Thursday, 28 April 2016

The God Delusion - 3


This post is all about what I found out about Hinduism. Why spare Christianity or Islam? I cannot do a better job in ripping them apart than Richard Dawkins. There is a list of YouTube links at the bottom of this post that just beat the crap out of them! Bill Maher says "All religions are bat shit crazy" and I totally agree. There is a lot of debunking material available on the abrahamic religions and there is not much on Hinduism. Hence, this post.


Why Bother With This?


Why bother telling everyone about why I do not believe? In India, more than 80% are religious and most are going to discard, some may get angry, few may get swayed and very few may agree. But, I think it is important to bring this to the open to a debate. This will at least condition the minds of the serious believer. When many talk about this, at least a few may try to look it up as well. This should at least help in increasing the tolerance levels of a few people. To me, that is a good enough goal. World is not a good place when people shoot people because they did not like a cartoon. May be it would not have happened if those two guys had met a few people in their life who told them believing does not make anything real. (I am talking about Charlie Hebdo attacks).  I have seen a lot of people unhappy just because of their beliefs. They either do something silly or hurtful based on belief or don't do something which will get them out of their misery. And unhappy people are not good for the society!

Besides, the countries which are as religious as or more religious than India will be the Muslim nations and African countries! Can't be proud of that, can we? The least religious are European nations, Japan, Australia, China, USA and so on. (Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Importance_of_religion_by_country ). You can see the pattern here. The more poor and insecure tend to be more religious. Probably it will be a good idea to start taking care of ourselves than expecting some god to do so.

I shall start with the Bagavad Gita and let us see how "holy" this holy book is. I pick Bagavad Gita because this is sort of the linchpin of hinduism. If this falls, everything else falls. Note that this stuff is going to be boring. Even I was bored when I was writing it.  But I could not find another way! If I don't quote all this and just write my comments, then you will have to look up and verify. It will almost be as good as asking you to believe me! Then I will be no better than the scriptures which just ask you to believe unconditionally.

My intent is not to attack anyone but to just attack the idea of religion. These books make a lot of claims and most of them cannot be proven (how do you prove there is no afterlife?). There are two possibilities here.
1. This book was given by god   OR
2. This book was made up by men 
If it was given by god, it should have zero provable errors and it shall be treated "holy". But if I can find out even a single statement that is clearly wrong, then it would mean this was made up by men. And it puts a big question mark on the un-provable claims. You make a 100 claims, 30 of them are wrong and 70 of them un-provable. Should I discard the 30 and believe the 70? Then it means you already know what is right and what is wrong. Why do you need a book then to tell you what is right and what is wrong? Basically, I'm just saying I can't believe in all your "after-life, heaven and hell" when you also say "sun revolves around Mount Meru which is in the center of your flat earth"!!

I also have to admit a fact. People are not going to instantly stop believing once they read this post. I have given indisputable references, but yet! The believers are still going to come up with reasons as to why my interpretations are wrong. Because religion is just like nicotine or alcohol addiction. We are fed with the lies since childhood and taking it away in an instant is going to be quite difficult. Because the mind is addicted. When I used to believe,  I have defended religion with quite a few! May be this cannot be told to anyone who already does not know it! But when this spark of doubt has occurred, posts like this might help the person to come to a conviction.

Unjust Stuff In Bagavad Gita


Quite often you would hear about the "varna" system in hinduism. It would immediately draw criticism. Then you will find an apologist explaining "no, no! varna is not at all based on birth. According to vedas and blah, blah, it is based on your deeds". Here, I find some verses in gita exactly implying varna is in fact based on birth and mixing of varnas is forbidden.


1:40. In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish; on the destruction of spirituality, impiety overcomes the whole family.


Adharmaabhibhavaat krishna pradushyanti kulastriyah;
Streeshu dushtaasu vaarshneya jaayate varnasankarah.


