Thank you so much for again asking me such a nice question regarding god being a myth and a philosophy of the rich. I too had the same question before I started praying and meditating.
What you say is partially correct. Actually it is the poor and the downtrodden that worship, pray and are in general closer to god. I went and stood in a huge line at the tapkeshwar mandir on shivratri. I had to reach there at 2.30 am to get a decent place in the queue. I was noticing the people around me. They were not rich people; some were lower middle class or middle class. God is something misused often by the rich to suit their needs. During my visit to the monasteries in leh, we went to this one monastery where there was a three crore rupee statue of the Buddha. I asked a monk why they have spent crores on building something in honour of a man who left a kingdom to wear a single cloth and live a life of simplicity. The answer he gave me was very interesting. He said that the people have faith. That every time they see that statue they feel that yes there is something beyond the difficulties of our daily lives, it gives them the assurance that some greater power does care and that it is watching over them and protecting them. The story of Pandora’s Box is very relevant here. After Pandora released all the evils in that box, the hope fairy stayed back to heal her wounds and stayed on in her heart. A very simple analysis of this story is that this feeling of hope is perhaps the only reason for our survival. It shows how despite the worst of conditions if we have hope we will still have a desire to see the light of the next day. In the absence of hope the smallest of problems will finish us. Every person has faith in this hope in some way or another. For a poor man hope that the next day will be better is the only thing that he has. This is manifested through his belief in god. That is why the poor man is often god fearing.
I personally believe that the concept of god/ gods is not the work of materially rich people rather spiritually rich people who due to their connection and oneness with the universe understand various truths. I studied anthropology in slightly greater detail over these months and it is very interesting to see how the fears of man and society keep changing constantly till they are given some explanation. It is the wise man and not the rich man that gives answers to these fears/ anxieties. Humans have always had a desire to give a logical explanation to everything around them. I’d like to point out that the earliest religions and conceptions of god emerged much before the concept of wealth. This is true especially of the Sumerians (6th century b.c) the Mayans, Hinduism, paganism and many other tribal and regional religions. Before the phenomena of rain was known people believed it is indra dev causing havoc. (The rich man does not pray to him to appease him but many villages do. As an example satish bhaiya, who works at home, hails from the upper reaches of the Garwhal Mountains. From the 5th onwards there is a seven day pooja during which many villages come together to appease a demon who lives atop a nearby mountain. It is compulsory for every individual to participate. According to his stories during this time people get possessed by devtas and perform supernatural feats. Again none of these people are rich people. They hang horse hooves and perform various poojas the entire year). My personal opinion is that these wise men after having realized various truths try communicating it to the people. Now if I have to explain the entire concept of thought being energy, the importance of intentions etc, I can get but a limited audience of which some may understand. Thus these wise men devised gods to represent the various truths that they understood. So god may not physically exist and may only be an idea. However it is the symbolism one can derive from these ideas that takes one to different levels of understanding. As an example- bholenath
1st level- he is a ragged barbarian
(Who wears gold… yet chooses to remain unclothed in such a cold environment.)
2nd– he is a sanyasi. A man who has left all worldy desires and is solely devoted to meditation and a quest of understanding the unknown
(who is married and has 2 kids. He is said to have produced a child with mohini(lord Vishnu, during churning of the ocean) named ayappan or more popularly sabari mala sastha.
3rd – he is a god capable of great miracles who manages to stay detached and is not prey to his arrogance and ego as is symbolised by the person under his feet. The poison in his neck shows his ability to absorb the greatest evils for the benefit of mankind. The snake around his neck symbolises his control over his desires (negative or positive). The damroo, fire, trishul show how he can create as well as destroy and how in his creation (the tandava) he can cause destruction and the start of something new. The third eye is a reference to third eye chakra or the ajana chakra we all have in the brow area or in the area of our sixth chakra. Once this eye opens the world of illusion falls away and we see reality. So his destructive third eye does not really destroy things. It destroys the illusions or the Maya jaal. If interested I can give you a much more detailed analysis.
4- This is how I view him. Pure energy. In his form as ardhanareshwar he represents the perfect balance between male and female energy- the ultimate objective of every human being. I pondered a long time over the fact that even lord ram prayed to him before attacking lanka and so did raavan. It is then that I understood that he is a depiction of the ultimate source of energy from which we emanate. This energy is either male or female either of which in excess becomes bad energy. The reason why he is called bholenath is because he knows only to say tathastu- basically this means that when you are fine tuned to this energy you can use it for good or for bad. The energy itself remains neutral as it is infinite. You can use it for whatever you want to. (Which is why this world is in a terrible mess. But I’ll write on that later.)
Besides this there would be hundreds of interpretations. This is how I had interpreted so I used this example. Each story, each feature everything can be interpreted at different levels, and these interpretations are what differentiates between different levels of understanding.
I personally believe that the rich that you talk of are the curse of this world. They are the people who misinterpret and reinterpret all these noble concepts to serve their own personal desires. I am not rich and have no intentions to be although I can be. The amount of wealth does not matter the satisfaction you can derive from it does. This does not mean that I can live and be happy without a single penny. What it means is that I have learnt to derive the maximum satisfaction from the amount I get. I used to get more money earlier (I mean amount is same but there has been inflation), but I was not satisfied. Now in the same amount I find that I have maintained a minimum emergency balance I have been able to buy many things, invest in my room, books etc. I have simply cut down on wasteful expenditure and have learnt the art of being satisfied at least materially.
If you are interested I can discuss many of the conspiracy theories that discuss religion and gods and show how the concept has been perverted to serve the needs of the ruling classes. This is something that I have meditated on for a very very long time and there is a lot of information I have.
I am still working on my communication skills. The problem is I don’t really know what to keep out and what to include. There are so many overlapping areas that it becomes impossible to give watertight answers. I really hope I’ve been able to explain my perspective properly.
Om namah: shivay
Let there be peace.