messages from God to go forth and tell people how to live their lives, each one giving a different prescription which has left the world in considerable religious bigotry and confusion today. Why should there have been such great differences in the interpretation of what man is supposed to be doing on this planet? Did God provide people with different perceptions of religion in order to suit their local needs at particular times of history thereby generating the diversity of cultural development in the world? Or were different explanations provided because not all human beings had either the inclination to understand God and creation fully or were capable of that understanding, especially since creation was not static but continuing with more also being discovered about the physical universe by man each day? Was it therefore not high time now for a revision and reformation of religious convictions across the globe?
The world is broken up into different countries with different cultures and languages but there is the common bond of humanity and kindness, and in each corner of the globe the question of God has arisen independently. However, people also discard the idea of a God. The scientist Professor Richard Dawkins, has recently published 'the God Delusion' following on his views on the selfish gene theory, and he does not believe in an afterlife to be lived for. He sees kindness and generosity as being innate to humans as it is in social animals. But man is more than an animal as he has a need to express his creativity in science, agriculture, arts, literature and music, and above all he questions the moral validity of his actions by incorporating systems of law and order and crime and punishment in society. There is therefore more to an individual's life beyond the need for food and shelter and man is endowed with a free mind to guide him by. These special qualities of man come from somewhere and it is therefore appropriate to ask, is man made in the image of God as the Creator and Preserver of the universe, and is he ultimately in search of Him?
Hindus are generally brought up in a religious environment but I did not wish to acknowledge God simply because of this upbringing or for fear of what might happen to me and my family if I did not. I had slipped into a delusional mode of God search at the age of 40 being prompted into it by sparks of knowledge that had come my way of the existence of God. I had then given this search a higher priority than my scientific career with the University of Greenwich and was set on a path of trying to rationalise everything in terms of what a perfect God might be like, analysing and questioning everything that happened around me. By the age of 47 I was sectioned by the State under the Mental Health Act and subjected to medication. I was diagnosed as having persistent delusional disorder although I also questioned how else was one to acquire true knowledge other than by fishing constantly in delusion and examining everything howsoever minute.
Man, the supreme animal, is as yet unable to harness the fusion process for the clean limitless nuclear energy that he sees is needed to maintain his way of life and has been replacing the natural state of planet Earth and its biological diversity, including the human diversity, with his own species and structures in order to extract resources and tame the environment because he regards this as progress and because man-made structures are considered grander and more artistic to his mind. The result is that a green and pleasant land such as that of the United Kingdom (UK) is being rapidly transformed into a concrete jungle with resultant flooding and horrendous motor vehicle traffic problems. Yet western civilisation seeks to impose itself on the rest of humanity by interventions such as in Afghanistan and Iraq at the turn of this millenium for a new world order. This civilisation does not believe in submitting to the will of God although a proportion of this population worships God through Jesus Christ as His son, a story for which there seems to be no solid historical evidence. Whilst it is true that over the past 150 years the material progress of the western industrial revolution has made man's life more comfortable, the huge concerns about state of the global environment due to man's selfish actions should give pause for thought, and in fact it is now making some politicians think again. However, the pace of western scientific and technological development continues largely unchecked in order to maintain the comfort of life and for world domination, by for example, the construction of global gas pipe lines; the expansion of cities and the building of new cities; the road and airport building programmes; the destruction of the rain forests to grow animal feed; the generation of more nuclear energy by fission when there are no safe means of disposing radioactive wastes in the long term; and the maintenance of nuclear weapons such as the Trident missile system by the UK at great cost.
