Monday, August 19, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 99

Of Gods And Souls

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I was born into a definite religion but I grew up without a definite religion and belief system I could firmly follow. My parents were staunch devotees of Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi and we constantly had Sai Baba devotees in our home. I saw my dad offering his namaz as well as singing bhajans. He would collect money and send it to Ganesha Temple in Byndoor. The open minded of our parents meant we were exposed to all religions other than the one we were born into. I was called Farila and my elder sister Surila, which were complicated names which did not show our religion either. It was not until I was married that I had to make any religious choices.
When Rayyan was born, he went through the religious confusions that already existed in my family. His father wanted him to follow his religion very strictly, but he never saw any seriousness in his mom. I am not sure what he saw all those rituals as, but most probably he saw it as an act that we do to please others. I never wanted my own thoughts to influence him, but allowed him to follow what his father wanted him to do. Being a less diplomatic person, I told him often that you have to do this because this is what your father wishes and he will be happy if you do this. That was very wrong foundation to base someone’s belief on.
From the age of 12 to 17 Rayyan did try a lot to fit into the role his father wanted him to play. He was regular for his prayers and that was enough for everyone to call him a good person. This became a thing of pride for his father, but instead of happily embracing him, his demands kept growing. It became a source of his own ego.
One day my husband came in angrily and demanded to know where is Rayyan. I told him he had gone for prayer. All of a sudden he started accusing me of lying, "You are so ignorant. He did not go for prayers today, but he lied to you and you believed. You will spoil his life". I was very confident that Rayyan hadn’t lied and I would prove it once he came home. The more confident I was, the angrier it made my husband.
Rayyan came in little later and even before I could ask, he told me that he had gone to a mosque little further with his friends for prayers. Instead of trusting him and leaving the issue there, his dad started grilling him with questions and later on went to confirm that by asking others to be sure that he wasn’t lying. I knew back then that this would lead to a change in Rayyan and I think it did. The next day as we were having lunch together, Rayyan casually mentioned, “Maa if we go for prayer everyday regularly, it becomes something that we have to do and even if we miss it for day, people say we are bad. On the other hand, for those who do not pray regularly, people are so happy to see them pray even once a week. Why is everyone so obsessed with the relationship others have with God or religion? Isn’t it something very personal and we all should be more worried about ourselves rather than others?” I did not say anything much.
Many such tiny incidents kept taking place. Coinciding with his questions, the timing of his college, his travels and studies took its toll on his regularity of his prayers. I left him alone to deal with his life, because I had tried my best to guide him as his dad had said, but his obsession and his demands were pushing Rayyan away from where he actually wanted him to be. With Rayyan’s irregularity, the obsession of his father became more vehement and again it pushed Rayyan away. Finally there came a time when Rayyan took his stand and said, “I will not pray to please people”. He totally walked away from it. I tried a bit to convince him to follow the faith he is born into, but then I saw that I myself was not convinced enough about what I was saying to convince him.
I had tough time dealing with the accusations from everyone around me that I had spoiled him and chased him away from religion and God, but I know that I did not contribute to it in anyway not that he was away from God. It is the extremism and obsession of people with religion and about how much we pray, how we pray, why we should pray and other doctrines that made him take a stand. I am not sure about Farheena’s contribution into all this, but I am sure she has played her part in his changes.
He was cursed, verbally abused, his clothes were thrown out and many other stupid things followed. The more one is pushed, the more is the resistance, and his resistance grew. He did not fight, nor did say or do anything rash, but he just stopped praying.
Rayyan one day said to me when we were having religious discussion, “Maa, do you really think people believe in what they are saying they believe. More than 80% percent of the people in this world are religious. How do you explain so much of wrong being done then, when they know that God is watching them? If they really believed in what they say they believe, the world would be much safer and beautiful place to be in”. I slowly realized that it is the hypocrisy of the people that was irritating to him as much as it is to me.
When I ask him, how he will know what is good and what is bad without someone more knowing to guide him, Rayyan says, “We all have a soul and it tells us what is right and what is wrong if we actually observe and listen to it. If I feel I have to hide what I am doing from everyone, or if I feel that is going to be hurting or harmful for others, than that is wrong. It is a simple rule we all can follow to be on the right path. I think everyone will have their own thresholds of right and wrongs and we all should follow what our souls guides us towards”. It looks like that has worked for him so far.
One day, after having a heated discussion with a friend who is supporter of cow vigilante team, I was questioning actually myself rather than Rayyan, “How can someone believe a cow to be God? I find it very irrational!” and he actually answered me, “Why do you find this particular belief so weird when there are so many other Gods and his/her descriptions that is scarier or weirder? I find the cow a more pleasant description of God than many others”. I did not try to discuss with him further for the fear of actually changing myself.
Though Rayyan is not religious by rituals, I feel he is highly religious person because he has strictly followed and adhered to the basics of all religions of this world. When I go back and observe his life, I don’t see the sins of any kind touching him. Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride have not bothered him much and I wish so much that I could say the same about me. I do see virtues like chastity, temperance, charity (in moderate ways), diligence, patience, kindness and humility which is a part of his nature. All these came to him inherently and not by my guidance. The day he wants to, he can fit into any religion of his choice without any changes he may have to make to himself.
Rayyan has never underestimated the power of belief, because he says, many people need the guidance and help from religion to lead their lives. I feel he has found a different way of connecting to God, which is looking inwards and listening to the voice or feelings we have within us. I don’t know when it happened, but somehow rather than looking outside for guidance Rayyan started looking within. I have always had my faith in God, but I do feel he has found a superior or better way of having a proper faith.
At present, I do not interfere in his beliefs because I find he is very convinced and there is no harm in the way he is.
That now completes my 99th post with just the last one to go tomorrow and also almost a peak into every aspect of Rayyan’s life, the good, the bad and the ugly sides of it. Wow! What an experience it has been to write all about this…..


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