Thursday, December 26, 2013

The First Things

What is the first thing you do when you come out of the confines of a bath?

My Father always emerged from his bath wrapped in a fresh white dhoti. He would fling a white muslin shalya around his shoulders and walk with single minded attention to the prayer room and place a dot of red between his eyebrows. Ten minutes later tinkle of the small brass bell and aroma of burning camphor filled the air. We trooped into the room and waited for our turn to take the aarti. And we felt blessed.

Yes. The prayer room. The lighting of lamps. The aarti with a camphor flame. The shlokas. These are rituals.
God, Universe, Supreme... give any name ... is pleased with devotion. I don't think He really cares if you forgot to place bits of areca-nut on aligned betel-leaves.... or pinched the skin of the mousambi on offering just so...
It's the thought that matters.

But what's with this mind of ours? Like the flutter of pigeons on a roof top that suddenly scatter at the burst of a firecracker, a hundred thoughts are eager to take the mind to a thousand destinations ..... phatak-dhum.

Seth Godin tells me if you think you should do it. You will.

Does Cola make me happy because the ad says it does??
You are more prepared to laugh at jokes when you go to a stand-up comedy show. You are more prepared for idle chatter when you attend a party. You are more inclined to serious conversation after an intellectual movie. 

So when Anna was performing the daily ritual .... maybe on some days his mind was on the board meeting he would attend? or on a Deal that he was about to close? But the prayer room by virtue of daily ritual had acquired a certain 'This is what you should do here' aura.
Hence when we went to the prayer corner we felt blessed. And gathered our thoughts, stilled our minds, if only for minutes, (or seconds) and emerged rejuvenated and recharged.

So maybe there is something in rituals? A ritual that is not imposed. A ritual that is admired and internalized? A ritual that is followed everyday until it becomes second nature?

Allot a zone at home to write, to cook, to worship
and the spot acquires the ability to guide thoughts!
When you are 'not in the mood' the zone will help you with its acquired aura!

I suddenly write here in defense of rituals!!!
And I always thought ... I hate rituals!

I know now. I like my rituals. I just hate it when others make me try to follow theirs!

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