I sometimes wonder where I would have been or what I would have ended up doing had it not been for faith. For the faith I have been taught to have in the Almighty, right since I was a kid. I was very notorious, mischievous and evil as a kid (I think I have sobered down a little now). I was up to all kinds of nonsense all the time, each day I would end up bringing disrepute to myself and my family. And each day I would end up getting slogged by my father on the one hand, while on the other hand, my mum would ask me to pray. To pray to God, to give me good brains and to help me turn into a new leaf. But that’s that. I would go into the prayer hall in my house, each day, and then have my own conversation with God. I felt, and truly feel till day that He listens to me all the time, to whatever I have to say to Him. So I would go and sit there in the room, in front of all the idols, close the door, and then start talking to Them. I would tell Them all, my point of view, cry my heart out, ask Them to have more mercy on me, apologize for what all I thought were my misdeeds. I would then ask them to keep giving me happy surprises, and miracles each day. This apart, each day, after bath, I used to routinely chant a series of slokas (Prayer verses) in front of the Gods. And my favorite among them was The Bhagwad Gita (Always has been, always will be) Now, The Bhagwad Gita was taught at our school during the sloka hour each week. We had a Sanskrit Sir, Shri Sowmyanarayanan Sir, to teach us The Gita. And he was the best. He used to teach us each verse with so much clarity and so much patience that we just had to learn them by-heart, and considering the fact that each verse was pregnant with meaning, he would translate the verse for us, to understand what we were really chanting. We were taught The Gita from Class III to Class V at school and being part of The Gita competitions gave me immense happiness.
Needless to say, chanting The Gita each day became an inevitable and favorite part of my routine.
As I grew, the bond only became stronger. I began to fall in trouble each passing moment, and I had to share my woes to someone who wouldn’t make a face when I grumbled. I know friends and family do hear us out, sympathize with us, console us and give us moral support. But, come off it, for how long can you keep ranting to them – at some point you will tend to break their patience. And they do have their own liabilities to take care of, don’t they?
There were times when I was broken, days when I refused to believe in myself and days when I wanted to quit. There were times when I was always wrong. But all the time, I would cry out loud to Him, hoping for change, hoping for miracles, hoping for better days. And He would give them to me, without fail.
I wanted someone strong to put my faith into – someone dependable, someone powerful and someone who would totally and completely know me inside out. And God was that someone. When you are distraught, all you need is some hope, a ray of light that will dispel your darkness. And you would want the source to be trust-able, not something fake or conniving that will give you false, short lived happiness. Who better than the Almighty to be the source? Who better than the Almighty to trust? After all, every micron that exists has been created by Him. He is the answer to all questions known and unknown. He is the reason each one is doing whatever he/she is doing, and he knows where everything will be or end up being.
He is the reason I have been able to move on. He is the reason I have been able to forget and forgive. He is the reason I have been able to look beyond my repentance, regret, misery and sorrow. He is the reason I pull myself to turn into a new leaf every time. He is the friend, philosopher, guide I look up to, during every moment of my existence.
And the prayer verses, The Gita chants, the Bhajans, the Slokas, I feel, help establishing the connection easier, and make it even stronger.
So here go my 3 favorite prayer verses, a.k.a Slokas ( apart from each verse of The Gita, of course)
- The Gayathri Mantra – This one has a very special place in my heart (Close friends and family know why)
ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।
Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Condensed Meaning : May the supreme God, the protector, the source and basis of all forms of life, the one who is free from all pain and frees us from all pain and trouble, the giver of happiness, the Creator of this universe, the one who purifies all and sustains all, the destroyer of all evil, show us the divine path to enlightenment.
- The Morning Sloka – Each morning, as I wake up, the first thing I do is look into my palms, before setting my eyes on anything else.
कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मिः करमध्ये सरस्वति ।
करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ॥
Karaagre Vasate Lakshmi Karamadhye Saraswati |
Karamoolae Tu Govindah Prabhaate Karadarshanam ||
Condensed Meaning: On the top of my palms dwells Goddess Lakshmi, in the Middle, Goddess Saraswati, at the Base, Lord Govinda; I begin my morning (Early morning), looking at you in my palms.
- This verse from the Vishnu Sahasranamam, also in The Gita: Chapter Four, verse 8
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृतं ।
धर्म संस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे ।।
paritranaya saadhunam vinashaya cha duskrtam|
dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge ||
Condensed Meaning: Lord Krishna says “To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.”
Life is that journey which surprises us each moment. Where we don’t know what’ll happen the next moment. Where there is nothing, but uncertainty. If left alone, unguarded, we are fragile enough to lose heart and break. What better than putting our trust, our all into the one that created us, and submitting ourselves to Him – to have faith in Him that He will always give us the best? And by this, I don’t ask you to follow anyone’s methods/practices/routines. Nor am I batting for all the God-men/women who proclaim themselves to be messengers of God. No.
Each one has a very close, personal connection to God. Put your faith in Him, He is the hope that never fails. He is the support that never breaks. He is the one who sees through your fake smiles. He is the one who knows what your really want. He is the one who sees you crying yourself to sleep. He is the one who sees through you.
He is yours, mine, everyone’s. To sail us through the ups and downs we might meet, to guide us through our rough patches in life, to celebrate our exhilaration – He will be with us, no questions asked.
He bestows upon us the peace and the tranquility we ache for. He is the bliss we yearn for.
So, believe. Your belief might just change your life. For good.