Loud religion

I have a loud voice, that gets louder as I get excited about something and it’s difficult not to add to the voice pollution. But I crave for silence, as noise disturbs me a great deal. I especially cannot understand the “loud” practise of religion and this seems to be the trend now. It seems very important to religious people to show that they are religious …. We have loud all night “jagran” for some devi or devata, deafening music and no one can sleep. Why ? Is God deaf or doesn’t God get it if you send your prayer silently ?

The religious “fervour” is scary and am not singling out the Hindu religion… Yesterday was Eid-Ul-adah and the roads were jammed and completely blocked. In a couple of weeks we will celebrate Diwali, a “noisy” festival. Very relevant for what it stands for … But the crackers and festivities that go on are noisy and the collateral effect on public is huge. In my favorite city Delhi, roads will get clogged with everyone wanting to gift everyone else “something”. The frenzy of gift giving hits it’s peak at this time. A couple of months back there was some Christian procession, with all my Christian friends wearing a single color dress and taking out a procession that again blocked traffic.

I have been thinking of this “loud” practise of religion … It is a recent phenomenon. The temples, mosques and churches have never been loud – the rath yatras that were taken out had huge crowds and musicians playing on their instruments and singers singing, no loud speakers and no all night drama. There was one “Shiv Ratri” when it was good to stay awake all night and pray to Lord Shiva, not play loud music. Even today you have the Baha’i temples that are just places of silence, or the Buddhist monasteries and temples that are places of quiet contemplation.

Whatever religion you practise, is your personal choice and none of my business or anybody else’s business… Why do you want to practise it in public ? Whether I think you are a great man/woman is immaterial, so doing a Jagran and disturbing everyone’s sleep gets you no “punya”, or brownie points with God. The least we must understand is if we human beings are so intelligent, then God/existence/nature that created us has to be far far more intelligent and wouldn’t care about public display of religiousness.

I think the public display is because we are scared of silence … We don’t know what to do with it. We rush to fill it with words, music, activity, phone calls, trivia. Spend a whole day silently ? Maybe impossible for most of us. Yes, my writing is also running away from silence.

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