1:41. By prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt and,women becoming corrupted, O Varsneya (descendant of Vrishni), there arises intermingling of castes!


saìkaro narakäyaiva kula-ghnänäà kulasya ca patanti pitaro hy eñäà lupta-piëòodaka-kriyäù


1:42. Confusion of castes leads to hell the slayers of the family, for their forefathers fall, deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water.


doñair etaiù kula-ghnänäà varëa-saìkara-kärakaiù utsädyante jäti-dharmäù kula-dharmäç ca çäçvatäù


It is sometimes claimed that caste is not based on birth. With verses above, it is quite clear caste is based on birth. And it happens when women become corrupt! Some interpreters say it is "unwanted progeny" not "mixing of castes". Why is the word "varna" present in this verse? What exactly does "varna-sankara" mean? Which part of this word implies "unwanted progeny"? And "mixing of castes" is forbidden as per bagavad gita!! 

The apologists' theory is that you get classified according to your behavior or that you "become" one of the varnas. If that is the case, why prohibit mixing of castes? The progeny is anyway going to "become" something based on his deeds, right? So, why prohibit?

Note that I have no issues with "prohibition of mixing". Who you want to mix with is up to you! I am just highlighting to build my argument for a point that comes later. Here is a thought on this anyway; why did'nt your god create four different species? He thought it was wise to create ONE species and give prohibition rules through books to them? 

3:24. These worlds would perish if I did not perform action; I should be the author of confusion of castes and destruction of these beings.


utsédeyur ime lokä na kuryäà karma ced aham saìkarasya ca kartä syäm upahanyäm imäù prajäù

Note this verse. For verse 1.41, apologists come up with a point that "varnasankara was something that arjuna said. krishna never said anything about it. So gita does not accept casteism". Well, let us assume there was an arjuna and there was a krishna. Now, what does this verse mean? Here krishna says "If I don't do my karma, I will be causing varnasankara and destruction of beings"


3:35. Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear.


çreyän sva-dharmo viguëaù para-dharmät sv-anuñöhität sva-dharme nidhanaà çreyaù para-dharmo bhayävahaù


4:13. The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof, know Me as the non-doer and immutable.


cätur-varëyaà mayä såñöaà guëa-karma-vibhägaçaù tasya kartäram api mäà viddhy akartäram avyayam

So, what varna do the white folks in Europe belong to? What about the Chinese, Japanese and Africans? What varna do they belong to? If Krishna has created them all, how come they don't know about the varna system? Did Krishna create the world or did Indians create Krishna? The simplest reason could be that the people who made up this system (maybe 3 or 4 thousand years ago) had not made contact with rest of the civilizations in the world and thought their place was the whole world. 


6:41. Having attained to the worlds of the righteous and, having dwelt there for everlasting years, he who fell from Yoga is reborn in the house of the pure and wealthy.


präpya puëya-kåtäà lokän uñitvä çäçvatéù samäù çucénäà çrématäà gehe yoga-bhrañöo ’bhijäyate


9:32. For, taking refuge in Me, they also, who, O Arjuna, may be of sinful birth—women, Vaisyas as well as Sudras—attain the Supreme Goal!


mäà hi pärtha vyapäçritya ye ’pi syuù päpa-yonayaù striyo vaiçyäs tathä çüdräs te ’pi yänti paräà gatim


HIGHLIGHT: I CAN TRASH THE WHOLE OF BAGAVAD GITA WITH THIS ONE VERSE
This clearly states women are of sinful birth. Some interpret this as "people born to sinful women". What about people born to "sinful men"? Men are never sinful, is it? Either way, this is anti-woman. Just think why the term "women" is here in this verse!
Another thing stated here is that varna is by birth. I don't have to pick on this point over and over, but just keeping the apologists at check. It is no where stated that you start belonging to a particular varna based on your deeds. So, stop this lie of "it is not based on birth"!


9:33. How much more easily then the holy Brahmins and devoted royal saints (attain the goal); having obtained this impermanent and unhappy world, do thou worship Me.


kià punar brähmaëäù puëyä bhaktä räjarñayas tathä anityam asukhaà lokam imaà präpya bhajasva mäm


16:3. Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride—these belong to one born in a divine state, O Arjuna!


tejaù kñamä dhåtiù çaucam adroho näti-mänitäbhavanti sampadaà daivém abhijätasya bhärata


16:4. Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, harshness and also anger and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna!


dambho darpo ’bhimänaç ca krodhaù päruñyam eva ca ajïänaà cäbhijätasya pärtha sampadam äsurém


Did you notice the terms "born in"? So, by birth it is determined who will become what. What choices do we have then? This philosophy is actually dangerous. What if a murderer thinks "well, I am born this way. I just can't help murdering"!! ?


