Rahim, The Indian Poet, And His Connection With The Mughals of India

When people think of history, they think of numerous unrelated bits and chunks of incidents. We fail to look at history as entangled set of events that were really lived and experienced by people like you & me in a different time.

Rahim is still widely known across India for his Dohe, the 2-line couplets, that burst with the wisdom of life. He is still widely quoted and studied.

What most people don’t know is the fascinating story of his connection with the Mughal Kings of India.

This video tells you this story and helps you explore the charms of people in the past.


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10 Interesting Facts about the Mughals of India

I’ve started making YouTube videos on history.

History is where the best stories come out of!

The first 2 videos I’ve made are about 10 fairly unknown facts about the Mughal empire of India.

While I am good at research, I am still learning to make good videos so please bear with the low production style.

Needless of say, your support will send me soaring to the 9th cloud 🙂

Enjoy this vid and the second one – please like, share & subscribe


The next 5 facts (6-10) about the Mughals you will find interesting


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Reasons Behind the Hindu Caste and Gotra System

Our ancestors were way smarter than you think you are. With all our smart-tech and apps, we have reached the level where most of us cannot even spell “opalescent” without checking it on Google first. And oh yeah, Google! Our answer for everything. It’s the grandfather of our generation – we run to Grandfather Google to explain to us the mysteries of this world. And he slowly smiles at our naivete, silently sends all our data to FBI, while enamoring us with his answers.

In case you did not yet recognize, I am not a big fan of technology even though I use it just like you do. Yet, it scares me and I think that’s wise.

Enough advice from Grandma Reema.

My point is, we have very little understanding of how smart our seniors were. A look into the article below will show you at least enough to stop bitchin’ about some stuff you and I well, bitch, about.



The Hindu caste system is fascinating and flabbergasting. Most people don’t understand the reason behind it and can’t imagine that there could have been any rational “humane” reason.

And this is true for Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Being a Hindu who grew up in India and is living in Europe, I face this question so much – why do you Hindus have the caste system?

Very few people have an idea of what reasons created the Hindu caste and gotra system. On the fact of it, it just seems so discriminatory and inhuman.

A lot of papers online on this topic have an undercurrent of sarcasm and disdain for this inhumane categorization of people on the basis of nothing else but birth.

I understand this attitude, having had it for quite a long time.

Unfortunately, modern day Hindus, specially in India, have very little idea of what Hinduism is really about. Even the most fastidious followers have never bothered to read any of the Vedas or Puranas or even the Bhagavad Gita (one of the coolest books you can get to read, I promise you).

Which is why I have been trying to dig up answers behind the Hindu caste system, and I have been inevitably finding many answers to this baffling but sophisticated system that was set up long long ago.




One explanation of the Hindu caste system is that there are 4 sources of power in any society in any time. And these are:

  1. Land

Possession of land is a source of power as the more land you have, the more resources of the land you control. You also therefore control the people who need the land, for building their homes or agriculture or business. This was given to the shudras.

  1. Knowledge

Knowledge of course is a source of power. By using it, you get an advantage over other people, and thus kings kept their wise men near to them, as does today’s system. This was controlled by the Brahmans.

  1. Money

Need I explain this?
This was controlled by the vaishyas.

  1. Army

Controlling army and weapons is a source of power. Ever heard of Russia? Or USA? Or Iran? Or anything at all?
And this was controlled by the Kshatriyas.

So, the Hindu caste system sought to avoid the concentration of these 4 sources within the hands of anyone. Hence, it divided these 4 among the people, thus resulting in the 4 main castes of people who carried on the system from generation to generation.

Of course, today this is debatable but it cannot be denied that there seems to be some sense in drafting such a system. Seems pretty neat.



The next possible explanation behind the Hindu caste system is that the one who takes most responsibility for the society, gets the higher position.

So, for example, Brahmans with their access to knowledge and wisdom take responsibility of not just themselves but of the salvation of the whole society by looking after the system of faith and worship, maintaining the temples, handing out knowledge, they deserve to be at the highest position.


(Image from here)

Kshatriyas then take the second highest place because, next to Brahmans, they take care of the whole society too by protecting the country. They take care of the physical safety of everyone in the fact of external danger and thus, they deserve the second highest place.

