Grandmother: Harshita, we are going to Bidar (a holy place situated in India) on Saturday. We would like you to join us for it.
Me: Grand ma, you know that my answer will be an obvious ‘No’, then why do you keep offering me again and again?
Grandmother: You are of marriageable age and you have no sense of following your religion. Come and see how beautiful the Gurudwara is been made now. You had visited that Gurudwara few years ago and not recently. Now don’t make excuses and come along.
Me: I have many times told all of you that I believe in god, but my way of worshipping and praying is a little different from you all. I don’t visit a Gurudwara just for its beauty, I go there to absorb in those positive vibes and feel blessed to have born healthy enough to be able to visit this place. And you all very will know that I wait for that spiritual call to call me to that place and take me there. You know all that am I going to add to this talk here, but I will not do it this time. Can you please try to understand me for once?
Grandmother: You are just making excuses, nothing else!
I walked back to my room with a turmoil in my heart and my mind.
My grandmother had no intentions of hurting me or upsetting me. But what had disappointed me was that my own family was not being able to understand me, accept my views, my way of living or my faith in god. Well, I guess that is how life is supposed to be.
I am a girl born to a Sikh Family in India. My family is a firm believer and follower of Sikhism. But I am a little different. I am not an atheist but, I believe that there is one supreme power ruling us and will be guiding us towards the right path of life.
I do pray, but my prayers are different from theirs. I pray for everyone to be blessed with the strength to get through their life. I pray for the wellbeing of not just my loved ones but also the whole world. I am not among those who would pray and just keep asking god to bless me the various materialistic things I want that would make my life more comfortable.
I do visit the Gurudwara but, only when I feel this strong pull towards it. It feels like I have been called there for a purpose and reason. I am not the kind who will just visit the Gurudwara for the sake of visiting it. Every time I visit a Gurudwara or any other temple, I know that I was meant to be there at that moment, at that time and for the reason unknown to me.
How many people visit a holy place to absorb in the positivity there? How many people visit the holy places believing that they were called there for a reason?
I bet, 90% of the people visiting their respective holy places and temples are going there because of their routine habit or, they are go there with a wish list in their mind to ask god to bless them with and make all their wishes come true. I am not against it, but I feel sad that the whole essence of visiting the temple is lost.
I believe that religion is just a way of living life, not a reason for building barriers among people. Why don’t people ever look at this aspect of religion? Every guru had taught us different ways of living our life for our own good. No one had mentioned religion nor had they mentioned caste system. Those evils were made by the other foolish people on earth for their own benefit and purposes.
Keeping religion aside and looking at the present scenario of the world, why do people place religion above humanity? Hasn’t the recent flood in Chennai taught us a lesson on humanity? The mother nature knew the reason for the world tearing apart, and she had caused that natural disaster for a reason. The reason was nothing but to take our mind off our materialistic love & wants and teach us the lesson of humanity. How many people have actually learnt that lesson?
I have so many questions in my mind but I have no answers for them.
The biggest question I have is regarding my own so called religion, Sikhism.
Sikhism was started by our first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He had asked the people to not call him god, not to worship him nor make any idols of him. He had called himself a ‘Guru’. Guru means ‘a teacher’. He has said that if you learn something from me and you are able to follow it, you would be called a ‘Sikh’. Sikh means ‘a student who has learned to implement everything that the teachers had taught him/her’. Since then, all the followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji we called Sikhs.
Now my question is, being called a ‘Sikh’ was more like having a prestigious award for accomplishing something in life. Then how can a Sikh’s child become a Sikh automatically? Won’t it be like me, an M.Com graduate calling my child an M.Com as soon as it was born? Why hasn’t anyone been able to give me a satisfactory answer to this question? I had asked so many people about this. But alas, it was a futile attempt.
We Sikhs are asked to worship knowledge, hence our gurus had written down their teachings so that the knowledge that they wanted to share with the world, would be there for generations to read and learn from. The book in reference here, which has the compilation of all the teachings of all the gurus is known as the Guru Granth Sahib. The unique thing about this holy book is that it also has teachings of various other saints apart from our gurus. We worship the Guru Granth Sahib because it teaches us how to lead our life in the right manner. Since when did that become a religion?
I am not sure of how many people would be able understand this turmoil within me. But for the ones who can, I request you all to help me find the answers to at least these few questions that I have in my curious mind.