Friday, April 29, 2011

A True Skeptic?

A few days ago, my love and I were discussing the downright bizarre way some had reacted to the death of Sri Satya Sai Baba. For example, the fact that he had passed away on Easter Sunday made some people insist that a miracle must happen- like the mere suggestion was going to make him spring from the dead! First of all, while my fiance and I are both believers in small and great miracles, we also feel that one cannot * make * a miracle happen. Suggesting otherwise just seems insane, and also pretty damn self-centered.  

Anyway, from there our conversation drifted to the handful of controversies that had been linked to Sai Baba during his lifetime, mostly about skeptics insisting that the sacred ash and other items that he claimed to be materializing was merely a well-practiced sleight of hand. Okay, so as you might know, I am a pretty pragmatic person. I do not believe in hocus pocus, pulling stuff out of thin air, or even that anyone is watching over me every minute of my life (how boring that would be for them!). 

However, despite the allegations of Sai Baba engaging in trivial sorcery, there are many things about his life that are difficult to explain, such as being able to recite large passages from the Vedas after having little schooling, appearing to be the likeness/reincarnation of Sri Shridi Sai Baba, etc.

And then it dawned on me. Skeptics are often not really true skeptics. They prattle on about reality and pragmatism, but honestly, do they really know what that means? Aren't they just putting their own experience and 'knowledge' before others', ultimately ending up with the same type of myopic view? Maybe the people they should truly question are themselves.

Let me explain. We have all heard the stories- a small boy who experienced death for a short time but still lived, a person condemned to death by cancer returns to health through prayer, or an arhant in Thailand who sees people not as male or female, but as their true selves. All these are impossible, right? But yet, according to some people, they still happened and exist. And we all have the right to not believe them. Questioning is good. But the important thing to know is that we are not omnipresent. We may not share everyone's experience and just take their word for it, but still we can be open to it. 

So, question not just the phenomena outside your experience, the supernatural, the outrageous, the unimaginable, but the rational, the mundane, the status quo. Science and human reasoning are useful, but still incomplete. Challenging everything is just the beginning. 

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear” - Thomas Jefferson 


May all beings be happy!

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