There is no culture recorded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion. This is because we all know, deep down, that we cannot possibly be here- alive- ‘coincidentally’, we are here for a reason. Regular rituals based on such a belief date back to ancient times- when people would ‘worship’ higher supernatural entities who created, continued (and, it should be noted, continue to this day) to maintain the world and the surrounding cosmos.
Despite religion having been here since, it seems, ‘the beginning of time’, there is not one definitive origin of the universe, hence why there has been so much conflict, wars even, around which religion is the ‘right’ one. This is an observation recorded by Virginia Woolf, famous English writer, too, who once said;
‘The strange thing about life is that though the nature of it must have been apparent to every one for hundreds of years, no one has left any adequate account of it.’
The question, then, is why? Why, when there are written accounts on record dating back to as early as 35,000 BCE (over 2 million years ago), which is when the world’s oldest cave paintings were created as an expression of thoughts and a recording of life in pictures, are there no indications as to what we are doing here/i.e., what our ultimate ‘purpose‘ is? Even if religion really is a made up construct, as Atheists would argue is the case, the question still remains; why is there no indication surrounding the origins of the universe, not even a scientific indication? There is nothing. No explanation. No questions answered. Nothing.
Perhaps an equally as prominent question one must ask is; ‘Why do the cave paintings from the worldwide gallery of known cave art mainly portray other animals, and very rarely show images of other people?’ To reframe the question in an alternative way; ‘If the Paleolithic cave painters could create such perfectly naturalistic animals, why not give us a glimpse of the painters themselves?’
As the Greek philosopher Xenophanes of Colophon (c. 570-478 BCE) once wrote: ‘Mortals suppose that the gods are born and have clothes and voices and shapes like their own. But if oxen, horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and fashion works as men do, horses would paint horse-like images of gods and oxen oxen-like ones. Why? Because the reality for most people is too immense a concept for the human mind to comprehend- that ‘God’ is not a person, but more so an energy source, as are we– one collective, united energy source. We are all just a reflection of the supreme ‘being’, presented in many different versions of the energy source. In Hinduism, the worlds oldest known religion, these ‘versions’ of the one ultimate ‘God’ can be seen in ‘deities’ such as Vishnu, and Shiva, for example.
Referring back to Hinduism, as mentioned above, the primary understanding of Hinduism is that there is an order to the universe and every individual has a specific place in that order. Each person on the planet has a duty (dharma) which only they can perform. If one acts rightly (karma) in the performance of that duty, then they will, subsequently, be rewarded by moving closer to the supreme being and, eventually, becoming one with god. If one does not perform their duty, however, then they will be reincarnated as many times as it takes for them to finally understand how to live and draw closer to union with the supreme soul.
Virginia Woolf, who I mentioned previously, was in line with many of Hinduism’s beliefs, particularly those surrounding us all having a ‘duty.’ As she once famously wrote;
‘Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we — I mean all human beings — are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.’
In the quote above, Woolf is reinforcing the idea that we are not some entity ‘separate‘ to God. We are God. We are energy expressing itself in human form for a little while. It is for this reason, our vastness, that informed Woolf’s view of life in general;
‘When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter much, do they?’
Knowing that we are all one united source of energy, then, the below quote, an Australian Aboriginal Proverb brought into the ‘mainstream’ in 2011 by the late Queen Elizabeth II, couldn’t be anymore relevant;
‘We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.’
(‘Home’ being, as I understand it, the one collective energy which we all come from, and will all, one day, return back to)…