As you grow older, you become more and more convinced that you are wrong about a lot of things. You reluctantly become a part of this corrective program where everything you once believed in stops believing in you. It's an endless humbling process. Let's begin with faith. No, not the kind that is restored everytime you see a kind picture or a heartwarming video on the internet. I'm talking about the outside world. For instance, i used to be a religious kid who accompanied his mother to temple every Friday like mama's boy. At that time, my dad used to brainwash me—much to my ma's chagrin—that faith doesn't demand physical activity. According to him, true bhakti takes place in the heart. One's mind should be clean and clear about what one's body is doing. “What's the point in committing mistakes outside the temple and then going in begging for forgiveness?” That was his philosophy and i admired it from a distance. It was only after i moved to hostel for my engineering diploma that i lost touch with the places of worship. No more visiting mandirs. No more saluting masjids. No more crossing churches. No more flooring forehead in gurdwara. I was officially papa's boy. This happened a decade ago. As of now, i've realized that praying is not about instructing God what to do. It isn't about talking to oneself like a secret self-pep talk. It's about influencing the forces of nature. When you sit down or kneel or stand to pray, what you're basically doing is you're commanding the universe to pay attention to you. It's putting out your intentions in whatever form possible. One yogi's prayers are another man's meditation. It could sound like a cry for help or an assertion of the person you've become. But more importantly, it's about listening to what you want the greater powers to hear. When you pray, you should notice how active your entire body is. Your brain is superactive. You are calm but your senses are enlightened. Which is why, there is no such a thing as “Oh, i prayed so lazily today”. According to psychology, only two human activities demand such heightened level of awareness: sex and music. Maybe praying should be added to the list. But before that happen, we need to attempt some etymological coups. Shouldn't those who pray be called prayers? Yes? Amen.
PS: My dad is a changed man today and visits temple every Monday (his weekly off) morning while i continue to blog on anthropological pursuits of our species.