My two cents on prayers, fasting and blah!

When I see people torturing themselves in the name of offering prayers or thanking God I think they are crazy, they are insane to pierce their cheeks with a needle, walk on a slipper that is made of nails, fast for days together or eat food without adding salt, worse eat food on the muddy ground without a plate they are simply morbid! Now that it is time for me to get married and the alliances do not come my way few reject my profile and I reject few, if both like each other horoscope reject us, quite funny if you ask me! According to the elders around me this is a very depressing phase for me in life, because I am 25 and I am not yet married but then all my friends are married not all, actually but that’s how they say and officially my life is getting disastrous without a husband. So one day I told them that I don’t want to get married at least till I feel the urgency, I am perfectly fine being unmarried besides I totally hate the idea of arranged marriage so it’s just nice this way. Maybe I will find my partner myself.

But you know how stubborn the elders are, they told me to fast every full moon day and the third full moon day I will have an alliance and I will surely get married to him. I said they were stupid and I don’t want to fast, scientifically it is not good for my metabolism and logically, no God said that I should fast if I want to have something quicker in life so I am not going to starve for a silly reason like this, things will happen when it is supposed to happen. My mother is a very sweet woman she never imposed anything on me and that from my childhood. She says you learn from your mistakes and I always did. But my maternal grandmother who is in her 80s was so adamant and she wanted to see her grandchild’s wedding before she died so she played a melo whenever I visited her, I thought fasting was better. So for her contentment more to stop her drama I fasted and it was tortuous! All I thought the whole day was Food, Food and more Food! Finally, an alliance did come I met him we liked each other so much infact we had a thing going on between us from the time we met. I was so afraid that I was going to mess up with my theory on fasting if this worked out, still I was happy. The guy was handsome, well settled, well to be precise he is a typical Indian “eligible” bachelor who satisfied the protocols of both the parents and daughter. Our families gelled so good and one fine day after all the talking the alliance was dropped because of the great great horoscope mismatch. I had to go through a great turmoil, but I was happy in the corner of my heart that if the alliance did not work out it implies the fasting did not work out too. But my granny came up with a totally new conspiracy she said it did not work out because I never believed in fasting and that I insulted God. She said my parents completely spoilt me by giving me lot of freedom and it’s irrevocable now they are going to regret very soon. I couldn’t stop laughing.

In my point of view, these people are masochists. They are so badly obsessed about what they want they are ready to have it through any means and so they can go through any kind of torture to have it in their life. But God never asked you to torture yourself if you wanted to have something, they say God is equivalent to a child, will a child want to torture you? He/She doesn’t even know the meaning of such a word. From a very small age, I was taught by my mother and grandmother(my father’s granny, a very sane and brave woman!) that there is no particular way to worship God, all you have to show is love and affection, and he will surely love you back. So that’s how it has been since I was a child I don’t follow the hard rules they have on the scripts. I just make sure I take bath before praying God and I don’t pray daily, I don’t spend hours together in temples. I go to only one temple that’s in Thiruvanamalai where the mountain is worshipped as God, they say lord Shiva is in the form of a mountain there, and I read in a book that as per science it is a sleeping volcano. The first time I went to this place I saw the mountain I fell in love with it, it was like how Bella was attracted to Edward Cullen in Twilight. The type of peacefulness I get there I don’t find it elsewhere. I walk around the mountain for 15 kms and it is one of the most enjoyable things I would prefer to do in my life. I talk to the mountain like he is my friend and I ask questions to him. If I feel bad I cry to the mountain because I was told that the mountain is Lord Shiva, so I am sure he is listening to me. My mother and I used to walk around the mountain in odd times sometimes in the midnight, sometimes in the afternoon under the very hot sun, we would say the mountain, “we have come from so far to visit you but look what you are doing to us, it is bloody hot and you are not bothered.” Sometimes it rains and most of the times it gets very cloudy that we won’t feel the sun’s heat after that.

When I was a teenage girl I was talking to my dad about God and I found that he is an atheist, strange he married a woman who is a believer and gets offended if someone says God does not exist. He says if there is God why there are so many people suffering in this world. He argues a lot and never comes to any temples. One day, I told him to come with me to Thiruvanamalai just to have the experience of walking for 15 kms, he loves me a lot and so he agreed to come. From then, he never stopped coming and by and by he started going to other temples too. Although he never changed the way he argued he started liking God, he never prays but he visits temples and tries to understand few things about God and his greatness. My friends used to be astonished by the way I pray God, they recite long slogams(prayers) and behave very respectfully infront of the idol in the temple. I just stand there staring at the idol admiring his greatness, most of the time I visit a temple only to admire its architecture as I already told you that the only place I feel the devotion is Thiruvanamalai.

