Narayana! Narayana!

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.

Amen.

Related Posts:

I don’t understand unquestioning faith.

How do women benefit from religion?

Should religion be seen as a personal matter?

Religion Makes Us Kind and Good!?

Some doors are different… they are closed for fifty percent of the population.

76 thoughts on “Narayana! Narayana!

  1. But I thought that sanskars meant good manners and a good upbrigning. Reminds me of the time someone had expressed shock there was no “mandir” in our house- not for our souls eternal salvation, but what if I was married into a religious family. My mother had laughed it off.

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  2. @IHM – Perfecto!!! So well said. Totally agree with you – ‘real devotion lay in doing your duty’. This reminds me of a temple we had gone to once, and the pandit started telling me how, as ‘Brahmins’ God had ordained them to spread belief , blah, blah- I just stopped going there. And as my husband says, ‘if all this puja-shooja were all so great – then India would not be such a impoverished country – given the amount of time, money and effort we spend on various religious activities..’

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  3. brilliant IHM…..
    I have also grown up listening to that story…… about narad….
    yes, duty and dharma Are most important and just going to a temple/church/mosque does not mean that you are religious….
    Brilliant post….. emphasized the point briliiantly…

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  4. Sanskars don’t just mean good manners and upbringing. I really pray you don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m shocked that an Indian would say that…it saddens me because the culture is so beautiful and deep, and to think it’s being lost and watered down is sad….

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  5. I think your friend is right🙂

    1st comment: Sanskars don’t just mean good manners and upbringing. I really pray you don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m shocked that an Indian would say that…it saddens me because the culture is so beautiful and deep, and to think it’s being lost and watered down is sad….

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  6. @Braja I also thought sanskars are basically good values …. If not that … then what according to you are sanskars? I am confused!

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  7. wonderful post. Exactly my views on religion. I don’t know Gayatri Mantra. Does sanskar only mean knowing these chants and praying to every idol? In India there is an idol at every nook and cranny!!
    I really don’t get this closing eyes and praying from the road as soon as one spots an idol or temple. Its just making the whole thing convenient to suit oneself. I think either u do it properly or dont do it all!

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  8. well, whether one r an atheist or a person who believes in god….everything is fine till one doesnt rub his/her feelings/beliefs forcibly on others!!

    having healthy arguments is fine but there is nothing hard and fast regarding anything!

    As for me, samskaras are good manners -like respect for elders etc…

    I feel, the temple system was put in place, so that people who work hard all day can come and relax for sometime in temples or for those travelling from place to place to take rest by some shade…thats y u c old temples by the side of farms/fields or in between two cities/villages!
    It was kept in the name of God so that people would take some time off definitely to think for themselves….It was a wonderful world then I suppose!
    times changed, and as evrythin else, taking advantage of blind beliefs!

    I love to go to temple, mainly coz, the ambience is soooo nice…for that matter, I love visiting a Church or Gurudwara even….to me the name of place doesnt matter but the calmness I feel is what that takes me more often than not!
    and strangely enough [may be psychological] i really find the cool calmness in a temple….i need not be disturbed or worried as a stimulus to go to temple…I just feel more nicer!

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  9. I totally I agree with you (am I getting repetitive??) I seem to be exactly like you!!!
    And he what?? …..wanted Ruffles Lays??!!!
    I have a grouse against any place of worship that slowly encroaches road space!! I have seen many of them grow from a small idol beneath a roadside tree to huge roofs all around the tree, covering vast areas around and no scope for the road running nearby to accommodate increased traffic.
    BTW that story is one of my favorites!
    I am fed up of people asking me whether I don’t do this or that for propitiating the Gods. And in such tones of incredulity!! Why cannot they pray for themselves and leave me alone to my ways?!! Beats me!! I give everything a Royal Ignore!!😛 My beliefs are my own personal matter.

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  10. Even I have the same thoughts when it comes to god.. people who go to temple believes that god is only there.. if they keep their thoughts straight and have peace in mind they can see god in everything.. but they never understands the real values of spirituality..

    I love to go all temples which includes churches and mosques… but not in any particular days and all.. I will go there when I like.. which is now a day in a year.. but that’s enough for me.

