MY Religion, my place of worship

I remember, I was probably in class 5 when we were being taught about religions and their respective places of worship. I remember sitting through the entire lesson, wondering, what category did I fall into. The teacher droned on, “A Sikh goes to a Gurudwara, A Hindu goes to a Temple, a Muslim goes to a Mosque……. ” and I sat there clueless, patiently awaiting for an exception to all the above ‘groups’, a group of people who would go to all the so called ‘places of worship’; because Every year on Guru Nanak Jayanti, I would dress up in salwaar-kameez, the only pair that I possessed at that time with a small chunni that would hardly cover my arm now, and attend the langar and enjoy chholey-puri, celebrate Christmas with equal enthusiasm as Diwali, cover my head and go to a mosque during Eid-ul-fitr and even rock the cradle of the new-born Krishna during Janmashtami at the Temple. But that option never came. I wondered, I was probably a Sikh, I loved the little pink embroidered salwaar-kameez and would look forward to Guru Nanak jayanti the most so that I could just put it on, but then I thought, I  could be a Hindu too because the mandir (Temple) program for Janmashtami used to go on till 1 am, the only day that I could stay up till way past my bed-time, so it had to be something serious!

The teacher started asking around on what we thought our place of worship was, and when it was my turn I stood up and said, ‘Sikh!’, loud and clear (I couldn’t let go of my special love for the salwar-kameez). The teacher, she smiled at me compassionately, and asked me to go home and ask my parents. I  had frowned at her suggestion, very sure that my parents wouldn’t know either, else, why would they be dragging me around everywhere?  But later, when I had asked mom and she had stated said that we were Hindus (and s0 I got to know how I could stay up till late on Janmashtami), I was upset, I wanted Langar too and gifts at Christmas, but then mom had reasoned, we had Diwali and Holi, the fun festivals. So, I decided, fair enough, I am a Hindu then.

Some wise man who said this

As I grew up, I started questioning the concept of religion. Do we really need it? Why discriminate people on this basis when we already had so many parameters already. Why do countless people get ready to kill someone in the name of religion? On what basis do they put so much faith into an Idol or a book and follow it blindly to the verge of fanaticism? What is the proof that if I hurt or kill a person from another religion, I am guaranteed a place in heaven, even if it exists at all. Religion, I feel, should give you a sense of belonging, a feeling of peace, show you the path and the way of flowing along the stream of life, instead of sparking violent feelings towards others and groupism.

Why does Hinduism have so many Gods and Goddesses that you can hardly keep a track of, the only purpose that they serve, according to me, is that they make our mythology a very colorful read. Neither do I believe in vacuous idol worshiping, people pouring galleons of milk on an idol and causing unnecessary wastage. Like dumping galleons of milk and ghee on pieces of stone and metal would make you better person, instead of doing that these people could just give them to a  needy person who hasn’t had to eat for days, and I guess, an act like this would increase their ledger balance more.  The absolute cacophony of noises at a temple, priests trying to con you out of your money and strange men trying to feel you up in the crowd, how is it even remotely possible that God can be found at places like these. A visit to the temple only makes me squirm uncomfortably, and I breathe a sigh of relief when I get out of one safely.

Religion should be a choice, and not a compulsion. If being a Hindu, I feel more at peace in the Gurdwara, so be it. If I don’t want to follow the rituals of Hinduism, I shouldn’t be forced to do so. If I don’t get any meaning from folding my hands before an idol, I wouldn’t like to be compelled to do so. I will find my own place and definition of peace and righteousness, and whether that comes from Jesus or Allah or Krishna or Buddha or all four of them, please let me choose.

And well yeah, maybe…….




    • Yes I know that, and I really really pray for the day when this will change. But then, at the same we all can make a conscious decision to improve the state. 🙂

  1. A master piece… my thoughts on religion is very much similar to yours IB… Even I find solace in various so called “Places of Worship”. Since my childhood, I was fascinated to Church n Christianity.. that might be because I studied in convent school since very beginning and had that atmosphere of Christianity.. I loved to wear CROSS n owned many too… My best friend is a Muslim, my second closest friend is Sikh… n so on n so…So how does religion comes between us!!

    Killing in the name of religion is not acceptable.. No religion teaches us to kill others.. People have created these “RELIGIONS” for their sake, for their comfort.. I mean I seriously don’t understand why people object when a Hindu wishes to marry a Muslim, Sikh, Christian or vice versa… I mean it’s good that people will get to know different culture, people.. why the heck they create scene… 😦 :X

    Few days back, I went to my home and as a habit I went to Temple. We were given milk to offer to God. As a matter of surprise my sister asked me to take that glass of milk from her as she was not willing to offer that milk. I looked at her startled, smiled, understood n said, Okay!! I respect her n her then decision! I don’t understand, when people say, offer this to god, offer that to god, he wil become happy.. C’mon.. God has only created those things, why will he not like it… you just remember him with pure mind n he’s always there for you!!!!

    • Thank you Neeli for capturing the crux of my thoughts! 🙂 Never let religion or anything else for that matter, come between your beautiful friendship.

      Yes, the orthodox views of not letting an inter- religion marriage to occur is another issue that needs to be solved, sadly people still get killed for it :(.

      And I really liked your last thought, on God creating all the things, so why are some things selectively pure and holy while other things aren’t. I would really like to know the answer to this question. 🙂

      • ya of course… i mean.. there’s nothing in this world created by God which will harm us.. yes! abundance of anything is harmful… as i said, it’s all created by us for our comfort… 😦

  2. Lovely post. One after my own thoughts, I would say. If I had to write a post about religion, it would be exactly the same, word for word. I grew up visiting temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches, all of them. Even Jain temples. They have all given me peace, in different ways. I love going to every one of them in a different way. I love places of worship untouched by commercialisation and by any kind of pressure, where every one is welcome to visit and pray.

    • Yes, I too love the off-beat, untouched temples more, that are far from the madding crowd. 🙂 Bring me more peace, irrespective of the religion.

  3. wow….you just spoke my mind out…I also find this religion very useless although religious apologists come up with some or the other argument to justify the need of religion. ‘Religion should not be forced upon’..exactly….we are humans first….religion is just an ideology….a set of beliefs….it is all in a person’s mind…a person should be free to follow whatever philosophy he wants to follow in his life….or even if he does not want to follow any ideology…..I feel this religion thing should dissolve as it is divisive….coincidently I was about to upload the same quote by mark twain yesterday in my recent blog post ..but somehow didnot do that.

    • Swati, I agree with you too, If someone doesn’t want to follow any religion, they should be free to do that too. And I feel, nowadays, there are people who are coming out of the closet about being atheists. And you should put up or write whatever you feel like, its a free country and more importantly its YOUR blog. If people think otherwise, they can put down their views their own blogs, right? 😉

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