How can one be an atheist as well as a bhakt?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

I had put up a post on my FB page stating that I am an atheist as well as a bhakt of Hanumanji.

Many people commented on it stating that this was a contradiction. How can an atheist be a worshipper ?

In fact there is no contradiction. As an atheist I do not worship any supernatural beings like God, angels,soul, etc and I regard all religions as superstitions.

However, I regard the people of India ( which includes Pakistan and Bangladesh ) as my God, whose service is my puja or namaz.

Among the many gods in the Hindu Pantheon, I liken Hanumanji most to the Indian people, and therefore I worship him

In the Ramchartmanas Tulsidas writes :

“कहइ रीछपति सुनु हनुमाना। का चुप साधि रहेहु बलवाना।।

पवन तनय बल पवन समाना। बुधि बिबेक बिग्यान निधाना।।

कवन सो काज कठिन जग माहीं। जो नहिं होइ तात तुम्ह पाहीं।।

राम काज लगि तब अवतारा। सुनतहिं भयउ पर्वताकारा।।

कनक बरन तन तेज बिराजा। मानहु अपर गिरिन्ह कर राजा।।

सिंहनाद करि बारहिं बारा। लीलहीं नाषउँ जलनिधि खारा।।

सहित सहाय रावनहि मारी। आनउँ इहाँ त्रिकूट उपारी।।

जामवंत मैं पूँछउँ तोही। उचित सिखावनु दीजहु मोही।।

एतना करहु तात तुम्ह जाई। सीतहि देखि कहहु सुधि आई। “

When Lord Rama’s army reached the sea, no one apart from Hanumanji had the strength to cross the sea to enquire about Sita’s welfare and return. But Hanumanji, who had forgotten his tremendous powers was sitting alone quietly on a rock, in deep meditation. So Jamvantji, the king of the bears ( reechpati ) was deputed to motivate him.

Hanumanji, though very powerful, had forgotten his tremendous prowess, due to the curse of some rishis, whose yagya he had disturbed in his childhood. But the rishis said he will recover his powers if someone reminded him of them.

The above verses should be read as an allegory. Jamvant is me, and Hanumanji are you Indian people, who have forgotten your tremendous powers. So I have come to remind you of them.

In the first two lines Jamvant asks Hanumanji why he is silent ? So also, I ask you people of India, why are you silent when the country is in such distress ?

You have the mighty physical strength of Pavan ( the wind ). A storm or typhoon can devastate an entire region, smashing and levelling to the ground even huge buildings, trees, etc.

When hundreds of millions of you Indians unite and rise up, it will be a force so powerful and so swift that no power on earth can resist it.

You are also full of of ‘buddhi ( intelligence ), vivek ( discrimination ), and vigyan ( science ). Indians are some of the most intelligent people in this world, who discovered the decimal system, plastic surgery, etc in ancient times, and are manning Silicon Valley, and are professors in science and mathematics departments in USA and elsewhere in modern times

The next couplet states : what is that which you cannot do ? You have come here to do Lord Rama’s work. On hearing this, Hanumanji’s body started growing, until it became as big as a mountain.

This should be interpreted to mean : Indian people, you underestimate yourselves. You are unaware of your tremendous potential, like atoms which have tremendous concealed energy that can even cause a nuclear explosion.

Just as Hanumanji had been given a curse that he will forget his powers until someone reminded him of them, so also Indian people have forgotten their tremendous capabilities and potential ( as they were demoralized and brainwashed  by the British who spread the false propaganda that Indians were only a race of fools and savages).

 Now that you are being made aware of your tremendous capabilities, you will rise high in the comity of nations, instead of being humiliated and kicked around.

Hanumanji’s body is shining like gold ( kanak means gold, and baran means colour  ), and radiance ( tej ) is coming out from his body ( tan ). The same will happen to India, too, once we attain our full potential and become a highly industrialized, prosperous nation, with our people enjoying a high standard of living.

Hanumanji then starts roaring repeatedly like a lion ( singhnad kari barambara ), and says he will swallow up the ocean and cross it. That is what you Indians too will start doing ( i.e. you will abolish poverty, hunger, unemployment, etc ), once you know your tremendous powers.

However, Hanumanji  also has humility ( which we Indians must always have ). He requests Jamvant to give him proper guidance and advice ( uchit sikhavan deejahi mohi ). So even when he is now aware of his tremendous powers he does not lose his modesty.

And Jamwantji gives him the correct advice : Hanumanji’s task is only to go to Lanka and find out Sitaji’s welfare. Rescuing Sitaji is the task of Rama. In other words, one must know one’s limits.

So serving the people of India, whom I liken to Hanumanji, is in my opinion the true religion, and genuine patriots should convert to that religion.

Why did Justice Katju tell farmers to have the power of Hanuman, listen from him
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  3. Thank you for sharing this insightful content about the Hanuman Chalisa! I found it incredibly helpful in deepening my understanding. As someone passionate about spreading the wisdom of the Hanuman Chalisa, I recently launched a website, Hanuman-chalisa.in where I explore various aspects of this sacred text. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Let's continue to foster a community that appreciates and learns from the profound teachings of Hanuman Chalisa. 🙏 Jai Bajrangbali 💪

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