We all follow our religions, follow the rituals and also preach about it. But do we actually live our religion, do we actually follow it? I have asked this question to myself several times in the past and it is only now in the recent past that I have got all my answers to faith and religion. It is a common practice among us that we follow rituals all our lives that our families introduce us to when we are small. We read Holy Scriptures, we chant hymns and we keep praying all our lives but do we actually relate to what we are doing, do we feel anything or is it just a mechanical task that we perform for years. There was a time when I kept fasts at least three days a week, I chanted so many mantras and regularly went to the temple. In spite of all this I never found peace and happiness, I felt I did not get any results and that God did not care about me. Life grilled me and taught me many lessons, would like to mention that the lessons were quite tough and gave me a hard time. I gave up on my so called religious life and became an atheist thinking that God favours the lucky ones and abandons the ones who suffer. Life took its own course much against my resistance to the changes but whether we like it or do not like it we have to follow the course. Until and unless we learn the lessons life wants us to learn, it will keep repeating those lessons. We have to fair well in those lessons and that is where our religion is our guide. Even though I did not feel the depth of the sentence, I said it several times that Hinduism is a way of life. Actually now that I can understand the meaning of what I said, I say that Religion is a way of life. Every religion in the world conveys the same message but even though we read our religious books several times, we fail to comprehend the message in it. We read the story and the events in it but we are not able to understand the message in it because if we did we all would live us One Big Family and not differentiate ourselves on the basis of nationality, religion, cast, creed, sex and status.
I read lot of books of different genres, attentively watched religious TV shows and I started reading the Gita and indulged in lot of contemplation when one fine day that I would call my lucky day suddenly I understood that ‘Religion is about Living our Life, Living Life the Righteous Way’. One has to take the righteous path in order to follow his religion. Our Gods and all the Prophets have all taught us to walk the path of righteousness, come what may, they never emphasized on following rituals blindly, instead rituals were established to lead a pure life. Rituals are habits to lead life in a certain way, the right way. That is what we Hindus call the ‘Karma’- It is the way that one leads his life. The Gita is the book that if one follows he will be leading nothing but a life filled of peace, fulfillment, happiness and above all righteousness and will be attracting only positive karma. The Two chapters in it, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga, explain how a person can lead an enriched life having a strong faith. Not only the Gita but all wise men have advocated living life in a way that is beneficial not only to you but the entire mankind. The path is really simple with a simple philosophy. Be happy and make others happy. To be happy one needs to be at peace and to attain that, you must be righteous in your actions, you must be good towards your fellow human beings, you must help them with whatever limited resources you have, charity is not only about donating money but you can do that by your services too. Making a small difference to someone’s life or just bringing a smile to his face is something that gives you happiness. I have learnt that happiness and prosperity increase in manifold when you share it. You should never harbor negative thoughts; you should not be judgmental or form opinions about anyone because even we are not perfect. If a person is vice, first try to be good to him and if he is beyond repair, abandon him otherwise he will influence you, to counter his actions, you will become negative. Be a strong follower of principles, be unsparing because it is light that engulfs darkness, you do not have to be ashamed if you are different. Every single day you must try to improve, be open and alert to new learning that comes your way. We should be like babies, full of curiosity, no inhibitions and pure at heart. One must start his day with prayers as it is a means to purification and strength to carry on. Prayers instill faith and faith in yourself and God or the Universe makes you accomplish everything that you want in life. The universe is full of possibilities and wants to give you everything you want, it’s a friendly place, it just wants you to love it, love yourself and its inhabitants and it will give you back everything manifold.
My Karma is to love, be happy and to spread happiness among my fellow beings. What will your Karma be?
© Trisha Malika Ghosh.