Wednesday, March 21, 2012

God-fearing? I don’t think so



What does the phrase “God-fearing” really mean?  I have heard these in a number of different contexts – in the devoted religious sense of the word, in the parents telling children how to behave situations and how I can miss, the ubiquitous Indian matrimonial advertisements that typically starts with something like “We prefer proposals from God fearing professionals of good families…”

The reason for this sudden philosophical reflection is once again my little one, Smera. During our recent trip to Delhi to see her G.Pa and G.Ma, she developed a particular fondness to the Barbie-doll-sized idol of Ganeshji (one of Hindu deities) that was sat in our living room.  She would at first touch his nose and playfully hold his hand. Later, when she musters enough courage, she would put her arms around and lift him up and go for a stroll.

Being the dutiful grandma, fearing that Smera would break the idol, and risk the God’s wrath, my mother tactfully took possession of the deity and placed it in our more secure puja-room (prayer-room).  This of course was followed by a fitting grandmotherly advice on respect for all religions and fear of God.  We left it at that and moved on with our lives.

A few days later, Smera got her first chance to get in to the puja-room when she tagged along with her Grandma for her early morning prayers. I am sure she must have found the setting of the room itself amusing – walls plastered with murals of deities, lingering aroma of the incense and soft lighting from the flickering diyas (oil-lamps). 

Then she spotted the idol of Ganeshji who was earlier moved to safer grounds. And in no time, her face lit up in excitement as if she had bumped into a long lost friend.  Leaping from her Grandma’s lap and cutting through the consonance of the prayer hymns she said “Hi!” She then continued with her mono-syllabic conversation with the God throughout the duration of the prayer. 

God-fearing? I don’t think so. But something tells me (or should I say my little one taught me) befriending someone is better than being fearful, be it mere mortals or the God. Don’t you think?  

114 comments:

  1. innocence sees no rationalism, logic or philosophy. Nice post.

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    1. Absolutely,Sugeeth. Innocence or purity of heart is indeed key to happiness...no wonder kids are happy most of the time

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  2. another cute story from your cute daughter and another lesson for life...completely agree with you...befriending is better than being fearful...
    nice one... :)

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    1. Thanks Cynosure. Looks like there is so much for adults to learn from kids than the other way round...

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  3. Your little one is ingenious, so much to learn from children.
    It would work well with God, but with humans I bet it gets a little tricky, doesn't it? They reciprocate, a two way street it is!

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    1. True, Harish and again it helps to start from the position of positivity. Also I like your your street analogy - with a slight twist - some roads are bumpier than others....

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  4. How innocent and pure. Beautiful words , neat post :-)

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  5. Such acts of children are sure indicators that they are closer to god than anyone else:) Very sweet and innocent!

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    1. Thanks for that insight, Rahul. I've heard people saying this, but now i understand what it means - so true....

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  6. Smera is really a swthrt... the lessons we all get to learn frm ur daughter r priceles... I completely agree... My parents never used to get angry with me.. Cos anger keeps us away frm em! Being friendly is the best way to be with any person.. or even God! :)

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    1. Thanks Pranita - I share the same philosophy of not getting angry with kids, though i have to say there are some practical difficulties in implementing that with someone as naughty as my daughter :)

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  7. Read this early morning.....made me so happy! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It's a win-win then, Abhishek. My post made you smile and your comment made my day! Thanks !

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  8. I can say ...innocent story :-). Loved it...

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  9. Haha...
    i am going to KIDNAP someone :D and as an effect of kidnapping someone gonna find it hard to blog or post.
    Good message.
    *befriending someone is better than being fearful*

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    1. Thanks Kidnapper. Perhaps a great tag line for your business as well, eh ? Of course you'll need to read it from right to left !

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  10. That was nice :)

    I also think that there is no need of fearing God.
    Small children can always teach us something, because they are innocent and pure. :)

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    1. You are spot-on, Abhinav. Pure feels no fear :)

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  11. indeed! innocence is godliness!

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  12. Aww! That was so cute! I agree with you. I'm not exactly god-fearing. I talk to god just like I talk to friends. If I'm happy about something,I say a thank you. If I'm upset about something, I say 'Katti'. Before I leave home in the morning, I take a look at my Ganapathi and Guruvayoorappan idol and say "Bye! See you in the evening!".
    Ok, maybe I should stop talking. :/

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    1. Spaceman Spiff and BluBluBling - I like the way you have build the rapport with the Gods ! I think it is something worth emulating and it makes it so easy to deal with matters of faith...Great stuff

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  13. haha....frankly even I don't understand what does the term stand for!!! especially int he matrimonial business it holds utmost importance, as if you know who fears God and who doesn't????

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    1. You bet, Swati - i can't make head of tail of it other than the fact that it has a nice ring to it...

