The original plan for today was to attend an Indian feast- and as we all know, Indian food is the way to my heart.  Let’s flash back to 2006:

That’s me at the Grand in Mumbai, breezing past the dessert table because it didn’t get any better than what was on my plate already:

So the above is what I was expecting.  Instead, I found myself sitting in a three hour long chant of “Hare Krishna, hare hare, rama rama.”  What’s worse, I had to abandon my favourite pair of Carlos Santana’s outside.  I found myself a titchy bit distracted, thinking about them sitting on cold shelf outside with all the other shoes.  Especially for that long a time.  Shoes like that don’t expect to be ignored for so long.

Anyway, the service was quite interesting, if I’m honest.  I found myself impressed by the members’ passion for (and devotion to) worshiping God.  It was really nice to see the love that they had for one another- and the openness they had for visitors.  I enjoyed the fact that it was lively- everyone was singing and dancing and swaying and clapping- it was kind of fun.

I knew I felt out of place- aside from wishing I had worn a sari or something, I mean.  It was a different sort of out-of-placeness.  I wasn’t as loose as the other members in the congregation, I wasn’t as… casual.  I know that sounds strange- or maybe it doesn’t, maybe it’s just me.  I don’t know, I just felt like it was a little strange to  be in the most decadent of buildings- full of statues and baubles and all sorts- but everyone was so… casual.  There seemed to be a lack of reverence- of respect.  I feel like God is a very personable being- one who cares about us and knows us individually- but at the same time, I feel like it’s of the upmost importance that we remember that He is God: and being reverent and respectful in our appearance is an important part of worship.

The lecture or sermon that was given was on depression- and finding ways to live without this handicap.  The speaker had an interesting outlook- he said that people should strive for the middle ground and eliminate the completely negative as well as the euphoric highs that we sometimes experience.  Something about the admonition to strive for mediocrity did not sit well with me.  I feel like we should be striving for happiness- and that joy should be our motivation and pivotal goal.  And frankly, being human entitles us to those moments of negativity and doubt.  In these moments, we learn the most about ourselves, and come to value the goodness in ourselves more.  It takes practice to develop the skill of optimistic reasoning- which is surely a worthy feat?

Another topic the sermon discussed was that of technology and the dangers that technology introduces into our lives.  Never mind that the sermon was presented from a powerpoint presentation, controlled by a Macbook Air.  The lecturer argues that pursuits of technology and the development of technology were wastes of precious time.  Overall, I still felt a little confused.  Though it was an interesting topic to discuss, I wondered whether it was appropriate material to cover in a holy temple on a holy day.  Where was the religious teaching?  The scripture? References to and discussions about God and His teachings?  Surely that is what religion is about?

Either way- the lesson of the day was learning the value of the all encompassing term: religion.  Watching human beings choosing to devote a great portion of their existence to a devote following of something greater than themselves is an encouraging concept.  It demonstrates the application of human duty.

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