A friend says during a random conversation, “But you should teach your kids some sanskars.”
Me (concerned) : Have they been rude or disrespectful?!
Friend: No they are good kids that way! I meant they don’t even know the Gayatri Mantra I am sure!
(They do actually, and some other shlokas too, but I didn’t teach them, one of their schools did. )
IHM: Gayatri Mantra? For what?
Friend : They should know!!
IHM: I am not sure even I know the whole of Gayatri mantra … why is it so necessary? I mean isn’t it enough to be honest, help when you can, hurt nobody ... ?
Friend : And next you will say there is no need to go to the temple?
IHM: Well I’d go if there were some Priests there I could respect …and no money was involved, if there were no rules as to how I dress or which days I can go or not go … I don’t need politics between me and my God.
Friend : You go for God, not priests.
IHM: But why go to a temple for God?
Friend: You pray at home?
IHM: I pray as and when .. anywhere. In the car, when I see starving and sleepy looking babies with runny noses being used for sympathy while begging -I pray they are not kidnapped … or the day I drove on the highway, to thank God for fulfilling yet another dream…
Friend : You don’ need peace of mind.
IHM: I pray for peace too.
Friend: Phew. Your children were will grow up without any sanskar!
[She is not rude we are very close, we talk like that.)
Another friend is busy analyzing the traffic situation as we pass a temple encroaching on the road, her analysis stops, eyes reverently shut and hands joined.
I keep humming and driving.
Traffic Analyzing Friend: If I didn’t know you better I’d think you are an atheist!!
IHM: Why what happened?
Traffic Analyzing Friend: Didn’t you see that temple? Shankarji is my favourite God!
IHM: He lives only in that temple?
Traffic Analyzing Friend: You sound like an atheist!
And I am thinking of the pot bellied pandit who was called at our place for a Grah Pravesh and demanded Ruffle Lays (Potato chips) left on the kitchen counter by the kids …
When Narad asked who his favourite devotee was, Narayan named a farmer in a village in Bihar. This really upset Narada because he sang songs of devotion all day, and expected to be the winner of the Best Devotee Trophy.
So Vishnu asked him to watch the farmer in Bihar and Narada found the farmer started his day with a huge yawn saying “Narayana..” and didn’t spare a moment after that from his selfish work for maya-moh (bread wining, routine life etc). So Narad went complaining again to Vishnu who explained that real devotion lay in doing your duty.