Thursday, January 20, 2011

Of Fear and Hope

God fearing.
This was a good term. A Virtue. A descriptor that stood out and maybe swung many marriage proposals.
God fearing  automatically created perceptions of someone religious, someone who would uphold what was good and denounce what was evil.

In the days when every household began its evening studies and kitchen duties with the lighting of a lamp and incense , every family member would close their eyes for a split second at least .We were all religious. And still are.
The question is- are we God Fearing? Is God Fearing a not so good term?

My dear friend  shared a wonderful hypothesis the other day when I was downloading my fears of the dangers prowling the night streets of my new city. He said- Imagine if the people were not God Fearing. The crime rates would explode. Lot of us hold ourselves back not out of fear of the law but out of fear of God.

Food for thought.

Maybe, in today's world, fear is a negative term.
Maybe it should be God Believing.

But the conversation is the same. That the adult generation of today , most of us at least, had been brought up to believe that God loves us beyond reason but if we do wrong things, God will definitely punish us.

Households would talk about unfortunate mishaps or a not so liked person down in  the dumps of misfortune as something he/she deserved- after all God is there.

We prayed to God before our exams and never cheated.
We respected elders and touched their feet- God was in everyone.
We gave alms to the poor and the needy and   shared old toys and clothes with our household helps' children.

Our schools had Moral Science classes.
Our mothers had prasad as a first  food offering on every birthday.

We prayed before our exams, before our interview, after our interview, before our engagement, after our engagement, fasted on the wedding day, fasted later on certain auspicious days.

Even if we did not fast, some of us abstained. From non vegetarian. From alcohol.

Even if we did not abstain, we did spend an extra five minutes in the prayer room or prayer corner

Somewhere, maybe unconsciously, this religiousness does have an impact of us.

Whether it is about self control.
About not raining fury and venom.
About  not striking out in anger and frustration.
About   not breaking down in mind and body when disaster strikes.

Because, more than Fear, Religion brings Hope. Eternal hope.
That things will get better tomorrow.
That noone can be down without a blessing round the corner.

And it is this hope that propels us to a better life and to take on more challenges, as life goes by.

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