When you are born in a religious Bengali Brahmin family, you grow up believing in religion wholeheartedly. My parents are religious. My mother offers Puja to the god every single day. My father chants Gayatri Mantra daily after bath. They believe praying to Lord Ganesha and Kaali Mata before leaving the house brings good luck. It’s only normal for me to be religious. In fact I grew up as a Religious kid, believing in doing Puja can help us lead a much prosperous life. I remember as a kid, I would fast on the days of Saraswati Puja, because the goddess of knowledge will help me get better marks in the exams (Smirks!). I would see my mother and other ladies fast almost every month for some or other religious reasons. I, as a kid would fantasize doing some of these myself.
Thankfully, my family believed that kids were exempted from these rituals. I grew up thinking, “When I become 18 I will do all of these!” Yes, that’s what was told… once you become 18, you can do all the fasts and rituals.
As I was waiting for the landmark year, I moved to a hostel in Kolkata, to pursue further studies. Got so busy in settling into the new city, new lifestyle, that I forgot about the religious fasts and rituals. My 18th birthday came with a lot of new hope and freedom, that was my first birthday which I celebrated ONLY with friends. It was liberating.
Around the same time, a boy proposed to me for a relationship. I have always been a free bird, and never wanted commitment, however, once committed I protect that commitment with 100% honesty, zeal and love. Initially I wasn’t sure of it and I was almost coaxed into the relationship by the boy and a couple of common friends. However, once agreed, I went into it fully committed. Things were all great, it felt good. I was in a happy zone.
After a couple of months, one of our common friend spoke with me…
Friend: I have been wanting to speak with you for a while… but couldn’t gather the courage.
Me: (Smelling fishy) What is it? Please tell me.
Friend: Hmmm, your boyfriend is not serious about you, he is playing with your emotions.
Me: (In total disbelief) What are you saying? That’s not possible! He loves me and we are going steady.
Friend: That’s why I was hesitating to tell you. I knew you wouldn’t believe. Why don’t you confront him on this?
Me: I can do that… but what makes you say that he is fooling around? What proof do you have?
Friend: We live in the same hostel, and one day he got drunked. Your topic came into the discussion and he laughed out saying he just won a bet on you.
Me: Bet! What kind of bet?
Friend: Well, he got into a bet that he will convince you to be his girlfriend. And if he did, he would win the bet.
Me: (Totally disgusted) Seriously! I will speak to him. (By this time, I was completely mad, I was boiling with anger!)
I confronted him, next morning in the college. Initially he was avoiding the whole accusation, later when I cornered him, he said YES. He said, “whatever you heard is true and I have already won the bet! (Smiling slyly) I don’t have any reason to continue with the relationship.” I couldn’t believe this completely. I was trembling with disbelief and anger. In retaliation… I thrashed him up in front of 100 odd students in the college grounds for the next 5 mins. Fortunately, couple of friends dragged me away from the scene, otherwise, I would’ve killed him!
That incident broke me down into pieces from within. I kept wondering what was my mistake that he treated me like this? What gave him the right to play with my emotions? How can he do something like this? Without seeing the larger picture, I blamed my God for this. I went to the temple and promised not to pray till I got an answer for this. I became a NON Believer.
Fast forward to a decade, I found a new love in my husband, life became great again. I was happy, but my anger towards my god will still there. I lived right next to the temple, however, never went to offer my prayers. Husband questioned either. I remained a NON Believer.
Fast forward a few more years. A friend introduced me to Gourishankar Meditation. I was hesitant. I was thinking this is yet another gibberish way to pray to the god. However, as she insisted, I went for the session reluctantly. It was an hour long process, where you meditate with the help of sounds and Lucia lights. Initially I found difficulty in following the instructions. Eventually I started dropping my guards, inhibitions, complains and all the limiting beliefs around religion and spirituality.
What an incredible experience it was! After almost 15 years I met my inner self. I met my spirit, I met the supreme energy that drives us all! I realized it was me who was blocking the right energies to navigate through me. I understood I was the one, unnecessarily blaming the supreme god for my misery at the age of 19. I realized unless I had been through the misery I wouldn’t be ready for the love of my husband… I wouldn’t acknowledge him and accept him.
That was the day, I became SPIRITUAL. I started accepting things wholeheartedly, without questioning the universe. I started being grateful for each and everything that is given to me. I started listening to my inner voice and I could see my inner dreams and desires being fulfilled.
This journey from religious to a non believer to a spiritual being has been an epic one. When I look back, I feel all of these were pre decided. I went through, what I had to go through.
Spirituality helps you to not only connect with the supreme power, but it also helps you connect with your inner self. Experience this unbelievable, and become a Believer!