I was exposed to the concept of God at an age of 7-8. I remember the pooja room when we were at 116, 5th Cross, Jayanagar, 1st Block. I also remember the Sri Rama Temple in 2nd block Jayanagar and Sankar Mutt in Sankar puram, in Bengaluru.
I also remember that I was more drawn towards Adi Sankara temple in the same premises.’
My father never sat down with me and talked about God. So, to me God is a sum of all the experiences I have had and my interpretation.
As of today, my position is I want to be free – free in thought and action. This probably, has been my pursuit all my life.
To me religion seems to be more of a path to a systematic and consequently successful life.
But, “freedom in thought” is a pathless land.
Freedom in thought involves own learning, own observations, own decisions, own losses and profits and importantly own the consequences.
In this thought process, where does Religion fit in?
Does it enhance your free thinking or depresses it?
In my experience, life itself is not as simple as that.
There are phases in life, things seem to be going well. There are phases when things seem out of our hand and in many cases out of control.
Does free thinking or free thought help in such a situation or religion help in crisis situations?
In my view or experience, I believe it is free thought which helps. However, one who cannot live with or has trained himself to handle free thought (explained above) in a crisis situation is better off leaning on religion.
My father, who everyone who knew him thought that he was religious and very restrictive, was in fact a free thinking self made man.
Interesting and thankfully, he allowed me to make my own decisions most of the time, even though he was a very very religious man. I cannot imagine living with a father who did not allow me to live my own life. As any or more aptly many Hindus, he developed an interest in Astrology.
With gentle prodding, In the last 15 years of his life, he lost complete faith in Astrology and abandoned it completely.
But, till the end he did not change. Everyday, he used pray even if he had to lay in bed.
He was a unique man as he mixed religion and free thinking quite adroitly.
Let me narrate a few examples
When I married a girl of a different caste he opposed tooth and nail but, once he saw my wife respected elders he fully accepted and lived contently.
Two, I stopped doing all Hindu rituals – he simply co-operated and stood by me.
In fact, once when we went to Tirupati, he gently advised us during Lunch atop the Hill, that praying to God at home is also equally sacred. Quietly hinting the obvious. Given his circumstances, he was a unique man and came out successfully.
My father, a Banker, had a rigorous one and half hour rigorous Pooja karikramam, every day. He did Abhishekam for 55 years straight – he might have missed a total 100 times in all those years.
Once he was done with his daily ritual he was a creative man. In an age, when Bankers shied away from talking about Profits, he was talking about it and succeeding.
At one time IFB, SBM, MG Road, which he head had almost all corporate accounts in their portfolio. Infosys, Wipro, BEL, BHEL, ADA, GTRE, GE, McDowells, UB, Lloyds, Stump Shule Sommappa, Mangai Karsi, Microland, EXIM Bank, and some more. This was in 1992-95.
The point I am making is, he seemed to have successfully married creative thinking and religious practice. And, I am certain there are several successful people who have married and religious life and creative professional life successfully.
Personally, for me bonding with a God or Godman is impossible.
But, bonding with a human being is much more natural for me. All I look for in a human being is one with whom I can talk freely and discuss lots of things.
Am I searching for the divine in a Human Being?
Just as people who follow religious practices and rituals search for the divine in God.