I am not a religious guy by any means. People who know me would rather argue that I generally don’t believe in concept of religion. However at the same time I am not an atheist cause I believe in God and follow Hinduism (as I was born in a Hindu Family) and once in a while I also go and worship at a temple (mostly to fulfill my parents wishes). Being brought up in quite a religious family , I have had certain rituals ingrained into me since childhood -such as donating coins at temples, ringing bells , showering flowers , worshipping all the idols in the temple and so on. But some part of my mind disagreed with this entire concept of worshipping and I always felt a inner dilemma in my mind regarding the importance of these rituals and stuff. I knew something was wrong with all this and yet I was not sure about what exactly it was.
However about two days back ,me along with my roommates went to a ISCKON temple in Los Angeles and this visit probably have given me a better perspective of religion. Being a long weekend ,we were quite bored sitting at home and hence we decided to visit ISCKON temple. There was an added incentive that on Sundays there was a free food for all the devotees and so we decided it was worth spending 2.5$/head (bus -fare). And in the hindsight I am glad that I visited the temple. For those of you who have visited ISCKON temples before it might be a common site watching foreigners dancing on chants of “Hare Ram Hare Krishna”. Though I have visited ISCKON temples in the past and I knew that you will see lots of foreigners worshipping there , the scene at LA temple was quite unprecedented for me. Its not that I haven’t seen people dancing and enjoying while worshipping the Lord, but I was really amazed to see “Americans”, “Mexicans” ,”Indians of American Origin” and most notably the “Blacks” rejoicing together in an Indian temple. But the thing that struck me the most was the joy and happiness on their faces. The scene struck me as one of a playground where you see little children playing free from any worries or tensions of the world and having complete faith in their parents ability to protect them.
And I knew that very moment - God doesn’t want you to pray to him or carry out any rituals , he just want you to keep complete faith in him and remember him as often you can , and he will ensure that “whatever happens ,it will always be for your own good in the end”. Despite the fact, that I hate dancing and I am extremely poor at it ,I danced my heart out with all the others , and for once I enjoyed it like anything. I have never experienced peace of mind or joy in a temple before and this was quite an experience for me . I have always believed that religious places are meant for providing a spiritual environment where people can forget all wordly matters and experience tranquility of mind and this visit provided me with utmost pleasure.