Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Spiritual Journey



I'm a Hindu but I have to admit if you were to ask me to explain Hinduism in detail, I would get stuck after a few sentences. My knowledge in the subject is limited, and I believe this is the same with almost all Indian youth. Then again, I am not generalizing. There will be many out there who might be knowing the Ramayana or the Mahabharata inside out. Whereas yours truly only learned very recently that the Hanuman Chalisa is named as such because it has 40 verses ('chalis' verses).

Last week had me visiting temples. I'm not someone who visits sacred places regularly, but on an impulse I decided to visit a number of them... and even attended few classes by a spiritual teacher. I wasn't there for demanding anything, but I got what I was looking for -- a peace of mind and a feeling that someone is out there to protect me, someone who really cares. I had stopped interacting with God a few years back when I didn't get what I truly wanted. I see the same happening with others around - some stop praying when they lose a loved one, some stop praying when they fall sick, others stop praying when they feel they are being made to suffer too much in life. These are the times when you have to pray the most, because the strength it gives you cannot be described in words. You have to try it to believe it. I have resumed praying again of course but now I wonder why on earth did I stop it in the first place.

During this journey last week, I served food for my spiritual teachers at an ashram, I cleaned up after their meals (using cow dung and water -- in Hinduism, that's how a place is "cleansed", you can get more info regarding this on Google), I learned some prayers, got their blessings -- and finally, felt happy. An amusing thing was that the teacher asked me "Will you be able to clean this place up using cow dung?". I had told him I was brought up in the Middle East and I won't blame him for thinking that I might be just another stuck-up NRI who was a non-believer. It surprised him no end when I took a handful of it and just spread it all over the floor without batting an eyelid. Some might say all this is just superstition, but given a chance I would do this service all over again for that feeling of content it brings to me. Nowadays my days feel incomplete without chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, the Shiv Sandhya Namam, or Hari Bhajanam. I spend half an hour meditating everyday and it's the best thing to do if you feel stressed out quite often!

I haven't yet told anyone about this journey because at this modern day and age, I'm not sure if anyone would understand. Anything people haven't encountered first-hand or don't have any knowledge about is termed as a "superstition". The non-religious people will guffaw at all this, but I seriously don't care. These prayers and services to God give me what I'm looking for - a peace of mind and a feeling of protection. And if you take that step towards God, you will feel the same way too.

17 comments:

Ki said...

A few years ago, I had taken up Buddhism pretty seriously and I used to love chanting - it was just so calming and it used to make me feel at peace with myself no matter what :) I stopped for personal reasons, but I know the feeling you are talking about! I hope you do pursue this path :D

Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth said...

Reading your post transported me to the same place that I had visualized, when I read about what the protagonist did in India in "Eat, Pray, Love". U seem very happy and should continue it irrespective of what you gain or lose in life.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a non believer and no, I did not guffaw on reading about your experience. My viewpoint is that whatever works for different people is fine for each of them. This is a tough, indifferent world(in my view). We take our peace of mind wherever we can find it. If someone says to me, God exists, then they are making a factual statement and I'll ask them about the evidence for such a statement. However if someone says to me that believing in God makes them feel peaceful, then they are expressing their personal opinion. In such an instance, I'll keep my mouth shut. Just thought I'd provide the viewpoint of an atheist.

Amit Pattnaik said...

Indeed, it doesn't really matter what religion one follows... regular prayers and any form of devotional service surely brings one the peace of mind ... a feeling of contentment inside. Sometimes some of us tend to abandon our trust on God when we are disappointed by His plans, but His plans are infallible...always.
But more than getting our wishes/desires fulfilled, when one regularly prays, or even a mere visit to a temple/church/masjid/gurudwara or any sacred place, one definitely starts feeling a sense of an inner strength building up gradually...

☆ Rià ღ said...

Loved the way u hav put it...u sound so like me.

Pria Rao said...

Thats A spiritualistic post!! loved it!! n u knw wht.. i read Hanuman Chalisa almost everyday and I never knew that.. :P wht u feel about god is so true.. keep going and I promise it does give you peace, confidence, strength n wht not!! n last but not the least.. serving humankind is serving god.. n believe me.. if you help someone with wht u have and wht they dont have, that gives you immense pleasure!!

Pooja Mahimkar said...

I was never a spiritual person the puja's and shlok's I know is purely because they were taught to me since childhood. The temples and puja's I usaed to do was purely because I thought it was my duty. When I recently took up spirituality I felt a very good change and I am proud to say that it really help me :)

Sunshine said...

I felt i went on a spiritual journey along with u dhanya.. I had stopped praying when I lost my dad..but somehow resumed it later..
and like u said dnt bother about what people say about your beliefs.. Continue doing things that make u feel happy from within.. :)

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing Dhans. People at some point or the other want to reconnect with God.

I had a deep urge to reconnect when I was pregnant and I have never known greater peace than when I am praying or in his house. :)

All the best on your journey Dhans. May you be eternally blesses.

Pesto Sauce said...

I can understand what you went through...I don't rant about it but I too follow spiritual schools and practices but I can't touch cow dung

simi menon said...

A while back I had lost something which then I thought was all I wanted. I felt it was a god who lead me to it and then very rudely snatched it away from me.
From then on till date, I feel this spiritual disconnect so deep that it hurts to see me sometimes mock anybodies spiritual actions. Of-course not being spiritual just throw about more pain than comfort, it did not answer any questions.

From then on I have been trying to tell myself "this is just a phase and this to will pass"

This was an inspiring read and has in some way helped me feel its not wrong to feel a disconnect and more importantly that it can be turned around.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

After having read your contribution in Chicken soup I was a little intrigued...which lead me to read your blogs. I read a few of them. Pretty interesting and some were funny. This blog on spiritual journey felt like my very feelings were being conveyed by somebody else and it kinda reinforced my beliefs. Prayers have always been a source of strength to me and there was never an occasion where I wasn't shown the right path.

Being Pramoda... said...

I'm not a spiritual person myself.. reading ur post made me understand the importance you give to the things you believe in..

Interesting post I'd say..

Have nice time..

PULKIT said...

peace is acquiring faith. I am happy to read that u seem to have found it dhanu :) stay with it. I agree with u on point of the narrowness that each of us at times display while shedding our beliefs and prayers in anger of our losses, I did that too...and I felt proud that now I am not dependent of things like praying for the sake of my happiness being...but there came a time, when I realize how shallow and vacant can life be without the presence of faith, or the almighty being around. More then anything...I missed someone to talk to, no matter if I was heard or not...but I spoke, I missed those spoken messages, that can be called prayers ...I missed hope!
Religion and faith is evolution prone and dynamic, in nature that point can be taken. But those who feel that awakening is the discovery that there is lack of logic behind it, are truly misguided!

I wrote a post, on my assumption of the god .... I call her/him as "my thou"

http://19goes20.blogspot.com/2009/06/75-deism-of-thou.html

Sorcerer said...

Being closer to God is knowing more about oneself.
The more we discover about ourself the more calm we feel.

Thanks for a nice read.
:)

the_man_who_stared said...

sadly hindu's workship cows and not GOATS !

Arindam said...

Welcome to the world of exploring Hinduism. Wish you peace and enlightenment.