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  11. I think both’re essential: good manners, and some knowledge of ancient scriptures/ prayers, what have you… I mean, without that, one day it’d all be dead, so yeah, in a sense, both of u’re right:)

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  12. I think both’re essential: good manners, and some knowledge of ancient scriptures/ prayers, what have you… I mean, without that, one day it’d all be dead, so yeah, in a sense, both of u’re right:)

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  13. Belief and faith, as Shail has said, are entirely personal and only personal matters. If one is comfortable with going to the temple, and spending time in prayer so be it; if not, more so the reason to say So Be It. Somehow the Indian, in India cannot help but express his/her incredulity at such blasphemy :D!

    And Sanskar, means just that. Good manners, Culture, as some people are fond of saying too! And that has nothing to do with mantras or anything else. A good person, would carry his temple within, wouldn’t he?

    Perfect answers.

    Amen.

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  14. Aah! our culture talk. I was also reminded by a distant relative on my last visit to India that her grand daughter can recite shlokas whereas my little one seemed too anglized.

    Sanskar means good values and in my opinion it has nothing to do with shlokas. Even an atheist can give good sanskar to her children.

    Everyone just seem to make their own rule about religion and culture. For some who can go to temple daily; that’s being religious. If her son lives abroad and is not able to go to a temple then there is an excuse for that too but if someone else can’t do the same then comes a culture lecture.

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  15. you give your kids the sanskars you think are right and needed. everyone has an opinion about how you shud bring up ur kids and u cant really do a good job if u listen to everyone!! and yes, you pray when you want how you want and to whichever power u want. you dont need a temple for that. but sometimes i like to go to temples… the not so crowded ones… they have nice vibrations n i like to pick those up.

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  16. Well these are all very personal…so i wont give my comments..nothing is right or wrong…but one thing..well we are all human beings..priest is no exception…so whats wrong if he wants to eat lays? nothing wrong even if he demands more money..family is waiting for him at home na..so i feel one shud not get dejected seeing these people behaviour na..

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  17. sanskar is such a heavily loaded word… i mean what do u mean by it? only gayatri mantras, going to temple and touching feet of elders even if u are like beating up people behind..

    we are full of such hypocrisy

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  18. Loved this post. We are not the temple going kinds, but are deeply spiritual – believe that God is omnipresent, and omniscient. Have been to temples very rarely in India, but never out of guilt or compulsion. Lived in Toronto for six years and visited the temple nearly once in two months.. Reason – to meet up with people of the same skin colour and value system. Also, to teach kids the value of sewa, doing work without expectations of any rewards or compensation …kids prefer to work in a fast food chain to get $7.00 an hour rather than for free in a temple. Are these sanskars??

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  19. @Alankrita I hear similar stuff, my Mom did too … I agree🙂

    @Smitha Absolutely! how, as ‘Brahmins’ God had ordained them to spread belief , blah, blah is just not right!!!

    @Ajit You recent post(s) are what inspired this post🙂

    @Braja I should do a separate post on what is ‘sanskara’ … I am not too clear what sanskara mean…

    @Reema Does sanskar only mean knowing these chants and praying to every idol? I know for sure it definitely does not mean this🙂

    @Sahaja I agree … the temple system was created to create a place that felt like home, a place where you could feel at peace and closer to God. What I dislike is the rigid rules and the power and authority that some priest give to themselves, money and gifts involved. Also many temples including sabrimala are biased against women. And the fact that dalits were (still aren’t?) allowed in temples!
    Sanskars – your definition seems fine.
    And I do agree about a peaceful feeling all temples do give.
    I do not judge my friends and they also don’t seriously mean anything- it is just a discussion🙂

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  20. Beautiful post. My 4 year old was having a debate about the power of goddesses. Grandma said she will give you energy and strength, the 4 year old replied,If you need energy, please eat carrots and other healthy food and go to gym, that will sure give you energy!!
    In turn me and my husband were relieved from the pressure of having a temple in our house!

