Being an Atheist

Recently, I was invited to attend a religious ceremony in my extended family but, as usual, I politely declined. That’s when the other person said that he was afraid I’m becoming an atheist. To be honest, I was a little amused at his assumption but I can understand… I’ve given him enough reasons to think like that…

You see, I’m not very fond of marking my attendance at social religious ceremonies or ringing bells in far-off temples at mountain-tops. Furthermore, unwillingly doing such things just to portray a religious self in the society seems a little pretentious to me.

The truth is – I don’t claim to be a religious person and I don’t think I’m a very spiritual person either. I get angry easily… my thoughts are often impure and my actions are nothing to talk about proudly. I also do not remember God very frequently…however, when I do, my feelings are rather genuine and heartfelt (at least that’s what I’d like to believe)…. And I believe it’s the feelings that make all the difference! A statue may be stone for one person but God for another…

I believe that – one can offer grains in a Havan (scared fire-altar) during a religious ceremony OR one can eat his daily food with a feeling that it is being offered to God who has taken the form of digestive fire/power in the stomach…. One can wait for hours in a crowed line to get the Charanamrit (sacred water) in a temple OR one can drink ordinary water at his home with a feeling that the same God who has become thirst has also become water to quench the thirst! An even better thing would be to feel that the same God who has become hunger, thirst, fruit and water has also become the one who is enjoying that food and water. This way the divisive feeling of ‘I’ disappears and only God remains. Feeling/thinking in such a manner converts acts as simple as eating and drinking into worship of God…

However, society or the so called ‘believers’ might perceive my thoughts, about worshipping, as ramblings of some misguided soul. To convince such people I would like to quote a verse in Saundarya Lahari, a highly respected text in the Sri Vidya tradition, where Adi Guru Shankaracharya worships Goddess Lalita Tripursundari in the following manner-

Saundarya Lahari Verse 27

Source – Saundarya Lahari – by Swami Vishnu Tirtha (1949)

Or – (English Translation)

Soundarya Lahari verse 27

Source – Saundarya lahari – by S. S. Shastri and T. R. S. Ayyangar (1948)

Reading this verse only strengthened my belief that my thoughts about worshiping God are not unfounded.

Finally, I would like to say that – just as going to a temple doesn’t make someone a believer, the same way – NOT going to a temple doesn’t make someone a non-believer either! Therefore, just because I avoid rituals and formal worship doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m  an atheist; it just means that I follow a different approach towards worshiping God! For me God doesn’t live in heaven, sky, or in temples. For me God is here and now.

However, how much of my beliefs I actually put into my day-to-day actions is yet another matter… and no excuses for that!

Oh, but wait! I’m a Libran…

Lazy Librans… sound familiar?

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2 thoughts on “Being an Atheist

  1. I completely relate to you. People spend time and money especially here in the U.S. Putting on a show of splendor that seems more about impressing friends than about devotion to the deity. These people will spend hours making arrangements. But they cannot sit for even 5 minutes iin meditation Which is the highest form of worship. I try to follow the same thought of offering food and water to the Energy we call God. There is a process called Prana Agnihotra in which the first 5 morsels of food that are consumed are offered to the five pranas. This satisfies them and in turn satisfies the being doing the offering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you… meditation is indeed the best form of worship.
      unfortunately doing nothing (not even thinking) is too simple a concept in worshiping for most people… I think, we have an innate tendency of making simple things complicated… and various rituals, rules and regulations that are enforced during worshiping cater to that same need otherwise why should someone think that meditating or remembering God while eating, lying down or doing other daily stuff is somehow less important then visiting a temple, taking pilgrimages, fasting or clapping & singing in Jagrans… but then I console myself that maybe those are the beginning steps to bring people closer to God and if they give them peace of mind then what’s the harm… the problem arises only when they try to influence or enforce their ways on other people like me…

      hey! thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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