Friday, August 14, 2009

Lend Me A Prayer...

Wish I could say that this post ends with me having a change of heart and embarking on the path of godliness. But years of disbelief/skepticism in any kind of religious practice don't go away in just an instant. I always say that I believe in God but not in religion. Maybe, because when religion comes into the picture, people tend to forget God, and then religion becomes of prime importance.

A few days back, I visited Haji Ali and Mount Mary Church. This was a very unusual trip for me, because I cannot recall the last time I had set foot in any religious place. As far as I can remember, I have never been to any mosque; I have probably visited more temples/churches. So, I set forth with an open mind, not knowing what to expect.

The first thing that struck on my way to the Haji Ali Dargah was the crowd. As I walked past the hawkers selling brocade sheets to lay upon the tomb, I passed old, young, infants, beggars and even a goat or two. The mosque stands about 500 yards into the waters of the Arabian Sea and the walk leading up to the mosque was simply splendid. Inside the mosque was a different story altogether, jostling my way through a crowd of devotees, trying not to crush a poor infant cradled in his mother's arms and worrying about my wallet/cellphone getting stolen, did in no way make me feel closer to God. Moreover, women were not allowed to touch the tomb, and I didn't feel that having the caretaker swing his peacock feathered broom over me would bring out any devotion in me. In the end, I came out after going halfway into the shrine.

In contrast, the visit to Mount Mary Church fared a little better. It was a lot more peaceful. If I had known how to pray, I would have certainly done so. But I couldn't decide which of my problems needed divine intervention and which needed my own intervention! All I asked for was to let me be strong enough to deal with whatever life throws me my way; be it happiness or sorrow.

As I left the church, I could understand a little bit as to why anyone would want to blindly believe in God, or why anyone would want to stick to prayers/religion as a means to feel closer to God. And as I said at the beginning of this post, this trip didn't bring about any enlightenment in me, but neither did it do any harm. So if any heavenly light were to shine upon me, or if I were to have a paranormal experience, I promise not to be skeptical and to keep an open mind.


ani_aset said...

Dear the trip through your heart to find god would be much easier and peaceful..and will not need you to go through any religion :)
Lord resides within what you will never find outside

Shankar said...

hi..thanks for commenting... hey..actually my blog takes sometime to load... After fully loading you can see the comments in lighter background.... anywayz sorry for that..will try to reduce the load time...Your post is really good..... may be i think you dont find much time to blog...but whenever you write its really good...

Shankar said...

wow..its nice to hear that you visit more temples and churches.... I have been to a church many times..but never been to a mosque..mainly because I get scared whenever i go near any mosque..dont know the reason..but it remains a phobia for me from my small age...

Indian Pundit said...

Hi Sheba

Its all inside you.
Its all inside your head and heart.

Thats where God lives. A man/woman at peace with himself/herself is closer to God.


Nice blog by the way.

Indian Pundit said...

Do your duty(dharma) sincerely and honestly and then dont worry about God.

Just doing our duty will make us so magnificent that God( if there is one) will have no other option but to bless us.

pawan said...

Happiness is best when shared. And the key to get closer to God is to be happy, i.e is to share love and affection with the fellow beings. That automatically develops our spiritual strength!

I have visited a church a year ago, and till date, the one hour I have spent in the church is the most peaceful moment of my life.

As for a mosque, I like the evening prayers ( I don't know what they call it!) and it takes me into a soothing trance. The power of God is felt through the heart but not through the people!

Waiting for more from you Sheba!


mAnIaC! said...

I hope, I don't hurt any1's feeling, when I write these comments! [If I do, just press that DEL button]

Do I believe in GOD? Yes, I do.
However, I defy the fact that he's omnipresent or within us!

He's somewhere distant (may be outside the galaxies somewhere), and has no appearance. I think of him as a slit of light, or like a small STAR.

Everytime, if I go to some temple, church, mosque, or am @ home, I just close my eyes, stop all the thinking procedure, and simulate as if I am traveling there, to him, and finally halt in front of the STAR. And start with "Hi. Just and Just give me the courage to fight all odds. I believe in you". And then I travel back virtually to the real world.

Omnipresent, he is not, he likes that he be contacted, if you need him. Just remember him, is what he expects of you.

And while doing this, its just you and him. In remembering him, you travel out of this world; religion, etc never came in your way!

My thoughts, just an opinion, nothing right or wrong!

Pankaj Upadhyay said...

About me God was someone with whom I loved to talk in my childhood. I never followed the written rules of religion and my parents never forced anything on me so I was the one who was allowed to take decisions. but u know go to Varansi someday and see ganga aarti. Notice the young guys with the thals and notice the glow on their faces. You would be forced to think how can they devote their life to religion and then you will see foreigners dying to see that aarti, that synchrnization of thals movement..You will feel about will..