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  21. @Shail You summed up our (Yes we agree a lot!!) attitude with your last line, it is a personal matter🙂

    @Kanaguonline I will go there when I like. It has to be like this! Can we force faith? I feel there should be open discussions and totally NO COMPULSIONS of any kind attitude🙂

    @naperville mom I agree🙂 But I think anything that is worth lasting will last, if some rituals and sanskars have outlived their time, then no teaching them will keep them alive … somtimes we think anything that is ancient is good… it may not be …

    @Usha Pisharody ‘If one is comfortable with going to the temple, and spending time in prayer so be it; if not, more so the reason to say So Be It.’ I couldn’t agree more!!!

    @Solilo ‘Even an atheist can give good sanskar to her children.’ Absolutely!!And also we also seem to think following rituals is important, “… if someone else can’t do the same then comes a culture lecture”

    @Mandira I completely agree with you!!

    @Sunder Maybe we should be more forgiving … I thought he was a hypocrite he was giving lectures about sacrifice and trying to convince us to let him make our horoscopes. He wanted to make predictions. (We were not interested)

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  22. Hehehe. As Narad-muni would say, “Narayan, Narayan!”

    God is love. Love is hope. Hope is God. God is everywhere.

    At least, that’s something I like to believe.

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  23. Amazing post!Brilliantly puts the point across…Yes, to all that you wrote…
    and two things come to mind immediately…have been hearing them in our home since I was a kid…
    ”mann changa toh katauthi mein ganga”
    and
    ”Kankan Patthar Jori Ke, Masjid Layi Banai
    Ta Chadd Mulla Bang De, Kya Behra Hua Khudai”(Which would hold true for all ‘religions’)

    and some more..
    ”Maala Pherat Jug Bhaya, Mita Na Man Ka Pher
    Kar Ka Manka Chhor De, Man Ka Manka Pher”
    ”Ages have passed whirling the rosary,and yet the mind remains restless,
    Give up the beads of rosary and rotate the beads of the mind ”

    “I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”……….Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, had intended for us to forgo their use.”
    ……….Galileo Galilei

    This time I have nothing else to say except share these because I agree with everything you said..:)

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  24. That “beautiful culture” reaction always makes me want to chortle loudly. You know its like the last argument most people have. The brahmastra as it were. We have a beautiful culture, maybe we need good history lessons. And learn to respect other people’s choices for themselves and their children- not try to use that “ancient and beautiful culture” argument as a strawman to further handed down bigotry. And maybe revise manners and public conduct. And chanting shlokas in a no longer used language , no matter how beautiful has no meaning unless they are understood and their meaning appreciated for the values they impart. And maybe the gayatri is not quite a “value” mantra as much as an invocation. However, am all for chanting the nasadayi sukta( Bharat Ek Khoj used to open with it).

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  25. Oh yeah! From now on, Im going to start saying “Krishna, Krishna”. Well, thats my boss name, Krishna Kumar !😀

    The traffic analysing friends conversation was good, I have had similar conversations too. and the same god that resided in another temple would be totally different in looks !!

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  26. There is definately more to sanskar than just good manners and upbringing, but knowing gayatri mantra is definately not one for them for sure. I think braja is confused with ‘sanskriti’ which means culture.

    “Culture is so deep and beautiful”.Agreed, but more beautiful are basic human values. All i am saying is the priority should be 1) Values (Sanskar) 2) Culture (Sanskriti). But most indians think the other way round, and then start preaching it too.
    We just discovered one of the causes of the mess we are into today, dint we?

    I mean we have a soceity full of people who wana talk about culture but have no basic moral values, Which is why we have netas who are culturally sound but are morally corrupt.Wouldnt it solve almost everything,if they were morally sound, rather?And netas are just example, we know the depth of the problem, dont we?

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  27. You dont know how releved I am! I just read your post and found out that I’m not the only so-called heathen in the country😀
    I have no time for anyone who wants to come between me and my God and tell me how / when / where I should talk to the Big Guy / Gal.
    Love this post! Way to go!

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  28. its all about convenience.. people use heavy words like Sanskar to suit their needs.. how many times have seen orthodox customs being followed under the umbrella of sanskars…
    having said that, i love the Gayatri matra.. chanting it makes me so calm..

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  29. Sanskar does sound like a mis-interpreted word . I remember my grandfather teaching me this , a very long time ago , “If you do your duty with utmost dedication and devotion , then that is your pooja , and you do not have to go to any temple or perform any ritual ” .

