in recent times, but in a different way !
Wiki defines Faith as
Faith is confidence or trust in a person (as in their ability), thing, deity, in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, or view (e.g. having strong political faith) even without empirical evidence. It can also be belief that is not based on proof, or as confidence based upon varying degrees of evidential warrant. The word faith is often used as a conceptual synonym for hope, trust, or belief.
I remember those childhood days, where at every opportune moment, faith in our religion, our Gods, our customs, our myths was being thrust upon me. I rebelled sometimes. “Why should we do namaskaram?” “Does God sit and watch me do it?” “What is the use of chanting all these sanskrit slokas, without understanding the meaning?” “If I don’t apply Vibuthi and Kumkum, why should God hate me?” The questions were endless. Some were asked aloud and some were swallowed with a gulp, for the questions were met with a final glare like “Just do what we say”.
I went around the temples just for the sake of it, wondering to myself if God is watching me do this and if He’ll be happy to see me doing the rounds around the temple. I asked those Gods, the Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu – if they are able to hear me chanting the slokas. Since the meaning was out of my reach, at that age, I wondered what will happen if I am wrong in my pronunciation. Then one fine day, my aunt introduced me to the Skanda Shasti Kavasam, a long long sloka for the Lord Muruga. First, I was attracted to the music which goes along with singing the slokam. The most important thing was the sloka was in tamil, a language I could understand and so when I recited the sloka, I felt like talking to God. And immediately, Muruga became the favorite God. And of course, my paati gave me permission to recite this sloka even during the menstrual cycle. All other slokas were banned to be recited during those times. There was also this thought that if God gave us the cycles and he wants us to recite the slokas, then why not during those times ?? Some questions were never answered.
This Muruga phase kept on for a considerable time as I became more comfortable with the tamil lyrics and that wonderful tune. I thought it was faith that I had in Muruga, that good things were happening to me. I did my college well, got a good job, married a good man…all those good things that happened to me, was the result of my never ending in faith in Muruga, or so I thought.
During the times of handling two little girls and the motherhood demands, I did take a break from reciting the slokas. That faith for my daughters’ good health and happiness was the only thing that I cared about. God was present with me in the form of my girls and that was the only faith that helped me to move on. The good things didn’t cease to happen, even with the break given to recitation of slokas. The realization, which is often quite late, hit me – there are certain things that are meant to happen to me and that they happen at any cost.
Of course, the good things were also followed by a little bad phase. This didn’t mean that the non-recitation of the slokas were taking a toll on me. By this time, I was much matured and started understanding how things happen to us and its all in my mind and attitude to make things happen.
The more positive thoughts that I develop, the more positive are the things that happen to me. Faith meant a new thing now, which is positive thinking.
From a strict orthodox family with meticulous following of the rituals and customs, we have come a long way, where we take pride in doing my paati’s funeral ceremony the Arya Samaj way. Its not the rituals that count, but how sincere we have been in doing it. Amma has been donating to charities every month during paati’s thithi date. Its the faith in the new way of thinking that by feeding the hungry, helping the poor, we find God in that act.
There had been ups and downs in life. But every phase was met with a smile saying “This too shall pass…” There is a new Guru now, who guides me from time to time – my Sai. There are many Secrets and Alchemists to show me the simplest way forward. All in all, there is only one message – Think Good, Help others, Be happy, Do not change yourself for others ! That faith has evolved inside me from time to time and now I feel more closer to the Super power, which sets this world go round.
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” - from Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, J.K.Rowling