Religion and Faith
‘Why do they have to scream like this at the top of their voices Dada, is God deaf?”asked a visibly irritated Abhi to his grandfather.They had come for their evening walk in the park. Every day of Abhi’s vacation, they would come here. They would walk, sit, talk and this was the best time of the day to which both of them looked forward to quite eagerly. Dada carrying his well spent eighty years gracefully and Abhi, a young lad of fifteen, with an exceptionally thinking mind, made quite a pair. Abhi always had too many questions to ask, but like most, sadly did not get the right answers. Living in a world of his own, without a gentle and patient guidance, he had developed a mind that was always struggling to balance facts and imagination. He loved talking to his Dada, for his Dada always tried to answer his questions and quite satisfy his curious mind. Abhi was an Atheist and stayed away from any ritual or practice even remotely related to God.Just now he with his Dada, was nearing the temple just outside the park, where people were doing the evening aarti with all their emotions being vented in clapping to the rhthym, singing devotional songs.
Dada and Abhi sat on one of the benches that were cemented along the path. “Does any of them shouting there, really believe in God, Dada?Where is God?If he is omnipresent, as people say, why do you need to do all this to invoke him?Are they all not hypocrites?”burst out Abhi.
Dada smiled and said, ‘Abhi, each one of us has to find what to believe. Faith gives a direction to this search. Imagine this Universe , Abhi. How did it come to existense?Yes, we have many theories to explain that and I have no reason to disbelieve them.God is the term given to the most powerful, unexplainable, immortal existense that is perceived, described, believed differently by different people.”
“But does faith always help? Are all our prayers answered?Do we not suffer?Dada, why should we believe in someone, who may or may not help you?”Abhi argued.
Dada replied calmly, “Exactly for this unsurity, we need Faith. Many things in life happen, to which, we don’t find any answer. So to move on in life, despite these explanations, we need Faith. Faith gives us the required strength to face challenges.”
“O.k. Dada, tell me, what is God to you?”Abhi quipped.
Said Dada, “God for me is the everpowerful, omnipresent creator who keeps looking at us every moment through the day, guiding us, supporting us, talking to us.”
“And how do you worship him?”Abhi wanted to know.
“By living and nurturing life to the best of my capabilities, for Life is His gift to us and I value it to the fullest, to show my faith and gratitude in Him. This is Religion to me. Worshipping Him is to keep bettering myself to make my life as beautiful as I can, in as many ways, to love all and to be of help to others,”Dada replied with overwhelming love in his voice.
“But Dada, is this the religion followed by others?” wondered Abhi as if speaking aloud.
“I do not understand any other religion, Abhi. My faith has shaped my life and presented such a beautiful world to me that there is no room to question it.”came Dada’s reply.
“What is the need for practising rituals then”Abhi asked thoughtfully.
“Rituals just reinforce Faith in us. So rituals that do not lead to fanatism and do not harm others, can be practised to keep us stuck to our faith” answered Dada as he stood up to leave.
It was pretty dark by now.The cold winter evening had suddenly set upon. A chilling breeze shook them up. Abhi got up and held his Dada’s hand.
“Dada, I love you a lot. I miss you and our talks, when I’m away.”
Dada with love welling up in his eyes said, “I love you too, Abhi. I feel very lonely,when you are away.”
God looked down smilingly on the two walking back home.