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  30. Now that sounds like a conversation I had with a friend some time ago!🙂 All these priest for example, I have zero respect for! When I was growing up the most lecherous person I knew was the priest who came to our house and I was only 12!!

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  31. Hi IHM,

    I remember an incident which could be relevant here.

    Years back, I had asked our community Swamiji about this dilemma. Our conversation…

    Me – “You go to temples and see crass ommercialistaion. A Puja for Rs. 25/- and you get four lines recited and Rs. 250/- gets you fifty lines recited. Does that mean money in my pocket will determine who is closer to God.

    Swamiji – “Why do you go to a temple? To express gratitude and your devotion for some divine power – whom we all, for lack of a better word, call GOD”

    Me – “Yes”

    Swamiji – “Then do that. Sit quietly in a corner and contemplate on GOD. You need not do any special puja for that. However, if you feel like doing a puja then negotiating with the pandit is like any other act of life. Do you not bargain with a porter or a carpenter for any job…..”

    Swamiji – “You also go to a temple to feel the vibrations of the mantras recited over decades and centuries. You go there to feel nice and come back refreshed. Do just that and let not anything else disturb you.”

    There it was crystal clear and I never had my conscienceprick me after that.

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  32. Hey!!!

    God is in the air…or atleast in blog air…Mampi has written about the poor guy and so have you.

    Btw would love to know how your friend describes or defines sanskar?? do ask her and put that in.

    Coz if gayatri mantra be the deciding factor I will be completetly sanskar-less.

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  33. Bang on! What has Sanskar to do with prayers or any of this outwardly actions.
    My SIL does not speak to me but after a Pooja she comes to touch my feet in the name of Sanskar!!
    Talk about hypocracy!

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  34. Well every one has their own way. I believe in God, but I dont remember when i last went to a temple.

    Maybe if the carvings are very nice i do go there… maybe at some hillstations i do go…. I accompany my wife on good days because she wants to go .. I never feel the need to go to a temple.

    At times I have no prayer on my lips apart from a Navkar mantra that I was taught when i was very young. Thank god you also talk in the same vein… I mean would i become A-Sanskari if i didnt know a few bhajans or poems !!!

    I cross my heart when ever i think of God a cousin had a few problems with my crossing the heart. Asking me why !! are you a christian !

    I dont know why i cross my heart, but its my way and i dont want to think of it as to it being symbolic to some religion.

    I actually cant relate to any religion some how !! But I do believe in God.

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  35. yesterday some aunt called up my mom and told her that there is a shloka in GURU GRANTH SAHIB if recited helps to get a person married whose marriage is getting delayed for some unknown reason. i was rrwally wild. not at my mom. she has the best intentions in her mind for me. but at this nonsense of dragging god in to our everyday life and situations and circumstances. if i have to recite a shloka to ensure that i get a life partner, then i really dont know what to say?? you may ask why this comment?what is it got to do with this post above?well i wanted to get this out of my head. so thank you IHM for letting me do it.

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  36. @Monika I agree and anything that we are expected to do invariably smells of hypocrisy.

    @Mr J P Joshi I think it is for us elders to make sure that seva – just like so many other things – is not forced on young people… if they hate doing something and do it, I would rather leave them alone.
    I also feel we have our own causes, I like doing anything related to kids and animals but not religion, or I would gift something to my maids or plant a tree but NEVER have given a penny to any temple.
    I am confused about what sansjkar means …

    @ Sandhya LOL🙂 But actually I just don’t see any need for a temple in the house. And our children do reflect our values!! You have raised a smart four year old🙂
    … and we can learn from kids🙂

    @mamma mia me a mamma – I believe the same!

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  37. I agree with everyone else when they say that sanskar means-good upbringing, good values, honesty etc…
    praying and shloka reciting has nothing to do with it.
    As Mandira mentions, we pray when we want to and how we want to..

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  38. @Indyeah You always enrich a topic with your inputs!!
    I agree ‘mann changa toh katauthi mein ganga’ and with the rest also🙂

    Absolutely brilliant!!! We really need to remember these valuable messages from some wise voices across religions and countries!!
    Thanks for sharing Indyeah!!!