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  14. :) :) So cute :D , I can imagine how it must have been :D there is so much to learn from kids , adults are complicated kids know the simple things ^_^

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    1. Thanks, BBB. I am using some of my creative licence to extract a part of what you wrote " Adults are complicated kids" - so very true, isn't it :)

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  15. Children teach us many things with their innocent fresh attitude towards life...In their presence we definitely learn atleast one good thing per day...Great post again..:-)

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    1. Thank you Homemaker. As you say, there is plenty to learn from kids - we just need to look for it....with a child-like curiosity!

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  16. In the behavior of a child the Gods reside.It was quite an experience reading the post.

    The pic is heart-warming!

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    1. Thanks Neeraj, credit for the picture goes to Smera's daddy...

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  17. Aww, kids do the sweetest things, don't they. Yep, more than teaching kids, I believe there's so much more to learn from them. Loved this post!

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    1. Thank you, Sumitra. Very Very true - there is so much to learn from the kids - we just need to look for it... with a child-like curiosity !

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  18. That's a wonderful piece of work with a very strong message. I agree with you. I don't fear my God, I love Him just as your daughter does and so I'm not forced to follow any rituals/beliefs blindly. 10 yrs back, I've had a hot debate on this issue with elders at home because of that. Since then they haven't bothered to advise me on the issue.

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    1. Good for you, Leo Paw ! Standing up to what you believe and challenging the conventions are not easy things to do - you have done it both and I am sure you are happier because of that ! Thank you for your kind words...

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  19. So cute,your little dottie is not God fearing but God loving---any day more beneficial,no ?

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    1. 100% Indu. Say no to fear and yes to love !!

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  20. First, I imagined what she would have done and how adorable she would be that time. Second, I am friends with God. I always tell him/her that if you want this, you should give me that...

    I fight with God too...:P

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    1. Thanks Saru. Sounds like you have fantastic rapport with the god, which is great :)

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    2. You know you have to build it. If you are as greedy as I am then you surely need a perfect rapport with God.;)

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  21. The last line (before 'Don't you think') wonderfully sums it up.

    Lovely observation. Kids remain innocent and friendly with everyone (mortal or immortal), don't complain about weather, etc. until they grow up.

    Being friends is indeed better than fearing someone.

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    1. Thanks Vishal. I think as we grow up, we grow out of our ability to appreciate the little pleasures of life - it's time adults found their inner child within :)

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  22. Well I guess children have a kind of inherent wisdom that so many times amazes the grown ups...

    Sufi saints have preached this for centuries what your daughter practiced in her innocent conversation with Lord Ganesha...a beautiful post indeed...

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    1. Thanks Elixir of life ..I agree with you and what I have realised is that there is some much that we adults can learn everyday from our kids just as they do ..

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  23. Hi, Thats something great saints and holy men have tried to tell humanity over centuries and millenia and your little one displayed it just like that ... Thats the beauty of being a child.... :)

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  24. In my opinion, the minds of young children are like pliable clay; it has no rigid structure, it adapts to the world around it and absorbs and assimilates experiences and knowledge.
    But then sadly, they become victims to the prejudices, vices, religions and impressions of their parents as well as of society as a whole and their young minds are molded by forces beyond their control. We should thankful for the few years of innocence we had before the vagaries of life are thrust so unwillingly into our paths.

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    1. Nikhil - unfortunately what you say is true and I wish these years of innocence stay on forever..

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  25. I think we the adults need to look at kids and LEARN from them ..

    maybe then the world will be a good place to live in ...

    Bikram's

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  26. Hi,

    Another great read.
    I am new to your blog but now looking forward to the updates on the little one.

    Keep them coming.

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  27. Lovely post.. better God loving than God fearing.

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  28. These days we take things for granted. Because we 'control' our life. We choose what we want. We pursue what we like. We don't want anyone to say 'No'! But inner conscience tells us 'No'. And we tend to get away from that conscience. Is that conscience is what we call 'God'? And, naturally we fear that command. But we forget that the command comes from everlasting love. Thus love and fear are two sides of the coin when we relate to God. Good article. Keep blogging!

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    1. Thank you Sibi for stopping by .. That's an interesting perspective!!

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  29. It is always better to be friends with God. After all, we only go to those we love and friendly with when we need help and guidance, not someone whom we fear. Earlier God was portrayed as a judge of our actions, so the term 'god-fearing' meant that one was honest and noble. Love your little one. She reminds me of my granddaughter :)

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    1. Cyber Nag thank you very much ... I will surely pass on your love to her ..

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  30. Sometimes its the power of innocence which shows us the true way. Let the Godfearers have their way but I want more and more of Smeras to pass on this message unknowingly.
    A lovely post, a wonderful message passed through the heart of a toddler

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    1. Arnab - Thank you so much for the lovely !! I am glad you've enjoyed reading this one too..

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  31. Hahaha..Kids! :D..we've to learn from them..

