Divine Grace (Anugraham) & “Elders” Blessings (Aashirvadham) are two values which my parents taught me early in life.
My mother was a very pious woman, who celebrated every religious occasion with reverence and great devotion, with appropriate Poojas performed at home. Whether it was a simple `Kardia Nonbu` or the more elaborate ` Varalakshmi Vratham`, she would spare no pain to make the occasion an opportunity to appease her chosen God / Goddess.
While her favourite Lord was Rama of the Ramayana fame, my father always claimed that Guruvayurappan – little Krishna of Guruvayur in Kerala, was his chosen deity whose name he kept invoking whenever he felt happy or depressed. Like millions in the world, both my parents also believed that whatever be their problem, the Lord will always provide a solution!
They also believed in openly expressing their respects to elders. Any elderly person visiting our home was showered with genuine hospitality and made to feel like a VIP. No one left the home without taking the simple meal my mother served, with lots of love! Invariably before the elders took leave, my parents would prostrate before them seeking their blessings! The visiting elders more than touched by the gesture, would be generous in their blessings. Whenever we went on a visit to South on holiday, my parents would make it a point to visit all the elders in the family seeking their blessings.
As for me Lord Balaji of the Tirupathi fame and Vinayaka the elephant God are my chosen deities. Like my parents, I also totally surrender to the Lord not only during hours of crisis but on a daily basis whenever I have the time and opportunity. I am no good at pooja rituals, which are performed by my wife who is proficient in them. My belief is expressed in the form of invoking the Lord`s name, as often as I can, silently.
Keeping elders happy and getting their blessings is also something which I have believed in all my life.
Though old age and physical problems are preventing me from prostrating before the elders I do not fail to touch the feet of the elders in the typical North Indian; `Pai Lagey`style, even now! I feel thrilled when they bless me from the bottom of their hearts! I can say with confidence that my bank balance of
Elders` blessings is always overflowing.
I believe that God’s grace and elders` blessings have played a major part in my leading a fulfilling life apart from my relentless pursuit of my dreams and goals. I have even named my home and company invoking the Divine Grace; ANUGRAH!
Coming to the younger generation, judging by the turnout of youngsters in places of worship and other spiritual get-togethers of modern day `Gurujis` of all shades, I feel that belief in God is certainly growing among the youth of the country.. Whether it is Rama, Krishna, Allah or Christ, every young man has his chosen deity or a `Guruji` whom he regularly invokes for moral support in his hours of trials and tribulations.
I also find the practice of paying respects to elders, by touching their feet is prevalent among all sections of North Indians, wherever they are located,, even today. You can see an ample display of this fine gesture among the younger generations at Railway stations, Airports, other public places and of course at family functions. It might look perfunctory to some but I always admire at the spontaneity with which the act is performed by North Indian youngsters, even in Chennai. Whereas in the South, particularly in Tamilnadu and among Tamilians, the concept of prostrating before elders, the traditional form of paying respects is slowly fading amongst the younger generation. It is especially difficult for the Vada Kalai Iyengars (a sect of Vaishnavites sporting the `U` Namam on the forehead) because they have to perform the act of prostrating- four times, each time they meet an elderly person!
It is quite a punishment, especially for the newly married couple at Weddings, when they are forced to go around the wedding hall prostrating before every elderly person in the crowd. Of course, a wise young man found a solution to this problem by requesting elders to assemble in groups so that he could perform a `one for all` ritual to get their blessings. Saving effort and time!! The idea is catching on even at homes where families get-together on occasions. The fact is today`s younger generation in the South has to be persuaded to pay respects to elders in the traditional way. It is also true that the stresses and strains of modern life have made them physically unfit to perform this arduous form of paying respect!
I suppose that the present day parents and grandparents should feel happy if their children or grandchildren or nephews and nieces express their love and respect in whatever form they choose- if at all they feel like expressing their respects!