Finding the right God

My house in a mid-size town in Central India has a temple, facing East. As long as I can remember, the Gods in it have been the same. In the center, is pot-bellied Ganesha (elephant God) holding a sweet in his hand. Known for  removing the obstacles  of life, he is seated next to a rat, his wise vehicle. To his right, is Lord Shiva (the ruler of universe) with a snake coiled around his neck – active and sublime. To Ganesha’s left, are Goddess Durga and Goddess Laxmi – the reservoirs of ultimate power and prosperity.

Every morning, my father used to light an incense; offer a few flowers from our garden and a sugar cube. His chanting, his devotional hymns and his concrete faith introduced me to a multi-dimensional God. Hinduism, the religion I was born in, became my eyes with which I experienced this world – colorful and even fearful; consumed in an eternal cosmic dance of creation, preservation and destruction. Here, the Gods were powerful and charming; they were fatal and they could be experienced if one loved them unconditionally throughout his/her life.

All was in harmony, until I started going to a Catholic school. I was introduced to Jesus and mother Mary in a quiet chapel on the second floor of my primary school. There He was – on the holy cross, with a crown of thorns. At first sight, I developed an instant compassion for Him. In contrast to a bright, Hindu Goddess standing victoriously over the chest of a bleeding demon, Mother Mary was a quintessence of forgiveness. I felt, I could confess anything in Her presence. Every morning, I spent a few minutes in the chapel, downloading my questions. Every evening, I searched the same, in my temple at home.  The answers were different but the feeling was same. I was no longer clinging to one faith or a category of Gods; I was letting in more.

I must have been tender eleven or twelve when I became friends with a Muslim girl. She celebrated Eid and brought delicious sheer khurma to school. She fasted during the holy month of Ramadan which was a new tradition for me.  I watched her determination and perseverance. I observed her self-control. I wondered how her God looked like? Later, when I went to her home and couldn’t find any deities, I asked: “How do you imagine God?”  “In our hearts and everywhere else,” she said.  Moving from several idols to just one was tricky enough; the concept of an abstract God made me infinitely curious and confused.

As years flew, I spread my wings – about faith, rites and religion. I came across Sikhism; I was reformed by Buddhism. I was baffled often and I tasted clarity once in a while. It was a lot of information to process – some conflicting in interpretations but aligning perfectly in essence and a supreme entity evolved from millions to a solemn figure to transcendence.

Till date, I remain a Hindu – it brings mysticism to my world. It has given me a great foundation of my culture and values. And it has made me understand human nature. Yet, whenever, I see a church, I want to go inside, kneel and feel the connection, I established in a small Convent. Whenever, I hear the prayer call from a mosque, I remember my dear friend who made me realize that God is in every speck of universe – willing to guide and ready to love. All  you need to do is to open your heart and see.

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Word Count: 589

Above in response to yeah write #134

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24 thoughts on “Finding the right God

  1. Bravo! This post should be read by those who insist that theirs is the one and only true religion. I am Catholic, but I am fascinated by Ganesha and Lakshmi (my mother has given me her images of these Gods, which now share space with our own Gods in my bedroom). Buddhism introduced me to non-attachment and Taoism helped perceive the ebb and flow of life. Suffism opened by heart. Love the way you write!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and post a lovely, inspiring comment. I have tried my best not to offend any religious faith, glad that you could connect to this post.
      Thanks also for sharing your beliefs and the follow.

  2. I love the open mindedness of this post, and I think it’s great that you’ve embraced all of these religions. I too find it so interesting (even though I wasn’t raised religiously at all).

  3. This: God is in every speck of universe – willing to guide and ready to love. All you need to do is to open your heart and see. I love it! Thank you for this beautiful post.

  4. This is an excellent post! I wish more would embrace the knowledge of various religions. While I whole-heartedly feel it is ok to consider one religion as the true religion, I think we should always be open to learning about all religions.

  5. Wow, this was such a beautiful post walking us through the various transformations of mind that you have regarding Gods and the concept of faith over the years. Wonderful to hear that you have experienced and enjoyed all these various concepts over the course of this small life 🙂

    1. ICM, thanks a lot for stopping by. I believe, with so much diversity, comes a lot of fog. While my scientific mind dismisses everything that is supernatural, I find some solace in the experiences and learning of my childhood. I wish religion was a only a finger pointing to God (as it should be) instead of being dark and manipulative.

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