If you were to spend a week or so with our family, you will see that we hardly do puja nor any rituals. It has been so in my life and surprisingly same with my wife. I believe that we take recourse to religion in an effort to cope up with something or when we cannot and refuse to accept life’s reality. I believe rightly or wrongly, learning to accept is the option we need to take in such an eventuality.
Many, why many, all of our relatives who have visited us realize slowly that Krishna and his life partner, are not religious at all.
However, there is a small story of choices in this story.
My father was a very religious man. And, we all stayed together.
I can now confidently say this, as I tried all my best, without being obvious, and made sure my father was happy in a simple way, all the 20 years or so we stayed together.
One issue I had to tackle was Religious rituals.
Somewhere along the way, my father became deeply and excessively involved in religious practices and astrology.
I realized at that time, this was some 30 years ago that the only way I could make him lead a happy life is to reduce this involvement in religious practices and astrology.
The only weapon (forgive the harsh shabda prayog) I had in my arsenal was me becoming completely disinterested in religion. This was the only option because, my father (I loved him) was a very sensitive and ethical person.
So, there was no talk of Gods, Pujas, Satyanarayana Vratas, or Astrological Adventures at home. Any events, or invitations, or anything remotely connected to Religion I would get silent.
It took several years for him to get out of his obsession, and spend the couple of hours every day he used to spend on religious practices and astrology on more creative and useful pursuits as his age allowed.
Every day, after driving my son to school (Pushkarini Manasasarovar Vidyashram, Mysuru) he would visit Yoga Narasimha Temple, and take the Prasada and distribute it to his acquaintances employees at MORE, Vijayanagar, Medical Shop attendent, Vegetable vendors. Even though he was charitable man all his life, the charitable part was what remained. And, that was a good thing.
Less of religion and more of useful pursuits, out of and in the home also was the result for my decision.
For instance, we had a lot of daily humor in the house, a tradition initiated and established by my Mother. Light humor, not deprecating any one, but good quality humor.
Slowly and gradually, from the time we probably moved to Mysuru, my father accepted my wife’s lack of interest in religious practices, even though he would occasionally slip into that routine.
But, life has surprises in store for us.
Have a look at this picture.
This was the Final IFS Certification Exam preparation practice sheets which my wife was about appear for.
I was talking to her and chanced to see this. OM! A Vedic invocation. I enquired about this with my wife. She as a matter of fact said, I have done this before all my exams.
So, coming back to the original question. How religious are you?
In this Religion and Astrology journey of mine along with family and friends, one person whom I should thank is my dear sister.
She never ever asked me to be religious nor believe in astrology. Nor brought this topic when I was around. Given the troubles each one has to face, my dear sister has helped me by keeping quiet on certain things. This is one such. Because, apart from my parents, my sister’s opinion or suggestions, I take her word.
Same with my father and mother also.
So, there was no pressure from my family to adopt certain practices nor believe in certain things.
But, there were two Danda Yatras one from ISKON, one from Brahma Kumaris and Ramachandra Mission.
While, the ISKON Marketing Danda Yatras did not cost me anything, the Brahma Kumaris and Ramachandra Mission Danda Yatras by Senior Vice President Abhyasis, resulted in loss and waste of time, and erosion of friendship.
However, I am not against Marketing.
So, I accept the loss as My Error of judgement.