I was in my 8th standard(my friend says its 7th) when this incident happened. It however made me more spiritual than religionist. I would say, it’s the reason I believe in a god and not call him names.
So going back to the incident, the school that I studied in, my almamatter was very
spiritual religious. They made it mandatory for all students to learn the Bhagavad Gita ( the holy book of the hindus) whether they were hindus or not. I remember my friends who were non-hindus cribbing about it but nope our Principal was very stubborn in this case. So every Monday and Thursday morning we would stand in the assembly and recite the Gita or the Vishnu sahasranamam. Yes its nice to start the day thinking of god but come on you cannot force someone.
So on that day, a Monday morning, I was standing for assembly in the crisp brown skirt, white shirt, brown tie and polished black shoes, when the guy standing in the next queue poked me. We used to have one line for girls and another for boys of each class. He kept poking me till I turned. He had forgotten his gita book at home and noone was willing to share their book or give one to him. Poor thing. Well its another fact that even though we were in the same class for over 2 year, we hadn’t yet spoken. So me being the ever giving type(yes really, that young), I looked around to see if anyone was watching and tore my Gita book into two pieces and gave him one half. He smiled. It was more of an acknowledgement than a thank you. Grrrrr
The leader, a senior girl came to check if each one of us had a Gita book and caught him first for having a torn book in hand. Then she asked him if it was his, to which he could have said yes and gotten away. He said no and to top it, looked at me!!!! Oh if I was a little taller and stronger, I would have hit him! So we were both taken to the Principal’s office. What happened next changed my very view of religion.
The principal started by saying I had committed a horrendous crime and that it was unforgivable. Yes, she had let him go. I was the scapegoat. To think I had such genuine intentions when I gave him a part of that book. Kindness and sharing, you know. She said she was going to call my dad which would have been fun considering how religious he was! When she realised there was no point calling my dad , she sat me down in her office and said that she would have forgiven me if it was any other holy book! Yes, she meant that if it was the book of any other religion, she wouldn’t have had a problem. But because I was a “hindu” born into a very royal nair family, I had shunned and disgraced my caste and religion by performing such an act.
She went on to say that Hinduism was the primary religion and that the gods in Hindu Mythology were supreme and that all other religions were just copying us etc. I was 13 years then and to this date, I have not forgotten that day. The only thing I told her before I walked out of her office was that the Gita taught us to share and be kind to all of mankind and not just to hindus.
That evening, back at home, after I narrated the incident to my dad, the only thing he told me was he was proud of me for offering help and that he wanted me to be spiritual and not religious. He explained to me that religion was made by man when all god wanted us to be was spiritual. I don’t know why but since then, I have always been spiritual. My god does not have a name nor does it belong to any religion. I pray to god without calling him a name and he does listen. I haven’t visited a temple in years and nor have I gone for any spiritual awakening classes. But I have learnt that every religion teaches you the same thing. Kindness, patience, faith and love for everything/everyone.