BTW that was my view and ya one thing even I would love to play tagging game :) Let me know the process to play this game...

I never been to a church and mosque.. I want to go there...lets see sm day

Koyeli said...

I think that God resides in all of us and if we serve mankind, we serve God. I dont think that visiting religious places makes one a better human being. There are people who visit temples, churches and mosques and still commit crimes. However whenever I visit any religious place be it temple, haji ali, gurdwara or church, I feel calm and peace within.

sm said...

good post
god is everywhere and god is nowhere

Whats In A Name said...

Same pinch!!!! :-P Even I dont understand all the religion.. But one thing i really believe in is that there is someone somewhere who looks after all of us..

May be Religions are path ways which if properly followed could lead us closer to almighty. But I dont see anyone who could let me know how should it be followed. Because the people who tell us how it should be followed dont look like being anywhere close to the supreme soul!

PS: On reading whatever I wrote above for a second time, I have realized that its very confusing :-P

deluded said...

the deadly question is-

which one had better foo? :)

Whats In A Name said...

Oye time for a new post now. .:)

Amrit said...

You dint like Haji Ali. Yes..all the pain points you mentioned are very true. Phir bhi..I really liked Haji Ali. is actually more peaceful. How about Gurudwara? I find them very peaceful.

Arslan said...

I too turned back right from the entrance of Haji Ali. :)

Just wanted to inform you that I have belatedly completed your 15-book tag. Sorry about the delay, but I am that lazy. Apologies and the post is here:


As the Mind Meanders said...

I had the same questions... till sometime back... i realized that they were not worth asking... as they don't have answers I can seek... or find... but can only stumble upon... or maybe not...

But that does not stop me from living... or dying... and then I cant care or fear for what I don't know..

Haji Ali and Mount Mary are peaceful... for these are the only places that my fellow-humans fear and behave... there I guess religion achieves one of its objectives... control...

Good post though... you got me thinking... keep writing mate...

Rambler said...

I know, I know, God is inside everyone of us. But, then unless you know how to connect to Him, it doesn't really help. In that sense, I guess religion offers an easy way out.

Oh no, I don't really visit any religious place. This is the first time that I visited after maybe 6-8 years.
Hmm, so you've never been to a mosque, well neither did I until now.

@Indian Pundit
Hmm, so true.
Welcome to my blog and cya around.

The evening prayers are called Azaan I think. I don't really know what they are saying, but it does feel saying. In fact, prayers or hymns sung in soothing tones does feel calming. Its when they come blaring out of speakers, it becomes annoying!

Why do you think you would be hurting anyone's feelings? You are not really saying anything wrong. After reading everyone's
comments, it feels all of us are a little hazy when it comes to religion.And that everybody has their own way of connecting to God.

Oh and I am reading that ebook you forwarded.At first I thought its just 140 odd pages, but later I had to slow down. It requires a little bit of thinking as well...

Rambler said...

I know what you mean. It must feel so good to just believe in one thing. So what's our problem? Is it because we over-analyse things, that its hard for us to feel that kind of emotion?

Oh good, so now I can safely tag you. Its really simple, if you like
reading you might wanna do the 15 books tag. Or if you want something simpler, you can try out the Questions tag.

I don't think I am doing any great job of serving mankind. But I try not to do any bad stuff, and hope that's enough :-).

Nice of you to drop by.

My thoughts are the same, and I agree its so very confusing. That's why I hardly dwelve into that topic.
I believe God exists and he does what needs to be done, and I leave it at that.

Are you asking which one had better food? Well, I don't think either of the places offered food :-).
I think this is your first time here,isn't it? Welcome to my blog and cya around.

Rambler said...

I am not getting time to even answer everybody's comments and you expect a new post from me :-).

Its not like I hated Haji Ali. But I would have preferred a more peaceful and calm place to communicate with God.
I haven't been to any gurudwara. Well it took me almost 6-8 years to visit a religious place, I guess the next trip is due
after another 6-8 years :-).

Oh you too :-). I really wanted to go in, but the crowd and the noise just got to me. In any case, I would have managed to stay in there for just 2 minutes.

Yes, I saw your post..Good collection of books.

@As The Mind Meanders
Well, if you don't have the answers, that doesn't mean that you should stop asking the questions! Well, yea, religion does serve a purpose I guess. But if you take it to extremes, then it becomes a problem.

prithvi said..., do visit it if you can, it has a beautiful discussion on the exact topic, presently i am also myself asking few questions about god, so good luck to you too.........

Amrit said...

Hey...long time no post!! By the have to visit my blog and pick up an award. Its waiting for long time now :)

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