Tea shop in Goa

The magic of travelling in India is that you get to see so many ways of looking at religion, faith and culture. Gods are simply part of their daily life and there is hardly a place where they are not smiling from a small altar, from a picture, or act simply as a decoration of a local tea stall. Faith is a constant companion of Hindu day to day life. The eternity of the soul and the freedom to express faith in a simple and personal way has managed to survive several centuries on Islamic rule in many parts of the country and it has survived the British Raj as well. Buddhism, who’s origin is in India and Nepal on the other hand has been routed and forced into exile by islamic invasions. Their religious structure was too easy to uproot, like the latest Chinese invasion of Tibet demonstrates. Christianity and Islam, probably because of their common roots have managed to increase their reach mainly because of hard line rituals and spreading fear of eternal hell and condemnation. Hindu faith, a mythology rather than a religion has been and remains till date one of the few faith with free flowing forms, accommodating different forms of expression, like demonstrated in the small tea stall. This really brings you to the basic question if organised religion should not be considered the enemy of faith and individual growth. History supports my claim. Where ever man benefits from spreading the message of any form of a supreme being it all went wrong. The self interest of the priest has sprouted into the most common affliction the world suffers today – “Greed and hatred for our fellow man”. Exploitation of the planet, our giver of life, the very essence of what we should call and respect as god is being ruthlessly abused and destroyed. We fight wars in the name of protecting our values against enemies claiming to protect the same values. The absurdity of it is so apparent and yet we seem to blind. So at this tea stall, once more like I did in 1984, I decided to abandon nationality and religion and follow just one voice, my voice within.

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