Where is Your Devotion?

Sugar and Spice ,as usual ,wrote an absolutely amazing post on God

She often comes up with posts that make me think

do I believe in God?

Yes yes of course I do believe there is someone above there who takes care of us…

I go to the temple every saturday..well almost every Saturday…and when I pray sincerely for someone, it works..but when I pray for myself it doesnt..gah!

anyways but I am not religious..if you know what I mean…I believe in God, but not in the rituals..

When RD and I met, I asked him if he was religious…he said no…but I realise he is…upto a certain extent..for him lighting the lamp or saying a prayer in the morning is important..for me honestly, it isnt…I dont care if I miss it some days..he does…well one good thing is we never force each other views on one another..you want to light the lamp…you do it…if he asks why the lamp is not lit and I shrug my shoulders, he tells me to light it..and if I dont, ..he just does it himself..

When he goes to Sabari Malai, we both follow the vratam…more because its just easy for me…I wouldnt do the cooking twice..one without onions and one with onions..so I just follow it for my ease..but again, if I feel like eating maggi..I do it..or if I go out with friends…I eat whatever…then I dont think, oh RD is going to Malai so I should also follow..

Infact, to be very honest, I am not sure of my views on the entire Malai thing..A belief that doesnt allow women to enter the temple…I am not sure how much I believe in that God (In Sabari malai women of the menstruating age are not allowed!)

Again RD goes to the Malai every year…I dont stop him, he doesnt expect me to follow anything which needs to be done during the Vratam…

We are just practical that ways..and we respect each other’s views

My parents are pretty non-religious..at least my dad is..I dont think he even went to temples till he got married to Amma….

Amma on the other hand is very practically religious…(I should patent this word)

She is not like my Patty, who got up early on festival days and make prasadam before the sun rose or something,..she does have her prasadams done but she is okie with it being later in the day..she never forces my bhabhi to do anything..infact I think my bhabhi is more religious than amma 🙂 and often tells amma to do this for this God yaada yaada 🙂

RD’s side is very religious…my MIL doesnt enter the kitchen without a bath, she doesnt drink her coffee till her prayers are done..she does some 100 upvas in an year including santoshi mata every Friday and stuff….she is very particular about the way a certain food item for God should be made, not touching anything else, etc etc…

She tried asking me to keep Tulsi for God every thursday or put unboiled milk to God everyday..but I dont do it..and now she has stopped asking me..she does it when she is around and she knows I dont do it..but she doesnt force me into anything..and I definitely respect her for that…

Another thing is horoscopes…I just dont believe in them….I dont think I ever will..though I must admit that RD and I had our horoscopes matched before our parents went further…in my family the horoscope was matched more because of my patty (my mom’s mother) who is the only living grandparent I have, wanted it to be done..my dad doesnt believe in it one bit and ma doesnt bother either…

But since Patty was keen and I wasnt finding a guy for myself (much to my parents worry!) we decided to check horoscopes and stuff…

RD, on the other hand, does  believe in horoscopes..My MIL goes to an astrologer in Calcutta and often gets our horoscopes checked…you know, why we are having such a problem, etc etc…while RD believes, I dont..infact the last time we were there, MIL and RD went to him, while R and I shopped at Lake Gardens heehe 🙂

he does the needful and I dont..again he never pushes me and I dont stop him…both of us believe in ‘live and let live’

and again my MIL has stopped suggesting that I do certain things like pray to this God or do this pooja as the astrologer suggests..she has understood that I dont believe. Period. Full Stop.
I  have no issues with people who do rituals or do elaborate poojas..to each his/her own..but then I do get bugged when people start expecting, forcing their views on others…

like, you HAVE to have a bath before you enter the kitchen or you HAVE to pray to this God on Wednesdays, ..boss, mera God, meri Prayers..why do I listen to you?

But again, I have a question, if you dont believe in a particular ritual, will you do it to please the other person?

When I think about it, in my thought/virtual/dream world…I would rather just refuse politely

but in reality, I have often ended up doing rituals just to please the other person..which is stupid if you ask me…I mean, your heart and soul are not in it..will  God really listen?

But again, better than bad relations, just go through a 4 hour ritual?

When R was six months, we went for her Chorunn (the first time a baby is given rice) We did it in the local temple in Mumbai..I didnt want to do it..I didnt want to make a fuss with a six month old,  but relatives were insistent and we did it…we did it in the temple..R bawled her voice off…it was exactly what I expected..total confusion..but I still went ahead with it!

On her first birthday, I was clear that I didnt want the ‘aayush homam‘ the elaborate first birthday celebration with a homam and all that… RD stood by me and we didnt do it..and of course my aunt expired as well..so couldnt have done it anyways..

