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Monday, May 6, 2013

Being Hindu. Being Me.

Upon my news of engagement a friend come out of the blue and asked: will you join his religion? There are not many times I want to Facebooked someone (i.e throwing a HUGE book like Encyclopedia Brittanica to one's face), but this is a legit case. Such a shame I use e-book these days thus no heavy bound hard cover books to be thrown.

I remember when I was in University religion conversion was such a grand issue for our tight-knitted Hindu student community. There will be collective gasps and a sense of loss when one of the Hindu student convert to other religion. I was among one of the hardcore ones and was very aggressive defying the religion conversion. Fast forward a few years later and guess what? It stops to matter.

For one thing, religion is an extremely personal issue. One can choose whatever he/she believes, just like he/she can choose favorite artist or favorite color. Those who said any religion is better than others are sadly mistaken, and also guilty for blasphemy. Surely if God is all powerful He can just strike down all the non-followers of a certain religion He favors, why bother "helping" Him to condemn those non followers? And shouldn't He be able to differentiate human based on the religion one has, just like a chimps differ from a lemur? Why are humans so arrogant to think they can judge and condemn like Him? I imagine God would probably shook His head wearily and said, "Dude you ain't know shit. Now leave it to the pro will ya'?"

It took me a few years to arrive to this conclusion, that I have no business in interfering with other people's religion and beliefs. It then makes me questioned myself, why do I choose my religion? Retrospecting and thinking back, I knew it was because I love my religion and believe in it. I believe in the general concept of Hinduism, of seeing the universe as a whole which every single creature meet/collides one way or another with the others, of karma and reincarnation and the fragment of Himself in our soul, of thinking saying and doing good because we can and it's the right thing to do. 

Thus said, I also love the Balinese aspect. The offerings and prayers and puras, the incenses and loud musical gamelan, the great array of colors people donned to go praying. My ancestor has fashioned offerings from coconut frond since ages ago, it is insane to stop just because it does not "fit in daily life", nor because it is considered as "not the real Hindu". I am a Balinese Hindu and proud of it. The wisdom of old Bali ways combined with Hindu beliefs that has been around for ages, this is what I truly believe, this is my religion. The incense smoke and fragrance of fresh flower, the Balinese chanting and newly made sandalwood-smoked holy water, the labor of making offerings and enjoying it afterwards with your family, this is who I am. This is Balinese Hinduism.

My friend's question is wrong in many ways, but mostly because it is not his goddamn business. A change of religion/belief will not change my personality or the true person I am. Granted some beliefs do exercise a great deal of "brainwashing" to ensure their followers to stay, but if I do switch over it had to be because I really really think the other side was better than the current one and thus it is nobody's business except me and God. For this reason I also have denied my fiance's request to be a full-fledge Balinese Hindu, because I don't favor my belief to be taken so easily. He needs to know what Balinese Hindu is all about and whether he can (and is willing to) commited to it.

At this point, my fiance barely knows anything about Balinese Hindu. But the serene and calmness he had after we pray together at the Pura is good enough for me. The way he is so enthusiast about Balinese ceremony and holy days is good enough for me. His concern for me not being able to pray like I used to in Bali when I live in a different country is good enough for me. And when I am with him I feel closer than ever with my religion. He may not officially be a Balinese Hindu just yet, but he already feels so comforting and so familiar.

Whatever his choice will be, he gave me understanding and a sense of comfort to live by my religion, by what I believe, thus it doesn't matter what religion he belief because I am allowed to do what I believe. In fact he probably have way more positive attitude towards Balinese Hinduism than most Balinese Hindu I know. Anyone who challenged this and question his religion (or mine) will deal with me first, because my religion is my business with God and his religion is his business with God. So please dear busybody, mind your own business. If God thinks me and my fiance are good enough together then just live with it, except if you think you have a better judgement than Him ;)

1 comment:

  1. facebooking. hahahaha. love it!
    and of course, love the writing, as always.


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