Born into a Hindu home, I grew up in India where religion was everywhere. Like the air we breathed, it permeated everything. Yet, I was never taught what it meant to be a Hindu. I suppose that’s because no one ever paused to ponder over it. Besides, where would one really begin? Hinduism is as vast as it is old.
As a family we celebrated the various festivals all year round, I occasionally visited a temple with my parents and sometimes prayed to all the gods and goddesses in our own little temple at home. Particularly on the day of my exams.
I had it on good authority, from the fabulous Amar Chitra Katha comics, that Ganesha would destroy any obstacles that stood in the way of me cracking my exams while Saraswati was the goddess of learning and hence no academic success was possible without her blessings
And as I went to a Convent School, I often stopped at the chapel to put in a quick request to Mother Mary for an easy paper. Made sense to cover all my bases.
It was only when I was well into my 30s that I began to wonder about Hinduism. What do Hindus really believe in?. What’s with the gods and goddesses? Do the festivals and rituals have a deeper meaning ? What makes a Hindu? And so on.
The answers I discovered were fascinating, fun and surprisingly relevant even in the 21st century. The idea that the entire Universe is made up of the same energy no matter whether you call it and that we are all part of the same whole, was one I could happily subscribe to.
I liked the fact that there were no rules. I could worship all the Gods, choose one or not pray to anyone at all. I do now have a favourite and choose to pray, but that was the whole point. I chose. I warmed to the Hindu belief that all faiths are equally valid. As is not having any faith !!!
Here on this blog I am continuing my journey of discovery. And in the process I hope I can introduce or re-introduce to you this wonderful ancient religion and way of life, by demystifying it a bit and simplifying it a lot.