Let It Be.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Brene Brown in The Gifts Of Imperfection.

All the religions of the world have a closing word or phrase or invocation after a prayer or a hymn or a discourse.  Amen, Ameen, Aymeen in the Abrahamic religions and Thathaasthu and Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu, or Shanti, Shanti, Shanti in the case of Buddhists and Hindus respectively.

Those endings are what I had in mind when I suggested this topic for this week’s Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us currently write a post with the same topic every Friday.

The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order;  Ashok,  gaelikaa,  Maxi,  and Shackman.  Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.

I use Thathaasthu often.  Thathaasthu directly means “Let it be.”  This is to agree with someone, usually after a blessing or a statement of import. Just this morning I sent a mail to some friends, some of who are among the readers here, reading as follows.

The Taliban in Karachi

There has already been a lot of turf wars between the Mohajirs and the Pashtuns in Karachi and this news item gives me more cause for alarm due to the sheer numbers involved. 

And a much earlier piece.

Sind is already a volatile place and the Mohajirs who do not speak Sindhi are not exactly popular.  Westward, the Balochis do not like either the Mohajirs or the Pashtuns.  And all of them dislike the army which is predominantly Punjabi.

Things are getting from bad to worse in Pakistan with the government / army constantly under attack from the Taliban and local nitwits like the LeT and its offshoots besides the very large presence of Al Quida there.  The drug cartels are all jockeying for position and that too will be a problem on this side of the border with Punjab already a major drug problem state. The Mohajirs have roots on this side of the border.  I have been predicting that we will have a massive refugee problem sooner or later and the climate in India will simply be devastating to the refugees and their relatives on this side of the border. American withdrawal will speed up the process.   What a world we live in!

I got a cryptic response from a friend within five minutes of sending that mail. “Thathaasthu”.

In this case, he agrees that the nightmarish scenario presented by me is inevitable and so says, don’t fret, let it be.  It will all work out!  He has faith and wants me to keep faith too!

What do you think about that cryptic message?  Do you agree?  Will you let it be?

Religion And Spiritualism.

In my present imposed house arrest, I often have to get into dicussions with visitors on relgion, spiritualism and philosophy. These are usually serious in tone and despite my penchant for being flippant, the atmosphere is inevitably somber.

After the guests leave, I usually introspect to see how better I could have handled the discussions and when I voiced it to one of my guests, he said that he would send me some serious advise and has kept his promise.

Now I hope that my readers will understand why I prefer being a Hindu.

Has the short clip helped you decide what you would like to be?

The Goddess Of Garbage.

I request my readers to bear with me a while before I come to the main subject matter. Firstly, this post on Faith has to be read followed by another one on Ganesha.

The main thrust on both the posts was that for a Hindu, there is ONLY GOD and s/he makes a God out of anything so that his approach to life reflects the respect s/he extends to any activity where divine influence is called for.

With that background, I take my readers to another piece of information about a part of India where a Goddess has been created for Garbage with some spectacular results.

I also give some great quotes from native American Chiefs.

1. “The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.”

– Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin

2. “We live, we die, and like the grass and trees, renew ourselves from the soft clods of the grave. Stones crumble and decay, faiths grow old and they are forgotten but new beliefs are born. The faith of the villages is dust now…but it will grow again….like the trees. May serenity circle on silent wings and catch the whisper of the winds.”

– Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Now how about that for the Greens and the Recyclers?

P.S. After this post went live this morning, I read an interesting article in the Washington Post which too perhaps needs some attention.

Ganesha.

ganesha_symbolism_1

This post is a direct result of landing myself in trouble at Grannymar’s post, Shapely Legs.

One commentator there said something about elephants with which I disagreed and Grannymar had to put out the fires that developed after that. Please do visit her post and read all the comments. Totally fascinating.

In the process of putting out the fire, Grannymar has suggested that I write about Ganesha.

I am not an expert on Ganesha. I shall leave experts to tell my readers all about Ganesha in a nut shell. (What a paradox!)

I am a Hindu. What that makes me is an anarchist as far as religion goes. I can do anything I want, or not do anything, believe or not believe, pray or not pray, visit temples or not, perform sacrifices or not and so on so forth. There is no one sitting over my head and telling me that I will either go to heaven to enjoy the company of virgins or pomegranates, or to hell and roast at very high temperatures. Some Hindus go to elaborate lengths with rituals and ceremonies and many like me, do not. We live and let live. God is strictly personal and we do not like to be told how to approach him. So, you have a colourful kaleidoscope of deities, festivals, ceremonies, rituals etc and all dovetail nicely into a hotchpotch called Hinduism.

In this chaos, Ganesha plays a very important role. It is not because he is a funny figure but because of what he represents. The link would have given you some background about that. For Hindus, the attitude is the most important aspect of worship and prayer, and it has been rightly observed by many that Indians worship milestones too. Yes, they do. If the milestone remotely resembles some fancied deity, some Indian will anoint it with sandalwood paste and red coloured powder called kumkum and start a worship. He will however first invoke Ganesha to remove all obstacles in the process of anointing and then only proceed. How does he do this? He takes bit of sandalwood or turmeric powder, add water and make a dough to form a cone shaped figure. He then summons Ganesha to come and sit in that shape and bless the proceedings. After they whole affair is over, he will dissolve the shape in a plate of water, throw it out and bid Ganesha farewell after profusely thanking him for being symbolically present and preventing any mishaps.

This is not because he is stupid. For a Hindu, it is simply a form to focus his attention on. For a Hindu, there is not many Gods, or one God, but there is ONLY GOD. He therefore does not find it odd to worship a milestone. He will worship anything that takes his fancy because he cannot picture anything without it representing God.

My very first blog post on this site, made last June, is an invocation to Ganesha to bless this blog. You can read it here.

Maria, I hope that you are reading this. You and Grannymar expressed the desire to learn something about our religion and culture. This is an attempt to briefly give you the role Ganesha plays in it. To talk in detail about the whole subject, I will need to write a tome. I am however willing to answer any questions that you may have on what I have written and elaborate where necessary to explain.