I am a… Part 2

Okay, my previous post led quite a few readers to reach out to me and express their happiness of how well they identified and could relate to my situation. Thank you. That inspired me to delve one step further and clarify in my head what prayer means.

I think prayers are of two kinds, the standard one and the custom one. Let me explain. A standard prayer is printed somewhere or is carried forward from generation to generation, like the Lord’s prayer or Naamam as per Hindu traditions. The custom prayer of your personal outcry where the language is yours, words are yours, style and mood is what you define, an original piece of art. As a child I was never taught a standard prayer at home. I was that kid who came from Bangalore to central Kerala every summer with a suitcase and frocks in a taxi ambassador or Jeep. Cousins would gather to see what was in the suitcase, what frocks I had, and to hear about the magic of a distant land called Bangalore. Bangalore was the US of the 80s for most Keralites and I was privileged. So during one of those summer trips I found my aunt telling my cousins as the sun set to wash their hands and feet, light the lamp and pray. I followed them because as cousins you just copy each other. In my borrowed pavada-blouse (long skirt-blouse) I sat down with them. They started chanting the “Naamam” which is a prayer in praise of the Hindu Gods. I had no clue that something like this existed. I was surprised why my mother didn’t teach me these things. I just enjoyed the routine with my cousins, happy to wear the borrowed pavada-blouse and feel like a real Malayali.

My custom prayers almost always happened before the exam. My father told me to think of his deceased parents for blessings and write the exam, in the hope (he was sure) that they would help solve that crappy chemical equation or the long math theorem. Anyways I diligently obeyed prayed to them and aced my exams.

As I became more aware of the world, yonder world, souls, God, or to put it simply, as I increased my Spiritual knowledge, the magical Destiny kicked in. I started to believe that everything was destiny. If there was a supreme power that defined destiny, maybe. Until I read about and attended Dr Brian Weiss’s session. It was all about the soul. I still believe is Destiny but the soul and destiny define almost everything there is to life. So then going back to my original question, what is prayer? Are you really talking to God or the creator or the supreme?

No.

You are talking to yourself. To your inner conscience. When I “pray” asking for strength there is no magic happening where an ounce or pound of strength is invisibly pumped into you. I am telling my inner conscience to become stronger. Before all those exams I wrote, when I prayed to get good marks, nobody changed my answers on the answer sheet to make a 70, 95. What I had learnt and wrote got me the 95. Let’s take this example, you are going through a rough phase. You pray for help, strength, happiness whatever. 9 out of 10 times (unless your destiny is totally crappy) in a few hours or days or months the rough phase will pass. And you think, God made this happen, He turned things around. But really, did He? Look at it from the opposite side, good things were in store, so before that there was a low, that is how destiny plays out. Everyone can’t have good times all the time and everyone can’t have bad times all the time. So, did prayer do the magic?

So then why pray?

It is to create a layer above you. Otherwise we would simply drown in our ego. The layer you are creating above you is your conscience. It is your conscience that you should uphold at all times, irrespective of what you do. From times unknown or from religions created around the world, this layer has been called God. So we pray to God.

This is where the whole concept of custom prayer sky rockets way above my head. How can there even be a custom prayer? And that too loudly recited? Whose inner conscience are you reaching out to, your neighbors? Because the emphasis is not (most often) on feeling or meaning each word but play catch up. If you are slow you skip words to make the chorus sound right. It is funny and sad. People’s belief in custom prayers has blinded them from their inner conscience, is my personal take.

I am not an atheist. Atheist is one who does not believe in God. Do they believe in their inner conscience, maybe not is what I can guess. I am not sure. The only staunch atheist I know is my brother. Yes isn’t it a paradox that my father a staunch Brahmin and his son just the opposite.. 🙂. Having said everything I said above, I am starting to think that I am in between.. I believe in my inner conscience and I call that conscience God.

I want to teach my children to pray, so they believe in their inner conscience and can reach within for answers. That is what is important is my deduction based off what I wrote and read and spoke over the last few days. Not religion.. not practices.. what they decide to call this inner conscience and the practices they decide to adopt is upto them.