Of course of all the things I dont follow, one of the things I do follow, is not go to the temple when I have my periods..which when I think about is stupid…I mean does God really bother whether I have my mensus or not when I pray…of course the logic behind not entering the kitchen or not going to the temple in olden days was more to do with the fact that there were no sanitary napkins and it was one way the lady of the house, who otherwise was burdened, got to rest…

As usual, my post has gone into a tangent..so here is what I have to say 🙂

1) Religion is very very personal…you dont need to share it with anyone..including your parents, children or spouse or sibling

2) What is right to you may be wrong to me..but I will not interfere in your way of praying and you dont please interfere in my way

3) Dont expect other people to follow your rituals..its wrong, and you are not only being a pain in the wrong place, even God isnt interested in uninterested people

4) Never impose your religion and never put that doubt ‘in the name of God’ in the other person’s mind..its as bad as scaring someone ..and then if the other person gets this doubt that ‘if I had listened to XYZ, this would not have happened to me’ its even worse

5) Live and let live like RD and I…you follow your way and I follow my way…I teach R what I want and he teaches R what he wants..again we never interfere
you know what….just go and read S&S’s post..its just easier to understand what I am trying to say 🙂


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51 Responses to Where is Your Devotion?

  1. RS says:

    Super super post and so much alike thoughts. Actually you beat me to it. I had told SnS that I will do a post after she does her’s on God and it was stil running in my head and here you are – already written so well about all that I wanted to write. Now what should I do? *thinking*

    Like I said,the thoughts are so similar-on not going to temple during mensus (Hubby HATES it), or about doing a pooja for someone else even about not going to the temple just for the heck of it… Hmmm…. You read my mind here RM 🙂

  2. Seema says:

    RM, I agree to each word written in the 5 pointer gist re. So so very well put across. I admire you even more from this post on, okay?

    I got to do a post on this!

    • R's Mom says:

      Errr…you dont have to admire me…I am quite a pain 🙂 as long as you felt I wrote valid points..guess thats good 🙂

      yes yes waiting for your post

  3. Seema says:

    I demand a post on Rism or Rictionary to end the week, pretty please! I give you another option, you could as well write about RMD which you said you would.

  4. Smita says:

    I totally agree with your points.

    My MIL is very religious but very flxible as well. My Mom is not that religious but yes she has her set of vrats. As fasr as I am concerned I have 8 vrats to do in a year and those too are very flexi-fasts!!! In fact thanks to my MIL my Teej ka fast (which is supposed to be very diff i.e. in line with karvachauth) is also very easy & felxi 😉 Initially my MIL had pestered me to light one agarbatti daily but with L’lle one around she has stopped doing that now. I used to feel irritated when she used to pester me pehle, I was like I pray as I want please do nto interfere is such a personal matter thankfully I never said it 😀

    I simply believe in remembering God everyday , thanking him for what he has given & asking for a better day tomorrow and I don’t need to be in front of a diety to remember him/ her 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      you do 8 vrats an year…however flexi..babes you are great *Falls at feet*

      I loved your last para..its so so perfect..what I wanted to say…I took a 1000 words and you said it in 15!

  5. Comfy says:

    You said it all. Religion is very personal and only you are allowed to come up with what you will and will not do in the name of religion.

    I know my views are molded by what my parents told me as a young kid but now as a grown up, I make my own view about it all and I have so very happy knowing no one else tries to sway be one way or the other.

    • R's Mom says:

      Ah! you here after a long time…I thought you forgot to read my blog 🙂 or just got bored 🙂

      I loved what you said about my views are molded by what my parents told me..in a way yes…I think upbringing makes a difference..which is why there is a difference between RD and my outlooks for religion

  6. bikram says:

    I totally beleive that religion is a personal matter.
    I beleive and not beleive:-) …

    I got some issues with god and religion with some issues I am totally fine. I have never asked anyone ever whats their religion.

  7. You know what I liked about your entire post? – Its honesty! I intentionally avoided writing specifics in my post and made it more generic because of my lack of courage. May be, some day!

    Loved the post, RM. ‘Live and let live’ – Guess that sums up the post.

  8. Vidya says:

    I believe in people, in relationships, in love. Nothing beyond. I celebrate all the festivals and cook elaborate feasts when required because I enjoyed all that as a child, and I want my children to experience the fun. I visit the temples again with the same enthu of going on a picnic.. Which means a bunch of us must be visiting- a party. I happily drape a 9-yards saree for occasions because I like wearing it and err, i think I look good in it:) I don’t believe in god-men/women nor god. But I don’t try proving (or justifying) to others about my views. Simply because people don’t want to understand:)

    • R's Mom says:

      I loved your reasoning for celebrating…Madisar..sorry not possible EVER! thats something I think I can never wear 🙂

      God men/women – Lets not get into that…I dont believe in them. Period.

