I took off my footwear in the car and walked the stony path to the temple carefully. As I stepped into the huge courtyard that the large, ornately carved doors led to, I bent down to touch the threshold with my hand and touched it to my forehead in obeisance. My younger son who was not so used to a temple visit often bent down and did the same. It was a Saturday morning and since the past few weeks, the husband and I had started the ritual of going to the temple.
The sons have school on Saturdays and when they don’t they prefer to sleep in. Today, however, the younger son chose to come with us. Most times, as a family, we hardly spend time doing activities together now that both of them were relatively grown up. We have different tastes and passions and apart from our evening walks and time at the dinner table, we find fewer things that we all do together. So this was a nice change. After bowing our heads in front of all the deities, taking aarti, doing parikrama and chanting the prayers we know, we rounded up our visit with sitting in the temple’s courtyard for some time. It was a beautiful day with soft breeze blowing. Have you noticed how our kids are not very comfortable with folding their feet and sitting while it comes naturally to us? Is it because we did it with more regularity when we were kids? I wonder. Overall, it left us with a smile and a good start to the rest of the day.
I, for one, was never a temple goer. Growing up, no one went to temple, even on birthdays. Mum had a tiny temple at home where she did diya and poojas. But, we were left to discover our own journeys of faith. Being married into a relatively more religious family, I have never been forced to do any ritual, fast or pooja, thankfully. Knowing how independent I am, that would have pushed me away further. But there was one ritual that I initiated after the early passing of my mum, I started visiting a temple on every death anniversary to seek some peace and solace.
Not all temples offer that peaceful vibe though. I hate it when they play blaring music in temples. Why? I like there to be peace or at most very soft strains of music that does not interrupt your thoughts. What I love about temples is the sense of piety, a oneness of devotees, each seeking and discovering something and each united in their devotion to a larger Being. Today, my son asked me if I believed in God. I pondered before answering. I guess so, I said. I believe in a Higher Power. I don’t know what form He or She has but I know that if I put my faith with all my goodwill and positivity, then it comes back to me with more positivity. I don’t know if it made sense to him but this is what I feel. And just like my own family did, I want them to make their own journeys.
I am envious of those who are very sure of their faith and take their children through weekly routines. I, however, am not even regular in doing a basic diya. I do it when I feel like though I love lighting up incense. It has such a calming effect. My relationship with faith has been very limited. I was never a rebel, and I would readily accompany someone or do a pooja at home if an elder suggested. But for me, it should first and foremost make sense. I am happy that I had the freedom to make that choice because just like so many other things, I believe faith is a matter of choice.
Currently, I am enjoying this Saturday morning ritual. If I miss it on odd days, then the sky does not fall. 🙂 But otherwise, I look forward to it.
Tell me do you have a regular routine of prayer or worship? What are your reasons for doing so?