I am not a very religious person. Neither am I a worshiper of any of our gods. But I find Shivji very close to my heart. He loves Kasi and can’t tolerate being away from his city. He feels the separation very concretely and physically. And he is not afraid of owning whatever feelings he has for his beloved city. There are many stories in the Purans about gods and goddesses and I have heard many of them, but a god’s love for a city on the earth: that’s not at all common. Brahma and Vishnu, the two-third of the trinity, live in their respective abodes away from the earth. Although Vishnu’s incarnations are known to have missed/wept for their places of birth on the earth (Ayodhya and Vrindawan) it’s their leela. When Mahadev is tricked out of his city and has to stay away from it, he actually weeps for it and its not his leela. He tells Parvati how he yearns for his return. And that city is Kasi. Har Har Mahadev.
Hanumanji is another god I find very appealing as an idea. As a child I was told, and had full faith in what I was told, till I lost faith, that when someone read Hanuman Chaalisa 100 times, his wishes will be fulfilled and that Hanumanji always protects his devotees. I used to be a regular reader of the Chalisa for many years. Then I stopped believing naively. Out went the strength of faith and entered doubt. Today, even though I don’t believe in the existence of Hanumanji as a god, I still feel drawn towards the idea of a font of strength: the celibate, immortal, brilliant, mighty god of strength. Jai Bajrang Bali.
I have a very close relationship with both Mahadev and Hanumanji. My grandmother is behind all that.
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