Vaishyas do not take so much responsibility for the well-being of the society. By running the commerce, they maintain healthy economic channels and prosperity but mainly and mostly for themselves. Their work does not result in the general help for everyone.

And finally, shudras by raising crops, selling the produce and consuming it, take care only of themselves. Hence, they take the lowest place.

Again, seemingly reasonable. Right?


And now finally, I will explain the third explanation which is mostly for the Hindu gotra system – which is the sub-division of the 4 main castes. Every main caste has castes within itself and these are called gotras.


A lot of recent anthropological research has started taking the genealogical turn and they are finding meanings behind surnames, names, birth locations, and in all of this the Y chromosome is a very useful little guy.

Similarly, some ideas propose that the reasons behind the Hindu caste and sub-caste (gotra) system are actually to preserve the genetic lineages in their pure forms and in this the Y chromosome plays a very important role.

The Hindu gotra system clearly is a neat way to establish genetic lineages. And it is primarily through the males because it is the males who pass on the Y chromosome from generation to generation without distortion.


Every human has X and Y chromosomes in them. Females have XX whereas males have XY. We have 23 such pairs in every cell and in each of them 1 comes from the father and one comes from the mother. In females all of them are XX whereas one is X and another is Y in males, which makes them males.

So it is one tiny little Y chromosome that makes a male a male. And men get this deciding Y chromosome only from their father because females carry no Y chromosome in their bodies. Thus, the Y chromosome is carried from the father to the son, and henceforth. Thus, this helps establish a clear genetic lineage all the way back to the root ancestor.

The Gotra system was probably created to preserve these genetic lineages. At that time, we obviously did not have today’s neat DNA analysis technology so our ancestors came up with their cool way of preserving it.

Chromosomes in a woman’s body, the X chromosomes, can cross over. And these X chromosomes, which come from father and mother, can be the chromosomes of the mother’s father or the father’s mother. But this is not the case with the Y chromosome. It simply just gets transferred from father to son, undisturbed, uncross-overed.

Hence Y chromosome carries the pure genetic line.

Which is why, having a son has been so important. Because sons carry the gene line. And the gene lines can end if there is no male in one generation to pass on the Y chromosome to the next generation.

Because of this simple reason, one can understand that daughters do not carry the pure genetic line the way sons do.

This is also why women changed their gotras and surnames after marriage because they now would help bring forth the next generation of the family of her husband because her son would carry the Y chromosome of his father.

This is also the reason behind arranged marriages. Marriages had to be arranged to marry within the right gotra and to avoid marrying a man from the same gotra. Because a man from the same gotra was technically the brother as he came from the same genetic lineage.

Each gotra line continues from one male ancestor. Hence, people within that gotra are technically descendants from the same ancestor and are thus, siblings.

Also inter-family reproduction is not very healthy as it does not give the chromosomes a chance to develop and repair.


Overall, while we have little confirmed answers, looking at such ideas with an open mind can help a lot. All the above seem good possibilities.




Kula devas are family/clan deities of Hindus. Every Hindu family, in addition to worshipping the main gamut of Hindu Gods, also has a family deity which has been passed on from generations. For very specific family problems, Hindus turn to their kula deva.

The form of this deity can be male or female – which is why, kula deva (male) and kula devi (female).

For non-Hindus or non-Indians, the closest concept to this is the Christian concept of patron saint where a family dedicates its prayers & devotion to a particular saint and deems him the status of the saviour or guide of the welfare of the family. In addition to Jesus and God, they also keep their patron saint in their worship.

So is the concept of kula dev in Hinduism. But it’s slightly different in that in Hinduism, the significance of Kula deva closely relates to your gotra (sub-caste system) and therefore, your ancestry.

How religion and worship work in the Indian subcontinent is different for the same reason that Hinduism did not “spread” as a “revolution” like many other religions. No one can trace it back to a date of origin. Hinduism was just…there. It just evolved as practices came out of wisdom of the those times. Even the great Hindu books (the epics, Vedas and puranas) were written over a long period by different authors.

