Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My God. My Faith.

Early this year, the family planned the trip to Vaishno Devi. Since I was booking the tickets, I had kept my monthly cycle in mind. But when does life go the way you want it to? Life shows its colors and suddenly the otherwise small things become important and jostle for footage in the larger picture!

Turned out, the periods got delayed and the dates to the trip got closer. I hit the panic button. I was worried, confused and hysterical. I asked friends about what I could do. And most of them were surprised about why I needed to do anything in the first place.With much mixed feelings, went to see a doctor to ask her for some medicines that could further delay the periods. She did give me some medicines and I bought those in a conked off state of mind. And then, I thought about it. I remember sitting down, looking at those medicines and thinking hard. Why do I need to take those? What if it has some side-effects? And most importantly, why would God want me to go through all this?

For the uninitiated, a woman is not supposed to enter the temples or religious places when she is in periods. Atleast, this is the belief I was brought up with. And honestly, I followed it to T, without actually questioning. Until that day. I did not want to offend anyone. But I wasn't ok with popping a pill. It was a natural occurrence and when God has given something, She must accept me with everything. I did not bring it on me. I had booked the tickets way in advance factoring all I could have at that time. To my surprise, my mom was against the pills too. That was all the support I needed. I chucked the pills and got ok with the whole idea. The idea of what will be, will be.

Same way, like many of us, there were some days of the week when I abstained from eating non-vegetarian food. Like Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I followed it too without questioning. I knew a Friday was also for Goddess Durga, a Saturday too was sacred to some, then why limit my love and devotion to just three days? And why not all days same? Meat eating or non-meating. To wade away from this one needed a lot of explanation to my mother, who is a staunch vegetarian and doesn't get my love for meat! Some months back, I started following some diet restrictions, and eating a normal omelette in office canteen seemed a wise choice than ordering a burger on any given day of the week. And slowly, I let go of this one too.  

This was one big breakthrough in my relationship with God and my faith in Her. I will call myself religious. A God-loving person and not a God-fearing person. I have always had the most comfortable relationship with religion. I have not read scriptures, but I visit the temple in the house every morning. I don't know the mantras but I love the sound of aartis sifting in my ears around festivals and auspicious occasions. I am very very faithful to my religion and admit to not understanding other religions, but I am just comfortable with the diversity that our country offers. 

Religion to me is being comfortable in your faith, knowing that there is someone watching over you, you can go and ask Her for help in difficult times, thank Her when there is a happy news, know that in the end you are answerable to no one but Her, being friends with Her, let Her into your deepest secrets and you won't be disappointed and just taking Her as one of those support pillars that help you lead a happy life. And definitely not let it blind you, make you believe that only your faith is the best, that if you don't do a X thing, the Gods will be infuriated with you. No. I don't know any other faith, and I haven't read my vedas too, but I am very sure no religion teaches bad, no religion asks its followers to treat others badly and no religion professes violence. Every religion is about tolerance and love. 

I have learnt that just by making people around you happy, not hurting anyone knowingly, doing the right thing and yes, just having a heart is what my religion has taught me. Trust me, eating meat or skipping a prayer fade in comparison to the hurt we cause to the people we love. And no religion prescribes that.  


  1. If only everyone understood that! There is so much one has to face in the name of religion and blind faith that it takes all the trust out of it!

  2. There are some practices which are taught and made to follow right from childhood without questioning their validity in modern times. But I do not like to break the customs but would like to question them not with an intention to prove them wrong but to satisfy my curiosity. this is an off-beat post. thanks for writing and making us think.

  3. Yes, we are brought up in that way and we follow these practices without even questioning.. Fearing the adverse things that might happen lest we do not follow them.. But, then we have to decide for ourselves whether we become a god loving person or a god fearing one..

  4. As a guy, commenting on this might be odd, but I agree with the menstruation and religious activity connect being obsolete. In fact, it is very annoying when there is a big family function and a woman or two refrains from being an active participant because of a biological function. These are our moms and aunts and sisters and spouses we are talking about. I can never be satisfied with an explanation of 'this has how it has always been' for anything. Menstruation could be a big issue in days before the sanitary napkins and cramp medications. But, those days are long gone and the unquestioning obedience to that era's social behaviours should go too. It doesn't mean that what happened earlier might have been entirely wrong. But it means that what used to happen is no longer relevant and hence should be changed.