Fear and awe are the habitual bed mates of puny Man, as he scrabbles on the harsh surface of the rock named Earth hurtling through space. From the gatherer/hunters of the Amazon to those scavenging on rubbish dumps in developing nations all over the globe, to the impoverished urban dwellers in many ‘developed’ nations, life is not only materially precarious, but offers no solace – ever! Welfare-nations such as Australia are notable exceptions – for the time being.
When threats from space, and the responding repercussions on Earth, increase in frequency and ferocity, we become sensitised to the probability of unavoidable cosmic catastrophes.
When fear leads to a blind hope of some protection to be provided by ‘gods’ up there and around us, and thence to a belief that prayer and propitiation may assuage (to a degree) our suffering, what is known as religiosity can envelop us. Shamans and a burgeoning priesthood may contribute to this development.
Once we become attuned to the hoped-for, or even intuited, Creator of mankind (and perhaps of all of existence) – and that intuition may arise through logic (as happened in my experience) – we can develop faith in a potentially protective patron ‘up there’ (or somewhere).
A sense of spirituality may then evolve. Could this be the (imagined) Creator calling to us through our subconscious? Or, is it that, as we evolve spiritually, we yearn (again subconsciously) for the Divine? Why so? Perhaps advanced souls feel an urge to be re-united with the mainspring of their origin.
In this mental (thought) peregrination through the thicket of uncertainty and unknowing about the plight of mankind over time, and about that which influences us, and drawing upon my own early emotional experiences, I am inclined to the conclusion that religiosity, through its progression as laid out above, has indeed benefited mankind as a whole.
It is the journey, not the destination, or the belief, not any outcome, which provides succour to those in terrible need. In this Hindu Age of Kali, we do live in debauched and desperate times. Those who care can only join those in spiritual need in holding onto their faith.