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Divine DNA?

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Someone recently cited an example of how there was such a disconnect between his generation and that of his children. While his wife prayed to Lord Krishna every morning and he too would propitiate the gods and goddesses as always done by his ancestors, his son was only interested in a way to get to New York and be able to live the life of those he saw in his Hollywood films—he didn’t pray, had no personal favourites amongst the wide selection of deities and had imbibed none of the humility that a god-loving and god-fearing man such as the father himself possessed. What made it utterly scary for this gentleman was that the dream was not of a teenager but of a man well in his 30s. He asked whether this is the full outcome of so much of history and tradition that the family proudly upheld. He blamed the television for most of his woes and felt globalization was a bad word, signifying chaos and degeneration. The English language according to him was culpable of great upheavals in Indian society and the lack of Indianness in current Bollywood films was only reiterating all the other forces of evil that had descended on Indian soil.

It is not easy to accept change and even more difficult when it is under our own roof. Certainly globalization has its defects and western culture can seem nightmarish for many; English has distanced us from our roots and Bollywood or Hollywood are not where we learn our finest and most enlightening lessons. Obviously the man was very disturbed but perhaps there was just cause to some of the things that he had an objection to. But the one fact of life which he completely missed was that God does not run in our genes. No matter how saintly our family tree is or how religious our parents are or how spiritual the atmosphere in which we grow up may be, it doesn’t mean anything because He is not a hand-me-down; He is not part of a DNA strand; He is not compulsory curriculum. He devises when to open the window in the souls of His devotees so that they may see Him; He decides when to accept them.

And so, whether the vexed father gains fruit of generations of ancestral worship or the day dreaming son stumbles across the Truth while chasing the American dream, no one can say. The only thing we can say is: You cannot pass God on.

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  • http://Website Desikan Krishnaswamy

    The sentence that “God is not part of a DNA strand” is a very powerful message which the older generation should realize.

  • http://Website Vasudevan

    Well said: “God does not run in our genes. …. He is not part of a DNA strand. …. The only thing we can say is: You cannot pass God on.”

    I cannot agree with you more. I intend to think that the friend of the author should understand that actually the “americophilia” of his offspring is probably the work of a gene of materialistic impulse passed on to him! ( I am not joking; I am seriously thinking that the materialistic outlook of a generation is actually impelled in that direction by the previous generation.)

    But then I am more interested, and am in enthusiastic approval of your conclusion that God is not in our genes. Actually this is a serious conclusion of the top biologists of today. This is in response to a half-baked biological suggestion proposed by Dean Hammer in his book, “The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes” (2004), wherein he proposes quite seriously his “God hypothesis” suggesting that human beings inherit a set of genes that predisposes them to believe in a higher power. The idea has received a well deserved disapproval of all ranking biologists. The renowned biologist-writer, Carl Zimmer thrashed the idea in a well written article ending the piece with these memorable lines: “Hammer’s book would be better titled: A Gene That Accounts for Less Than One Percent of the Variance Found in Scores on Psychological Questionnaires Designed to Measure a Factor Called Self-Transcendence, Which Can Signify Everything from Belonging to the Green Party to Believing in ESP, According to One Unpublished, Unreplicated Study.”