Believe in God…or at least, in Avengers
“Man is what he believes” — Anton Chekov. Day 11 of “One Day, One Blog” — a challenge I set for myself for the month of January 2019.
Given below is a conversation between a friend and his 15 year old son.
Father: “Do you believe in God?”
Son: “Dad- if one thinks logically, such an entity cannot exist. But I find myself praying to him every time before a tough exam.” He paused. “But then, I consider that a need of my mind, than proof of his existence.”
The divine force — you may call Him/Her by whatever name, human body-guards will manage to find a way to establish their superiority and try to protect “their” God. When there is war all around me in the name of God, this young man’s understanding about the need for God, touched me deeply.
I believe in God. Simply because the belief in God gives me a sense of beauty and peace. I will not argue the superiority of my God over yours. When people do that, I walk away because I know that this is not someone who recognizes or knows my version of God.
Why do I believe in God?
I was brought up in a Hindu household that held superstitions more dearly than money. No … I am serious…. people in my family have got cheated out of money and lived on but if a menstruating woman entered the pooja room or if anyone had non-veg and entered a temple, I know the people in my family would ensure evil forces that be would chew up the poor soul.
These superstitions drove me away from God in my teenage years. So why am I asking you to still believe in God? Allow me to share a childhood anecdote.
A childhood memory
At 6:00 pm in the evening an oil lamp would be lit and kept on the west facing entrance of the house. The children would sit around reciting the prayer passed on from generation to generation.
When I was around four I demanded that I be taught this prayer. My Grandpa made me sit beside him and recite it after him.
“Dear God, I fold my hand before you,
Please listen to my prayers,
Please protect the poor(harmless/humble) me,
Please protect me from bad people,
Let good people be my friends”
(There are but a few disjointed lines from a longer prayer.You can read the whole thing here. Hail Google)
As a child, I recited this for years without understanding the meaning.
Similar to the Wadsworth poem, I had forgotten about this song. From some unknown trigger, after many years, I found myself thinking of that song and I found it again hidden within me.
Ever so often I catch my mind repeating these lines without my permission. When I realised that this has been going on like BGM in my mind almost all my life, I spent a moment reflecting on it. The power it has had in my life.
- I have always felt protected
- Even when I had “fallen out” with God I found my way back
- There has been so many instances when bad people came into my life and by what could be termed as luck, they went away before they could inflict damage
- And I have some of the best human beings in my life as friends.
Is that the power of the prayers recited or the power of my mind? I think it is the power of of belief planted in me which grew despite the circumstances around it.
As a child my parents brought us up to respect all religions. Rather than being reassured, I was confused — I had a plethora of questions that they just could not answer in a way I understood.
Is there one God or many? Are there different districts in heaven — one for Hindus, one for Christians, One for Muslims, one for Jews and every other religion that believes that theirs is the ONLY path ?
The adult version of me still has no clue.I also realised that the other grown-ups fighting for their religion also has no clue.
But as the young boy so smartly concluded, this belief is a need for my mind.I acknowledge that.
Religion and mythology created for organizational purposes, shouldering our existential burdens and alleviating our psychological pain are used as tools to create much strife today. Somewhere along the way the purpose was forgotten and God transformed into a narrative to justify crimes.
I pray to God everyday. I do not have a designated moment for prayers. Or even a ritual but when it has become so much a part of me that I pray easily. I pray for a lot of things, for a lot of people. And I always find peace after these prayers. So yes, my prayers are always answered these days.
Since my prayers are always answered, here’s my prayers for you
I hope you find a power bigger than you that you can believe in. I hope you find solace in God. If that offends your sensibilities, then believe in something… even Avengers will do.