INDIA’S BELIEF SYSTEM- A REALITY CHECK

While walking on the street on a Sunday afternoon, I saw a vegetable vendor breaking a coconut to inaugurate his new business. The coconut almost hit a pedestrian, but the person’s reaction was simply a mild reprimand saying “dekh ke se fodo na” followed by shaking of his head. Watching this play out on the street made me realise that India is probably the only country in the world where every person has a belief system. Where a person even like a vegetable vendor will do something auspicious like tying a nimbu mirchi to his cart and breaking a coconut to ensure a promising start to his business. A person’s faith, belief, trust in someone or even something, is what sustains him. If a person does not believe in anything at all, then what does one live for?

I had a first-hand experience of this during the Covid-19 pandemic. My building complex has a small temple of the Vayu devta near the entrance gate.

Vayu devta is the lord of the winds as well as the deity of the breath. It has been nine months since the pandemic hit India, my complex has not seen a single positive case of Coronavirus. The temple has been here since 45 years and the people of the complex have been worshipping the devta since then. Aartis are performed every day, even people from the nearby locality visit the temple. Most of us have fond memories of racing towards the temple at least once a day and then going in for prasad. But, those same children who perhaps only visited the temple because they saw their parents do so or for the innocent greed of prasad became adults who truly believed. Modernisation, globalisation and the spread of education has reaped more than considerable benefits, nevertheless this sort of westernised mind-set has led to this belief system being given a negative connotation and being termed as ‘superstition’. 

However, there is a huge difference between believing in something and being superstitious or having blind faith. The complex consists of 4 buildings, 110 flats and none of them with a positive case. Is it really being irrational or superstitious to assume that the Vayu devta who was worshipped and held so dearly by the people of the complex has blessed it and maybe even given back? Is it blind faith that the complex with the Vayu devta has been safeguarded by it from an airborne virus that resulted in a global pandemic? Even though this Indian culture and its beliefs have been around since centuries, it was during the pandemic when I was reminded of its power. The aura that you create, the vibrations that you send to the universe have a huge impact on how your life is shaped. It feels as if this same aura and these vibrations created a bubble around the complex that even a global pandemic could not permeate. We are so quick to put our faith in science or something that a research claims or something that was proved. However, history shows that even science has been wrong multiple times and even things that were considered to be proven true were actually not. Earth was initially claimed to be flat before we became aware of its true shape. Just like everything else, science has made mistakes and evolved and will continue to evolve, but it is still so much easier to believe it. People are so hesitant to believe in something intangible, even though more often than not manifestations, vibrations to the universe, a person’s honest and deep intent has reaped the desired results.

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