Hinduism’s really what was just…there. It was never a dogma. That’s what makes it so cool and that’s also what makes it so complicated. Nobody ever had to subscribe to it. Nobody ever had to declare themselves into it. You just were…Hindu because you obviously followed the wisest practices of the day.

It was really just that simple. And in that sense, it was also really why it’s complicated for anyone outside the region to understand this massive body called Hinduism.

Technically, it is still hard to say Hinduism is a religion because it has no one main book. It has loads of giant, heavy-ass books, none of which take upon themselves to prescribe anything. They just talk about life, existentialism and what have you – if you manage to understand their metaphor-heavy ancient Sanskrit.

But coming back to the kula deva, while it has its origins in the ancestor veneration period, the more important root of it lies in the genetic lineages.

Now, comes the real meat of this blog piece.

Like what most of the people think, the original purpose of the Indian caste system and gotra system was not to create inhuman, cruel lines between people for the sadistic fun of it.

Like most other practices that came out of this ancient civilization, we will learn the idea behind this caste and gotra system once we cut it some slack J

The Hindu culture is designed on a deep understanding of the way the universe and earth’s ecology function. When it was not this modern diverse cosmopolitan that it is today, the genetic lines within the society were very carefully protected and the Hindu caste and gotra system was designed precisely to preserve these genetic systems given to us by nature and transmit them from generation to generation.

How did that transform into upper and lower castes, Brahmins and untouchables, I don’t know. Yet.

Ancient Hindus had a very good understanding of genes. Forbidding of cousin marriage or marrying within the same family genetic line (within the same surname) were also based on this understanding of how genetics function.

People from the same gotras and families carried the same DNA structure and to protect it and allow it to function in its purest form, were the caste system, gotra system and thus, the local deity system (the kula deva system) evolved.

These forces drove life in the Indus Valley region – modern day India. From this system thus, also come the kula devta system to whom you turned when you had specific family problems, because your genetics were involved in your family matters and your kula deva was the one to be consulted.

Even today, although it is now a bit difficult because of diversity in India as a result of invasions, you do see similarities between people from the same gotra and clans. It is because of the genetic lines.



Din-E-Ilahi is such a religion that this post is inevitably going to be more about history than religion and as you read along, you’ll understand why.

The most interesting question about Din-e-Ilahi is if it was out of King Akbar’s ego or out of his genuine attempt at uniting a kingdom fundamentally divided along religious lines.

 Mughal akbar.jpg

There’s enough evidence supporting either claim (which is why it’s still a question, hah!)


But first the basics:

Din-e-Ilahi literally means ‘Religion of God’. It was a syncretic religion started by the Mughal king Akbar in the year 1582 AD in India.

It is assumed that he started this religion to make one religion out of the two main religions followed by his subjects – Hinduism and Islam – and thus, caused a well-defined difference among his people.

If you read Mughal history (which is super fascinating, so I recommend you should give it a try), you will understand what a refined politician King Akbar really was. Among other smart things he did, he married the daughter of a major Hindu king under his kingdom to cement the political ties and he gave important positions in his kingdom to Muslims and Hindus in an almost equal proportion – a smart move to keep both the sides of his kingdom happy.

To really understand what Din-E-Ilahi was and why it started, we only have written historical sources of Akbar’s time and frustratingly (and hilariously), out of these, one was written by his friend and the others by sources that were hostile to him. So we really don’t know which one to believe.

However, what we can do is construct a picture –however flaky, from the sources, and this picture has already been constructed by my great historian friends whom I don’t personally know but still think of as friends, even though I don’t remember their names.


Religion at the Beginning of Akbar’s Reign

In the beginning of his life and well into his kingship, Akbar was a dedicated orthodox Muslim, following the customs like an example king should.

His deep reverence for the religious teachers of his time – Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, Shaikh Abdul Nabi, Makhdum-ul-Mulk – is very evident from the documented events, like the pilgrimage Akbar took each year, walking on foot from Agra to Ajmer to meet Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti. And many more.

He was very interested in religious matters – or let’s say, matters concerning finding the “answer”. There is reference of him engaging in philosophical discussions and listening to religious priests.

