Belonging to a Brahmin family, brought up in complete religious surroundings, I grew up with God all around me. Going to a convent school further pushed the idea of existence of God into my mind, as the onset of day was marked by an assembly prayer, a small vote of thanks to God before lunch, and once more at the end of the school, we expressed gratitude for someone whom I had never met or known.
For every failed task or wish, we were told to believe in Him, for He has something good for us- behold in the future. Every action, practice, or habit was cultivated in a manner so as to either please the Almighty or refrain from angering Him.
We obliged and accepted what was being told to us. We believed. In fact, for a quite long period, I was a firm and a typical believer.
This was my theist life. When I say ‘life’ here, I refer to a certain phase or time period of my till-date physical existence on this earth.
However, during this life itself, there were many instances I started questioning a few practices that to me looked more like a computer-generated check-list, where I needed to tick-off every box to certify myself as an ethical, responsible, good and a religious person, who is fit to live in the society.
Flexibility or rather scope of any sort of evolution seemed to be completely absent in that list.
A few rituals, certain obligations and the necessity to follow some religious traditions that have somehow become social guidelines seemed spurious to me, including the existence of God. The so-called rebellious ideas and questionnaires started filling the spiritual vacuum of my mind. To some questions, I was able to seek answers and a lot of which still remain a mystery to me.
I had unknowingly embarked on the quest for a goal I never intended to create or achieve.
Gradually, my blind-belief started taking a back seat and I found myself working on reasons, principles, and logic that may not always be scientific, but at times were based on emotional and social intelligence. When my natural analytical ability, implemented on my personal researches and experiences, started yielding some satisfactory, reasonable and believable results, my inclination shifted away from God, religion and its practices. However, still, I was far from identifying and declaring myself as an atheist.
This phase further evolved into a life of self-dependency, realization, and acceptance of the present moment as the ultimate truth.
Dependency, be it on anyone, is the first step towards not acknowledging and realizing the Power of Self.
I would say this philosophy took away my theism from me and pushed me towards atheism. An –ism, wherein I was able to place myself, my ideologies, practices, etc. in a better position. It all seemed to be in sync. The quicker I embraced the truth of the present moment and self-efforts, the faster I healed mentally and physically. Moreover, I had developed patience and a strong foothold, which till now was a rare attribute to be seen in me.
I had completely stopped remembering God during my hard-times and ask him to lend me the courage to paddle my canoe. Similarly, during any happy moment, my vote of thanks for God disappeared as I felt that I understood the dynamics of efforts and results in return. I felt I was making progress, believed in my capabilities and learning abilities and was thus at peace even without God by my side. As I stopped believing in God, I started identifying myself as an atheist.
To an extent, things are still very much the same in my life at present; except for a grey zone that has recently marked its territory in my mind and is putting a question mark on my atheistic philosophy. Things that were either black or white for my mind to recognize in terms of God or no-God, are now passing through grey scrutiny and are creating ripples in an otherwise peaceful and calm pool of thoughts.
Many would not believe or acknowledge the presence and influence of grey zone in their lives, but it is the creation of this grey zone that makes the person push forward the boundaries, expand the horizons of the knowledge, developing a more genuine and realistic outlook; hence delivering the courage to see the things in a light they should be seen.
On my quest of these two –isms and numerous other philosophies like agnosticism, deism, pantheism, etc. – my analytical brain pinned another questionnaire:
- Do I really need to identify myself with one or another –ism philosophy?
- Is it a necessity?
- Would it make any difference, if I do not cling to any –ism for my personal growth and soul’s evolution?
- Why can’t I take an approach where no matter from whichever the –ism philosophy’s book an explanation hails, if it is able to satisfy my thirst, it is enlightenment to my soul.
Some would say that this reflects the viewpoint of a spiritually weak person, with no foundation or base, and one who has no knowledge of how the Universe functions. I agree. I do not have the full knowledge of how the Universe functions, who created what, and when this whole system came into existence. In fact, I feel this argument validates my quest to a great extent for I am on pursuit as I do not have the answers. Have I had all the answers, I would not have been seeking anything.
At present, I identify myself simply as a seeker; more or less like a student who might end up taking Arts, Commerce or Science when the right time arrives for me to choose.
Till then, I am taking the liberty of considering this as my spiritual-right- not to get indulged with any of the streams blindly or wholly. I may pick up my own path, my own philosophy, my own approach that syncs well with the Universe Within as well as Around Me. After all, this is all about gaining insight into your own being, your surroundings and make peace with both.
As I ponder over the questionnaire and wonder which –ism would best define the seeker in me, I wish I could coin the term “Seekism“, just for the sake of it or maybe out of respect to all the –ism philosophies, their founders and followers. My quest may be life-long. Nevertheless, I am sure to find the right answers to some, if not all the questions and that would be my true enlightenment.