How to get distracted

You know how it goes, you are watching a video in youtube and suddenly you are watching other videos that came up in the related links. Since #backoffIndia is trending, I was browsing Nepali news channels and then I found this old Nepali song ‘Kun mandir ma’ sung by Mr Robin Sharma which is a poem by Nepal’s greatest poet Laxmi P. Devkota. Need I say that it has become my favourite song.

It is such a beautiful poem. I am sure it can be interpreted more intelligently and in much depth but I love whatever little I’ve understood and find it soothing to the soul. Religions are so confusing, remember the Hindi movie PK where a human like alien gets stranded on earth and is befuddled by different religious practices and beliefs and doesn’t know how to go about getting what he wants from God because one religion says one thing and another the exact opposite in their different ideas of pleasing God. When infact human beings pray to the same God and religion is just a cultivated habit, a method we adopt because it is familiar (by means of observations or teachings), and is an easy or comfortable option among the available options to us. An element of nurture! Many people including me have gone through confusion and religious ambiguity. It must be natural when you have so many questions and you believe in God too. But I think a person comes to a decision ultimately and is in peace with it. One’s frame of mind cannot be like a vibrating tuning fork forever, no?

Anyways, in this song we are being urged to look to ourselves rather then going to a temple, with emphasis on hard work, good deeds, humanity, etc. A little translation below

“Which temple will you go to, pilgrim?
Which temple should one go to?
What goods for the prayer?
How will you take them with you?

The beautiful Pillars of bones
The Walls of flesh
The golden Roof of brain
The Doors of sense organs
The liquid waves of vein rivers
The Temple itself untraversable”

See what the poet did there? He gave a little lesson in anatomy as well. Sweet! And Mr Robin Sharma has that wonderful voice. Check out the video!

L.P. Devkota, the nation of Nepal is indebted to him. If he were someone other than a Nepalese, he would have been a Noble laureate surely, I mean without the language constraint! The movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ kind of reminds me of him, in terms of luck not being in his favour and he being much ahead of his time. But it is said that he was the kindest man one could find. A story goes that he had nothing and no steady income, still he took off his coat and gave it to a beggar in the street. And many more. Simplicity, patrotism, kindness, humanity, progressivenss, he paved the way for all the Nepalese youths. I personally believe his essay ‘Is Nepal small?’ which was in our school curriculum accounts for the patrotism we Nepalese youths have and believe to be innate. And who can forget the snippet from ‘Muna Madan’ where a high caste person touches the feet of someone not of his stature? Not heard of at that time and until many decades afterwards. A Nepalese is proud of many things, I found one more reason today, we are of the country where these legends were born and they were great humans inspite of everything. And we have their works that graces our lives and gives us that soulful connection.

My favourite coke studio song

I am obsessed with this song ‘Alif Allah’ from Pakistani coke studio. Apparently, it is the most viewed Pak video on youtube. And I just stumbled upon this song yesterday. The song connects you with your spiritual self and kinda reminds you not to get lost in frills and frivolities, to share, to be pure in deeds and thoughts and to believe in and love the higher power.

There are so little things, if any, that make you reflect and think. You are disconnected on so many levels, religion being one of them. You believe in God. But rare are the times you connect. And then you listen to a song like this and you feel happy and guided. You know on some days, you have that feeling that you are lost, a song like this gives you hope. It makes you feel that you are okay and you are only a human being. You are gonna make lots of mistakes, and repeat them, do bad things even when you know it is not right but you can find your way back to where you want to be, all you need to do is be loving and thoughtful and do your work, go through life caring and connecting with self and soul.

Astrology, religion & superstitions

We who live on this side of the world particularly India and Nepal put great importance on astrology. It’s like what eastern medicine is for Chinese.  Something that has an impact on people’s everyday life. The impact may be of varying degree on different individuals but few can deny it’s existence. Even for someone like my family who is supposed to follow kirati religion is influenced by astrology. But in all fairness we haven’t given up on hinduism esp. my generation who knows more about hindu religion which I think we got into in the first place as it was our nation’s religion a long time ago (nepal being a hindu kingdom in those time and all). But by the time our country became secular and my dad was insisting we write our religion as kirati for the census, data collecting process as we are kirati, it was already too late. I remember protesting vehemently, asking him how we were supposed to be  kirati when we knew nothing about kirati and loved celebrating the great hindu festivals. I was very young at that time and he was silenced (there’s a joke somewhere here). Eventually my parents started losing enthusiasm for hindu festivals or maybe it was those times when the baton was passed on to me to do all the preparations for those celebrations on holidays. I cannot tell. It’s all very confusing. It’s like we follow two religions. You know the information on one is very little. But we do what we know and what we can… And we also do a little bit of hindu thing.

With regards to birth, marriage, death… Limbus are not influenced by hinduism at all. I mean at all. The rites are different from Hindu rites. I have compared notes with my actual Hindu friends and there’s very little similarity if at all. But still I think of myself as Hindu also. This is not an uncommon thing in my country I guess. Some of my friends say they are Buddhists but they do both things, Hinduism and Buddhism. This is how my country rolls, one can have more than one religion at a time.

As I was saying, my family follows atleast some Hindu traditions. We celebrate the great hindu festivals… There’s no way out… Even if the elders wanted to give up on it, we the younger ones of the family will not allow it. It’s what we’ve grown on. And besides it’s too much fun.

Back to astrology, when a child is born, the exact date, day & time of his birth is noted and a cheena (kundali in hindi)  is made. It is made by a hindu priest,  some writing on a paper with diagrams. And the chartering of the planets begin, saturn, neptune, mars, the sun, the moon, the zodiac signs and what not. The priests are usually the ones who  decipher the codes and tell about the person’s past and future just by looking at the cheena. He will tell all about the person’s important milestones, when he should get married, whom or what type of person he should get married to, at what age to do certain things like marriage, buying properties, go abroad and all that, even going as far as to suggest what faculties someone should pursue in study or what job one should go for…Is it too much??? Not yet, it’s also imperative that two people’s cheenas should match for their marriage to suceed. Or who knows what disaster may befall and things like that. How do I know all this? Because of my mom. She is a firm believer and does this stuff from time to time. She and my aunties swear how something predicted has come true to the minutest detail which is amazing. I mean the stories… And other times point out how things the priests said didn’t come true. So, I am half and half on this. (yes even being a science student).

Superstitions- Nepalese have lots of superstitions like they believe cats especially black cats crossing your path bring bad luck, breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Looking into a mirror at night, cutting nails at night or even combing your hair at night are all bad. You are always supposed to flip back an overturned footwear, always or the owner of the footwear will fall. And then the saturdays, you cannot leave your home and set off on a journey on a Saturday or the first of a Nepali month. That’s bad, bad. And many more…