As Akbar and his reign matured, we see him getting more and more involved into these discussions, until he set up the Ibadat Khana in 1575 AD. Ibadat Khana means “House of Worship” and was set up as a meeting place for religious leaders to congregate for religious and philosophical discussions after every Friday prayers.

File:Jesuits at Akbar's court.jpg

Something that Akbar did not foresee was how such a platform could soon turn into a ground for egotistical battles and political debate among the well-read but also politically powerful and ambitious scholars. And this is what soon happened. The scholars soon fell into fights over seniority, intelligence and power among themselves. Debates soon turned into spats.

This is said to have had an impact on Akbar. He became less orthodox Muslim from around this point. These Ibadat Khana discussions also included the two great scholars Akbar revered – Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh Abdul Nabi, and this drove him away from them both.

Soon these meetings started seeing more and more secular presence – Jain priests, Hindu priests, Parsi scholars and even Jesuits from Goa started attending them and debates broadened…and lowered!

If you have seen as much life as I have, you can already guess that Akbar never found his “answers”. He just got more and more disillusioned and these meetings had an effect on the politics of the time – naturally, religion and politics!

As soon as the Jesuits from Goa started attending these meetings, they hit a new low when the Jesuits challenged the Islamic scholars by questioning Islam and shutting out diplomacy in their detest for it.

These events caused great dissatisfaction among the major religious groups of the day, and the Muslims particularly were disappointed in Akbar, who they expected as a Muslim leader would have upheld Islam finally in all these discussions, which he didn’t do.

From this point on, we notice different historians and recorders giving us different accounts. Hindu recorders of the time maintain that Akbar was a tolerant king but himself remained a Muslim. Some Muslim recorders of his time record the same while others wrote that he abandoned Islam. Of course, these records are not unaffected by the person emotions of the writers.


What Exactly did Din-E-Ilahi Look Like:

There were no texts written to dogmatize Din-e-Ilahi and neither did Akbar put it forth as something free people could choose to follow. He supposedly selected a handful of his people as disciples into this order.

Din-E-Ilahi, at best, put together the main beliefs and ideas of his people – largely, probably an attempt to bring them all to agree on the main ways of living to live harmoniously together.

It prohibited the general things that were considered bad – lust, pride, slander etc – and upheld virtues like piety, peace, kindness etc. Din-e-Ilahi borrowed from Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism as well, and Jainism. Sun and fire became worshippable under it. Elements of Sufism are also present in it. He encouraged every man to have one wife, government officers to allow people to worship as they liked, discouraged the Hindu practise of sati, etc.


Akbar as God or Politician?

Many believe that Akbar started Din-e-Ilahi because he wanted to be worshipped as God. Having been born almost exactly a 1000 years after Prophet Mohammad, many believe he wanted to claim divine powers. But we are not sure. The greeting “Allahu Akbar” which started around that time means “God is Great” but many wonder if the inclusion of his own name in this greeting to God was meant to suggest he is God – “God is Akbar”.

Could be – these royal kids are very egoistic, you know.
Just look at the image below which depicts how Akbar (like many royals of his time) played board games with real people as pieces:

While understandably Muslims were disappointed that under Akbar’s nearly-secular rule, Islam was not as privileged as they expected, Akbar’s policies left the Hindus confused too. Many Hindus in his court too reacted the same, namely Raja Man Singh, among others.


Interesting thing is, that while Din-e-Ilahi does not exist as a religion anymore, many sources during Akbar’s time also do not mention it as a religion! They mention it, yes, but not as a new religion Akbar was trying to found but as a spiritual order. So that “religion” thing is just confused populist baloney.


Looking at it a bit more rationally, we can say Akbar was simply borrowing from other cultures in order to maintain a multi-cultural kingdom.

To maintain such a religiously defined and divisive kingdom, Akbar, like the damn-good politician that he was, was probably just trying to get his people together peacefully under his reign. Religion did definitely affect his administrative policies and he was probably just trying to manage it in his way.

So while Din-e-Ilahi is referred to as a religion started by Akbar, in popular literature, it probably wasn’t one at all.



