We all know that swami wrote a Surprise post recently, following which, many kind and responsible members took it upon their shoulders to help his cause and I couldn’t be happier and more proud of this community. I Thought about continuing my upanishad series but it didn’t ignite the spark that I need while I am writing about spirituality. That’s when this topic came to mind (Also, Komal ordered me to and I gave her my word that I will :P). I do not wish to pound on scriptures or mantras or Upanishads today because let’s face it, I am still such a kid who fought with her younger sibling for that last Oreo (In my defence it was double stuffed!) and yes, I use the poker moon emoticon so frequently that I have started to look like one. 

Anyway, Jokes apart, what I wish to tell you today though is what changed when I became who I am from what I was before i.e., a staunch atheist. Many of you know me for what I consider my true identity- Only his. I belong to only him. But what you don’t know is what I was like a few years back. I was one of the best students throughout my academic life and a voracious reader. By the time I was in college, I had read more books than all of my friends and their friends combined. You can say that may be my company wasn’t that bright but most of them are in prestigious organisations now. Since, I wasn’t surrounded by fools and I was still smarter than the most and could speak fluent English better than every one of them, ego and pride seeped in no time. All those books and knowledge made me arrogant and rational. I was all head and no heart, and since my personal life with my family as well as best friends wasn’t going great either, I preferred to be more logical and less emotional.

Within a matter of months, I had become an atheist. My friends were either atheists or agnostics so whenever we started this topic, we always wounded up with one conclusion that God and religion are superstitious. Even those who were theists, didn’t believe in God I can say. For them it was just a part of life, a part they were habituated to. God was certainly not a living reality for them either. So Long story short, I gave up my religion and God altogether after hearing ” God will get upset” reply on a question I had popped to one of my friend’s mothers. As far as I remember it was about not eating onion/ garlic on Navratri. The reply sounded really silly and made-up. It’s not a reply you give to a 17-year-old kid when her curiosity is at the peak. Then my friend mentioned that I was an atheist and didn’t mind eating chicken burgers on Tuesdays after which her mom gave me a very judgemental look. I felt violated and angry for being judged, I wasn’t clearly doing them or anyone any harm and they themselves loved non vegetarian food but refrained on certain weekdays. Sheer hypocrisy it was! “So, God will get angry if I eat it on Tuesday but not on Wednesday?” I asked to which I have not received a proper answer till today. Even though I prefer sattvic meals at all times now.

So here is the first point if we want to revive our dharma that we should have reasonable answers when a kid or anyone asks us. Unreasonable reasons might stand with an adult whose mind has already been conditioned but it certainly won’t work with a teen. I was pulled back to my roots through sheer grace, but what if it hadn’t happened?  Teenage is the time when they might have these questions and it will certainly have an impact on their adulthood.

Coming back to my story, I had become so staunch that I would even ask my mom, who is a very great devotee numerous questions about our faith, I would fire questions at her and when she couldn’t give me logical answers or just said “you will know for yourself” I’d suggest that she should quit being superstitious.

But here was the downside to this religion less life- I had nothing to hold on to and was pretty lonely. I had friends and family but it didn’t fill the void that I would experience most of the times. I felt like something was missing, a huge part of my life was missing. As more time passed, gradually I started feeling less like myself and started becoming more and more sad. I had no permanent anchor, so I started looking for this emotional support in other people. Rather than finding relief, it ended up making me sadder and more vulnerable. Depending on another human emotionally is never a healthy choice, something I learned very soon.

How I became a theist again is a whole different story and you can read it here as it is not in the scope of this post. However, the after affect is! Truth be told, I have never been happier and more content than I am at this moment. Yes, there are everyday ups and downs but beneath those temporary feelings there is an ocean of bliss-completely still and peaceful. Like When you are acting in a play and scolding your stage children but you know that in reality none of it really matters. 

Why do I believe in God? simply because he is my only living reality. Because I felt him in my being and all around me and I still do. Yes, there might be a defining moment that changed my life but was it just that moment? I don’t think so, I believe it is the continuous feeling of bliss and love that stays with me. I am neither sad nor lonely anymore. I cannot define God because as truly stated in the Upanishads it cannot be described. I can only describe what I felt in that moment but I cannot describe what that moment was like. It will be like attempting to explain an unearthly fragnance . But if I had to give it a try, I would describe it by quoting the lyrics Nirvana Shaktam, one of my favourites that uses elimination as a method to knowing the self. Or by-

Mandukya Upanishad, 7th Verse- It is neither conscious nor unconscious. It is unseen, unrelated to anything, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable, indescribable; it is one with the Self. It is a realm where phenomena cease to exist, which is peaceful, blissful and non-dual. This Self has to be realized.

To describe what god feels like is difficult because it is hard to explain it. I found an analogy in mathematics, not a perfect one though, I can say that God is the set encompassing everything in this universe, hence everything, including my words and my feelings are a subset and I can never explain a set completely through just one of its own subset. He is the”C” in my f'(x).  (Where x=Life). Meaning, in my ever-changing life, he is the only constant.

I have written several posts expressing my love for my divine Isht and yet I feel it’s not enough. I believe in God not because he loves me and pampers me and makes me feel good, I believe in him, because he is the undeniable truth of my existence. From a sad human who was parched for love and care, he changed me to this incredibly confident and fearless one. I do not seek emotional support from anyone anymore and nor do I get attached to people who show me great care and kindness. 

God does not have to be a form; he does not have to be a creature who lives in heaven and grants wishes. It can just be a source of energy, from where you can channelize unlimited support and power. How you see it is on you. You can see its essence every time you experience love and kindness and every time you share it with anyone else. 🙂 

From “God is superstitious” to “He is my only reality” and from “I need love and care in my life” to “I have endless love in me to share it with anyone who crosses my path” was a huge transformation. And remember the void I stated above? I don’t feel it anymore. At the deepest recess of my heart, I feel completely content.