Once my friend pulled me to one of the slogam classes so I can learn few and tell them when I go to the temple with her, I went there once and after that I never turned up. They were asking me to respect God, have fear for him and not treat him like another human being, they said there are fixed timings to pray God apart from that I cannot disturb him it was in contrary to what my mother taught me when I was a child, she said that he is my friend and I can talk to him whenever I want to. I told my friend, my human friend, “I am not coming to your class anymore they are trying to hamper the tight relationship I have with God, they are saying strange things which I don’t believe in.” She said prayer is a way to thank god, to which I said, if prayer is a way to thank god, I can find my own prayer and from then till today I don’t know a single prayer other than Shivapuranam. My mother taught me this when I was in class 10 and she also told me the meaning of it. The slogam is completely about how beautiful God and his creation are and how I as a human being fell crazily in love with him. It is amazing! There comes a line where it says, ‘Eerthenai aat konda enthai perumane’ which means you pulled me towards you with your strong gravitation and you influenced me and my thoughts. She tried to teach me many other slogams but nothing inspired me as much as shivapuranam did she had to give up after a point of time. I told her, “I know one and I know it perfectly so I can stick to it. Moreover, why are you asking me to pray so many Gods? You introduced me to Shiva so I will stick to him we are in such good terms already he knows me well, I don’t want more. You were the one who taught me about the Monk who dug a pit! You are confusing me now.” It is a very beautiful story.

Once a monk goes to visit the richest man in town, he was asked by the servant of the richest man to wait in the service hall as the man is offering pooja to God. The monk waited. After half an hour the servant returned and told the monk, ‘Sir ji is offering pooja to lord Ganesha now, please wait.’ The monk nodded his head. After another half an hour the servant came back and said, ‘Sirji is offering pooja to Lord Krishna now, please wait.’ The monk said, ‘I can wait as long as he wants me to but can you give me a crowbar?’ The servant gives him a crowbar and leaves. The monk starts digging a pit, every time the servant came and told the monk that his boss is offering pooja to another God the monk kept digging the pit. Finally, the richest man finished his pooja and came to the monk when he saw 6 pits in front of his house. The monk had dug 6 different pits. The rich man who was confused asked why he had dug 6 pits to which the monk answered, “You offered prayer to Ganesha, Krishna, Murugan, Shiva, Lakshmi and Durga. I dug a pit everytime you offered a prayer to another God and so they remained as 6 different pits, if you had prayed one single God and have chosen one path. I would have dug a well by now!” The essence is told and done!

She stopped insisting me on praying other Gods from then. It’s like you go and ask for the same thing to all Gods, Ganesha thinks his dad Shiva will take care of it, Shiva thinks Vishnu will, Vishnu thinks Murugan will and finally nobody does because you had gone to all of them screaming for help and they have few devoted people who rely only on them. From then I will go on saying shivapuranam many times a day I say when I am stressed, disturbed or sad sometimes when I have nothing to do I started reciting this slogam and my mind becomes very calm and peaceful. She also taught me 1 more mantra as I would like to say it. Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala is the name of the god in thiruvanamalai and Shiva is obviously Shiva this mantra was told by Ramana Maharishi who was a great maharishi in Thiruvanamalai. I have a bad temper, so she told me whenever you get agitated say this mantra, keep saying it until you calm down. It became a habit that even today if I am nervous my mind switches on this mantra and it starts going on its own without me making any effort.

I never had a specific way to pray God, I talk to him just like how I talk to my friends. I tell him, ‘Hey, I am really upset and you are responsible. Just do something about it.’ Next day, things will be normal. I thank him from wherever I am. He is omnipresent, so he can hear me! I don’t say, ‘Dear lord, you are my savior. Please get rid of all my trouble for me and I will fast for 2 days.’ Then when everything’s fine, I take all the fruits available in the market and coconuts to the temple, break it on the floor and make as much noise as possible and give disturbance to others who are praying for their lives just like you isn’t fair. And if you have ever noticed, God is meditating too so you cannot make noise and disturb his meditation. And please, he’s not a human being you bribe him and he gets things done for you. He has things in mind for you and it’ll happen in its own course.  You can donate the fruits to the poor, not the beggars who are sitting out of the temple, they are lazy and so they are beggars but you can collect the money you use to buy flowers or fruits in a piggy bank and donate it to an orphanage or to the poor near your locality, seeing them smile God smiles. Why do you waste tonnes and litres of milk, honey, water on an idol? Accepted you worship it as God, but why do have to waste all of it by just pouring it on God? A litre would suffice to keep him happy. Those days the kings did it because they flourished, poor people at least had a roof above their head but now it is not the case so now that we are in Rome we should start being Romans. That milk could be given to the kids who have not even seen it, fair enough! Do you remember learning in school? The easiest way to reach God is to help the poor. There is a saying in Tamil, ‘Dhanathil sirandha dhanam Anna dhanam’ Meaning the best way of donation is donating food. They also say, ‘Yezhayin sirippil naan kadavulai kaangindren’ means I see God when the poor smiles. So if you give him the milk that you are pouring on God in the name of abishegam the poor will smile which means God will also smile!

