Journey of a misguided pilgrim

Journey of a misguided pilgrim

“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming

Yes, we often ask for facts, proofs, reports, statistics and a lot more before we agree to anyone’s claims, junk old opinions and build a new belief system. But when it comes to God, we continue to live with the beliefs our parents and society imbibe in us during our years of dependency. God, being all-powerful and holier than thou is not to be tinkered with and easily classified by many spiritual gurus of today as beyond human mind.

As I begin writing this post, I find myself relating so well to the struggles of a little boy in the movie “Life of Pi” who is fascinated by different Gods and religions and often moves from one to another. As a kid, I so fondly remember praying to one God after another hoping to find the one all-powerful and the one who actually listens to my plight. But just like the movie “PK”, I also found Gods to be rather busy to attend to my prayers. As I grew up, the methods of prayer grew a little more demanding as did the size of my problems. I found myself reciting verses which I don’t know the meaning of, fasting and visiting temples to please my chosen God.

With the advent of cable tv during last 20 years, I found a spurt of tv programs and spiritual gurus lining up to bring God closer to their disciples. But all they could do was storytelling, singing spiritual songs and topping it up with their holier-than-thou thoughts. These gurus demand that their disciples see them equal to God and agree to all of their diktats. Any deviation means crippling your chances to secure a slot in heaven and landing straight into devil’s frying pan.

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Sounds pretty neat, after all, who would not like to go to a better place post-departure from this plane and all I need to do is follow my religious instructors without question. But my inquisitive mind always demanded answers to few questions which no one was willing to offer:

  1. Does God really exist?
  2. If yes, I need my God to stop being so elusive and help reduce my pain & miseries in current life. I need a manual to live a better life
  3. If I will spend all my life preparing for next plane when will I live my current life

Oops!! Did I just question God’s existence? This one will get a lot of religious fanatics come together to brand me “Atheist” before they go back to fight each other. But this question has always intrigued me and I have never been sure. Do I believe in God’s existence just because everyone else around me does? It wasn’t until I came across a very simple yet effective demonstration which helped me find clarity.

Dismantle any equipment (a watch, mobile phone, anything), put together all pieces and shake them up, never in a million years will these pieces come together to form a working equipment. It needs organized intelligence to reassemble the equipment. Similarly, it will take intelligence to put together a world where the sun rises from east every morning, weather change as per set schedule, a grain of wheat produce only other grain of wheat and never mistakes to produce oats or barley. Someone somewhere is so infinitely intelligent to put together everything and I believe him to be the “God”.

Being infinitely intelligent God created everything and then went into hiding, leaving us to trace him with our limited intelligence. With the passage of time, different sects of people came together and created their own definition of God. Being a Hindu, I ended up being trained to bow down and worship idols representing Gods. In Hinduism, we can worship just about anything, Idols, rocks, trees, sun, moon, river, animals, birds, etc.

While this sounds ironical, it also made me realize that all we are required to do is to put our belief to work and a God figure is ready to be worshipped.

Call it belief or blind faith!! It’s one of the most abused words on the road to spirituality. Don’t question, just accept. Believe that God resides in temples (after all that’s why we must throng temples on auspicious days), that he answers our prayers only when combined with offerings, that we must fast, read sacred texts glorifying him. And if all this is not enough, all Gods are not made equal – paying a visit to those places of worship in far-off lands appeases Gods far more.

Is it really God or a well-oiled industry, which is thriving on our insecurities? I don’t need a God who is the sole property of a temple – for how will he set me free if he is not free himself, I don’t need a God who desires the best of offerings but preaches me to give up all earthly pleasures in his pursuit, I don’t need a God who dwells in far-off lands while his child longs for embrace.

With existing version of God falling real short of my requirements, its time I upgraded to a better one. One who is not caged in temples where I must pay up for dekko, one who is ever available whether I had a bath or not, I fast or feast, I heap praises on him or complain. Despite having no face on him anymore, my connection with God is stronger than ever and it stems from a firm belief he is watching over me.