Ancestor worship is of course not a religion in itself but it is definitely an aspect of religion. Going further, we will notice, it may even have been the very beginning – the root – of religions. Interesting, right?

Why (and how) did something so illogical even start?
Who first could have come up with something so unnatural / weird? Worshipping a dead family member, irrespective of whether you did actually love or respect them when they were alive!

It’s interesting how the dead are appropriated these almost luminescent divine-ish powers just after they’re dead. Alive they might even have been dumb and annoying and maybe even evil, but once dead, we make them worshippable.

I said “worshippable” above. The practice is called ancestor worship usually but many greater minds suggest that it is more like “veneration” rather than actual worshipping.


What Does It Symbolize / When Do They Turn To It

In all the cultures practising ancestor worship, this practise is followed with a clear motive in mind – and that motive essentially is well-being of the self, that is, well being of the living family. It is not done just because they are missing the dead family member or because they truly care about their ancestors’ afterlife but because the ancestors hold power over the well being of the living family.

Ancestors, in their travel to their heavenly abode, are now believed to possess powers and affect the fortunes of their living family.

So with their worship of ancestors, the living family members want to keep the ancestors happy because they now hold the power to influence the quality of their existence. And when the ancestors are unhappy, misfortune can come upon the living family.

Some cultures believe that their ancestors actually need to be provided for by their descendants, and their practices include offerings of food and other provisions.

So, the relationship between the living family and the ancestors is clearly a relationship based on reciprocity. The living have to provide for the ancestor spirits and based on that, the ancestors bring prosperity to their living successors.


Similarities among Cultures Following Ancestor Worship

Cool Fact: Ancestor Worship has appeared in all human cultures so far.
That’s interesting and curious, especially because its origins go back further than 20,000 years.

So what are the similarities in all these cultures that follow this seemingly unreasonable practice?

Ancestor Worship is found to be practiced in hierarchical societies rather than egalitarian ones – societies where fathers and mothers hold a superior position, a role of authority, over their kids and these same privileges pass on to the kids when they have their children further.

Many cultures understand this as a way to honour the continuity to life that comes with parents and procreation. One receives ones physical body from ones parents, who take care of the child till he/she is on a firm footing. To respect the parents in their lifetime and after it, is therefore, natural.

Ancestor worship is seen to exist in cultures where hierarchical structures are emphasized on the father’s side, where the father-eldest son relationship carries its own certain nature, particularly inheritance, passing on of family duties etc.

It exists in societies that have strong lineages – where an identity of the family is felt to be important and is continued on for generations.

Societies practising ancestor worship have a general belief in the existence of spirits – that is, life beyond the existence of the physical body. Which is why, they believe that the dead ancestors still have a spirit and can respond to the veneration being given to them by their living family.

Ancestors are considered mediators between the living members and the divine, and thus hold influence over the fortunes of the living family. They are thus, considered guardians of the well-being of the living family, towards whom the family turns for maintenance of their fortunes, and for guidance & knowledge that comes from traveling to the after-life.


Origins of Ancestor Worship / Why It Could have Started

Ancestor worship has been found to be a part of almost all human cultures we know. From China to India, Africa to Polynesia, aspects from ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures, and even among the Mayan culture and the ancient Hebrews.

It first emerged in complex Upper Paleolithic societies, even among the Neandrathals.

In an attempt to answer the questions similar to the ones I raised at the beginning of this post, a few anthropologists gave forth some ideas.

My favourite one is by Edward Burnett Tylor who offered the concept of animism. Animism means a belief in a spirit essence of things that aren’t alive. So basically animism is a belief that everything has a spirit/soul which survives after death. He suggested that at some point, the ancients started believing that the spirit of the ancestor survives even when his body dies.

This could also have been a very early beginning of the concept of religions (but that’s still debated and probably will be for a long time because after all, it is anthropology).

Ancestor worship could have started to support an important social function in the evolution of humans. It is a practise that strengthens, symbolically at least, family as a strong continuous unit. It might have started to foster family loyalty, to honor the continuity of family lineage, and sacredness of one’s roots.