God never asked for bounties, he never said you should starve and put yourself through great pressure to have something in life. God, how do people even fast! My mother feeds me well before taking me to any temple, otherwise I don’t enter the temple I look for hotels nearby go, eat and only then go to the temple. When you fast you don’t think of God you only think about food and shiva lingam looks like pineapple, how will you pray? And I hate to starve. I am not mocking the idea of fasting or the torture people put themselves through to show their love for God, but why are being so rude on yourself? I really cannot believe when I heard people get coconuts broken on their heads, dude! There are great chances for your skull to get broken and then you get a direct ticket to heaven you can meet God there but no coming back! When I say these things people think I am an atheist I talk stupid things. Few even say I am mad! But I think logically and I don’t offend God I offend people for bringing such stupid things in practice. God only asked love and nothing else. Tradition is something written by us and I don’t follow a book, I follow my mother and my conscience. My mother says you can pray God in the way you feel is comfortable I do and I find contentment in living this kind of life I always get things that I wanted and if I don’t I get something better but God has never let me down. I am definitely not an atheist but I just think a little or maybe too much that few think I am nutcase! But who cares! My creator understands…
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25 thoughts on “My two cents on prayers, fasting and blah!

  1. I really loved this post. God is something, which is unique to everyone, and not just what is written in the books. Everyone has their own way of connecting to their Gods. I too feel bad when people do all sorts of bad things through out the day, then go to the temple, be nice infront of the God, and then assume they have been forgiven. I believe, it's better to be 'good' whole day, even if you don't visit a temple in a year, than to be bad and visit a temple everyday. If people start donating stuff, as much as they do as offerings, to the real needy, that would have really helped, and surely, as you said, God would have smiled!
    I really liked the Monk story as well. Great post. I loved it. 🙂

    Ritvik
    http://www.casacio.blogspot.in/

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  2. Wow., beautifully written. Belief precedes everthing, nothing can change, if you have a strong belief within you, about Lord.

    People’ s ways of expressing themselves to God may vary, but you need to understand, be it you- your Mom or Grandma – all of you are bonded by 1 COMMON FACTOR- that is belief.

    I am sure, your Dad also may be believing in some Unknown Force/ Energy – but does not call it God. He may call it Nature or by some other name. At the end of it, we all agree there is a supreme power power – Omnipresent.

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  3. My relationship with God has been a very volatile one too. At times I have begged and cajoled for my wishes to be granted only to be let down and then take it out on Him. At days I would completely flip and be so nice. But it all depends on my state of mind. At the end of the day, I do think there is a power that governs us all – call it Nature, call it God, call it Destiny, call it Luck, whatever you call it its fine. At the same time, I would say people from the earlier generation especially those of our grandparents are a very stubborn lot, its not intentional, but thats how they are. They have grown up with certain beliefs holding on to them steadfast, the rest of the world has changed but for them at this age, asking them to change their beliefs is a little difficult. They wont be able to accept change like we do. They do not question things nor do they like us questioning any of their faith. However, its up to us how we want to deal with it. Reading through your post, I remember being in the same boat myself with my grandfather. But I have learnt that sometimes we can do things just to humour them and sometimes we can just ignore it. If you are hurting yourself in the process, then its not worth it. And it really is up to the individual, those who have faith really do. Those who dont just dont. No point in forcing anyone. Everyone has their own unique way of living their life. I just wish everyone understood that sooner rather than later. I believe in destiny. Whatever needs to happen, will happen and at a time that's right.

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  4. Oh and Yes, my methods of 'praying' are exactly as yours! I dont know any shlokas. More of talking, asking 🙂 Sometimes I write down his name if I feel like. But yeah, I have done my share of pujas and everything but somehow the connection with God has been more in my mind and heart than through the actions.

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  5. So true, my mother tortures herself with all these insane things like fasting, taking cold showers before the break of dawn etc etc in the name of God and when I don't do as she asks she says I'm not God fearing, its silly coz I do believe in God and have my own way of worshipping, ofcourse I don't know too many slokas n mantras but I do it like I can..People who do all this stuff are really crazy according to me and which God says that we should, these things are all created by orthodox people and when something happens out of coincidence after performing some kind of puja ppl blindly believe that it happened becoz they performed a particular puja..its downright stupid if u ask me.