I am no more worried about inviting his wrath for not following rituals. I realize that God doesn’t want me to beg out of fear but demand what I want of life & back my dreams with sustained efforts. I start my day bowing down to God in appreciation of everything he has blessed me with, pray and thank him for a beautiful new day.

Here’s a little prayer which helps connect me with almighty and while also keeping me in firm control of my destiny:

“O Divine Providence, I ask not for more riches but more wisdom with which to make wiser use of the riches you gave me at birth, consisting in the power to control and direct my own mind to whatever ends I might desire.” – Napolean Hill

And so comes an end to my pilgrimage realizing God exists in our beliefs, in the power of our positive thoughts, and the quest for truth and wisdom.

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May God bless you all richly. Thanks for reading.

  • The thoughts expressed here are not intended to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
  • Images source: Google
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Appreciation – Oasis for the parched soul

Appreciation – Oasis for the parched soul

“Once I did bad and that I heard ever.  Twice I did good, but that I heard never.” ― Dale Carnegie

Remember the time when you did your best but could not really meet someone’s expectation or tried something new at work which backfired? While you were already dejected, those unkind words from the person involved dealt a critical blow to your self- esteem. To make matters worse, a reference to the incident is brought up every time to drive home a point and show you down.

Things couldn’t be worse, you may feel. But what about your moments of triumph when your project report helped your boss shine or you cooked that delicious meal for your partner and meet with deafening silence?

We all do more things right than the wrong ones. But strangely enough, mistakes are counted, referenced and talked about while righteous, selfless acts are often forgotten. If you are really outstanding among scores of people, you may be recognized once in months or years by your organization. You may also be praised by your partner on special occasions with Facebook or Twitter posts. But in day to day life there are hardly any words of appreciation.

Many a time all of us are a culprit of exhibiting such behavior. We make time for social networking making hundreds of friends, clicking “Like” buttons and hoping for few “Likes” ourselves. But when dealing with real people we often go cold and struggle to show basic empathy. Our frustrations often find an outlet on anyone who fails to meet our expectations in the form of complaints and criticisms.

“Criticizing and reminding people of their mistakes wounds their pride, reduces confidence, and often breeds grudge.”

A key finding of a new study from Office Team suggests 66% of employees would quit if they feel unappreciated. Among millennials, the number of employees who’d leave if unappreciated jumps to 76%.  These numbers are bound to go up where employees face regular criticisms. For people managers and leaders, this implies huge cost for hiring, training and lost productivity. Back home, feeling unappreciated often leads to loss of harmony among family members, discontent, and arguments over petty issues.

Philosopher William James, said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” As food is to the body, appreciation is to the soul. It nurtures the soul, empowers the spirit, enforces positive behavior and leads to bigger accomplishments. This holds true for both personal and professional life. Just like we require timely food for the healthy body, appreciation is needed from time to time to keep our spirits high.

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All it takes a little smile, a simple “Thank you” note, a pat on the back or talking highly of a person in his peer group. Little things often make big difference and a few words of appreciation go a long way in creating positive synergy. People who you appreciate will always try not to disappoint you. Cultivate the habit of showing confidence in people around you when they fail by saying “Well tried” or “I am sure you can do better” rather than being angry or blasting them. It does take deliberate efforts to conquer impulse but results would be worth it.

Not only we must appreciate others around us, we must also learn to be our own cheerleader by appreciating ourselves for our efforts, our achievements and value riches already in our lives. Begin your day by saying “I like myself” and repeat whenever you feel low, it will immediately make you feel better.

Thank You

With so many positives of appreciation, it’s time we make it a habit to appreciate at least 3 people on any given day. Appreciate your spouse, children, colleagues, security guard, cab driver, or just about anyone for little things they do for you. You will realize how quickly they will also go out of their way to keep you happy.

So go on spread some cheer, make someone’s day by appreciating little things.

As I end my first blog entry, I appreciate you for spending your precious time reading and sincerely hope you found the content practical & applicable. I encourage you all to share your feedback or stories from your own life which re-enforces the value of appreciation.