Recently, I happened to watch a program on YouTube where a group of Indian journalists visit famous temples in India and investigate whether miracles that these temples are associated with are indeed true. The miracles included a fire that burns on water, a Shiva bhakt who has not eaten for many years but has excellent health, and many other examples.  Some of the so-called miracles were difficult to explain; in other cases, human-hand was obvious. But, what was common in all temples is the pure devotion and faith in the hearts of the visitors.

The tussle between faith and rationality happens even outside of the temples. Many of our sacred rivers are polluted with industrial effluents. Yet, during festivals, you will see devotees taking that ‘holy dip’ out of pure faith. I am sure that their rational side had warned them of the dangers of stepping into the water.

There is no problem with blind faith if you are willing to bear the consequence of it with a smile on your face. For example, in the case of taking a dip in polluted water, one might develop skin problems or in extreme cases cancer. If the thought or intention is pure, then while your physical body might suffer spiritually you will move a step closer to Shri Hari. The problem arises when we expect to be saved miraculously. Nature will only miraculously protect those who help to sustain Nature.

Being a strong cynic does not help either. I have seen many men and women of science who scoff at Ayurveda and even at our scriptures. According to them, they are making judgments based on the information that they have. Unfortunately, they forget that they do not have all the information or the correct information in every situation.

I myself don’t know what stance is the correct one. Personally, I want to acknowledge the existence of Shri Hari.  I also want to acknowledge that Shri Hari has given my senses, a heart and a brain to help me make a choice for myself.

We have all made irrational choices at some point in our lives, haven’t we? I don’t allow my child to enter our prayer room with a dirty nappy. This is my devotion. My rational mind tells me that there is a lot of dirt inside the human body and, as Swami ji has pointed out in his talks, in our minds. Thus, it does not make sense to follow these rules.

Our scriptures tell us that Shri Hari is omnipresent. He will make Himself known to us when the time is right in the form that we have been worshipping Him in. I guess that my prayer room is where I have focussed my concentration on Shri Hari. At the same time, if prasad goes stale I am not going to serve it to anyone. This is my cynic side.

I am an ordinary person who had chosen to acknowledge both the devotee and the cynic. Hopefully, one day my faith will be so strong that I will not care about my physical body and follow only what my bhakti dictates. Jai Shri Hari! Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu, Daya Rupen Sanstheta. Namastasye, Namastasye, Namastasye, Namoh Namah!

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Susmita Das

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