The Power of Belief

“Göbekli Tepe!”, I said swirling the name around my tongue for the n-th time. Göbekli Tepe had a nice ring to it. A satisfying crunch right in the middle.
The daughter tutted impatiently.
“What is this Göbekli Tepe?! Going on and on about Göbekli Tepe! ”

“Glad you asked!”, I said and started on an explanation to her loud eye-rolls and dramatic groans.

I was reading a book on the origins of God through Anthropological history: God by Reza Aslan. His theological musings date back to the first homo sapiens. He sets forth theories and tries to piece together the origins of the concept of a soul separate from the body. A consciousness higher than one’s own that probably gave rise to the concept of Gods.


Reading about the ancient humans trekking to Göbekli Tepe is fascinating. Built over 10,000 years ago, it is the oldest known temple. Shaped to match the shape of the old hunter in the skies, the pillar of Sirius is especially tall. I can imagine not only the lure of the night skies for the hunter gatherers of yore, but also the seemingly curious rhythms of day and night. The location of the constellations themselves shift by season with the movement of the Earth around the Sun, and therefore, deriving any sense of regularity in itself must have felt divine.



The Temple of Göbekli Tepe: Oldest Temple Built to Worship The Dog Star

I said as much to the children as we were hanging about the kitchen doing this and that. “Isn’t the concept of God a leap of faith? Huh! Get it? Leap of Faith! Get it?”

A low moan revealed that she got it, and then she tried to pivot the conversation to areas of interest to her.

“Which of the Greek Gods is your favorite amma?”
The children are ardent fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and they often come up with questions like this. I read some of his books in order to keep up.
I looked at their faces, and said quite truthfully, “I don’t know whether I have any favorites. They all seem to be such jerks, at least in these stories!”
“Well it is true. Aren’t Gods supposed to let go of their own Egos and all that? I mean they spar so easily. Oh! Oh! Did you say that? Okay! Okay, I am the God of Thunder. Here is a Thunder Bolt to strike down the mountain on whence you stand! – I mean, Come on! What is that even supposed to mean?” I said theatrically throwing hammers Thor-style.

The son laughed raucously. His eyes widened a little at the conversation. I know the little fellow took to the concept of a God without being led to it in any form – a trait we found highly amusing. We are not a religious household by any means, so it was clearly not a case of nurture. The daughter has a more lackadaisical view somewhat akin to my own.

The concept of a God – one or many Gods has always intrigued me. I am an amused, and sometimes annoyed, spectator when it comes to seeing how the religious peg themselves on a pedestal higher than others by virtue of their beliefs.

I am curious how different people take to the concept of a God more easily than others.

I am also humble enough to accept the Power of Belief.

I told them about how the concept is so intertwined into our collective consciousness from so long ago, that one can’t really try to imagine all the ways the concept finds its ways into our thoughts.

“It is everywhere!”, I said, and told them about how I remember the mother telling me as she looked on lovingly at the then newborn baby of mine smiling in her sleep. She said the story is that God came and gave the child a lotus in her dreams. Hence the newborn smile.

“If that were true, how would we know? You certainly weren’t saying it. In fact, you probably contorted your face into a spasm that we thought was a smile.” I said.

I have often wondered what the first thoughts of consciousness are for human-beings. Is it being self-aware, or is it in the feeling that we are one among the great biosphere? Do mosquitoes think that way? Do trees and bees?

What, Why and Where is God to you?

Read also: The Beauty of Questioning

Help! Hindu God of Olympics!

I know why India does not win the Olympics. Hinduism, for all its openness and boasting of having over 3000 gods does not have a Major God for Sports. A random page says The God of Sports is Lord Subrahmanya.

A Mythology refresher: Subrahmanya is the one who was challenged to a race around the world thrice against his brother.(

Subrahmanya had a peacock and flew off, while his pot-bellied elephant brother had a mouse to run around the world. Long story short, Subrahmanya and his peacock lost the race to the elephant brother and skulked off to brood at a hilltop in Tamil Nadu. (I don’t know why Wiki answers proclaims him to be the God of Sports) Anyway, I thought the Lord Subrahmanya was only famous in Tamil Nadu, which is famous for idlis, filter coffee and curd rice (none of which are exactly high up on an Olympic sportsman’s diet you will agree).

In other news, Karnataka is in drought and Rs. 17 crores have been set aside for drought relief. When it comes to drought relief, what are the measures you can take to alleviate the water problem? Illogical solutions to this question will not be tolerated easily.


Right answer: 17 crore rupees is being set aside for performing pujas at temples across the state to entice the rain god to perform in the State. Nobody is gullible enough to spend all that money on one temple: 34000 temples across the state will perform the same puja on the same day and rain will come.

Now you see why we need a famous God of Sports having at least 34000 temples? If we had set aside an Olympic Coaching Fund and organised a prayer to appease the Sports God at the same time, while feeding our athletes curd rice and idlis, we might have won the Olympics. Alas! Hinduism in 5000 years did nothing towards this end and we are forced to pray to Gods who have to cut themselves free of their main task and take on Sports overtime.

Olympian Diet
Olympian Diet

What’s an Indian Olympic Athlete to do against these enormous odds?

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