Being Religious

GSB stands for Gowda Saraswat Brahmins. They speak Konkani as their mother language. And I am one of them.

The innumerous societies and the caste system along with the religions sometimes makes me wonder at the human intellect. There have been many theories or hypothesis and assumptions on how they were created. There have been conflicts and wars on the different Gods their greatest power. The simple customs and rituals followed by several communities in several parts of the world defines their culture and distinguishes the barriers. Many times, I have seen scornful faces and discriminations between people of community for the other. These were prominent in the earlier ages, when apartheid was severe. But now, times have changed and people have grown up to some extent. But still, these issues arises when festivals, marriages and rituals are to conducted.

Being a Brahmin in itself is considered as a huge top-notch. There were several rituals to be followed as per convention, though nowadays many people are adapting to the modern world, and following only the easy ones. Finding people similar to you and in the same kind of community gives you a feeling like being in your own country. This actually doesn’t mean that we ill treat others. Respect is an important ingredient in our day-today life, and whatever community we are in, we need to respect other communities too. I had already talked about it, that being in one community doesn’t play much importance to me or defines my definition of God or similar identity. But I guess, religion and caste is not only about different Creator. It defines the way we live our daily life. And we shouldn’t mind how others live in their own world or community.

The issues/problems arises when the different worlds meet. There have been issues during festivals at various places of worship. I wonder how it starts. True, there is no smoke without fire. But ain’t we, the people who acts as oil to the burning fire instead of knocking it out? Agreed, there maybe sparks when two people meet, but that is common. Why do we lose the mutual respect in such cases? This religious war is something which is always beyond anyone’s scope other than themselves.

Then there are marriages. There are conventions of arranged marriages where in we seek people from only within the same community. There have been several protests when you go for someone outside the barrier. They preach and advise of the hassles. They are to some extent, true. There are people who have accepted the challenge and won successfully, and some who have failed miserable, and some who are in the tug of war. But I guess its there in every union be it arranged or intercaste. But just that inter-caste and inter-religion unions is a bit more challenging and difficult and needs pure mature approach from everyone in both the families so that life goes smooth. And as people can never be so idealistically mature and grown up from within, there exists always naggings and backtalks.

The rituals, I am sure, is no only limited to only one community, but all. And some people cross question the rituals they don’t feel like following, while some follow just because for the famiily. There was some times in life, when I felt all the rituals so old fashioned and all, but like they say, over time, you learn respecting the traditions and conventions, atleast some, and you stop arguing. You may not end up doing them whole heartedly, but then it becomes your daily routine to follow some of the customs with silence and which you accept proudly, lovingly and caringly. We start realizing their value and meaning which makes sense at some point in our life, but still with open questions and we start following them respectfully. Just like we start loving our home town, we start loving the community and the rituals and the barriers. The only difficulty is to keep the community barriers as transparent and not a solid permanent one.

What is your take on the rituals, customs, religion you need to follow?? Do you  believe in these?


  1. You know what, Religion and God are completely different. One talks about lying a set of rules for the masses to follow, the other is about faith. Ever since I was a kid, I used to ask my parents and the pundits in general, why do we do this religious rite … sometimes I used to get satisfactory answers even … those I followed, the rest I discarded. Do what logic dictates .. simple.

  2. Good post! I too always had the same feeling… and always wondered WHY??? While most of the things we follow ‘blindly’ dont make any sense… And have got transformed from one generation to the next with numerous alterations or the actual meaning has got lost…

    Discover the actual meanings and one will surely believe in Religion and God… 🙂

  3. Nice post.

    Somehow we feel it easier to be with people of our community, not that others are bad but the sense of being accustomed to the particular way of life makes us feel at home when we are with people of our community. Whether it may be the taste or type of our food, the way we do things or the things we do, tend to be similar to the poeple of our own community.

    Being religious is another matter. What I feel when I go to temples or do prayer is that I reflect on only good things and good thoughts and feel so pure…
    Previously I would not follow lot of things, even now I dont follow lot of the rituals but as you said, we become used to following few things(sandhya vandan ) which become part of our life and then we start doing them unconsciously and it feels good…

  4. @kidakaka: Religion and God are not that different visually, though faith is what connects all these literally.. just my few cents. And sometimes even the logic seems illogical! Thanks!!! 😀

    @Swapneel Shah: Every child learns at first blindly with the faith in their parents. Yes, its upto them to follow later on, once they realize what they are doing.. 🙂

    @Ananth: Thanks.. the particular ways we follow to lead life, that binds the people in community, i guess is some way related to the customs followed by community too, though the place we live in too plays an important role… whatever you do unconsiously, may you reap the benefits later on.. 🙂

    @prem: in the society we live in, there exists the caste and religion system which we cannot ignore..

