Being religious is not bad.
When the misty blue mountains of Bhutan kingdom disappears into the grey wall of drifting clouds,
Or when the chirping of birds creates a symphony to the wobbling orchestra of trees,
Or when the sun plays truant lighting up undulating valleys just to vanish in the next turn of the road… reasons cease to exist.
It feels right, here, to accept that everything is divine and there is no need for urban people like us here, no need for us to interpret everything with reason.
It is the feeling of completeness… Or you can call it ‘the theory of everything’ that this country has for you. Master Nature has all the answers for you. You get it when you seek it in its own natural ways of mythical stories of enchanting music.
Let’s see what we have here.
Bhutan is a monarchy… recently a constitutional one at that.
Here the secretariat works along with the monastic order i.e the king works in consultation with the chief Abbott/ spiritual head in the Dzong. The secretariat building is the monastery and vice versa! The entrance and the staircase are guided by the royal police and mythical sculptures of wrathful deities! Well, all the important official decisions, the coronation of a king, a celebration of the death of any royal member takes place right before the huge Buddha and Guru Padmasambhaba’s life-sized idols. The monks are as important as the parliamentarians or the ministers. They reside alongside even to this day! They play their important roles in helping the king perform his duties towards his people.
The inner sanctum of the temple is dimly lit but cheerful with its vast use of multifarious colours & with its grand-golden superhuman statues of Buddhas and deities.
The people are happy rotating the prayer wheels even while entering the office, happy praying before their Lord, happy following their king with utmost affection and awe, happy with their meager $2bn economy.
The contentment is enormous. They never wanted democracy and are always happy to be ruled. But they were given one by their benevolent king. Their king resides in one of the most unimpressive cottages one can imagine for a king, their kings never clinch onto their throne for eternity unlike the other examples of autocratic rulers in the world ruling even with their broken teeth and arthritic knees in the name of god resenting any dissent.
Here, the question for a yearly appraisal is not how much your family members earn or how much is the price of petrol but mostly how much spiritual upliftment have you attained this year or how much trust you nurture for your neighbour. It’s not the GDP of the country that is important… It is the GDH (gross domestic happiness 🙂 which catches everyone’s eye.
Now coming back to religion.
I always thought that it is the religion that is at the root cause of all evil, all the world wars, all the uprising in the world and all the lunacy behind Jihad. If all the hatred is in the name of the god then one must ban the good god once and for all so that no killing, no genocide or no ruler ever attempt another holocaust in the name of god. When there will be no god, then the earth would be a happier place to live.
But Bhutan has got this contentment… This fulfilling life mostly because of its administration and religion combo.
This country can boast of her ever-increasing forest cover or her large heat sink acting to set off carbon footprint not only of her own but also of her neighbours.
The country thrives on its moral and ethics, Sustainable energy sources mostly bought by her giant neighbour India and controlled tourism. Just to ensure a regular inflow of tourist they don’t just open up their country for foreign exchange and allow visitors to go on a rampage. Littering is strictly penalised and footfall of the visitors are meticulously checked.
The country is landlocked but never invaded. They are poor but not hapless, never complains. They have their benevolent Kings who ride on the back of Buddhism to ensure enriched life to his citizens. Not because being poor is a state of mind but because the world has misinformed us about the yardstick of measuring happiness. I find them happy than most of us living in earthly comforts. Hence, the formula is simple: religion is good if it makes you happy