Tuesday, November 17, 2009


T and I go back a long way. Recently we were chatting about the role of organized religion in our lives and how we both find it hard to participate in it. I am Hindu, T is not and we both have the same challenges relating to the role of religion in our lives. I have always felt awkward at religious ceremonious at a temple and try to go there when nothing is going on so I can just spend some quiet time in front of the deity without having to go through the motions of a puja.

Now that we are both parents, we feel additionally challenged in trying to get our children connected to religion as we feel we must. J used to love going to the temple but after a few times of having participated in an actual puja, she is starting not to enjoy the experience. Whether or not that is on account of my attitude, I definitely blame myself for this change in J. There must be a subliminal sense of guilt about my inability to commune with my co-religionists because I would love nothing more than for J to able to do so.

I have always been awe of those who are conversant with rituals and participate in them with a great deal of enthusiasm. They seem to have something that is tantalizing within reach for me and yet I will never have what they do. It was surprising to hear T talk about the very same feelings. Apparently, it does not matter what the nature of your religion - polytheistic (like mine) or monotheistic (like T's), not being able to take part in it's organized aspects leaves one feeling unfulfilled and even like an outsider. I hope J fares better and different than I have though I am not sure how that might even be possible.


Praba said...

I have missed seeing you heart, on Saffron Tree! How are you doing? There's lot of action going on. Would be wonderful to have you back!! Do drop me a note when you get a chance.



Anonymous said...

It leaves me perplexed how anyone can enthusiastically follow rituals..carry a leather purse, have a leather couch but no don't eat meat, specially not cow's. Don't eat meat on a Tuesday. Don't enter temple if you have your period.
Believing in God is different, how can one believe in brainless rituals and customs.
Not identifying with it makes me feel secretly superior rather than unfulfilled.
But yes I do understand the need to teach all this to children.
Its important for them to feel they belong. I have seen that some stuff such as wearing hijab by choice comes from women who did not grew up with religion and desperately wanted to belong and please in order to belong.


Most of our customs and rituals were laid down by our forefathers/mothers with some sense of sound reasoning and logic that mostly applied to their age. Some still are relevant. Over the time, it has been diluted and mixed with selfish motives of various people in power along the way.
Understanding the reason behind our cultural beliefs and practices can be a very interesting subject to dive into and can really make us proud of certain things we do.