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  6. One of my favorite subject. When i read this blog… it was like this… 'Yanni' I hope you know this composer… In a live concert once in 2006 he said this to his musicians… “I would always be thankful to these musicians for bringing life to my notes…” I say this because i have similar experiences in my life.. It was like seeing my thoughts as very sweetly composed words in this blog… And I don't feel like thanking you because i know that you are always sweet most of the times… In fact i was even called mad, psycho and was even thrown out of the box many times when i start to speak about these things to people.. The thing i find with today's society is people don't have patience to hear all these stuffs.. They just drive their life according to their mind script… When will people start thinking from the third perspective… I have this question as well as a big undisclosed worry in my mind… Great post… Much Appreciated….:)

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  7. Bingo! The talking is what I do too.. Most of them are astonished listening to this, some even fond it offensive. But, I guess its fine talking than bribing him with a condition that we would offer him 100 coconuts if our wish is fulfilled.. :p Nice post!

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  8. Very true.. we are not here if that supreme power is not there..! When we are frustrated the first thing that comes to our mind would be God! Why on earth is this happening only to me!” and so we hope there will be a power that can change our life forever or at least help us get over this trouble that we are in now! That's God as many see it! 🙂

    Thanks a lot for the visit and comment.. 🙂

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  9. wow Deepa ! So true! every word is exactly what I think! First of all, Thank you for being so open and sharing your views with me! 🙂 Very true elders cannot be changed because that's how they are and that's how they have been like forever.. I don't expect them to change either it is just how I feel and how immatured (in my opinion) they are! And yes I believe in destiny! I was not initially but few experiences in my life made me believe in destiny!

    God is like a baby you celebrate him he is always with you and for you.. you forget him he acts like you don't exist but the moment you ask for apologies he forgives you immediately and takes charge that's him.. he is so great.. and wow! Good to know we have the same thought process in this regard! Thank you for the comment! 🙂

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  10. Rads! I cannot agree more and the way you have written the comment I can feel how irritated you are with these practices! And yes I agree, these are things that were written by humans and not God and so it cannot be imposed or forced into us.. because God never asked us to do it!

    Thank you for the visit and comment! 🙂

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  11. Thanks a ton for saying that I am sweet! :)I don't know Yanni unfortunate! 😐 But I liked that line! 🙂

    I generally don't discuss about this with many people because they think I am stupid or they go a step ahead and say I insult the ways people follow or practice to worship God! But why do you want to practice to pray God? It is like every morning you wake up and practice infront of the mirror to wish your momma Good morning! Do you? You don't right? You wake up and say hey ma Good morning or sometimes you just go in search of her and smile that's all! So you don't practice to talk to the woman who is the reason of your existence on planet earth! So why practice to thank or talk to the force who decided to send you here in first place? Very simple! 🙂

    I am happy I wrote what you thought and it's quite strange and cute that your ideologies have not changed over so many years! 🙂

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  12. God, he treats his children equally. He doesnt expect a special treatment. All he want is devotion and love.
    I too never follow traditional routes of worshipping god. I dont offer prayer for days but I never forget him and always thank him. I got this life because him. Its upto me to make it fruitful.
    I do talk to him weirdly at times but he never complains. I know he loves me. He can't harm me. 🙂

    A perfect post Gayathri. Loved it..:) 🙂

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  13. Gayathri, your post was very interesting- some of your experiences sound like mine! But as you have said, rituals and God are two entirely different things. I have seen people praying in temples but cursing others the moment they finish reciting the shlokas! God is something beyond the human imagination but we try to give him/ her human attributes- I mean which God is going to be happy if you missed your lunch? And besides, there is something called destiny which we make with our own hands. If we are good, do our good deeds then we have completed our destiny and God or whatever is that force that guides this world guides positive energies towards us in the form of good deeds. You may like to read a story I wrote in another blog of mine ( I am commenting from the blogspot ID while the fiction blog has a word press id. http://meeratales.wordpress.com). Do visit both blogs when you have time

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  14. yes gayathri, even i have shared few of your experienced. also i do my style of prayers but i do agree there is some power with slokas. But its peoples interest in chanting slokas and all 🙂 But i believe in slokas.

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  15. you ecoho my thoughts in every way…..I go to temple to admire its beauty its magnanimism and architcture….if divinity has ever existed it does so in few good hearts…you have one.it is really nice and wonderful to have read a blog that re empathizes the thoiughts I have and just call out “GO AND LIVE” thanks again…hope to know u more gayathri

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