My ideas on religion and faith require a lot of philosophical explanation, which I plan to write for my post on the letter R. For now, let me just tell you that on the atheist-agnostic-believer continuum, I would peg myself somewhere between agnostic and a believer.
I have grown to like the idea of praying over the years. I’m not yet sure if I believe in the things we are usually taught about prayers. Stuff like - if you pray, God will be kind to you / reward you etc. As a child, I was lucky to go to a school which taught students the Vedas. Even today, I can recite a good part of the Rig Veda Agnihotra in Sanskrit, while actually knowing the meaning of it all. But in my books, that doesn’t count as prayer.
When I pray, I usually recount my experiences over the day or think about a person in need I thank, share my happiness, laugh, ask for forgiveness, reflect, wonder, empathize, confess, plead and occasionally question, crib and cry! I pray in English, a mish-mash of Tamil and Malayalam, peppered with some Hindi at times too! I don’t have a set format or verses to say / think about when I pray. I don’t even pray every day. I don’t necessarily pray at temples or in front of an idol. It is mostly in bed or when I travel long distances.
And oh! I instinctively pray when I hear an ambulance. Just for a few seconds, I don’t even know what I think, but I know I pray. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. My prayers range between a few seconds and ten long minutes. Sometimes, I meditate for much longer at yoga class, and the line between meditating and praying is often blurred.
Most people say their prayers are conversations / dialogues with God. But my prayers are all monologues. I don’t know who the recipient of my prayer is. But I do know that every single time, at the end of this monologue, I feel calm, clear in my head and so full of peace – feelings that very few conversations have ever given me.
What are your views on prayers?