Friday, 20 July 2018

Religion and Me

Religion is a very complex subject. It means different to different people. I for one believe in God, to be specific I am a devotee of Lord Shiva. My husband on the other hand believes in a Supreme Power but he thinks God doesn't care about us and is having a laugh looking at us! This is just two people, imagine how many "version" of God exists in this world.

I grew up in a very religious environment. My mom is a full-fledged Hindu practitioner, we used to have compulsory temple visits once a week and on every auspicious day. My dad believes in God too but he doesn't believe in doing anything about it! I don't think he was into following all those rituals but it's not as if mom was giving an option. We also had this ritual of evening puja and each of us were expected to stand when lighting the lamp. Me and dad used to be done praying in like 30 seconds and turn back to see mom giving us disapproving stare. Sometimes I used to just stand there observing the pictures! It's not because I didn't believe in praying, it's because for me there was no fixed time to talk to Him. I was constantly in touch, the moment something goes wrong I would ask Him to fix it, so I keep Him updated.

I remember when I was in class 6, our Hindi teacher asked us to pick "Isht Dev"- to basically pick a deity. Somehow even at the age of 11 it made a lot of sense. Instead of talking to 10 folks, make rapport with one! It was a less confusing too, imagine you are in crisis and you are randomly calling all the names, how do you know who is responsible for you?! That day I went home and stood in front of pooja room analyzing each and every deity. It may sound funny now, but for that 11 year old it was a serious commitment. After a lot of thinking I picked Lord shiva and have never looked back since then.

For me religion is a state of mind. Nobody can make you believe in something if you choose not to. You either believe it or you don't. It's a lot like love. Unfortunately with time my faith in the institution of temple started faltering. Most of the temples are commercialized so much that it's quite disgusting. More popular a temple, more monetized it became. Not to mention the fact that I found it hard to talk to Him at peace with hundreds of people shoving and pushing me! So I like visiting only those temples which are almost abandoned, preferably even without a priest.

Although back then I didn't like the way my mother enforced religious rituals on us, I realize now how glad I am that she did. Because I think, if your parents are religious and you grew up in that environment, there is a good chance you would believe in God too. Of course, there are chances that you will stray away and follow hardly 10% rituals of what your elders used to. But if your parents itself are not religious, most probably you will grow up to be an atheist. And there is nothing wrong with it. But I am glad I could understand all my options. I am glad I could believe in something more powerful because I have often found comfort in it.

I am glad I grew up watching Ramayana and Mahabharata. Even though I still question multiple aspects in them. That I grew up watching those old devotional movies on zee cinema, which didn't look silly back then. That I come from a background where it is not foolish to keep fast. Of course there is no logical scientific explanation behind all these, but I believe that the world doesn't always work in logical scientific way.

It is possible to have perfectly happy normal life without you believing in God, but I still choose to believe in Him. And I can't give an explanation for that because I don't have one.