Since childhood we had a very spireitual and mystical atmosphere at home. My father devoted the mornings to meditation and prayer. His Isht Dev ( principal deity for worship) was the lord Vishnu, revered in India and Hinduism as being one of the trinity of creator sustainer and terminator at the end of a cycle. He is also regarded as one who reincarnates from time to time when the equilibrium in creation is disturbed and anarchic and evil forces begin to overun the world. He therefore descends as a saviour on the material plane and some primary examples are Rama, Krishna and the Buddha.

Sometimes we would join him in the prayer room to hear passeges from the Tulsi Ramayan, the great poetic masterpiece of the epic of Rama’s life and deeds, which he explained with great fervour. He was a philosopher and mystic and author of books like  Introspections onthe Gita and essays on the Upanishads. In other words well versed in the scriptures, the Vedas, Upanishads Puranas epics and and Hindu mythology. And he would often launch into spiritual lectures on the nature of Atma (the soul) and paramatma (the supersoul or God).

The room housed a special alter. An exquisitely carved wooden temple about three feet high which housed a statue about a foot and half of solid silver. Its dress of brochades would be lovingly changed each day and perfumes applied to this beloved statue. He also got a solid gold crown made which sat on its head adding to its beauty and workmanship.

Silver statue of lord Vishnu

We learnt later that the statue had been commissioned by him in Baroda entrusted to the finest silver sculptor and craftsman. When ready its Pran Prathishta (holy consecration) was undertaken there at a special event with numerous pundits through a Haven, sacrificial fire, where my parents sat together ‘to bring the spirit of the lord to descend into the statue’. This prayer is a must at all temples before a Deity is installed there for prayer. As kids we were also briefly required to attend the Puja, ritual prayer in accordance with the scriptures.

The holy consecration of the statue. we kids in the right corner witnessing the awesome event

This fervour on the part of my father had an origin. When he was a kid on one occasion he had a vision of bright circular light in which he descerned a bluish form which he later felt was that of Vishnu. Later in life he therefore arranged to bring the deity of the vision home. When the beautifully crafted statue, a work of art, arrived he was amazed to find that it appeared quite like his vision. after that he was inseperable from it.

close up of head of Vishnu statue

A likeness of the vision he retained in a painting from the famed Gita Press, which is below.

They say in Hindu traditions that God craves our love more than we his grace and blessings. The most important attribute of prayer is not seeking his protection or demanding any favours  but feeling a deep love for Him as the saints Meera Tulsi Sur Kabir Nanak Raidas Bule shah Shahbaz kalandar Rumi Yahya Teresa Joan of Arc Francis of Assisi. Their distinguishing feature was not only prayer  compassion faith and theological investigation but above all communion through pure unadulterated LOVE through service poetry song and dance.

When even an ordinary person, no saint, expresses devotion and love without any other purpose there can come a response which is unexpected and amazing.

This response to your love can come suddenly, like my father’s vision for a sincere motherless child who cared deeply, or in curing the incurable and miracles of sight, restoration of vision lost, movement for the parapelegic or paralytic, restoration of speach for the dumb, great works of art and science and you name it. Miracles are well known but not so well known that it flows from your undemanding love and His urgent response because He is after all the greatest lover. Witness his impeccable Creation, not just life and our Earth but the grand universe in all its majesty. An act of unimaginable love.

Other displays of his love come in Christ on the cross -”forgive them for they know not what they do” or the force that gave prophet Mohammad the revelation of the Holy Quran, or Krishna’s sermon to Arjun his friend and love, on the nature of Himself His creation and the secrets of the nature of the soul, or the Buddha’s sermons on  how to overcome suffering or through saints for relieving suffering  and caring for the dying and disabled or even for ways to create awareness of the environment in which we live and pollute, for helping us advance in sciences to relieve our incapacities and ailments, to, in a word, enjoy his creation – all out of sheer love which we all need to respond to in some way. I wonder who has not seen the extent of such array of miracles and bothered to attribute it to his love, let alone our response to it