16:19. These cruel haters, the worst among men in the world,—I hurl all these evil-doers for ever into the wombs of demons only.


tän ahaà dviñataù krürän saàsäreñu narädhamän kñipämy ajasram açubhän äsuréñv eva yoniñu


"Wombs of demons"? All demons are women? No male demon you could put them into? Again, this implies that by birth someone is superior or inferior. Where is the opportunity to "become" something with your deeds?


16:20. Entering into demoniacal wombs and deluded birth after birth, not attaining Me, they thus fall, O Arjuna, into a condition still lower than that!


äsuréà yonim äpannä müòhä janmani janmani mäm apräpyaiva kaunteya tato yänty adhamäà gatim


What kind of god creates and wants you to always think and worship the creator? Narcissistic, cruel, attention seeking and jobless? 


18:41. Of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, as also the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature!


brähmaëa-kñatriya-viçäà çüdräëäà ca parantapa karmäëi pravibhaktäni svabhäva-prabhavair guëaiù


18:43. Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity and also not fleeing from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of Kshatriyas, born of (their own) nature.


çauryaà tejo dhåtir däkñyaà yuddhe cäpy apaläyanam dänam éçvara-bhävaç ca kñätraà karma svabhäva-jam


18:44. Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishya (merchant class), born of (their own) nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudra (servant class), born of (their own) nature.


kåñi-go-rakñya-väëijyaà vaiçya-karma svabhäva-jam paricaryätmakaà karma çüdrasyäpi svabhäva-jam


18:47. Better is one’s own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin.


çreyän sva-dharmo viguëaù para-dharmät sv-anuñöhität svabhäva-niyataà karma kurvan näpnoti kilbiñam


18:48. One should not abandon, O Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke!


aha-jaà karma kaunteya sa-doñam api na tyajet sarvärambhä hi doñeëa dhümenägnir ivävåtäù


Here is where it gets evil. As I said earlier, I can put up with "prohibition of mixing of castes". It is up to the two parties who are "mixing". If you and your bunch wants to remain closed, then do so! No problem! But, don't tell what others should do! (I don't know whether this endogamy is good or bad. It can lead to "founder effect", "population bottleneck" which sometimes is very good and sometimes quite bad. Read about Ashkenazi Jews. Great IQ, but genetically prone to certain serious birth defects! But, let's not digress and let's keep the focus on religion.) 



(Note: This is up held by Chandogya Upanishad V-x-7: Among them, those who have good residual results of action 
here (earned in this world and left as residue after the enjoyment in the region of the moon), quickly reach a good womb, the womb of a Brahmana, or of a Kshatriya or of a Vaisya. But those who have bad residual results of action quickly reach an evil womb, the womb of a dog or of a hog or of a Chandala.)



But, the evil here is, this book says people have to do their duty as per birth! How can you tell someone to take up a certain profession because that is what he is born to do? I am not saying every human being has same skill levels and there is no difference between me and Linus Torvalds. I do agree that some people are dumb and some are smart. It is totally fine if you reject a person for a job because he does not have the skills to do it. But, you cannot take my right to pursue whatever I want to do based on who I was born to. And how dare you classify me? By the way, I'll totally live with all this crap if god appeared in front of me and told me this is the way it is. But guess what, it is not god who told all this! This crap is just made up. Apologists will always come up explanations like "valmiki was not a brahmin, but became one" and many others as well. If you notice carefully, all those would have happened in their stories only. Not in real life. 


Miscellaneous Stuff from Bagavad Gita


3:11. With this do ye nourish the gods, and may the gods nourish you; thus nourishing one another, ye shall attain to the highest good.


