Since birth we are guided to spirituality by our guardians and we often believe it without raising a doubt or questioning that belief. Like any other ordinary Hindu kid I was raised believing that God rests in idols, but somehow I could not relate to it. As I grew up, I kept contemplating, and at last I knew that almighty can’t be in idols—something that we humans design with our own hands and then call it God.
Last month I visited world renowned Meenakshi mandir with my parents. I saw a huge queue outside the temple and people mentioned that one needed minimum 3 hours to visit that shrine. Thanks to my dad’s job profile, we were treated as V.I.P and were given preference over others. We were escorted by a security guard and a pujari who took us around the mandir in just 20 minutes. As my parents and sister went around bowing their heads in front of possibly each idol they witnessed, all I saw was the chaotic nature and commercial side of worship.
Thousands of those people were lined to see a deity and the pujari standing near it ensured that no one invests more than 5 seconds in front of it. I wondered how people managed to pay tribute and offerings in that limited time. Meanwhile a man took more than the stipulated time, giving way to hue and cry. The so-called law makers of the temple started giving him a tough time in Tamil. It’s funny to see people travelling from different parts of the country to make connection with God in that turbulent environment.
The convoluted concept of finding God in specific places(s) is hostile to me. We know God is omnipresent, and resides in every minute thing, then why do we need to worship stones, plants, and cows?
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the existence of God. I know that there is a source of energy that makes the world go ‘round’, albeit one doesn’t need an idol to get connected to it. All one need is pure feelings and dedication and once you have that you don’t need to go to a building to offer your prayer but your own home will serve the purpose. I pay my respect to Lord, ask for his forgiveness and make wishes – sitting at work, before going to sleep and even while killing time watching T.V. Somehow I never needed a designated place, time or an intermediary to make that connection.
Does it ever boggle you to think of afterlife? To think what exactly is there and if all that we have heard is true? Sometimes I feel what if all that we’re abiding by is wrong? I was born in one faith and have partially become part of another. Apart from thinking different in terms of monotheism and polytheism, there’re many known difference in the world’s two largest religions, especially on the aspect of life after death. While Hinduism states that our deeds in this life will help us achieve a better life next time, Islam condemns the concept of next life and preaches that this life is a stage for us to perform our best and post this our real life will start.
In a way it makes me curious what it is after death as no one till date came back to let us know. I follow the convergence of both faiths which tells me to be true, refrain from bad deeds, divest negativity, be human and endorse humanity; rest I leave to the unknown.