For Peace and Purity -- The Holy Month of Ramadan

Ramadan Kareem dear friends! The sacred ninth month of Islamic calendar -- Ramadan has begun. Narayankripa blogs primarily about Indian culture and traditions, but today I'm blogging on Ramadan as a spiritual seeker and also as someone who believes Advaita.

I am using the word Ramadan instead of Ramzan without any hesitation. I have read many times about the Ramadan-Ramzan word usage etymology and cultural roots, but Ramadan sticks in my mind because of my childhood memories.

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In those days, I would get to listen to Ramadan special programs in childhood. My brother had discovered UAE shortwave radio stations by some luck though it was almost impossible to tune to shortwave stations airing far therefrom UAE. And since then I know the holy month as Ramadan. 

I remember tuning our radio to a children’s program more vividly in which they would sing joyous songs in Arabic. Although, I wouldn’t understand anything of it the atmosphere those programs would create was divine during the entire month. 

Returning from the nostalgia, last year I watched a TV program elaborating the significance of observances during the holy month. Then I learned about the principles and rituals followed during Ramadan on the Internet as well.

Ramadan -- The month of Kindness, Generosity, and Devotion:

The main observance of Ramadan is fasting for the complete month. The pre-fast meals are allowed. While studying about Ramadan, I learned the emphasis on generosity and charity during the month. People are taught to be considerate towards other devotees who are fasting. One rule is all shops, restaurants are open during the nighttime for meals and the food is available for free for every devotee observing the Roja. The sense of brotherhood and unity and more importantly, compassion for the needy people is worth learning. 

I couldn't avoid sharing the experience we have here before Devashayani Ekadashi. How prices of potatoes skyrocket the day before the Aashadhi Ekadashi as people tend to buy potatoes more for fasting for the next day. The intention of looting from the faith of the devotees is not kind.

Another tradition touched me is, the colleagues in offices are supposed to be considerate of the person fasting. It's a basic feeling of compassion, I think, we have forgotten. Many of the Hindus won't think about fast at first place by the thought of getting mocked for our faith and will be considered as unprofessional.

Respecting the religious sentiments of those who believe the God shouldn't be really such an impossible-to-feel emotion, may they be of Hindus or Muslims or any other religion.
The benevolence is followed the entire month of Ramadan.

Another reason I am so influenced by Ramadan is the feeling of learning discipline behind the vrata. To discipline the body and the mind for Allah. It's so divine and I see it as Nishkam Bhav Puja (Nishkam Bhav means the fasts to be observed for the spiritual growth without having the desire of fulfilling material desires). I found it mentioned in the Khaleej Times that fasting in Ramadan isn't for dieting or weight reduction.

I couldn't resist the comparison here again, although I wanted to avoid it. The trend of fitting Hindu faith, from yoga to fasts and various Vratas, insanely, in some illogical scientific reason is growing at the level of obsession. It shows that we are apologetic for our faith and traditions. Nobody should feel guilty for believing the God.

We fear to feel the reverence for observing our traditions. It looks so weak the way we constantly feel the need to remove spiritual significance from our vratas and traditions.

The scientific approach is not wrong at all and rational thinking is a must for life but trying to force a scientific relationship invites degradation and mockery of our sacred beliefs.

The acts of love, kindness, and faith don't need scientific approval and I like it that Ramadan devotees fast unapologetically.

Ramadan -- For Devoting Time to Teach Discipline and Sadhana to the Mind:

I, then, decided to take this opportunity to devote myself more to Sadhana. Ramadan fasts are observed to teach discipline to the mind. A disciplined and devoted mind develops us into a better human for sure.
Because of the terms and conditions imposed by the nerve palsy in 2016, I have a health limitation to avoid starving. However, I can surely observe other principles during the month.

Other significant principles observed during Ramadan, apart from fasting include refraining from false speech and harsh behavior.

According to Islam, Allah is the supreme power and according to the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, Brahman is the supreme power. While a human can never be Allah, Advaita states that Brahman is uniform everywhere in everybody and everything. We are not separate from the Brahman. Though these two beliefs are distinct the most significant fact is that supreme power is one and regardless of the names by which we worship it.

DvaitaBhakti states the separate existence of the God and the devotee. The two beliefs aren’t conflicting completely if we compare Dvaitabhakti and Islam. Conflicts begin when we insist the Supreme One of my belief is the only supreme power and deny yours while in reality, the power ruling the universe is only One.

I have tried to write my thoughts as per my little capacity of understanding. I don’t consider myself able enough to fathom any philosophy or religion or blindly state that all religions are equal. However, I do not intend to offend any devotees or anybody by my efforts. I attempt to learn and find opportunities to grow myself spiritually widening my horizon in the sky of peace.

My effort during the month will be to observe a more devoted time for Sadhana, prayers, and introspection. I want to instill a transformation in myself so that I may become able to return genuine love for the toxicity I may receive in my life. I, aim to protect myself from reflecting any kind of behavior which has brutally harmed my life. I didn't read about the spiritual rewards of fasting, but I would seek the gift of love and compassion from Allah, from the Supreme One.

Mahayoga Sadhana, Maa Kundalini -- the serpent power within us -- does not confine the Sadhaka in any kind of rigidity and always look forward to spiritual growth in all directions without boundaries of faith in the mind which may cause to divide us.

PS: I have quit political activism long time back. Politics cannot keep alive the purity of heart and emotions which poetry gifts and which is needed for poetry. Selfishly, I choose poetry over politics. I don't know if I'll regain my interest in politics in future, but for now, I don't support any political party. So I have no gain from the opportunistic pretense of secularism. I believe as a spiritual seeker -- Sadhak one should evolve more and more into believing the oneness and love.

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