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Rationalism

periyar 250Why is it that a foreigner is required to find out the height of the Himalayas, while we claim to have discovered the Seven Words, above and the seven more below; why is it that when we claim to have the ability to expound Lord Nataraja's Cosmic Dance, the construction of this simple loudspeaker in front of us is an enigma; we should really contemplate on these aspects. You should come forward to use reason to enlarge your general Knowledge.

Man is considered superior to other beings in this world, because he has limitless capacity for knowledge. People in other lands have advanced greatly, utilizing this knowledge. But our countrymen owing to lack of this knowledge are abjectly deteriorating. Stating that ours is a land of enlightenment, we build tanks and temples; in other lands, men fly in space and amaze the whole world.

In other lands, knowledge alone is respected and trusted and held as the basis of everything, But in this country, men believe only in rituals and ceremonies, in God, in religion and such other rubbish,

Knowledge, born of rationalisation, is real knowledge. Can mere bookish lore become knowledge? Can one become a genius through learning by rote? Why is it that educated persons endowed with the highest mental gifts - degree holders in general and science and degree holders in particular - believe that a more stone is a God and prostrate before it? Why do great savants and specialists in science anoint themselves with turbid water in order to expiate their sins? Are there any connection between the science they have learnt and the anointing mixture consisting of cow's - drug and urine?

The aeroplane is referred to in Ramayana and Mahabharata, but the power of magic. The aeroplane is explained in English literature, but it flies by mechanical power. What do we need now? Mechanical or magical energy?

Let us bring up two children of the same parents - one in England and the other, in our country. He who is reared in England will look at everything from a scientific point of view, and the other will consider everything from a religious point of view.

The reason for the present chaos and deterioration in our country is that we have been hindered from enquiry and cogitation and repressed from the use of rationality.

In whatever manner you surmise God, and with whatever good intentions you found a religion, the results are all the same. A reformist God and a rational religion cannot achieve anything more than a superstitious God and a blind religion.

Just as machines, invented for the social good of man, to give him added advantage and to save him labor and time, are under the control of the capitalists to keep the worker and the laborer in hunger - so reason that is to serve for the excellence, satisfaction and comfort of man has been enslaved by a few, to cause people pain, poverty and anxiety.

Activities that are not consonant with rational understanding, intellectual enquiry and human needs should not be carried on in the name of customs, traditions, God, religion, caste and class, or in any other name.

Man possesses reason. It is given to him for enquiry, not for blind animalism. It is by abusing reason that man has brought himself into a lot of troubles. He has created God, as an antidote to his troubles.

Uncertainties in life, dissatisfaction owing to wants and competition among individuals, if these exist in a country, then it is evident that her people do not have full powers of reason. In a country where people live freely and in contentment, it is clear that reason rules there

Man believes that he must gather wealth for his children who have the gift of reason, even by cheating his own society. But animals and birds do not save anything for their offspring who do not have the gift of reason; in fact they bite, peck and chase them away when the time comes for them to be on their own. They do not care for them or even remember them afterwards.

Within a span of two thousand years, people had lost the prerogative of using their own intelligence, Knowledge did not increase, and society did not improve, because men did not have the right to question the why and the literates said of what was written down. They were suppressed by being told that thinking, arguing and doubting were sins.

Man does not go by what his own intelligence tells him by God, saint, stage and Avatars.

Anything that is not in tune with reason and self - respect must be eschewd.

If superstition is removed and religion is viewed in the light of reason, no religion will survive.

If greed is put an end to, no man will ever believe what is contrary to his intelligence and experience.

I do not know for how many centuries our people have to wait for attaining reason and maturity. I have to believe that Tamil Nadu will have no salvation unless she is razed to her foundation by a catastrophic deluge or storm, a flood or an earthquake, and then renewed.

Those who respect reason should not hastily believe what is heard; what is written down; what appears to be happening over a long time; what is followed by many; or what is said by God, or a Great Soul. Anything that excites our wonder should not be immediately believed as divine or miraculous. In every circumstance, we must be prepared to think freely, rationally and impartially.

It is through rationality that man's longevity has been increased and his mortality rate has been significantly reduced.

One who possesses knowledge, and is aware of Nature, is free from sorrow. There is pain when an injection is administered for good health; but in spite of pain, one tolerates it in expectation of the cure. That is the nature of knowledge.

It is the power of thinking that distinguishes man from animals and birds. It is because of this that these, through much stronger than man, are enslaved by him.

It is the power of reasoning, more than any other power in man that makes him superior to all other beings. Therefore, we can say that in proportion to the measure of its use does he conduct himself with human qualities. He who does not use his reason is only an animal.

Because we have been constantly told and compelled to believe that it is a sin to think thus, or to inquire into a matter thus, we are now unable to analyse any matter. If only we turn round with courage, we can progress fast.

Who is barbarian? He that has no brain; he that has no reason; he that does not think despite possessing thought and reason; and he that blames without thinking: these I consider barbarians.

Following superstitious beliefs, without rational thinking, has ushered in the condition of the worker becoming the vassal, and the sluggard becoming the lord.

In the land of the naked, he that covers himself is deemed mad! Similarly, is it surprising that in the land of barbarians, he that thinks - the rationalist - appears as mad?

Whatever is done, whatever the event, and the matter, we should see beforehand whether they are consonant with the why and wherefore of things, with experience, enquiry and intelligence? Only then will knowledge grow. Instead, if custom, tradition and ancestral practice are followed, only stupidity will grow and not intelligence.

Do not follow anything just because some one else has said it. Do not slavishly sell your conscience to others. Analyse and inquire into every thing.

You are prepared to expend your money and dignity and give up your liberty and equality to any extent. But you are using your reason even to a small extent. Why do you show such economy only in this? If this situation continues, when are we to become men?

Firstly, we should all become men, before we become Ministers, Chief Ministers, First of all, reason should grow, and the innate thought process should flourish, to enable us to be men.

Even when we buy a saree we buy it after a good deal of thought as to whether the saree bought before the same shop has server well and whether the shop keeper is honest. We, who use our reason for such trivial matters, fail to use it in important affairs. So we get quite deceived. My first duty, therefore, is to stress the necessity of reason.

What we need today is the growth of knowledge, in order to advance in every field. Knowledge should have its sway.

What man needs today is not money, or shelter or transportation, but the growth of intelligence. We should complete more for acquiring knowledge than for earning any money.

Your own consciousness rules you; not God, or men of religion. Without straightaway accepting what I say, accept only what appears to be right to your reason, and reject the rest.

Reason is the life - blood of man. Among all creatures, only man possesses reason. The lower he is in the exercise of this faculty, comparably, the more of a barbarian he is. He attains maturity, consonant with the clarity he achieves through reason.

Rationality is the acute capacity of thinking.

Man should contemplate on anything, not by following the path of belief, but that of reason. He should see whether the object of his contemplation stands the test of inquiry. Only then he rises to human stature from a primitive state.

Your guide is your own intelligence. Use it well. Avoid being suspicious of others. Because your own reason has been circumscribed, the cultivation of knowledge is stultified. What your forebears have said are neither verities nor wonders Leave those to them; without relation to these, endeavour to discover and to do. Give priority to knowledge.

Of all the creatures in the world, man alone possesses reason and intelligence. If he uses them, he can achieve great deeds.

Analysing everything with courage and intelligence, according to the occasion and need, rejecting what should be rejected, contributing what should be contributed, to reform, without fearing change: this is the inevitable duty of rational.

-Comrade Periyar - Original source: Dravidarkazhagam. www.periyar.org

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