Advertisements

Carmel..

The sunflowers around the corner of 116th St and Gray Rd at Carmel are in full bloom. As I drive by them every morning they wake up, smiling and looking at the sun, radiating the freshness of a new day. The vegetable patch behind the sunflowers are ready for harvest. In a few days the sunflowers will start looking down, losing their freshness and life; and as if by cue, the cold mist will start building up, adding a touch of hazy romance to the air. Just after that the wind will start getting colder.

This was a few months ago. Now the trees are all barren. All the leaves have fallen, every leaf that can fall has fallen and has been raked. The fir trees however are waiting, maybe pointing a little upwards, to be drenched in a white sheath.

Carmel, never fails to inspire me to write. This place has brought me closer to nature. Has taught me to appreciate the serenity of the lakes – frozen and still. The trees – in full bloom, barren and radiating colours. The houses, all from a fairy tale, maybe if I open the door, I can see a princess waiting for prince charming. Its beautiful, everything about this place is beautiful.

Just as the trees and place is waiting, I am waiting for those little flurries to touch my face. Where I will seek the warmth of my gloves and coats. The icy wind will drive a shiver through my spine, but the white winter will be a feast for my eyes.

While I write this, the flurries decide to come down and kiss the face of earth. By morning, they would have accumulated to make Carmel more beautiful.

White trees

Have you seen white trees? I have, I hadn’t noticed their beauty in such depth until today.. when I saw them turning white. Brown “leaf-less” trees turning white, so radiant, and so much more beautiful than when they bloom in green hues. When white, each tree looks so different, as if for the first time, you are admiring the trunk and its branches alone. Bare yet brilliant! 

Today I stood out in the open and felt the snow falling on me. Like the rains, I closed my eyes, opened my mouth wide, and faced the sky. The snow flakes kissed my face ever so lightly and drenched me. They glowed like glitter on my brown fur coat. They made me cold, yet the beauty of the world around me, glorified by the flakes. 

When you go to the beach, and look out into the distant water, the horizon is so unclear. You cannot say where exactly the sea ends and the blue sky begins. That is how it is when it snows. The ground is white, the purest form of white, the sky is white. You cannot say where land ends and the sky begins. 

I haven’t seen my day so bright without a touch of the sun’s rays. I haven’t seen my night glow more on a full moon light. The sky reflects the snow from the ground, the ground reflects the brightness of the sky. As pure as an angel, as shining as the twinkle in a baby’s eyes.


I told my son ‘Did you see the white trees?’ He corrected me ‘Amma, don’t tell anyone that they are white trees, its just snow on the branches’ 🙂

Let it snow.. let it snow… let it snow. 

The mystery that is ..

The strength of her droplets hits me on my back. I turn around to face her, her force makes it impossible. My eyes refuse to open, scared that she will take them away with her. I hold on to familar hands, so tight, she tries to gush through us. Many faces all covered in yellow plastic sheets, I don’t recognize many of them. If I kept my glasses on, she will blind my sight, if I take them off, I cannot catch a good glimpse of her majesty. She flows by… a thousand drops of water, falling down into the deepest seas, every instant, yet she flows every instant.
Few minutes ago, I was deep there, inside her arms, she engulfed me with her prowess, her arms stretched out. I looked up to see from where she was coming, the mist blinds me this time, hiding her face. I look down, the waves forming one instant and disappearing the next. Tiny whirlpools, telling their own story. They too disappear in the blink of an eye.
She awakens a thought in me, to go with her. To hold her hand and walk with her to silence. There are noises everywhere, of people each one echoing WOW at her beauty. But she silences them all with her drum roll. Amidst this noise, she invites me to make a journey with her, where she will show me the end of the tunnel. However inviting she is, the land holds me back. Her chains around me are locked with the heaviest metal. The key thrown away or probably traveled with her majesty to the deepest seas. Someday in the future I will make the journey, with her, held in her arms to silence. But today, I must go on.. Alas! I walk back, to land, to life..