The Faith We Found

Jash KalyaniAugust 10, 2016HappinessInterfaith Connections

Human beings are an integral part of the world.

A world without humans would have the most untamed and undisturbed forms of nature, where the trees are as green and the rain is as wild as ever. The flowers would bloom, having no one to pluck them, and the cattle would meander, having no one to listen to. Seemingly in such a diverse world, there wouldn’t be any beliefs, faiths, rituals, or traditions, because there wouldn’t be human needs and fears to give rise to them. A world without humans would mean a field without players.

As humans evolved we have found a number of ways to be happy, one of them being faith. Happiness has even been humanity’s top priority, and all that we did and are doing revolves completely around the goal of being happy.

Let’s observe how faith arose. When humans were a new species the world must have seemed limitlessly strange to them. Everything was new. Day by day they started to establish themselves. They discovered fire, made the wheel, plucked flowers, and reared cattle. They discovered how fire worked on food, how herbs worked on wounds, and how paint worked on walls. They noticed how generation after generation continued with discrete legacies and characteristics.

But as time passed, and they gathered more knowledge about the gifted globe, they realized that they had nobody to question when their wits were in doubt, to complain to about the earth’s unexpected treachery, and to tell how sad, hopeless, and pointless their lives seemed during dark times. All they had was one another — seemingly not enough to conquer their heartache. They did not have anybody to see as the maker of nature’s gifts, or to call for help when the water or land condemned their subsistence.

"They did not have anybody to see as the maker of nature's gifts, or to call for help when the water or land condemned their subsistence."

This was the time when they discovered faith and found God, something beyond the world and their creations whom they could be grateful to for earthly provisions and fault for nature’s invasions. Simply put, God fulfilled the need for someone to blame and thank. Thus, the most important reason for human survival is the prevalence of faith on the globe. It is faith that gives hope to humanity, a hope that someone is noting the good, monitoring the wrong, helping the needy, punishing the evil, and empathizing with those who are lost.

In Hinduism, my own faith, God was gradually given the outline of a human body. Hindus worshiped him mainly in the form of idols. Countless stories are told about how Hindu gods evolved during the times of the Vedas. Hinduism’s immortal epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, revolve around different incarnations of Lord Vishnu in two different ages of the earth, the Tretayuga and Dvaparyuga. These epic stories, in which God is always victorious, played a major role in spreading the rituals, morals, and ethics of Hindu culture. Eventually the days of victory began to be marked as festivals. God was the center of attraction and the reason for every celebration. These facts establish a direct relation between faith and happiness in the form of festivities, merrymaking, and thankfulness.

The ultimate goal for Hindu devotees is to move towards God and eventually, by reading shlokas or chanting the name of the Lord in temples, to gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. This satisfaction prevents them from running after more and more wealth, hence keeping them happy. This is an indirect relationship between happiness and my faith.

In India, faith is an essential part of most people’s lives. More than three quarters of the nation strongly believe in God. However, I have noticed there are two kinds of believers — the happy and the unhappy.

Hindus who believe in God try to understand the depth of Indian mythology. They effectively imbibe the ethics and morals designed years ago, and therefore do not have as many grave problems in their lives. They do not need to “bribe” God to fulfill their wishes. They know how to reason with, understand, and follow everything that Hinduism rightly teaches. This faith helps them make the right decisions in life and, at times, prevents massive problems. Day by day they understand their faith better and find more ways to attain happiness, which strengthens their relationship with God. This process repeats, forming a “happy” cycle.

On the other hand, the unhappy believers often have a lot of mental, physical, financial, and emotional stress. They have immense burdens on their minds. In such circumstances actually understanding Hinduism may feel unimportant. What matters most to them is the eradication of all the prevailing problems in their lives. This unhappiness leads to a very different picture of faith than described above, and the devotee’s relationship with God worsens. Without the wisdom others find in Indian religion, this bad relationship sets its own traps and plots and getting out is very difficult. This means it is harder to become happy again. This is the vicious cycle of disturbed faith; the biggest problem my country faces today.

The most dangerous trap is blind faith, followed by superstitions and insensible beliefs. Many people begin to fear God and then follow every ritual without reasoning and love. Moreover, others try to cheat these misguided people for their own benefit. All this leads to an increase in expensive rituals and no happiness at all, only sadder days.

"Many people begin to fear God and then follow every ritual without reasoning and love."

Therefore happiness is the only feeling that can break the cycle and prevent religious people from blindly following with scales on their eyes.

Almost everywhere in my country, when it comes to offerings, people choose money. Of course, everyone does it because they believe in God, but hardly a fraction of them do it without compromise. These people are scared that if they don’t give money God will take their happiness away and not bless them with all that they need. This is how fear overrules faith.

On the contrary, when we actually think about what God needs, it is our love and belief. This can be expressed merely in the form of a few flowers. God is a supporter, not a tax collector. The devotee who possesses the courage to say “no” to gifting money when he doesn’t have enough, despite the fearsome beliefs of society, and instead chooses to place a few flowers on God’s divine feet, has fear-free faith in his heart.

Because of this fear created and fed by the absence of happiness, my country is facing a number of losses. I have written all this against blind faith because I take God to be a companion. I am proud to say that my faith is fear free, and hope that one day the scales will fall from the nation’s eyes, too.

Jash Kalyani is a 15-year-old tenth grader at Nath Valley School in Aurangabad, India. For Jash, words are the humblest medium of human expression. He has a strong penchant for literature and writing. He is interested in journalism, world relations, psychology, and English. The Queen’s Commonwealth Society has honored him with a bronze medal in essay writing. He enjoys learning about the world and its people.