Puja… Again

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”


There is always some kind of festival or holiday going on here in Nepal. For the last month, a few of the children at Hopeful Home have been reading out of a Hindu book, something they apparently do for a month every year. I was raised to believe that during prayer it was important to be silently respectful, but apparently that isn’t the case here or in the rest of Nepal for that matter. After dinner every night a few children would gather around the burning candle and book, while the others in the same small room would be dancing, singing, and doing homework. Even those listening would often talk or get up, making the whole prayer deal very informal and almost a joke.

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Music and Dance With An Inkling of Prayer

“My religion is to live and die without regret.”


I joined the children on Tuesday for a special day at their school where they worship the goddess of education. They believe that if they perform this ritual every year it will give them knowledge and help them to become better students. Though it is a worthy thing to strive for, like most Hindu rituals, it has turned into a mindless set of steps that they preform just because their parents did. I have found India and Nepal to be the most and least religious places I have ever visited, exactly for this reason. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has labelled themself with a brand of religion, yet most if them just perform a few rituals and think nothing more of it. When I asked families I have stayed with, predominately Hindus, what god meant to them, or why they perform certain rituals, they are slightly perplexed how I could question it and tell me “that’s just how it is,” or “that’s what Indians/Nepalis believe.” Many of them “believe” in their many gods just because everyone around them does, and, in my opinion, because their culture has programmed them to. Of course, there are worst things than praying to an education goddess, so even if it was a mindless ritual, it was one I didn’t mind participating in.

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