The Old order changeth Yielding Place to new Lest one good custom Should corrupt the world Alfred, Lord Tennyson SHADOW BOXING WITH THE GODS is a tour through many traditions and beliefs in the history of Man, to arrive at the truths we recognize today. It is a book of aggressive but persistently rational thought, which deconstructs the beliefs and theologies that have accompanied mankind from the earliest times and often controlled human destinies. While many of these beliefs help people to find meaning to the great mystery of life, they nevertheless crave to be understood in the context of our modern environment. Based on the core truth that the greatest ideas, if carried to extremes, can become ridiculous and hurt people, the book traces the diverse strands of human belief in various civilizations, starting with fantasy and myth-making. Ideas about life, divinity, nature and community, have enriched existence but have also caused mayhem and tyranny through blind beliefs that fed fundamentalism and terror. The Nazi holocaust, the burning of witches and heretics at the stake, the indignity of widowhood and caste practices in India, were all the result of beliefs that overpowered the minds of large sections of people. Today, more than ever before, we are equipped with science, reason and information, to embrace the spiritual and the humane, while freeing ourselves from the clutches of superstition and ignorance – thus achieving a far deeper understanding about our individual and collective existence.