Me too am of the opinion that prayer is a mode of communication. It is the way in which we pay our respects to the Almighty and share with him our emotions. A call to the Supreme power is made by us at almost every turn in our life. We thank Him for all that he given to us, we request Him for guidance and help when we are struck with something, we cry out our grievances and complaints to Him, we seek His pardon and apologize for the mistakes we do, we find solace in Him when we are sad or depressed. As is depicted in the advertisement of an Incense stick, each of us have different reasons to pray and fear is no doubt one of the reasons. We do approach Him at times due to fear of a divine retaliation to something which we have done and which we feel was wrong on our part to have done or thought so.
I have a point to make here with reference to the response by Neethu at #610302 in which she had made a reference to women visiting Temples during their menstrual periods. This was a topic that has been in the headlines for quite some days in the recent past. Leaving all other arguments, for or against, aside, I personally feel that there is no point in trying to fight a custom or tradition that is believed to be connected to the sanctity of the place of worship. I don't think we need to challenge an existing system if it is regarded as a part of the rituals being followed. I don't see any reason to view it as a case of discrimination because the same is not applicable to men. Such protests being initiated by some so called feminists in the name of female empowerment and fight against gender discrimination etc are more of a farce.
Let me take some general examples. Muslim women are not allowed to offer prayers in the main hall of a Mosque and men are supposed to cover their head while offering prayers there as is the case with Gurudwaras too; Women belonging to the Christian faith are supposed to cover their head during the Mass and there are so many similar and connected rituals that are being followed. We, with the passage of time and exposure to science and technology, might not feel convinced or comfortable with such restrictions but where is the harm in following it.
Do you light a diya (lamp) or incense sticks in your puja (prayer room) room or place in your house with your slippers on? Why do Christians have to kneel down while offering prayers? Why Muslims require a prayer rug or prayer mat while offering prayers? It may sound illogical but then why challenge the same when you have a choice? Most of the time, you follow it not because you think it is a necessity but due to the fear that your prayers may not be heard if you do not follow the prescribed manner.
Similarly, though menstrual cycle in women is God given, when the religious belief or dictum say that one should not enter the sanctum sanctorum during that period, due to whatever reasons, why should we challenge it? Different temples in different areas have different rules. Some temples in the South don't allow men to enter the temple with their upper clothing and devotees are not allowed to make offerings directly to the deity nor are they supposed to touch the deity. There are so many such beliefs which, I feel, one need to follow if you believe in a religion. If not, why go to a place of worship? God is Omnipotent and Omnipresent, one can very well offer prayers in their kitchen or courtyards. We need to value the sanctity of worship places and must either follow the rules and regulations which they prescribe or should choose to avoid visiting such places that does not allow you the freedom and comfort in the atmosphere you pray.
Apologies if I have diverted from the thread but I thought I need to explain my mind in this connection as the same is also related to prayers and worship.
Members may please continue with the main thread.
'Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment'- Lao Tzu