The fun thing about relatives is watching those who don’t get along. 🙂 My favourite sparring duo is my spiritual-reiki grandmaster uncle and leftish-very real cousin.
Reiki uncle is the kind who talks spirituality at the drop of a hat. I’m sure you’ve encountered the kind who just won’t leave The Gods alone. By leave them alone I mean he can’t go into a temple, just close his eyes and pray. He must talk about the “vibrations”, the symbolism, the stories and all the paraphanelia (gibberish to me) that goes with it.
Cousinji is a very socialist, no nonsense, down to earth guy who believes in The Gods more because the belief is a part of his culture than anything else. You can be sure he’s religious. But you will not catch him praying. Sorta like me.
The fireworks start when they both meet. Here’s how it goes:
Uncle (U): I like the vibrations in your puja room, though I think it could have done with a different flooring – one that would not conduct energy so easily.
Cousin (C): What do you mean by vibrations? Do vibrations occur because you pray there or do you pray there because there are vibrations?
U: Depends, son. For example, all reiki channels believe that the cosmic energy exists for us to direct. But there are places where the energy is strong and one can feel it…
C: So, what you’re essentially saying is that anyplace is a good place but some places are better?
U: Ah you young generation simplify everything. For instance… (launches into long anecdote ending with a grateful admirer crediting uncleji with improving the quality of his life) Spirituality must not be neglected in life. (If lucky, no story follows)
C: I agree. Spirituality must not be neglected. But at the same time, should material well being be ignored?
U: Look at (insert random wastrels name) he may not be prosperous. But he has a moksha sthanam in his jatakam (horoscope predicts moksha) Could we ever aspire for greater fortune?
C: Perhaps, but don’t you think he should be fulfilling his responsibilities first?
U: Why? There are always materialistic people like you… and me (added as afterthought) to take care of the material comforts of life.
C: But what if everyone went his way? What happens to dharma?
U: It’s not dharma that drives life. It is karma.
C: I really don’t understand what you’re saying. For if everyone neglected his duties in life and went running after a God each, civilization would come to a standstill.
U: It is greed that runs our civilization. There is nothing wrong with it stagnating. We must try and live a more meaningful life
C: Now I’m lost. But I wonder if you would be speaking this way if you didn’t have a pension and sons in the US depositing dollars in the bank.
C: Let’s face it uncle, one can’t talk vedantam on an empty stomach. And those who can are not among us. I suppose thats the thing about life. You should be but you can’t and you can’t unless you do…