There has been a report on the internet that said that Ahmedabad had built more temples than schools in the last few years. While in an ideal world, temples too would have been a source of education and enlightenment, the fact of the matter is that the development should be a cause for worry for all of us – especially for those who are either academicians or religious in the true sense.
I am religious; or spiritual, if you insist, in nature. And it pains me to see God being brought down to dusty and dirty crossroads of haphazardly expanding cities across the nation. Unfortunately, as mentioned right in the beginning, our own Ahmedabad seems to have taken the lead in the dubious activity.
How can it be religion if the temple (or a mazaar or any other place of worship) makes commuting impossible for the thousands of people who traverse through the crossroad that it is built? How can it be religion when the knowledge of your standing about a busy road makes you restless and you rush through your prayer? But more than anything else, how can it be religion if the building of the temple itself is mired in the dirt of land-grabbing by some anti-socials? How can it ever be?
It never can be. In fact, it is almost blasphemy. It is anti religion – ‘giving a home to God’ on a misappropriated land; causing trouble to humanity with its presence and not giving yourself completely to HER while offering prayers. Yes, it is in fact blasphemy.
And why do we need places of worship at every nook and corner of our country? Are we really more religious than our parents? If we cut the Karan Johar gloss out of our generation’s religious activities, the truth is that our faith in God is not even half as undying as that of our parents. So, what’s the reason behind the fast expanding ‘religious real estate’?
The answer is manifold. The process generally starts with someone putting either a picture or a sculpted-in-stone God at a small place and then, very, very importantly, spreading the word about the place. Soon, from a few curious onlookers to a trickle of devoted religious souls, right down to a mass influx of regulars, the place gains both in physical and metaphysical stature. And someone, somewhere makes a killing out of it.
I agree that just as there is no reason frivolous enough to celebrate life, there can be no place odd enough to worship. After all, SHE is everywhere, right? And that’s precisely what the point is. God is, quite magically, both in your heart and everywhere else too.
When a person gets cynical, (s)he manages to find a sinister side of everything in this world – whether or not that sinister side actually exists! In the same manner, when someone gets completely immersed in devotion towards God, s(he) sees God everywhere. Yes, if you really believe in God, in its truest and purest form, you CAN actually see God – right there, in front of your eyes, in this very world of ours.
Sounds unbelievable, or even regressive? Well, the doubting is not new for religion. Every generation has espoused disbelief and disdain for religion. And it is this absolute freedom of not only interpreting it as per one’s own understanding but also completely disregarding its existence, which makes religion such an incredible emotion. Those who give their souls to HER, while leaving the body to do the necessary and rewarding existence, know that SHE doesn’t ask us to go anywhere; but comes herself to the true believers.