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Where Ganga Jal meets the Zam Zam…

October 24, 2014

* Pictures not clear because of the smoke screen from glowing incense sticks (agarbathis).

Ganga Mata – is the real Mother Goddess we see in our life…. Instead of worshiping Gods who we don’t see, i feel its a lot better worshiping Mother Nature who sustains so much of life on Planet Earth… So that way I revere Ganga Mata and one day I do want to attend the famous ‘Ganga Aarthi’ -lets see….

We have been to the ‘Thala Kaveri’ – the origin of river Kaveri and as family done a pooja to Kaveri Mata.

‘Zam Zam’ came as a surprise from this Arab colleague of my husband who said he thought of us when he was in Mecca. Ultimate respect. So I thought, if it has come to us this way, its God’s will. It made its way to our home and is in our Pooja for over 7-8 years now. I for one thing never believe in coincidences.

Lastly my mother worked in a catholic institution so I am used to praying in a chapel. Every Diwali or X Mas or New Year or even for summer vacation or any school event like sports day or annual day, we girls would go to her school and touch the feet of the Mother Superior and other sisters in the convent – a typical Hindu custom lolz. Its unforgettable that when my mother passed away, not only were there recitations from Hindu scriptures but also from the Bible. My mother was more a daughter of the church than the daughter of her Hindu parents.

Faith overlaps communities in India. Anyone can worship anywhere and believe in anything. Religion is no bar. Inter-communal faith is pretty common and accepted. Hindus visiting dargahs therefore is most natural – not strange.

My christian friends light Diwali crackers too. Similarly Onam, the Hindu festival specific to Kerala, is observed by all Keralites – be it Hindu or Muslim or Christian. All openly admit their ancestors were Hindus first and foremost. And so they believe in existence of Hindu Gods. Conversion happened (even perhaps accidentally or reluctantly) in one single generation that made them christians/muslims today in India. This heartfelt realization is what education does to you.

In the tamil month of ‘Aadi’ (july 15-aug 15)we do the ‘bangling’ ceremony for our Mother Goddess in all temples – like we believe she is pregnant!! We celebrate our goddess, we get her a lot of glass bangles for ‘Aadi Pooram’ day. (on the pooram star day)

So newly married couples and those who are not yet blessed with babies come to the temples – irrespective of their faiths.

I have seen christian and muslim women willingly take part in the pooja and wear the glass bangles given to them. In return, they would get back the next year with their babies and thank the Goddess for their gifts. Many women used to break down into sobs during the bangling ceremony in the presence of the Goddess before they would conceive. For those who are waiting for babies, in front of the goddess, we the other sumanglis do the bangling ceremony anointing them with haldi, kumkum. Its a deeply moving experience. We all do mass prayer (bhajans) for the women to conceive, and there is the reigning queen Mother Goddess presiding over the occasion.To all women, she is the Mother – be it Hindu or Muslim or Christian. Its like a daughter opening up her heart to her mother.

Some muslim/christian mothers return every year for the ceremony even after having their babies. Just to take part. Its an emotional kind of attachment for them with the temple and the Mother Goddess. For chrisitian and muslim women, accepting a she-goddess cannot be easy – it is understandable. But here comes the exception: where one’s mind is opened to think over all that, perceive over all that… and then finally you get to see the Mother Goddess for who she is.

I remember my friend from Terengganu – my Malay neighbour. She would come with me to the Hindu temple, wait for me to finish worshiping. For chinese & malays in Malaysia, if anyone fell sick or something, they had only one god to turn to: Lord Murugan (Subramanya – Shiva’s second son). In Batu caves and Maran, you can see chinese and malays piercing themselves with ‘vel’ (spears) throughout their bodies for penance. Their devotion moves me always. Almost all in Malaysia believe, if you want something or if you want to be cured of an illness or something like that, all you have to do is make a wish/prayer at a Hindu temple! This is called ‘free will’ to me. It has to come without force or conversion or coercion. It comes to Malays & Chinese naturally.

Mostly if you grow up in a multi-cultural society, you learn to respect others’ beliefs, others way of life. Despite all politics and communalism that seem to exist in India today, the existential truth is also that there is this core binding cross-cultural faith in us that we are fed with and grow up on. This kind of spirituality is what I strongly believe in.

My everyday bhajan to Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi

 

 

 

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