Man has not learnt the lesson of history that civilisations and empires come and go and western civilisation may also be on the verge of collapsing with its environmental problems, immigration-related replacement of the indigenous culture, and the growth of the rival economies of China and India. In the UK there is in particular a growing Muslim population with a very strong established faith which finds it difficult to integrate in society to provide the continued cohesion needed for the State to function in the same way as before. What man proposes God disposes is an old adage and world leaders Mr George Bush and Mr Anthony Blair also found out in the Middle East and elsewhere that they could not have it all their own way no matter how powerful their military and economies. I was therefore drawn to the following verse from the Bhagavad Gita:
Ab jananti ma mudha manushi tanumashritam
Param bhavam jananto mama bhutamaheshwaram
(Fools deride Me who have assumed the human form, without knowing My real nature as Lord of the Universe)
Evolution exemplifies the perfection of creation, which it is difficult to imagine as being a spontaneous chance event. Until man is able to create life in a test tube by the use of chemical and physical processes his scepticism of God as the Creator may represent a delusion. But should man acknowledge God simply because of the wondrous creation around him? There is considerably more to religion than singing songs of praise in churches and celebrating creation, also a Vaishnava tradition in Hinduism. Religion prescribes the manner in which life is to be tackled and how human beings should conduct themselves in facing obstacles. The physical universe which is expanding according to physicists is apparently disorderly as is the state of plant and animal life and the geology of the Earth. A Creator and Preserver God must be perfect not only in holding creation in harmony, from balancing the solar system and the wider universe to guiding the complexities of life on Earth, He must also be a God that dispenses justice in an unjust world materially for which religion must explain the nature of good and evil in mankind. A perfect God would have ensured that creation had a built-in mechanism for this process. And the rules for man's existence on this planet should be apparent to all humanity. These are the demands to be made of God by man.
In reality, it is difficult to separate truth from delusion and it is near impossible to realise God as having these attributes. Does there remain a hidden purpose to man's existence on this planet yet to be discovered? Does man have a mission beyond the day to day mechanical living as an animal, for selfish egotistical material self-enhancement, or to leave behind a legacy for history? What does good conduct lead to when the norm is not altruistic? Is creation so perfect that God has hidden himself perfectly within it in order not to appear as a Big Brother and the object of life is simply to realise Him by seeking Him out? And why are some men endowed with a deep undying quest for the truth about God and have imagined man to possess the unseen soul as a link to God?
In India since times immemorial parents are discouraged from letting their children go to live and work in foreign countries: this saga does not reinforce that view for truth lies everywhere. However, there is more religious education in India than elsewhere and acquiring true knowledge is what man needs to be striving for to understand the order within the disorder of the universe.
I had once prided myself to be a self made man and had all the material possessions one could need, a brilliant career and a wonderful small family unit, and living in a paradise of a country. But suddenly I was to lose my scientific career (annexed), was then denied justice in the tribunals and courts, and was subsequently placed in a mental hospital by the UK State. I equated this turn of fate to having come face to face with an evil that lay hidden under the surface of life. Beneath the façade of civility in the UK was an egotistical self-righteous mission for world domination, which required the individual to be functioning in society like a moronic machine instilled with the idea of patriotism (akin to John F Kennedy's 'ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country') and the herding slogan of 'together we are stronger'. To serve the State's political ends individual liberty was curtailed by, for example, limiting freedom of expression and restricting other natural human activities such as the taking of drugs, imposition of unreasonable speed limits on motorists and forcing the disclosure of evidence to incriminate themselves or others, and putting up the cost of higher education.
Rashmi, my wife, suggested that the title for this book should be 'From Riches to Rags' which I considered along with other options that came to me through the analysis stage of these memoirs, such as 'Countering Evil', 'Truth and Delusions', Travelling Through Delusions, 'A Passage through Britain', 'A Nation of Morons', 'Searching, Seeking', 'For Al's Intents and Purposes', 'Truth, It's own Medicine', 'Ignorance is Bliss', 'Purging Delusions', 'The Observer', 'Making Sense of It All', 'Are You With It?, 'Elective Mutism', 'The God Delusion: A Sufferer's Experience' 'The God Delusion: Understanding the Monster', 'Satisfying the Need to Know', 'The Need to Know', 'The Lure to Realisation', 'An Alluring Reality Check' and 'The Allurement of Realisation'. These titles reflected the latter stages of my daily struggle and the very gradual process of realising the full truth about myself and the world, as the picture unfolded through probing and analysing my thoughts, actions and observations. Truth proved to be very elusive, and to confuse matters I read in the Internet that there were various theories on the nature of truth.
The Star Trek science fiction television series indicates that for America space is the final frontier; this was however a story that showed that truth is the ultimate frontier for mankind, but has is it's search path been made convenient for just anyone to follow? These memoirs describe the voyages of starship Panigrahi. His mission: to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no man has been.