Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Blind faith

Few days back, I visited Lord Shani temple at Shani shingnapur. Shani shingnapur is a small village close to Nashik which has a huge temple of Lord Shani. Thousands of devotees flock to this temple in good faith and offer their prayers.
After parking our car we alighted and  were guided to a puja shop courtesy of a 'kind soul' who helped all tourists. I don't think it was a coincidence that the shopkeeper there turned out to be this kind soul's confidante. But that's not the point here. 
Just to follow the customs of the place, we bought a Puja thali worth Rs 150/-.  How the shopkeeper tried to exhort money from us is another story and I'll leave it for some other day. Suffice it to say that I was totally disturbed by the commercialisation in a place which people revere as an abode of God; these people were openly duping innocent tourists by toying with their sentiments and inciting fear of God. 
When we entered the temple, the first thing that struck me was that most people (including us)didn't really know what to do. So just like the others, we first laid down the coconut at the entrance. Next we poured oil in the designated area which is then pumped via an elaborate mechanism on the idol of the deity thus ensuring a continuous flow of oil. I cannot even imagine how many litres of edible oil is wasted due to this practice.
Finally we offered the "prasad" packet (containing flattened rice and sweet til gul) at the feet of the deity just like others.  After a while a huge pile of these "prasad" packets were accumulated at the feet of the deity. To my utmost horror, the security guard just swept all these away and trashed them!!!
My first thought was , Was this man insane to do something so preposterous? But then I realised that he must be just following instructions from authorities but just imagine the audacity of issuing such instructions.
In India, lakhs of people go hungry, have no food to eat and these people have the nerve to just trash food that could have been fed to many hungry mouths.
I instantly realised the folly of what I was doing and was totally ashamed of myself for indulging in such blind faith.The authorities were not the only ones to blame , people like me were equally part of the crime. Instead of wasting Rs 150/- on the puja thali,  had I offered the same to a poor hungry soul wouldn't my money have been put to better use? Most certainly !!
I have now resolved that never again will I waste money/food items in the name of God. I am not an atheist and neither am I against God. 
But my personal belief is that such unwarranted external exhibition of piousness is uncalled for.And this blind devotion has reaffirmed my beliefs. God doesn't need our flowers, oil, coconut or our money for that matter. Just joining hands and offering a sincere prayer is enough.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

If only.....

If only we had the courage to confront our fears. If only we stopped fearing the consequences of our actions. If only we were able to silence our doubts. If only.....

A lot of "If onlys" but no answers. Yes its true.Many times we give in to our fears. We give our problems a lot of weigtage and consider them to be of a much bigger magnitude than they really are. Our fear of  facing the repercussions of our actions keeps us from confronting our problems for too long and eventually they appear impossible to handle.

Be it a job related decision like job change, taking up/leaving a job, moving houses/relocation or a decision related to the child like school change/diet change,   we fear change.We do not want to move out from our comfort zone. We are afraid of shadows. Our inhibitions lead us to put up with sufferings which we could put an end to if only we had the courage to tackle them. How else can you explain the fact that sometimes people suffering from chronic illnesses choose to endear excruciating pain rather than face treatment/ surgery just out of fear? 

I've had my own apprehensions which caused me a lot of sleepless nights. Fears about exams/studies,  about career, about cooking, and many more. But most of the times I have  been surprised by how easy it was when I tackled my most dreaded fears.

Now that I am a mother, most of my fears revolve around decisions related to my daughter. For instance my daughter had a thumb sucking habit. I was afraid to try something drastic that would make her give it up as I was worried about how she would react. I was afraid of dealing with the aftereffects of making her give up thumb sucking, namely the tantrums, screaming, spending sleepless nights.  I had really given up and thought it was impossible to get her to give it up. But when she finally gave it up , I was surprised at how easy it was.  Just the fear of the repercussions was keeping me from trying.

I guess the really difficult part is making up our mind, of resolving within ourselves to take charge and change the situation. If we are able to do this, half the battle is won. But most of the times, we do not have the courage to take this small step. Our fears pull us back. 

If only we had the courage to confront our fears. If only we stopped fearing the consequences of our actions. If only we were able to silence our doubts. If only.....