  5. Hi
    Gowda Saraswat Brahmins. They speak Konkani as their mother language. ( And I am one of them.)

    In a Human Being,don’t use or notify in public our caste.That’s not good.
    How would you write this?sorry.I’m not Happy to read your Being Religious Blog.sorry……
    In the society we live in, there no need to the caste and religion system.

    we cannot ignore…… only…….

  6. Greetings.

    Hmmm… I read up your posts on the topic. I have a lot to say. But well… I will keep it short presently.

    I have contested in a lot of debates on topics like Religion/God/Culture…

    For now, I will ask you to go through these when you have the time. Would like your response before I make other points.

    You might find them a tad contradicting. But well… You might wanna read them. Thanks.


  7. Hello Archana
    I came across your post through Blogbharati and since I am a GSB who married outside the community, I thought I would share my two cents worth. I am a firm believer in the idea that caste itself carries no value unless one sticks to the age old decrees that go hand in hand with it. These decrees for behaviour, interaction, religious adherence etc, did, in the past give a sense of structure to society. In today’s world, such a notion is an anachronism because our world is governed by a different structure where wealth and ability are what matter. Caste, on its own, has zero value.

    As for marraige, I think that the problem lies more with the cultural background than with the caste itself. The success of an intercaste marriage does, to some extent, depend on how anally retentive one is about holding on to one’s culture. If the couple involved values the other person more and his culture less, the marriage is likely to be peaceful.

  8. @samantha: Thanks for the comments. As you said, these rules and order and customs formed the base structure for the society in the past. And hence there are still people who respect and follows the same traditions even now. And for them caste has its own value. As successors, its upto us as a personal choice to accept or to discard them, and I know many people who doesn’t even bother about it…

    Regarding marriage,its always peaceful if there is love and respect for the other person, no matter what, but thats not alone what constitutes of marriage as per society. Not only the couple,but also the relatives and other people in your family needs to value more the people and their culture less, which I said does not happen everywhere. Maybe I am wrong too.

  9. Ah well, I think I’m also speaking from the perspective of somebody who has lived abroad for a long time and have therefore lost the feel of being in a ‘mixed marriage’ in India. In the Indian setup, the degree of acceptance from the family does matter a fair bit. I do think that its slowly beginning to change now. But yes, I also still hear of cases where a couple is disowned simply because they have married out of the caste/religion.

    The family’s acceptance (or lack thereof), can have a huge effect on the marriage- there is not doubt about that whatsoever. But what I am increasingly seeing (and again, this is just a personal observation) is that couples break up for more personal reasons than for cultural ones. Especially in the urban Indian scenario, I think a couple has a lot more challenges (work stress, infidelity) to deal with. But again, perhaps I am generalising (and digressing) here.

    Also, as another side note,I think minority communities like ours will be the first to be affected in this kind of a cultural shift. Not only are values changing but gender roles are shifting too and our community (by which I mean the Kerala GSB community) has just not kept up. Girls in the community are far better educated than the boys and usually find it hard to find a life partner who is their intellectual equal. Parents of girls, especially if they are rich, rush to snag that one lone GSB boy who makes it through IIT or IIM (or, if you are really lucky, both!). This has led to a steady stream to girls marrying out of the community and yet, instead of sitting back and wondering why things are going wrong, we blame the ‘Western culture’ or the girls themselves, or worse still, their parents.
    I’m sorry if this has turned into a bit of a rant, but I see this happening to my cousins back in India each time I go back home and it makes me very sad. And I wanted to share it with you because you are from my community and I think you will understand where I’m coming from on this.

  10. Nice Post… as said, Love & Mutual respect/forgiveness is most important thing in a relationship… but its the society and people from that particular community sets high standard for themselves, that when we come to know we belong to that society , we thrive to take pride out of it ,if we meet those expectations,we l find our community boy/girl.. and if we not, Mixed marraige reaps up as a option….

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