Faith – it’s good to have some
Last Saturday, I was searching through the Kindle Store to read something. I came across a very very tiny book called “Kind of Hindu” by Mindy Kailng. It’s a very short story of 10-12 pages about her reconnection with the faith, religion and its role in her life. When her daughter was born, she felt it necessary to find out what’s her relationship with her roots, her culture and values which she inherited from her parents. She has penned this very personal journey of thoughts very nicely. I believe at some point in life, everyone takes this path to ascertain their bearings about these aspects of life.
Incidentally, last week, I came across an article by Dr. Anil Awchat about his relationship with faith, rituals and religion in one of his books which I am currently reading. What could have been the chances of me coming across these two similar things back to back? Even ‘Why I am a Hindu’ by Mr. Shashi Tharoor has been on my TBR for many days. This fundamental question about ones identity pushes one on this journey. For some, it’s a conscious choice and for others life forces it upon them. Things which one sees, reads and listens to, shapes the thoughts. Every new day brings a better understanding of oneself. My journey keeps taking me back to the touch points revolving around festivities, rituals and other events I witnessed and enjoyed growing up.
Rituals – Why are they must-haves?
I remember my childhood when we used to recite some chants daily. These chants are traditionally recited in almost every Hidnu household at dusk when the lamps are lit at the shrine at our home. Back in those days, I wasn’t even able to pronounce the words, understanding and knowing what they mean was a distant thing. I was growing happily at home enjoying all the festivities and witnessing my grandfather offering daily prayers and poojas. Whatever piety I had then was just because of these observations and experiences.
By the time I gained a bit of autonomy and freedom of movement, I started my own journey. I used to visit a particular Ganesh Temple or sit in the Kalaram Temple in Nashik. It wasn’t the “journey to search for the truth” at all. These visits just the routines which calmed my mind back then. It led to discussing things with a few of my friends who had this inclination. And the journey continued. Even today, I don’t think I am on THE journey of search. But I read, I ponder and sometimes write about it.
Faith – Fluid and evolving power
I ask the question to myself which Mr. Tharoor asked, “Why am I a Hindu?” And then it goes on and on with many follow up questions. Is it just because I am not born in a family with some other cultural or religious moorings? What do I believe in? Does god even exist? Does my questioning the existence of God make me a non-Hindu? And so on. The search for the answers is still going on. It’s just the beginning. I have even heard that one may take many births to understand the answer to just one of these questions. Learned people say that ancient scriptures have answers to all the questions. Yet, I feel it is difficult to dig them out.
On the other hand, the things which I have a strong faith in are the values and hardwork. This journey has definitely evolved the power of my faith on these things. Today, I find rituals and festivities as a way to reassure oneself. This reassurance is important. I feel they give a sense of belonging as your kith and kin gather around that common thing. And who can ignore the delicious food prepared on the occasion. If you ‘believe’ in being atheist, enjoy them for the food and fun. By the way, being atheist is a faith in a way. So, just chose your way, and be – Faithful.