Another possibility is that ancestor worship may have been started by the elites of complex Upper Paleolithic societies who may have used it to establish the idea of familial continuity and thus, the continued claim on superiority and control over other people. (Vincent W. Fallio)


How Has Ancestor Worship Evolved Over Time

Like in any other cultural phenomena (I don’t like this word), local practices continue under the wider umbrella of one sweeping religion or practise, in this case, ancestor worship. While ancestor worship evolved from burial rites in different cultures (and therefore, probably exist in every single culture/religion).

Similarly, under the wider umbrella of ancestor worship, we notice different cultures following vastly different practices. But one thing remains common – like most things human, these practices have been driven more by fear than love.

As we know, ancestor worship definitely revolves around the basic concept that some essence of the ancestor still is alive even when his body is dead. So what does that mean?

That means, that at some point in the evolution of the human brain, we did improve our imaginary faculties to the point that it lead to things never ever seen or possible to be seen – the conception of ghosts.

Herbert Spencer calls it the “root of all religions”.


Forms of Worship It Takes In Different Cultures

You will notice that ancestor worship is definitely about family ancestors and in a lot of cultures and religions, they also extend to sainthoods.

It takes place in three major physical locations: domestic shrines, local temples and graveyards.

In some cultures, people visit the graves of their ancestors regularly or on a special day dedicated to this, leave flowers and pray to them in order to honor and remember them. The All Saint’s Day on November 1 (the day after Halloween) is famous among Catholic Christians for this. Interestingly, Halloween also actually has its origins in the resurrection of the dead – which is why it has its famous ghostly theme (in case you didn’t know).

In the ancient Egyptian culture, the mummification of the dead body was done so that dead could come and receive gifts from their living family after they had entered afterlife. Mummification was a form of preservation of the body and spirit of the dead ancestors.

In the Egyptian culture, the worst fate a dead person could suffer was to be forgotten. So this led to a few practises to keep them alive. One was of course mummification, offering gifts to the dead ancestors, and among others were hiring priests to keep performing rites of remembrance for the dead in order to sustain their spirit. Of course the priests were allowed to keep a part of the rite offerings as payment for their services.

Similarly, some tomb inscriptions requested passers-by to read the name of the dead aloud so as to keep the memory of the dead alive. They could also offer prayers, water or gifts.

Ancient Rome: In ancient Rome, the month of February was dedicated to veneration of the ancestors. It also included a nine-day festival which included purifications and veneration, and also included a practice in which the family visited the grave of the ancestors and shared cake and wine with them as a meal.

In Madagascar, they follow the practice of the famadihana, in which they exhume the remains of their dead family members, wrap the remains in fresh silk shrouds and bury them again.

In Madagascar, they also follow fady – which is to not do what the ancestor during his lifetime did not do or appreciate. Fady is more of a taboo system. By not doing what the ancestor did not like when he was alive, is a way of showing respect to the ancestor and may encourage him to bless the fortunes of his living family. Not following this, may of course, cause misfortunes to befall the family.

They also do minor everyday activities keeping their ancestors in mind. One of them is the practice of zebu, in which they throw the first capful of rum in the northeast corner of the room as an offering to their ancestors.

In China & Taiwan, many cultures understand this as a way to honour the continuity that comes with parents and procreation. One receives ones physical body from ones parents, who take care of the children till they are on a firm footing. To respect the parents in their lifetime and after it, is therefore, natural.

In Chinese and Taiwanese cultures, they have a system of elaborate gifting to the dead because they believe that the living family should try and make the life of the dead in their afterlife very comfortable. You will see things refrigerators, shoes, car and even actual money taking the form of gifts to the ancestors.

In Ireland and Scotland, they have the festival of Samhain.

In the United States and Canada, gifts to the dead often take the form of flowers, wreaths, decorations on the grave in the forms of stone structures or candles, and sometimes even small pebbles as a way to honour the dead. This is followed in Judaism too.


Ancestor Worship Today

Ever heard the phrase “Don’t speak ill of the dead”?
I wonder if it comes somewhere from ancestor worship.

While today you will see these practises being followed, and you may or may not follow them elaborately, do you have any pictures or mementos in your house of your dead family members? *wink wink*




Why a religion?