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  39. @D True there is a lot of confision – dharma, sanskar, karma … If only we’d listen to the inner voice telling us what to do🙂

    @Alankrita I agree! It is indeed the last arguement!!!!
    chanting shlokas in a no longer used language , no matter how beautiful has no meaning unless they are understood and their meaning appreciated for the values they impart
    Agree!

    @Sahaja Thanks🙂 Honored!

    @Vimmuuu🙂 And lol @ ‘Krishna Krishna’ :)))

    @Chiki ‘Culture is so deep and beautiful”. Agreed, but more beautiful are basic human values’
    And ‘we have netas who are culturally sound but are morally corrupt.Wouldnt it solve almost everything,if they were morally sound, rather?’

    Yes it would!!!
    Just repeating your wonderful words that sum up succinctly how I (and so many others)feel!

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  40. I know almost all the shlokas, mantras, read all the vedas, purans,geeta and all other available stuff, but still I am an atheist [most probably,I don’t know actually-factually and sexually :)]
    Tell this thing to your friend😛

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  41. 🙂

    woman after my own heart.

    ofcos that doesn’t mean that kearning these shlokas etc will make you regessive. i know you dont think like that, but there are others who do. just the way people who know these things have no right to be on a high horse and judge others, the people who dont bother with it neednt deride it as a useless thing!

    and yet all the “culture = rituals” is wasted if you are not a good human being! and yes, that indeed is the best sanskar!🙂

    cheers!

    abha

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  42. IHM, What is relation between sanskars and shokalas, seriously. Why do we even have to stick to rituals which no more make any sense.
    narayana, narayana, narayana🙂

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  43. To a person who is a lapsed Jaini, this is validation! Yes God does not live in temples or regulates what you eat and at what time. You made me feel great. Thanks

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  44. lol,my latest post is about God🙂 ha I don’t go to temples,in fact i visit them for the sake of architecture only and to observe why we have been doing these things for years..and frankly I have discovered that the methods are more for the comfort..but I don’t believe in polytheism and idol worship…But yes I do chant mantras etc,for language is something special to humans and it sure does have some reactive effect on our body and mind(through observation)..as for teaching your kids..not really unless they want it..I study in Chinmaya Vidyalaya and through out my school life,even when i swore on the whole god thing( i mean the swore as in calling names) I used to chant..and now i am more curious to know the meaning of it all…🙂

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  45. I’m fine with a post which argues against the principle that one should go to temples or learn mantras to prove that he believes in God; But I hope you’re not trying to say that those who do so are wrong?

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  46. I so agree with you – I live in a neighborhood with lots of Indian people. Almost everyone sends their kids all summer long to Chinmaya Mission to teach them shlokas. These same kids are then being forced to recite these shloka in front of all the neighborhood aunties and uncles at weekend get togethers. All the aunties and uncles admire how cute these American Accented Shlokas sound  My kids don’t know any shlokas and people have labeled me as an oddball.

    When asked why I don’t send my kids to Chinmaya Mission, I say that because they don’t want to – as simple as that.

    We also go to the temple twice a year, around my kids birthday – on the nearest saturday because that’s when they have good south indian food in the temple basement kitchen:) I love temples for their architecture, but was totally turned off by the chaos at Siddhi Vinayak in Mumbai, last time I was there. I too like praying when I want to, wherever I want to. I like gayantri mantra because I find it very calming when repeated.
    Great write up IHM

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  47. I completely identify with what you’ve said!! We (who don’t pray the traditional way) are often chided for our lack of culture. I believe praying for that half-second is much much more genuine than labouring over writing ‘Sri Ram Jayam’ 2000 times a day, and allowing the mind to wander across all the family gossip during that time!

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  48. I’m sorry but it’s quite fashionable in India, to denounce things that’re truly Indian…If we don’t appreciate our illustrious past (and that doesn’t include religious rituals), how can we expect others to?

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    • @naperville mom: What do you want to appreciate about our past? the highly discriminative hierarchical society still we live in? Is this you call truly Indian? and why you expect others to appreciate it? Why should i follow the mad rituals? Why should i need a broker between me and god? God can listen to me only through that divine broker?

