Back in June I read a blog post published by someone I no longer associate with but whose writing I sometimes enjoy reading. This young man, like myself, is gay and Hindu and non-Indian. Despite our differences, having those things in common means we understand certain things on the same level – which is nice. His post, which can be accessed by clicking here, was about Purushottama Masa, a leap month in the Vedic calendar. (The modern calendar observed here in the West has what we call leap years, but it’s really more like a leap day – a day that isn’t recognized on the calendar except in certain years. This is probably why the young writer called Purushottama Masa a leap month – it’s a month that isn’t always in the calendar.)
It’s explained in the post that Vishnu (Hari-dev) values this month immensely – so much that it’s his favorite month and he rewards devotees who up their sadhana during this auspicious time. It’s pointed out in the post that this increase in favor manifests as added benefits. So whatever punya you might normally accrue from, say, one round of mantra jaapa, is magnified during this leap month. Maybe during this month, because it’s God’s favorite, one round of jaapa counts double? Triple? Only god knows, I bet.
He goes on to focus the post not around it being god’s favorite or the added benefits, but of the importance of making every day and every offering as valuable as something offered so uniquely as in Purushottama Masa. I agree with that in general, but I often have an eye for details and the indication that this month is god’s favorite really stood out to me.
Please believe: Any god that has favorites is no god at all.
Throughout humanity’s history of god, we have claimed to know god well enough to be able to speak on god’s behalf – telling or explaining to others what’s okay with god and what isn’t, what god favors and what isn’t favored. Throughout humanity’s history of god this has proven to be immensely dangerous, almost invariably. After all: Jews are god’s “chosen people,” Christians know their jagadguru to be god’s “only begotten,” Islam’s idea of jihad couldn’t be pursued on any level without knowledge of what is holy in contrast to what is unholy, and Hindus apparently know god’s favorite month (among other things).
I don’t know why this tendency exists. Probably ego prospering withing Maya. Regardless of culture or time, it seems like something humans are bound to do: Fuck god up. We can’t be happy with our own unique first-hand experiences. We don’t usually want to rest in those experiences and treasure them as private peeks at our Source. At a minimum we often try to codify. In extremes, we kills others for not accepting what we know to be true. And the rest of the time we engage in all manner of in-between ridiculousness.
I think Sahaj Marg’s assessment that religion is like kindergarten is very fitting and very true. From kindergarten you get stick figure drawings, coloring outside the lines, and maybe some shaky handwriting. Yeah it’s sweet. It feels innocent because it’s a beginning and because it’s a beginning it actually holds tremendous value. But no one is meant to stay there. You leave kindergarten behind as soon as you possibly can and failure to do that usually means something really unfortunate like a learning disability or maybe even trouble at home. It’s like in a previous post when it was mentioned that Jesus was like, “Guys, c’mon! Stop being children of God. You have to grow up now.”
The quote pictured below was said by my current guru’s guru and I think it does a fine job expressing why we should leave religion behind as quickly as possible. Regardless of the innocence possibly expressed in stick figure drawings, they are still crude. Very crude representations of a much bigger reality, right?
Religion, especially if it tries to convince you that god has a favorite anything or a preference of any sort, is like saying a five-year-old’s stick figure representation of her mother is a sufficient and entirely accurate depiction of that woman. I don’t think the mother of the five-year-old is offended by the stick figure drawing. Not at all – the mother doesn’t really care. Being the mother, she understands that, for a brief time, that’s the best the child can do. Certainly, if god even had an opinion on religion, then god would view religion the same way: It’s the best some humans can do, at one stage or another in life.
But stick figures aren’t accurate – not even close. And kindergarten is meant only as a beginning.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti