My sister and I are separated by a gap of 12 years. I was born to my mother after a lot of prayers. My parents completed a pilgrimage to Kashi and that is when an aghori stopped my parents near the ghats one evening and said to my mother – “Maai, bholenath aayenge!”
A month after this incident my mother discovered that she was pregnant. I was born after a long complicated surgery and the doctors at Portland Hospital Calcutta were sure that I was a gone case as I showed no big signs of life. It is joked that the doctor on duty gently pinched my butt and I wailed away to glory announcing my presence to the world!
This post is about my deep connect with Shivan, he is a friend to me. Be it as Kabali Mama at Mylapore or the mountain of enlightenment in the form of Arunachaleshwarar at Tiruvanamalai; he is an integral part of my life. When I was younger, I used to go into trances and my mother was scared about these incidents. I would chatter incoherently, babbling in a strange tongue. At a point in time, I was deemed to be possessed, rituals and ceremonies were conducted and in their own strange way they calmed me down.
To this day there are people in the extended family, who shy away from meeting me, because inadvertently I blurt out who is going to pop away next, the elders are all dead scared to see me!
The point of this post is that religion and spirituality are two different things. Rituals and ceremonies have their own role and significance. Doing them or not doing them is left to the individual. What matters is a kind and understanding heart and the ability and will to help.
Feeding one poor and hungry soul with one meal or a biscuit packet is far better than spending money on one litre of milk, flowers and fruits for an idol of stone. Shivan knows best, he loves those who help others unconditionally.
Don’t confuse religion and spirituality. All paths lead to the Supreme Force – these names, these religions, these books, scriptures, rules and rituals are all defined by humans only. In the process of traditions and emotional blackmail by family-members one ends up doing a lot of things! Stick to what you are comfortable with!
Life goes on!!!