For the first time I suppose I begin a post without conjuring up a title. Typing a title constrains my frivolity to wander off to subjects I do not intend to discuss or write, which I end up doing anyway. It is not that I am sure of the content I am supposed to be typing, I have thought it all through, if I had my Notebook with me yesterday, you’d have read it yesterday itself, considering I practically lived on a Train yesterday (read: 14 hour journey in toto, to and fro). I had all the time in the world, inspiration brewing, bursts of creativity topped with bounties of sensitivity. For all of you who don’t know me personally, and those who do, but did not access Facebook on the day,it was my birthday on July 12, and I longed for this last year, but I was too busy enjoying my Summer vacation, so I had decided this year I HAVE to do it. Ergo, even before Birthday arrived ( FYI, I’m big on birthdays!) I had booked my ticket, to travel solo. Yes, you read it right, SOLO. Not that Daddy did not have any qualms about me travelling alone, but travelling out of town, in a train, in this country? Well, you get the drill. I did not want any of my friends to know of my travel plans till I sat down and wrote this post, but cyber stalkers, I tell you, they knew ( SOME of them did). I had travelled to Ajmer Dargah Sharif, I am a little bad on its history, but what I can gather from Wikipedia is that it is a shrine that has the grave ( Maqbara in Urdu) of the Sufi saint Moinnudin Chishti. It is more than 900 years old ( I say this because the Qazi told me that the food prepared there for the under-priveleged has not been missed once in the last 900 years since Akbar donated the largest Utensil in Asia).
What compels me to go a shrine of a religion I do not belong to, during the month it ought to be most busiest? Family and THEIR friends thought I am ‘uncontrollable, a little mental to decide to go in the month of Ramadan, to top it off, alone. Well, maybe I am , maybe I am not. But the truth is I wanted to experience this DIFFERENT religion. I have been reading the Bhagwad Geeta these days and religiously watching the Mahabharata with Daddy every evening, and the one question that bothers me ‘ what is so different about other religions? Why are we divided? By books, by Gods, by borders? When MY religions speaks of love, not gracing other Hindus with love, but being benevolent and kind and spreading love across masses, irrespective of their caste. That is what Lord Krishna tries to explain, that Varna should not be decided by birth but by one’s occupation. So what compels us to differentiate?
This is my third visit to the Dargah, the last time I was there, was two years ago, I was overwhelmed with emotions, with the power of the place, with the power of God. I was not in a good place, but being there relaxed me, I knew everything would work out just fine. Not today, not tomorrow, but there is always a day after. There is always Hope. And for when all is lost, there is God. For when all is there, you thank God. My soul has never been enraptured in such frenzy and contentment before. For that I am much grateful to God and my sister, who planned that trip. Please, restrain yourself from tagging me as religious, I am anything BUT religious. I am what I call myself ‘ritualistic’. I run through the motions of Pooja. I do the necessary rites and perform the necessary ceremonies as required of me. To me, following all the rites and rituals is not being religious. Being religious is greater than that. It is transcending to a state of servitude. No, I am not going to go around preaching Buddhism and its tenets promulgating detachment from worldly pleasures. Religion is being a good human being, if we are more the intelligent species we must like it. We must respect every living being irrespective of our differences, our daily lives should foretell tales of random acts of kindness, not to earn brownie points for Heaven, or whatever it is you seek in return, there must be no seeking. ‘Karma kar, phal ki ichcha matt kar’. To me religion is ‘to be good. Period.’
I found solace there once, I went there again to yearn peace. Inner peace as they call it. No, I am not a Mohammden, I am a Hindu by birth, why would God give me peace not in a Temple, but in a Mosque? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. But while praying there, I had the epiphany ( I am a bundle of epiphanies, I notice), that wherever we go, to a Temple, Mosque, Gurudwara or a Church, or every other religious institution, we fold our hands and pray to our God. Folding of hands is a common factor, even if according to you the God is different. We all beseech our God by folding our hands and praying. This is a universal process. We may not understand the other religions’ language but we all do know how to pray. Palm to palm, eyes completely shut, visualizing our God and just one tiny little prayer. We all do it. And we all follow the same pattern to do it, even when demarcated as different religions.
So what compels us? What compels Israel to take innocent lives of people in Gaza? I do not like to take a stand on politics, other than my unabashed concern towards Women Empowerment and Safety in our nation, but this is beyond human understanding. To take innocent lives? To pronounce oneself as superior by oppressing the weaker? Is this superiority or a sham? To disadvantage the already disadvantaged. To try and completely wipe out a nation from the map of the World. The grotesqueness of Wars appall and infuriate me as I stand helpless here.
So what compels us to fight wars in the name of religion? To create these divides? To define who or what is higher and lower or purer by blood? Does the Sun stop shining on this ‘lower blooded person?’ or does this God pull the ground beneath his feet to relinquish him in an abysmal pit? Then why do we differentiate? take innocent lives? Wage unnecessary wars?
My questions keep piling up and I have no answer, but I know, till there is Hope in me, there is a better world than I see. I may be a Hindu, but I also believe in Allah and Jesus Christ and all the magical workings of the Universe. I am but a Human seeking God and his grace.
Like I said, I am not religious, merely ritualistic.
I would like to end my post here, but I would like to thank one special,tiny friend for reminding me why I did this in the first place. Thank you Abhyuday Malhotra, I have something special for you, but tomorrow. 🙂
Till there is tomorrow, there is Hope in me.
P.S.: there is still no apt Title