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  32. I love the narration...and kids seems to have more common sense than us :)

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    1. Hemant - you will be surprised to know there is so much to learn from them :)

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  33. Nice incident and interesting lesson you have drawn.

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  34. Loved the ending of your post. God-fearing certainly does not only mean, giving the idol/holy book/place of worship due respect, it means being friendly with him. In other words, doing things that god likes, and he likes good human beings who are true, kind and honest like a child.

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  35. Lovely post... I am looking forward for your more such posts on your blog.

    Cheers!

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  36. Something I've been telling since my first day blogging :) No point being afraid of God.. the idea is to love him and appreciate him... do good.. thats what matters. No so many 'God-fearing' people who faithfully visit every temple on auspicious days etc, but are just horrible crooks in real life... whats the point of praying this way ?

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    1. Yes I know the kinds you speak of .. I know plenty of them myself and even I don't get their point of view .. Glad we share similar thoughts ..

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  37. Wow. This was an eye-opener, in the sense that it made me think. Your little girl is quite the philosopher. :)

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    1. Thanks Marita for stopping by and really happy to read your lovely comment. In her innocence she has me taught me a lot and what we all need is child-like curiosity and perspective..

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  38. Little kids have their own cute way of communicating with God, without any formality. Nice post.

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  39. Wow.. you put across a wonderful message through such a cute and adorable action of your daughter. Really beautiful. :)

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  40. Very insightful writeup Sangeeta. I would like you to write for our online portal WakeIndiaNow
    http://www.wakeindianow.com/

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    1. Amit - Sounds like a good plan .. Let's talk on the mail about this ..

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  41. absolutely. :) And smera is such a wonderful name :)

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    1. Thanks Madhusha, Smera means smile or the smiling one :)

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  42. Kids teach us so much dont they? :D.
    I think its best for her that she befriended Ganesh jhi :D :).
    Instead of fearing about God and such things, now she can have God as her friend through all times of her life :D :).

    Love the little one :). Another amazing thing she has done :D :).
    Another tight hug and kisses to her from my side :).

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    1. Absolutely Poo!! I will surely pass on the hugs and kisses to her .. :)

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  43. lovely post! my son called ganesh ji, gannu ji and now most of us in our family refer to him as such.. the elephant god and krishna appeal to children a lot. and yes its better to befriend god that be fearful of him/her. in any case I don't believe gods are angry revenge seeking discipline invoking figures. But more gentle, forgiving and bemused by our floundering.. thats why they are gods right?

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  44. Very true !! Gannu ji is a super cute name ..

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  45. What a lovely write-up...your daughter is going absolutely in the right direction...:-)

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    1. Thanks Suchi .. I am hoping she keeps heading in that same direction :)

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  46. And one day, she'd question the very existence of God...
    Wonderful post! Credits to your little girl too!!

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    1. Ankesh - thank you for stopping by .. I am not sure if I would like that very much ... But I will leave it for her to decide .. :)

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  47. Such a sweet post! And yeah, befriending God is must... It is we humans who do wrong things and fear Him eventually! :)

    Please do participate in this contest : Coolest Blog Contest 2012

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    1. Thanks Ankit and you are absolutely correct !! I will have a look at the contest .. Cheers !!

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    2. :D do participate.. they are accepting blog submissions now ! :)

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  48. definitely!
    her 'hi' was not out of disrespect but it's her innocence and her fondness for the idol and her sweet affection towards it

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    1. Yes Sujatha and that's what made me realise that it's good have God as your friend .. :)

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  49. Hey Hi, May be I am late to post a comment here but then; lovely all that I want to say.

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  50. Smera is really such an adorable doll!! Wish I could just cuddle her up :D

    And yea, becoming friends with God is something..worth coming out of those stereotypical "God-fearing" kinds and what does that really mean anyway? :)

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  51. That's totally innocent act :) i guess now your work is reduced a bit as Almighty is a friend of Smera :D lovely one, i enjoyed through out the post.

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  52. I loved this post, more so because I have always believed that Innocence is bigger teacher than knowledge. Smera is lovely and God loving child and I am so sure she is loved by him more than the God fearing people we see around us...

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  53. The phrase 'god-fearing' was invented by vested interests. By those who wanted to capitalise on god(s).

    If god is indeed a friend, a father, or anyobody whom you can approach freely, why should you be afraid of him/her?

    Nice blog.

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  54. :)kids are innocent and unpretentious about what they do... its only as we grow older that we try and do everything the way it is "supposed" to... till we reach a point when what we are doing seems to be sidelined by how we are supposed to...

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  55. Touche... our little one say good morning n goodnight to bappa, plus get very unsettled if she misses the pooja time with her dad in morning.

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  56. I am not quite a blog reader but going through your's was a delight. Absolutely loved your style of writing, nice and easy ... kinda relate to the idea of bringing out interesting stuff from our daily lives :)

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