3:12. The gods, nourished by the sacrifice, will give you the desired objects. So, he who enjoys the objects given by the gods without offering (in return) to them, is verily a thief.


3:13. The righteous, who eat of the remnants of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but those sinful ones who cook food (only) for their own sake, verily eat sin.

"Sacrifice"!! Here "sacrifice" means yagnas and rituals. So, here it gets very close to abrahamic religions. If you don't do the rituals, you are committing a sin. And I believe this is said by people who conduct the rituals. On top of rituals, it says, do it without expecting anything in return. It is a clear disclaimer to begin with. I guess this whole chapter is so grossly misunderstood to convey some higher meaning. May be they just wanted to say "do the yagnas without expecting results!".

3:14. From food come forth beings, and from rain food is produced; from sacrifice arises rain, and sacrifice is born of action.

Fantastic! Yagnas are needed for rains!

3:32. But those who carp at My teaching and do not practise it, deluded in all knowledge and devoid of discrimination, know them to be doomed to destruction.

4:40. The ignorant, the faithless, the doubting self proceeds to destruction; there is neither this world nor the other nor happiness for the doubting.

7:4. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and egoism—thus is My Nature divided eightfold.

Have'nt heard about electricity, magnetism, gravity, quarks, etc?

9:12. Of vain hopes, of vain actions, of vain knowledge and senseless, they verily are possessed of the deceitful nature of demons and undivine beings.

You created everything and pervade everywhere, but still you could not get rid of demons? Did you create them too or what is it like?


9:16. I am the Kratu; I am the Yajna; I am the offering (food) to the manes; I am the medicinal herb and all the plants; I am the Mantra; I am also the ghee or melted butter; I am the fire; I am the
oblation.


You are the "ghee"? Is that the best you could think of yourself?


9:30. Even if the most sinful worships Me, with devotion to none else, he too should indeed be regarded as righteous, for he has rightly resolved.


9:31. Soon he becomes righteous and attains to eternal peace; O Arjuna, know thou for certain that My devotee is never destroyed!


So Hitler would've attained moksha if he had worshiped you?


10:21. Among the (twelve) Adityas, I am Vishnu; among the luminaries, the radiant sun; I am Marichi among the (seven or forty-nine) Maruts; among stars the moon am I.


Moon is a star? Dude, come on!! You are talking about a lot of serious stuff here. ("Soul" that lives forever, rebirths, classification of humans, yagnas creating rains, how people will still suffer even after death if they don't listen to you) You can't afford to get THIS wrong!! How the hell can you say moon is star and expect them to believe the rest? You guys did not know planets and stars are different? And let's put this into the context of what we know now. There are 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe and each galaxy has approximately 100 billion stars. Among all these, you are "the moon" in this insignificant solar system?


10:23. And, among the Rudras I am Shankara; among the Yakshas and Rakshasas, the Lord of wealth (Kubera); among the Vasus I am Pavaka (fire); and among the (seven) mountains I am the Meru.

One more blatant error. Where exactly is this Mount Meru? And why be so redundant? You have already said everything came out of you. Why keep repeating "I am this and I am that"? There are just so many such redundant verses. If I were god I would be more subtle than this! And this is self-contradictory too. You say everything came out of you or you created everything. Now, why do you identify yourself with one of your creations? You say you are Meru among mountains. What about the other mountains? What is the logic in saying "I'm in everything" and then saying "Among these things, I am this" ?


I guess this is enough to show that there is nothing sacred in this book. It was just written by people just like the bible and quran. Needless to say this is outdated by a large extent. Even apart from these outdated practices, there is hardly any useful stuff from this book. Most of it just says "Come, worship me and I'll give you moksha!". Well, why did you create me first? The advice that "do your duty without bothering about result" is just over hyped. Living like that is like being a machine. If that is what is expected out of us, then why is it not natural to us? If really these gods created us to be like that, then they have made some serious design flaws! Why would you expect something to behave in a certain way when you have created them to behave in the opposite way? Only logical conclusion that we can arrive at now is that these books are just works of human creativity and nothing divine. All of this made up stuff suits no one now! 
"karma theory" as currently explained by godmen seems like a nice principle to live by, but it has its own shortcomings. It lets you believe some divine force will punish a bad act and there is no need for you to act. Instead of feeling guilty about being a coward, you feel righteous thinking "god will punish the bad guy for his karma"! Of course I agree to the point "as you sow so shall you reap". But it is not because of some divine force. It is just common sense to know that if you hung out with drug dealers, then you are likely to get questioned or arrested.