      Loved your comment Vidya

  9. Religion is a set of rules to look up for leading a ‘good’ life. Times change, people change, lifestyles change, laws change – religious principles never do. Which is what is making it obsolete these days. It simply can’t be related to.

    As for rituals, I have started questioning a lot of things lately – nothing appeals to me. Why adorn temple idols with gold? Why can’t I taste the prasadam-I want God to eat tasty prasadams not blind experiments? Why why why 😀

    I do believe in God. Not a punishing, vindictive God, but kind benevolent one whom I can approach to when ever I want. My only prayer is touching my chest and then kissing my finger looking at the photo in my house everyday before leaving for work in a hurry 🙂

  10. anna's mom says:

    You said it all. Loved your post. My family is pretty non-religious. In fact my father’s side of the family is Arya Samaaji so there are very few rituals. Mom’s side too is pretty cool. Everyone prays but maybe just for 5 mins or so everyday if at all. Growing up I never even knew the whole ‘impure during period’ funda. I got to know about it in college. I still don’t follow it and thankfully nobody has ever asked. My MIL is pretty religious and does follow a lot of things but what I love about her is that she never asks me or forces me to do something. There are maybe 2 fasts a year she asks me to keep which I happily do. Plus she never insists on spending hours in pooja when she’s with us. She does that all when she’s at her place.

  11. Deeps says:

    Very nice post!

    “but then I do get bugged when people start expecting, forcing their views on others” this is exactly how I feel too. I am quite religious, I do have cnversations of my own with God often, but I dont like it one bit when people try to push their superstitious and unrealistic beliefs to dictate others all in the name of God.

    Your bullet points in the end really made sense..wish more and more people would follow them and keep religion and beliefs as pious, unprejudiced and uncomplicated as possible.

  12. Rituals are fun sometimes …like we cook a feast on the name of God and enjoy everything ourselves. All the festivals make us do something or the other on the name of God and i don’t mind doing a few of the things which suit me…liking decorating the house on diwali , though i haven’t done it in the last few years. But that is another thing.

    Religion was devised to take the human beings towards spirituality , all the rituals ask for purity of mind and not shutting the doors of mind close. I do visit many temples, gurudwaras and have visited jama masjid too during ramadan and sometimes i feel good vibrations in those places. Sometimes. The only thing i like in those places otherwise, is the devotion i see in some of the people who pray there….and i end up believing in the power of believing , the power of faith.
    Only if that power could lead to some positivism in the society… I am clueless why people go on praying and still remain so restless as a society……

    I see myself on my own search of spirituality…religion has very little to do with that.

    • R's Mom says:

      WOW! you commented on my blog..I mean you read me!! WOW! *Dances and all that*

      cooking rituals are fun…but it worries me when people tell you to cook in this manner without this touching that…thats were I get a bit worked up…prasad is prasad is prasad…does God really care if the onion knife touched the kela ka patta!

      I loved the fact that you visit the religious places of all religions..thats another thing my parents were very clear…you SHOULD go and visit these places only then you will understand and respect the other person’s religion…

      and I loved your last line 🙂

  13. Zephyr says:

    I have commented on an earlier post about how I refused to do rituals long back and then began doing it in my middle age for my own reasons. My MIL was unhappy but didn’t force me to do it. Some day i will do a post on why we avoid certain things during our periods. It is not superstition nor is it to demean women. Till then, please wait, will you? 😀

  14. Ashwathy says:

    You started off with the idea of religion and went completely off tangent in the post by moving to ‘rituals’. I think what you meant to write was more that you are not a person who follows rituals regularly but that does not mean you are an atheist or disrespect customs. So live and let live.
    Right? 🙂

  15. anisnest says:

    ohh RM I take back my word rather sentence of asking you to do a pooja on the medal R got from sports day… Temple is a place that always gives me that peacefulness.. Just sitting their for few minutes with eyes closed with all that incense sticks and vibudhi smell is divine.. I love that and the temple prasad too.. “Live and let live” – how nice would it be if everyone in the world follows this.. simple na but many people don’t get it.. they feel as succeeded only when they had forced someone else to do something opposing their nature.. crazy people…

    For me God is a super power who is watching you always that means you are being watched so you hesitate to make mistakes.. that’s it.. a super power in a good way and not to make money or to put blame..

