Friday, October 12, 2007

"Kick religious dogma in the balls!"

... so as the quotation marks indicate, this ain't an original line, much as i wish it were, since it was uttered in a kinda i'd-love-to have-said-that' moment. i was at a friend's place last night, having dropped in for some kebabs and a pint to kick in the navratras... feasting before the fasting, if you like.

sadly, the husband was away with his buddies in Gurgaon, happily ringing in this bi-annual season of abstinence {with some rather pleasurable exceptions, of course ;-) } as i made my way with half a heart, expecting a fun but quiet evening with my friend of many years (and many tears!) . little did i know it would be a laugh riot, and the one thing that would loosen our tongues would be an animated discussion on our misplaced religious beliefs. mind you, i say misplaced, because i don't think anyone has got it right.... which is perhaps how the all-knowing gods intended :-)

It was in the midst of a gorging orgy when the conversation inevitably drifted to the reason-we-were-there-in-the-first-place, and someone asked the all-crucial question .... why fast at all? aren't all days the same? so for the next half hour or so, we debated the merits of religious austerity versus decadent living... till 'to fast or not to fast' was no longer the issue, giving way to the rather controversial "how to fast"?

What exactly is the difference between true fasting and tashan (fad) fasting? should you smoke, or is doing so defeating the purpose, assuming that one fasts only to ease one's guilt (another opinion, not mine)? taking the argument further were such issues as should you eat meat/drink alcohol on Tuesdays? if you are a Hanuman bhakt, and you think that you must abstain from the above mentioned pleasures, then why not do a Full Monty and go celibate as well? or, as in the case of another gentleman present, is it alright to be a true Shaivite, yet go piss-drunk to rub sandalwood on Shiva's lingam, in honour of this particular lord's hedonistic reputation? and on and on and on...

as far as i am concerned, my relationship with my Gods (yes, i do believe there's more than one..) is purely practical, and i have long-suspected that my practicality springs from the need to add all the possible strings that i can, without worrying about upsetting the divine applecart- all of it geared towards easing my guilt over not being the puja-paath types! but do i need to feel guilty if i am not conforming to what others feel is their way of paying obeisance to their myriad Gods? i don't think so, since i know that i don't even conform to my own pitiably low standards most of the time....

all i know is that my gods are probably smiling down on my cheekiness right this moment. and yeah.... religious dogma be damned!

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