I am writing this for people who have hardly ever given a thought to witchcraft; who think witchcraft is a thing of the past – things we read about in fairy tales like Snow White; people who think witchcraft is all about obscure magic, something to do with a long hook-nosed evil old woman, looking over some pot on a fire on which she is brewing a potion and right now just threw a live frog into it.

Hang on, people, Witchcraft is a real thing.

But it has nothing to do with an old wicked woman who eats children. (All your stories – Hensel & Gretel, Snow White and all, are misinformed and pure fantasy)
They do not fly on broomsticks.
They do not put poison in apples to kill pretty innocent girls.
They do not mate with the devil.
They do not wish anyone bad. At least, not more than any normal human like you and your neighbour’s mom!

It took me a long time to decide why I should write about Witchcraft on my blog. Can Witchcraft be called a religion?

The very existence of religion is to give some comfort to hold on to in the face of risk or fear.

We are afraid of other human beings. We are afraid of how they may harm us. We are afraid of the future. When something bad befalls us, and we can’t seem to place a reason on it, it’s ‘inexplicable’ things that other people may have done on us. They must have done something bad on us.

Most Wiccans agree that while Wicca is a religion (if you don’t know about it, no worry, I’ll write about it soon. Maybe), whereas witchcraft is only a way of life.

The reason I choose to write about it on my blog is because from every aspect of it, it does fall into a cohesive belief system, deeply individualistic though it might be, can be understood as one body. So what does witchcraft give you to hold on to when you have to face life?

It gives you, you.

So, yes, I will give it the respect of a religion.

When did it start

Witchcraft finds its origins much earlier than most religions today. It dates back around 40,000 years, to the Paleolithic period. It has obviously been growing in its form since then and today, it looks very different from what it did a thousand or five thousand years back. Obviously.

Before it was demonised in popular culture, Witchcraft was also known as ‘craft of the wise’ because it was deep, wise craft practised by the wiser ones in the society, the ones who were in alignment with nature, the ones who understood how it functions and why it’s important, the ones who had the knowledge of herbs and medicines, whom you could turn to for counsel. These were the people highly regarded as healers in the village and community.

These practitioners of witchcraft understood how nature was prime to anything else and there was more to it than we can see or feel. Human beings were only a small part of nature, the wholeness of which was more important than anything else.

Until a 1000 years ago, it was a very common thing for people to go to a witch to seek help for any medical illness or for life- & family-related problems.

What is Witchcraft

The word ‘Witch’ comes from Old English, which means ‘wise woman’.

Witchcraft believes in shaping your reality, the world around you, the way you want it. It may sound manipulative. And maybe it is. Through internal powers, the Witch shapes the external circumstances. So basically, Witchcraft can be fundamentally understood as a path that does give you a reason to complaint — because if you can create your reality, you will create it the way that is best for you. Hence, you are taking responsibility for your own self and you do not need to depend on others to do anything on which your happiness depends.

Witchcraft is power. But it’s the beautiful kind. Not the kind we see politicians manipulating the world for. Or terrorists shooting innocents for.

Because you see, dependence is a powerful tool of social control but Witchcraft disrupts it. When you know that you can shape reality through magic, you have a means of resisting any attempt to make you dependent.

A witch believes in nature. He/She reveres the elements of Nature such as earth, fire, air and water. Fire cleanses. Water purifies. Earth gives herbs to heal. Air is our connection to nature as we breathe it deep in – it is considered a divine blanket by the witches. Nature has always allowed self-sufficiency in humans, a reason for which witchcraft upholds it.

Witchcraft uses the energy of the world through its elements to sustain life on this planet. What’s evil about that?

Witchcraft is a path that promotes an individual’s ability to think, act and do what he decides. It supports and nurtures free thought and will and thus, requires one to be wise, considerate of the consequences and be learned. Witchcraft, by taking from nature, needs a knowledge of the earth and nature. By giving power to create reality, witchcraft is a path that teaches responsibility. We acknowledge responsibility for our own actions – we cherish the success or we suffer the consequences.

Witches have a very strict belief in the Law of Three. The law of Three is that everything we send out into the world will come back to us multiplied by three. Everything. Good deeds we do will come back three times to us in various forms. And so will bad deeds. Even bad thoughts. Therefore, witches, the real ones, would not cause harm to anybody because that would come back even worse (because three times larger).