    • R's Mom says:

      Arey you just meant it as a joke..what nonsense take back my statement and all gah!

      For me God is a super power who is watching you always that means you are being watched so you hesitate to make mistakes – I loved this idea of God 🙂

  16. Writerzblock says:

    Can I quickly say ‘me too’ to most of what you have said, and come back tomorrow to comment in detail?

  17. Oh my god we are so much alike RM, and I can related myself to you in almost everything what you have listed. R was just like RD when we got married , but over a period of time he is more like you and me. While my parents are religious they are very practical. My inlaws are crazily religious and they can’t change or move from the beliefs and rituals. I don’t think we can change them at this age, so I have left it..What ever you said here makes perfect sense..

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont think we can change them at this age…true na..if we cant change at our age..I guess, expecting them to change is not fair :):) but again like I said..live and let live 🙂

  18. I agree with you, my husband and I follow the same principle. He has been to many religious places, Shirdi, Vaishnodevi etc I have not, and he has never even asked me to do that.
    I also agree that uninterested bhakt would not interest a god, and also rituals and prayers are not necessary if one does want to pray. Most of all I don’t like the idea of empowering Temple Management Committee members to intermediate between a devotee and their god. Also someone being curious about a woman’s period is definitely encroaching on her privacy.

    • R's Mom says:

      IHM commented, IHM commented, IHM commented..wait till I tell RD :):)

      Most of all I don’t like the idea of empowering Temple Management Committee members to intermediate between a devotee and their god – Oh these temple management committee members are so weird at times..and they come up with such stupid rules and regulations!!!

      I sometimes wonder if they really have any devotion or is it just politics as usual 😦

  19. Aparna says:

    I come from a religious-but-non-ritualistic family; although, while growing up, following isolation during periods etc was practiced to some extent – since we lived in a joint family, where the oldies are more traditional. I am ambivalent about the existence of God myself – but I find comfort in a sort of belief, perhaps because I’ve grown up with it. Ditto for the hubby. So, both of us follow certain pujas etc more for the cultural-and-fun factor (especially the food :)) rather than religious beliefs. But yes, I firmly believe that there is no point trying to force someone to follow your religious beliefs/practices. WHat’s the point if they don’t believe in it? The one fight I’ve had with my parents on this is, when as a teen, they used to try and make me visit the temple early on New Year morning – exactly when I’d want to sleep late after staying up till midnight! Curiously, I like doing it now 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      I think most comments did relate following certain rituals with the food enjoyment..does that mean we are becoming a generation of devotees who love their prasads equally 🙂 as much as God?

      Seriously..going to the temple on New YEar morning..baapy rey!!! thats so funny..and surprising because its actually not even the Tamil new year then…your parents I think believe all religions..thats why waking you up to go to the Temple on the Christian New Year..great eh?

  20. Sumana says:

    Perfect post when something similar is on my mind to say as well. First of all same pinch. Me and Hubby follow the Live and Let Live policy as well. I think our generation is the best to be in. Yay to that. We are allowed to follow our religion our way, visit a temple or a church or gurudwara what ever pleases you. Freedom.

  21. boss, mera God, meri Prayers……. You had me rolling with that one sentence 😆

    err the only Vrath I do is that of Karvachauth for my permanent ATM :mrgreen:

  22. NBose says:

    Really liked your post. I can relate to each word of it as there is huge similarity. My dad visited temples only while sight-seeing while my mom is what you said “practically religious”( patent is still yours….nice term). My in laws are very particular about rituals & pujas while my hubby also makes it sure to worship every day without fail. For me, I completely agree and follow ur kind of mindset. However, unlike your MIL I had a tough time with my MIL to explain her why I do not keep fast and vrats

  23. Scribby says:

    Ditto: I believe in God,His power but then I’m not hardcore spiritual or religious! I do visit temples but with no time table at all…only regular thing that I do is lit diya in the evenings and recite evening prayers,now with Chirpy and she seems to be liking it 🙂

  24. Smitha says:

    Loved loved this post, RM. I read this , but did not get a chance to comment.

    Agree with everything you said here. Each to his own, and as far as nobody forces their beliefs on me – I am fine. In our case, both husband and I are very non ritualistic. We both believe that there is some power, God, whatever one might term it.. And we do try to give daughter a balanced view of all the religions around.. She already understands that just like people are different, they have different beliefs and different faiths.. I wanted to do a post on this sometime back, but never ended up writing it down.. You have said everything I would have wanted to – only better.

    • R's Mom says:

      I loved the fact that Poohi understands that different people have different beliefs…I think that is something children should know and understand…Muah to you 🙂

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