Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sacred and Profane

If you have lived in America for even a few years you can't but help notice the one-line gems that show up of church marquees. While I have never been inside a church, I love this somewhat irreverent call to believers. Being that references to pop culture are rife, the message should get across to a majority of the constituents.

When I compare this with my experience in India the differences are stark. You are taught early on that religion is no trifling matter. The gravitas can weigh you down. This is not to say that we could not have a close, personal relationship with God but when acting as a community reverence toward scriptures and rituals was of paramount importance.

The church signs make me wonder if Hindus may benefit by allowing a certain amount of levity take over their religious discourse. Reading The Art of Living by Swami Chinmayanada in high school was the first time I felt my religion spoke to my condition in simple easy to understand terms.

Not everyone needs or is ready for the esoteric aspects of Vedantic philosophy - I know it intimidated me to a point where faith was no more than ritual observations. I did not dare to approach the charmed inner circle of punditry who understood what it was all about. Gheehappy maybe a step in the direction of taking the Hindu pantheon the way of American church marquees.

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