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  49. One’s religious /spiritual practices/beliefs are so personal that I think it really uncultured to comment on how anyone else chooses to follow or not follow them. if only we could learn to mind our own business, whether it be child-rearing, cooking or religion, among other things:)

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  50. @Sunita Nice meeting you🙂 No you are not the only heathen who does not like anybody between her and her God🙂

    @Iya I agree. Many people find temples and Gayatri Mantra peaceful🙂

    @Rakesh Vanamali Yeah!! But see we have had Kabir and Rahim too🙂

    @Kislay I agree with your Grand Father, mine felt the same ….
    🙂

    @Gopinath’s “Artickles” Thank You🙂

    @Nita The one who asked to be served ruffle lays he spotted on our kitchen counter, looked dirty and undignified -I have heard of too many lecherous ones to place blind faith in any just because they are performing a ritual/ceremony. You are so right!!

    @Mavin Thanks for sharing these wonderful words. I agree of course.

    @Pinku I wish I understood! I have no doubt that she does not know either🙂

    @Hitchwriter And this is another thing, when we talk of God why does it matter which God… and how and even when we pray!!! It should remain a personal decision and it can never be a criteria of how good or bad we are!

    @i am what i am Again this is also very common … maybe in the beginning these were meant to build faith and then we forgot the real intention and meaning … but now all these have become very complicated serious issues!

    @Pixie I feel the same way. More than anything else, it is a very personal thing.

    @Tarun Goel That’s what! KNowledge of a religion is not an indication of faith in God, or faith in God is not a 100% indication of good values!

    @Abha “of cos that doesn’t mean that learning these shlokas etc will make you regressive” but “yet all the “culture = rituals” is wasted if you are not a good human being!”
    I agree🙂

    @Chirag🙂 LOL @ Narayana,Narayana,Narayana :)Chirag this really foxes me, just not able to get it!

    @mirror cracked LOL … but he really was pot bellied and most difficult to respect …

    @Ritu Thanks🙂

    @Vishesh It should be personal, but we Indians are great at making a competition of everything! Devotion to god is no exception😦

    @Rakesh No no I don’t and can’t imply that… I think religion is and should remain a personal matter🙂

    @Pink Dogwood Thanks for your common…. mine is a similar situation !!!

    @Pallavi I agree!! “allowing the mind to wander across all the family gossip during that time!” is hardly the way to be better people!

    @Dipali I agree, these SHOULD remain personal issues!“if only we could learn to mind our own business, whether it be child-rearing, cooking or religion, among other things:)”

    naperville mom – I was not denouncing anything Indian, Narada Muni and Narayan’s conversation is also Indian, Kabir was also Indian … but unfortunately some of our rituals which are biased against women are also Indian. I wrote about it here .

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  51. Good Post IHM, Indian culture is not just temple worshiping or Gayathri manthra. All types of beliefs and rituals and non-believers flourished in India. That is the beauty and plurality of Indian culture. The last temple I visited was the Khajuraho temple and the sculptures there really showcased this point.

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  52. I can definitely see your point of view … you sound exactly like BP (my husband) … as for me … I like visiting the temple to just sit there and meditate in front of God … if you ask me, why not in your house … I could, but there is always some distraction. (in the form of kids or BP)

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  53. Atheism is also “very” Indian, as a case in point, anyone who has read the nasdayi sukta and tried to translate it will know what form of agnosticism I am talking about. the Rig Veda is slightly an older form of Indian culture than some of the newer versions as is the Carvaka school of philosophy. I think most people who get so huffy about religion being very Indian do not really bother to go deeper into antiquity to read the very “rich history” that they try to hard sell to everyone.
    IHM thank you for this discussion.

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  54. sanskar is good values…how would we develop them by reciting shlokas and going to temples? yeah they are very good things to do but not enough to grow with sanskar..you need to instill truth,honesty,compassion by practicing and hoping that your children watch and emulate you!

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  55. A lovely post IHM. Though I am not rigid yet I observe a silent thank you prayer to God whenevr I see a handicapped person for he has made me physically fit, I thank him for the food on my plate and for my child’s well-being. I hate going to temples on the so-called asupicious days when people are pushing and shoving each other to please God. I feel that the belief in a supreme power allows us to stay grounded. I thank him for all the small and beautiful things in my life.

