Being born into a Hindu family and with 3 million plus gods to pray for which one would you chose? I am probably aware of less than 25-30 gods over all but the story goes that the time is divided into 4 yugas, the first yuga was called Satya Yuga, it all about being truthful. No one lied, ergo it is said that all humans from that yuga are considered as gods. Probably the population was around 3 million back then. (want to know more about it – click here).
As a kid, I was naturally confused on which god to choose to be my primary one? (like you would have primary healthcare physician) But, then it never really occurred that I pick some one until I came to high school. I would pray Goddess Saraswathi to impart me with knowledge and wisdom, Goddess Lakshmi for wealth, Dhairya Lakshmi for being brave, parvathi for overall strength, so on so forth..But we had only one god frame in our home. We would visit him in Tirupathi. But, we were not that religious people and it was alright. That god existed and we have to pray. So, I just followed what my family would do.
But, when I entered high school, there came a neighbor that came next door who was so much into strictly following religion disciplinary things. She believed “Saibaba“, I was particularly impressed by it that in our area be it a Hindu, Muslim/Islamic or Christian they would go to his temple. This god has a favorite day as well which I am not sure why this particular day is dedicated for him. I was so influenced by her religious actions, her fasting every thursday, reading his semi-bio-graphy and posting something to shiridi where this person was originated from and receiving prasam in return intrigued me. So I became his devotee, fasting every thursday, going to temple in the evening for aarthi. It was fun, and yet times painful but it also kind of disciplined me by making me rest without craving for any food/activity from outside.
I did so many other such things for different gods at different intervals, and my only purpose was to do well in studies. Somewhere, it grounded me as well. Just praying not studying obviously would not work, the thought of me praying any god at the time of need helped me relax, be at peace in times of difficult or stressful times. I am not sure if the god exists or does not. Just the mere thought of there is some superior power beyond our thinking makes me feel that everything is done as part of greater good. It makes me do my best in my power and for the things that are not in my control, I will leave it to the God (the unknown).
Each and every person in our family had their own favorite god, but collectively we were all devotees and ergo we were disciplined. Which was good to do things on time and had a routine. Going to temple in that mountains also gave me some sense of pleasure. Now, thanks to media showing all the religious activities, temples, priests, horoscopes, astrology – it has only become business and it does not motivate me to visit temple as much as it used to be. Last time, I was in a temple in my home country, the priest was giving his blessings from one hand and with his other hand extended for donations. And the donations were big. I bet he is more rich than any of the devotees visiting. There is nothing wrong with donating, but giving away to priest who is already employed and payed by the government – does this make sense? I feel guilty weather I give or not give to the priest – a catch 22 situation.
So what was your perception growing up? have you believed in any of such things? What is your take?