I believe in God, but I am not a very Spiritual person. I try to find the scientific reasons for the customs we have in our tradition and follow only the things that I find convincing. Over the years, I have adapted the traditional puja to a more practical version in my own style. My understanding is that all the paths eventually lead us to the same ultimate destination which is the Supreme Power.
In our fast paced life, it is not possible to spend hours together in prayers or other customary ways of connecting with the Almighty. As a busy mother, just lighting a lamp and standing with my eyes closed for a minute is the best I could do everyday. However, I love the different Sanskrit shlokas and stothrams in the Hindu religion that are supposed to invoke powerful vibrations surrounding the place with lot of positive energy. As a trial, I felt a strong urge to recite “Lalitha Sahasra Namam” (Thousand Names of Goddess Lalitha) once every week which will probably take half an hour to forty five minutes if done properly.
One fine evening, before I started on this magical journey towards spiritual enlightenment, I called my children to tell them that I should not be disturbed unnecessarily till I finished my prayers. Both of them nodded their head affirmatively. Brimming with hope and enthusiasm, I sat down on the floor in front of God to begin my recital. Few minutes later, my little one comes asking for water. I was prepared for this and handed over the water bottle kept next to me. “I don’t want to disturb you. But is it okay if I make a sandwich for myself?” asked my daughter. Quite amused by her untimely request, I signalled her to go ahead. I heard a lot of noise from the kitchen, but still continued to recite my verses. “Which one is the cucumber?” asked my daughter, holding a cucumber on one hand and a snake gourd on the other hand. This is going to be interesting, I thought after pointing the correct one. She headed back to the kitchen and the vessels crashing / cupboard banging continued for some more time, till she emerged with a plate of sandwich and a glass of what seemed like some juice.
“Stay Focussed and Concentrate. Don’t get distracted..” I instructed my mind while looking at how many lines I have completed. Now, again my little one came running and announced that he has to go potty. When the toddlers say that they need to go, we will have to sprint like olympic runners to the bathroom without wasting any second in order to avoid any accidents. After finishing that activity, instead of the floor, I decided to sit comfortably on the living room sofa and continue my Stothram. What if I had to get up again? And I was not wrong, “I am not able to find my horse. Come and find it” said the little one. Again and again and again.. I looked at my daughter with pleading eyes. Putting her half eaten sandwich down, she got up grudgingly “Fine. I will get it.” I couldn’t help my eyes going to the corner of the verses to see what number I am at. Not bad.. Only a few more pages to go.
“Ding dong”, as if these many disturbances were not enough, somebody was at the door. Since it was the newspaper vendor for his monthly payment, I had to get up to take care that. While doing so, one of my friendly neighbours who was on her evening stroll, saw me at the door and stopped to chat a little. I excused myself that I was in the middle of my Puja, ignoring her disappointment. Well, I had to hurry. Last couple of pages left.
“Are you done yet?? He is irritating me”, says one. “She is not playing with me. She is troubling me” says another. I quickly finished the last few verses and bowed down in front of God. What a sense of accomplishment that was. I could finish reciting the thousand names of Goddess Shakti. So what, if I had lot of interruptions, I am sure that the Superior Mother will overlook that and appreciate the efforts taken. Then like a lightning striking, I hear a voice in my mind. “After all, Aren’t these disturbances also Blessings in disguise from God?”. In a flash of second, I was reminded of the empty days without children. May be that enlightenment was the lesson I was supposed to learn – not to complain, enjoy life as it unfolds and be grateful as God always takes care of us.
Hopefully, with Time, I might be able to train my mind to pay less attention to the distractions and more attention to the inner Conscience. Till then, I am going to continue my Tryst with Bhakti to the extent possible till I reach my ultimate destination.
Stay Blessed and May the Divine Force be with you in all your endeavours!!!