Monday, June 4, 2012

4 defining Our god and prayers

Al and me have finally started setting up a home. Our weddings had gone smooth with the families coming together in ways that we could have only dreamt about.

The journey to set up an inter-faith family and act as an unit has just started. I know that there are so many aspects - some that we talked about, some unforeseen circumstances, and others that we could have never imagined - are going to take their share of our time.

My mom had initially come to clear the house and do the rirualistic paal-pooja (New milk is boiled and served to all) on the first day. With her, she had brought a host of hindu gods:). They were neatly arranged on the kitchen shelf and only when we were back from our vacation did Al spot them. There was some hesitation and when prodded he replied "none of my gods are there".
I dint like the statement - beleive me, he is much more open that me and in praying to all etc.
"And what are these strange looking white symbol on the floor? This looks like a hindu house" - That was the kolam and he was setting it up for a perfect huge fight.
It was an auspicious time for lighting lamps and here was this guy questioning all that was good. But the angel in me was active that day (thankfully).
I said ok, what is it that makes you uncomfortable here?.
"I am not used to seeing all this in my house and I feel I am not in my own place"
"Hmmm...Lets get a picture of Jesus too and place him here. Lets get candles too- you can probably light them". But him being him was very happy with lighting the agarbathis:)
I recited some Sanskrit prayers and then a morning prayer in english just thanking god and asking for goodies:). That set it, he liked the prayer and its become a ritual now.

Personally, for me it was easy to see Jesus as another god, probably as a holy saint. And visting temples was completely ok with him too. Some conceps of God and spirituality have made the acceptance easier. I see each of the idols as a symbol for something greater, as a window to a focussed thought. This idea sruck me grom Gori girl's site and some other readings. It is easier to imagine Ganesha as a symbol to remove all obstacles in life, Jesus for peace, charity and patience, Saraswathy for respecting knowledge etc. Poojas as simple goods thoughts and positive energy to carry us through.
Easy for us we thought.

But the real thing was the form of worship. I hate doing anything weekly especially something on a sunday morning - I dont visit temples so regularly. Additionally I dont know whether it is good or bad that I can understand what is being said in the church - the only problem I have is being constantly bombarded with the thought that Jesus is the only God. Ofcourse I am mature enough to filter words, replace the word Jesus with God, respect another's beleif. But we have decided that we want to do this together, to give support and company to one another. Still we had a huge discussion and decided to do the mass thing once in a month but visit the church and temple weekly. Lets see when the kids arrive.

Some of my most common practices made him feel alienated. Both of us try to imagine eachother in the other spot, understand what makes us feel uncomfortable and avoid arguments. I feel its better to communicate directly and immediately about that sickly feeling in the stomach when your beliefs seem trampled - they never are if you can really set the communication in place. Yup, its very easy to say choose your outbound words carefully, but when in anger or hurt the innermost thoughts come out. In a setting like ours, it is better to deal with these unsaid things quickly.

Satisfied till now with the routine, we decided to get our brand new second hand car blessed both ways. It is mandatory to have the gothra (ancestral clan) and nakshatra (astrological moon sign at birth) for the pooja. The car carried us to both places and is adorned currently with holy water and chandan. Now Al belongs to the bride's gothra ;-).


  1. Glad you guys are settling in to your home :) One thing that I've always liked about Hinduism is its ability to accept other religions and religious figures, like you mentioned. In many Nepali Hindu homes I've been to, a Buddha figure is often placed with the Hindu gods and sometimes a picture of Jesus is too.

  2. @nepalijiwan: We have got one Buddha too from Thailand:).
    Hindus are generally more accepting because of the concept of avataras and dieties.

  3. I like your quote at the top that there is no distinction between east and west in the sky. This post was fascinating in explaining how you are blending your two faiths. Congratulations on setting up your home together!

  4. @Marcy: Welcome here.. hope you will like the other posts too;-)
    The quote is from Dalai Lama - the buddhist spiritual leader.


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