The nature is divine for a witch. Every single entity within nature is therefore divine for a witch. It’s not just living things like you, animals and animals. For a witch, even a stone by the side of a river is not to be harmed.

Witchcraft is a way of tuning into the energies of life; it is a connection with source energy. Everything is a living thing in witchcraft because it carries a vibration. Everything deserves love, reverence, respect, and protection.

Hence, the concept of sacrifices is not supported by witched. They do not sacrifice animals or even plants.

Witchcraft, therefore, is a deeply loving religion.

It considers one’s human body as divine. And therefore, one must deeply loving one’s own self. It requires removal of all kinds of fear and fearful actions like jealousy and low self esteem. One’s thoughts, actions, emotions, and prayers create energy and vibration. The better these things are, therefore, the better will be the energy that goes out into the world and comes back from other beings to us.

Every witch I have spoken to overuses the word ‘healing’ so much so that it tells what their main obsession and purpose is: healing.

Witches believe that all living things have two parts. An oversoul and an undersoul.

The oversoul is beyond our body and this life’s experiences. It is what we are, who we are, in a forever state. This means that our oversoul has much deeper knowledge than our conscious mind realizes. It is our connection to our oversoul that allows us to have abilities like clairvoyance, psychokinesis etc.

On the other hand, our conscious experiences of this life are through our undersoul, right from our birth. Needless to say, since the undersoul adds to the overall experience of the oversoul, it is a part of the oversoul.

In many Pagan religions, the undersoul and oversoul have been portrayed as lovers -Siva and Sakti in Hinduism, Apollo and Diana in Mediterranean and Adonis and Venus.

That is why, when you connect your mind, body and spirit, miracles happen as the Universe responds to your powers.

There is no dogma or doctrine that dictates witches. They are free. Witchcraft is in fact an individualistic religion.

Modern Witches

It is quite possible for all of us to still believe that witchcraft is a thing of the past. But it’s not. In fact, followers of witchcraft and paganism are rising.

It’s a simple enough path to follow and perfectly coincides with all that we people are worried about these days. Since going to the Sunday masses has not really shown good results over the years, there are many who swear by the witchcraft.

Even today, it is a peaceful and individualistic path. For example, if you’re cash strapped, a simple affirmation or lighting a candle to the Moon Goddess is what witchcraft will suggest you to do.

In fact, every time you see a wish coming true, in witchcraft, you must do a selfless act for someone else as a gratitude offering to the Universe.

These spells or affirmations could also be self-fulfilling prophecies but so be it.


Dependence is a powerful tool of social control. When you want to establish yourself on fear, the first thing you do is take power from your subjects away.

This is the tool that Witchcraft disrupts. Because when you know that you can shape reality, you have a means of resisting any attempt to make you dependent.

It was not until 1000 AD that the practice of Witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and people. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God, was considered as anti-Christian and a heresy.

Witchcraft may have existed thousands of years ago as a protection against the crude forces of nature, at the mercy of which we lived. But when organized religion came in to the market, they couldn’t let such a democratic religion just be. This was so empowering. Of course power has to be taken away from the people when you want to establish yourself on fear.

For sure, some witches might be evil. But so are some priests. Almost every politician. A lot of businessmen. But we still accept them and follow them and revere them.

Claims like witches have a pact with the devil was never logically based nor substantially proved. How could it be..?

In fact, all the historical evidence related to witch hunting and burning clearly suggests that most of those who suffered as witches were just generally antisocial characters who extremely unpopular in their local communities. It’s like that one old aunt that all of us have in our neighbourhood who is always scowling and shouting at kids when they play outside. If we were all living about 300 years ago, we could have said she’s a witch and got her burnt. Sounds good?


Think about it…

Aren’t superstitions also magic and witchcraft in a way?

Aren’t religions – most of which just expect you to pray & hope & donate money – witchcraft too?

Aren’t religions that hope for you to live to please someone obscure never-seen up in the sky witchy too?

Aren’t prayers & japas witchcraft too- just like witches say spells?