The irrelevance of atheism for the Upanishadist

Feeling depressed about the Paris attacks, I was browsing around when I found Richard Dawkins’s statements. A couple of hyperlinks led me to an interview of Dawkins by Mehdi Hasan in which I was surprised to find Dawkins not even acknowledge Hasan’s questions about Hinduism. I tweeted to Hasan and asked him about it and he told me it must be there inĀ The God Delusion, which is a book by Dawkins.

Since I don’t have the book, I decided to watch the free documentary with the same title on YouTube. It’s a wonderful piece of work in which he makes a good case against God. I am totally impressed by what Dawkins has to say — and convinced. It’s a must watch for those who want to understand atheism.

But there’s a catch – a very important one. Dawkins doesn’t mention India or Indic religions even once in the entire documentary. This supports my point, once again, that atheism is not the negation of the Indic concept of Brahman (or, for example, Buddhist or Jain teachings, but let me leave that aside for the moment). As I’ve written before, denying the Brahman of the Upanishads is impossible. Yes, even for Richard Dawkins, and I am willing to debate with him about it.

From this point of view, I can appreciate S N Balagangadhara’s idea that only Christianity, Judaism and Islam are religions. If Dawkins could spend ninety minutes talking about religion without mentioning Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., why should Indians invite themselves into this word? Powerful.

But I still don’t think it’s necessary to call only Christianity, Judaism and Islam as religions. If we bring Hinduism, etc., also under the umbrella of the word religion, comparisons become possible. It is only because of this word that I take a look at what Dawkins has to say, a lot of which is indeed applicable to most Hindus.

It is only because I think I too belong to a religion that I listen to what the Christians, the Muslims, etc., have to say, a lot of which is, again, wonderful and applicable. If I were to look at the people of these religions as aliens, as it were, I’d build thicker walls between me and them, which is not good at all.