Bhagavata Purana's Theory of Cosmos!


The Bhagavata Purana describes a cosmic model which is just a flat earth and geo centric model. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru). Some apologists say that hinduism does not say earth is flat and in fact it is referred to as "bhu-gol" meaning a sphere. But, then hindu scriptures also say Mount Meru is in the middle or center of the earth (bhurva-madhya). How the hell can the mount be on the surface of the earth if it is supposed to be at the middle of earth? Sphere's center is on its surface? The only way this can be interpreted is that they thought the earth was flat!. What is more funny is, this model is what astrology is based on! Awesome! You should read about rahu and ketu as well. These are the celestial snakes that swallow the sun and the moon and that is how eclipses are caused ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahu ).
There are apologists who will say a lot of things were lost and got corrupted since they were passed on orally and we have to filter the good parts and have to interpret it properly and so on. Just explain me how "moon goes around earth and earth goes around moon" became "sesh-nag holds earth on his head and sun goes around mount meru"? And, why were trying to pass on the "very important sacred" knowledge through chinese whispers? It clearly shows just how dumb people were! Secondly, if you agree that the scripts are corrupt and mangled now, then the only reasonable thing that can be done now is to dump them all. These are just as good as corrupt data and instructions and they are worse than no data and instructions. It is like a computer virus!
By the way, this book also seems to not support democracy. (SB 4.22.45) This says "a kingdom, state or empire must be governed under the instructions of saintly persons and brāhmaṇas like the Kumāras. When monarchy ruled throughout the world, the monarch was actually directed by a board of brāhmaṇas and saintly persons. The king, as the administrator of the state, executed his duties as a servant of the brāhmaṇas."
Awesome, Is'nt it? 


Kshir Sagar


Another thing funnier than "Noah's Ark". When the asuras and devas churned the "Ocean of Milk" lot of things came out and even Moon was one of it!

A Sample from Vedas
Just read the stuff from Yajurveda Taittiriya Samhita (2.5.1). (Four Vedas in English, download this and go to page 772). Basically what has happened is Indra killed some Visvarupa, a brahmana and to acquired the brahmahatya dosha. He distributed this dosha to the earth, trees and women. And since they took this guilt or sin, there are cracks on earth, milk oozing out from trees and then .... women started having menstrual cycles. And menstruating women are untouchable. You are not even supposed to talk to her. Because they are reeking the colour of guilt.


Saivites Vs Vaishnavites


As if the above are not enough, there were fierce fights between Saivites and Vaishnavites on who is the supreme god; Shiva or Vishnu! This continued till the invasion of Moguls and the Europeans after which they had to stand together and face Islam and Christianity. I have not bothered to check who won the fight finally. No one could have because both groups were just arguing about whose imagination is better.

Hindu Astrology

This is another bullshit that must be debunked. Surprisingly it takes only a slight effort. The entire prediction is based on "panchang". Fact is, this panchang (or calendar) itself is outdated. In 1955 under Jawaharlal Nehru, there was a "Calendar Reform Committee". There were some 30 different calendars at that time and Nehru wanted to make the Indian calendar based on science. This committee gave a report and here are some excerpts.


................

The full text is available at Calendar Reform Committee Report .  As you can see, if it had not been for this reform and sync-ing the Indian Calendar with NASA's calendar, we will not even be knowing if the year is over or not. And astrology is going to base their prediction based on this incorrect calculations. I am not saying if the calendar was correct then astrology will be correct. All I am saying is, the fundamental itself is wrong. Then how can anything derived on top of it expected to be correct? Astrology is more of a con job more than anything. You want to be told it will all be alright. And if I tell it with some gimmick you will fall for it in spite of common sense. Have you ever checked if your astrologer got the predictions right for all his clients? Have all the astrologers you met have given the same predictions? 

