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           periyar 342 Respected Chairman, Elders and comrades

            The subject matter ‘God’ can be considered as insignificant or extremely important. For ordinary people, there is much indifference in the subjects of God, religion and discussions on political philosophy or doctrines. But for scholars these are matters of great purport which must be analysed thoroughly and minutely.

            If I feel afraid to speak out boldly of my ideas (philosophy or doctrines), or distort or manipulate them, I would hate myself for doing so.

            Therefore, if a believer were to brand me as a non-believer and hater of religion, that would be an act of much ignorance and an indifferent attitude.

            I will explain this by an illustration. In a place, “a brahmin beggar” approached a house renowned for its charitable works for asked for donations to a good cause. The owner of the house gave him four annas as normally he would give to any other beggar. This brahmin beggar was outraged and shouted at the householder: “Hey, Are you giving just four annas to me, who am a very great scholar in the four vedas, 6 sastras (scriptures), 18 puranas, study of logic, causation, and philosophy and who have renounced self-praise, criticising others and a desire for money, mere four annas and to that ignorant fool of a donkey also four annas? I say, this exactly resembles the standpoint of a believer when he brands somebody else as a non-believer.

            This is because this believer has comprehended God as omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent and omniscient, there is none higher than him, nothing takes place except with his consent and then merely because I object to that belief, if he were to make also the above statement, then it is equivalent to what the brahmin-beggar quoted above had said.

            That brahmin having first said that he did not have the qualities of self-praise, critical of others and no desire for money, immediately stated that he was a great scholar in the four Vedas, 6 sastras (scriptures), 18 puranas, study of logic, causation, and philosophy and that he was merely being offered four annas equivalent to what was being offered to an ignorant fool of a donkey. It is obvious from his statement that he had nothing but self praise.

Similarly he stated that he never indulged in criticising or degrading others but immediately states, “Should you give that fool of a donkey also four annas?”

            And then proclaiming that he had no desire for money, he states, “Are you giving me only four annas?” So it becomes obvious that whatever he said about himself became false with his next utterances.

            So also, if a person says there is no God—one who is said to be all powerful, all-pervasive and causes everything to take place—either whatever that believer has said about the attributes of God must be false and imaginary or what he says to someone else, “A nonbeliever is one who says there is no God” must be false, ignorant and uttered without thinking at all.

            What benefit does one get by denying a God that exists? Or what profit or sense is there for a good who can do everything, cause everything to be done to allow a person to think and express non-belief? So, would a man do such a foolish thing? Or would a God cause such a crazy action to take place? If a person has an iota of thinking like that or have such a thinking power, he will not call any one a non-believer and find fault with him or criticize him.

            If someone were to refer to any other person as, “He is a non-believer, says there is no God”, that itself is non-believing. Those who coined such word were themselves non-believers. If there is God, can any person say, “There is no God?” Or can any one else think that the other person says there is no God? Therefore, atheism, atheist are words that are used by those who do business in the name of God have discovered as their instruments of business. Excepting for those who trade in the name of God, others have no reason to bother about it at all.

An explanation about the concept of God implies to do research and bare all facets about it. If a matter is to be inquired deeply, questions like why, how, where, when etc. must be raised and answered satisfactorily. Logical inquiry and logical discussion are inter-related. Therefore, people who want to logically discuss the nature of a God who is said to be all-powerful, all-pervading, causing all actions to be done by its will, called ‘param pour’ (supreme object) must test not only these 6, 7 questions but conduct 60 or 70 tests or experiments as well. For a devotee, there is no need to do this. But it is absolutely necessary for a philosophical inquirer.

            God should not be based on foolish devotion or blind belief. Even if that type of approach is followed by someone, I would say that a rational man, that too, an investigator by philosophical means should not have findings on such basis.

            Where is the need for God, Why God, What is God, such examinations are important. Every philosopher should understand such questions and answer them. Man has got rational thinking. That is meant for proper investigation and not for blind animal existence. Man has misused rational approach and is entangled in many troubles. He created God as an antidote to free him from these troubles. Why should there be a King; why should there be subjects: why is there poor and the rich? Why should there be high and low castes? Why should there be hard working labourer and lazy master? Why should there be a bigger and then a very rich man?

            Apart from creating, sustaining and protecting these features, what benefits have accrued by the concept of God? What is the good thing done by him? To do these things, do we require God?

            If a rational man dies without peace, love, satisfaction, worry but with unsatisfied attitude, the reason could be nothing but the concept of God. What else?

            If this is due to each individual’s foolishness, then what is the need for rationalism? Just to create foolishness? Why should a rational man have many evil qualities, worries, shortcomings, racial hatred and betrayals that are not had by animals which do not have rational, sixth sense? Why should a rational man have evil qualities found in wild animals which do not have rationalism? If even rationalism cannot answer the question why, what is its use then? What then is the nature of God?

            Why the concept of God? Was it inherent in the thinking of man or was the idea instilled by others? If it is spontaneous or inherent, then why has it not occurred to everyone? And even then why should it have appeared differently to different people? Why do its qualities and powers appear differently to different people?

            If the concept has been created, why was it created? Has the purpose of its creation fulfilled? Did those who create that succeed in their efforts? If God is understood, or if God created by man is properly understood, they why does man behaves contrary to the good qualities of God and desired by God?

            Everything takes place according to the will of God. God is omnipotent and omnipresent. If this is true what are the actions done by God? Everything is done by man only in the name of God, after ignoring him, and doing many things not desired by God. Many things are taking place that are not required by man or are undesirable for him. We are unable to see a single thing taking place—in earth supposed to contain all-pervasive nature of God -- that which gives total satisfaction without defect or flaw. If human effort to protect things is not there, not only that nothing will be safe but one can say that even God is not safe.

Translated by Prof.T.Marx

 (Lecture given in Salem College ‘Republic’ ( kudiarasu) 23-11-1946)

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