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  56. I laughed at the title of your post. I found the undertones conversations with yur friend funny. I too do not visit temples, nor do I ahve a mandir in my house. But I pray daily and I am a believer, its hard to explain to others and is a very personal thing.🙂

    Btw I do know gayantri mntra, only there are v rare occssions to chant it.

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  57. I like visiting temples because I like the atmosphere there. But not because I believe I will be a bad person when I wont! I go when I need to calm my mind because that is the only place in Mumbai with no traffic😛 Jokes apart, I have private conversations with God as well as my mother who is my guarding angel and relays all information about me to God, PERSONALLY!

    I often have my grandparents say if you don’t pray regularly become an atheist! Which basically tells me if Im to believe in God, I have a set of rules to follow and me being nice has no impact on it! Well, each to his own, I guess! But I am a big believer in Karma and thats how I will be… Temple or no temple!

    Ps. I love your blog. First time visitor and now I’m hooked🙂

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  58. I am a bit confused about your statement about Lays potato chips.

    Was your comment to show the attitude of the pundit (demanded), or his choice of food (Lays).

    If the latter, then that’s a very common attitude as well as misconception people have about pundits and actually sheds a light on the preconceived notions and expectations – sometimes incorrect – that we laypeople have of pundits, probably shaped by our pop media. I’ve heard similar words when people express surprise when they find out that a pundit has a cell-phone or uses a computer.

    Being a pundit doesn’t mean living in the past.

    And for what it’s worth, I’ve seen many pundits who are not pot-bellied. This seems to be another stereotype as well as subtle prejudice that liberals/progressives have of religious people – what has his pot-belly anything to do with his profession? Do doctors never get sick because of their carelessness?

    Indian culture is not about sticking to the past, and is all about accepting changes and moving on with the world – and that holds true for pundits too, as well as for laypeople.

    Overall good post with many relevant points that I agree with.

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  59. @Amrutha I agree ‘you need to instill truth,honesty,compassion by practicing and hoping that your children watch and emulate you!’

    @CA Anything that makes us feel good and harms nobody has to be good🙂

    @Corinne Rodrigues Thank You🙂

    @Charakan That’s exactly what I feel!!!

    @sscribbles I feel the same way🙂

    @kaffir He seemed cheeky and greedy and dirty. We were going to serve snacks (no chips in that, some Indian foods I think) anyway, but he couldn’t wait.
    … he set a bad example for the kids, but in a way good, they will find it difficult to believe anybody trying to brain wash them into respecting someone for anything but their true self.

    @Rashi Anything that makes us be good, kind, honest, ethical is good🙂

    @Poonam Sharma LOL I know the Gyatri Mantra – but like you I find no occasion or need to use it. When I pray it’s never in Sanskrit! But I feel it does not matter, it’s something very personal and there should be no compulsion!

    @Alankrita I am learning something new from your comments!! Thank YOU🙂

    @Chirag No no, Chirag, I meant the idea of having to prove our faith foxes me, I understood and appreciated your Narayan X 3 🙂
    … And btw you ARE very sanskari.

    @1conoclast So you agree with me🙂

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  60. Pingback: Girls these days…. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  61. Wow!!! So very true! I agree with every single words you spoke.

    God is there in our heart…we don’t need to go to temples..and if we dont know gayatri mantra…that does not mean that we are not close to God.

    Like-minded people. High-Five! Yay!!🙂🙂

    😆 Yes, high five and yay for a like minded person!!!🙂

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  62. So true!! Once a friend of my father, frustrated by his unsuccessful attempts to get my father to agree that all religions are good , turned to me and asked for my opinion. His resigned expression was a sight to see when I told him that I didnt believe in ANY religion, simply because NO ONE had ever conclusively proved that their way of praying was the only effective one. And yes, “Sanskars” as I understand them are about good manners and deeds.

    Me- Glad to read your views Monishikha!! I agree sanskars are about good manners and deeds. 🙂

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  63. Pingback: I don’t understand unquestioning faith. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  64. Pingback: “Nine out of ten families in my colony worshipped Asaram like he was Lord Vishnu’s avatar in Kalyug” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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