Things Taken For Granted Now


Here are a few important discoveries that we take for granted now.

1. Heliocentric theory of copernicus - 1543
   Copernican_heliocentrism

2. Gravity - 1687
   Newton's Gravity Theory

3. Electricity, first electric battery - 1791
   History of the battery

4. Germ theory of diseases - 1546 - 1880
   Germ theory of disease

5. Knowledge of viruses - 1892 - 1940 and continuing
   History_of_virology


All these are very very important which were totally missed out by religions. Particularly, the germ theory of diseases. This started only from 1546! Imagine what people would have attributed their deaths to before this discovery! All your rishis, sages, saints and prophets who knew the past, present and future and what not, did not know about bacteria and virus? Well, these guys did not even know the earth was round, what more can you expect?


Finally


The point is, when these things fall apart, everything falls apart. Your brahma, vishnu, shiva, lakshmi, parvathi, rama, krishna, ganesha,  deepavali, dashavatar, ganesh chaturthi, rahu kaalam, yema gandam, rasi, nakshatra, doshas, vaastu, ghosts, temples, poojas, castes, rituals and so on cannot be more true than the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Most of the mild to moderate believers never bother to check. But if you have researched on this and if you are still believing in them, you probably need help. It is just living in denial. Life is easy when you just apply common sense. It is being made so bloody complicated with all these gods and religions. Don't think there will be no morality if there are no gods. It is just plain common sense to know that in a society we have to trust each other and be trustworthy.

Remember that these guys who talk about "soul" and stuff did not even know that it was germs that cause diseases. Germ theory was not accepted till Louis Pasteur gave convincing evidence in 1850s. 


Purpose of the life? For now, may be the purpose of life is to find out the purpose of life! It is very important that we accept the fact that we do not know. If you still thinks gods live on top of Mt. Meru you cannot be helped. Only when we realize we do not know, we will start looking for answers. The best hope is that the future generations may figure out what's going on. The point is here is you cannot hold onto some faith and say "this is the truth and the only truth". That is just plain stupid.

People have been doing this religion bashing since a long time and still religion seems to be flourishing. But my guess is that the end of religion can be expected soon. Just a few years ago, I too have argued in favor of religion. The trigger to doubt and check the facts occurs to each one at different points. But once it occurs, it takes no time. All you have to do is download all the scriptures and check for yourself. 

I have to state another fact as well here. Just check the demographics of atheists around the world. All developed nations will have at least 40% of atheists. This drastic change has happened just in the few decades. France, UK, Scandinavian nations, Japan all have a very high atheistic population. China has more than 50%. A report said religiousness is proportional to the poverty of the country. So, let's face it. Inevitably, people will wake and start dumping religion sooner or later. I feel the sooner, the better. 
I used to be a believer but then it occurred to me to check out the facts. This is what I found out and I just decided to not spend any more time researching about it. Time to move on. There are better things to do with life than worry about religions and rituals. I don't think anyone is going dump religion just after reading this post. But, the facts stated may help my fellow atheists when arguing. May be it will push the cats on the walls too!


References:

Bagavad Gita
     This one is short and simple. Just 154 pages
2. http://www.bhagavatgita.ru/files/Bhagavad-gita_As_It_Is.pdf

    This one it too elaborate. Written by none other than the ISKCON temple guy. 1000+ pages. Double check the translations in this one carefully. You will find euphemisms like "unwanted progeny" where the right translation seems to be "mixing of castes".



Miscellaneous:



    This one has about 1400 pages. I have no inclination to read through it. But feel free to read through and let me know if you find anything useful at all.

2. http://nirmukta.com/2012/01/24/bhagavad-gita-another-critical-perspective-to-consider-adding-to-its-armory-of-refutation/

Funny Stuff

 All the above was quite dry and boring to people not so concerned. But, here is a list of really funny stuff. Needless to say religion is a soft target for all stand up comedians.


Jim Gaffigan - Jesus - Beyond the Pale



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