A Hindu girl marries a temple priest, Chandra, now Rafiq, who later embarked on a journey to study other religions for enlightenment and to find the right path to one God, which ultimately led him and his wife Indrani, (now Nishani) to embrace Islam. In this first of the two-part interview, the revert shared his experiences of journey into Islam with Muneerah Al-Idros.
INDRANI was six years old when her father died. Her mother had stopped praying for she thought her god had been unfair to make her widow with five children. Indrani and her brothers and sisters were brought up as nominal Hindus.
When Indrani was 10 years old she began to love god. She collected pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses and worshipped them at home. She felt the need to pray and thought it was odd that, unlike other Hindu families, her family performed few Hindu rites.
During her teenage years, Indrani started going to temple thrice weekly. She encouraged some of her friends to go to the temple with her, as she quickly became more interested in Hinduism.
She participated in bhajan (devotional singing) activities and became a committee member in Ayyapan Group in Perumal Temple for several years.
Once she fell ill, and despite consulting several doctors her illness persisted. Later approached a swami (a Hindu priest) to ward of sevanai (evil spirits) if any. She came into contact with the swami’s assistant, Chandra, who would later organize religious trips to Malaysia for Indrani and her friends. Indrani was impressed with his personality and his intellect. Later Indrani married Chandra.
Chandra was brought up in a religious Hindu family and was himself the most religious in his family. He would often hold mantras in praise of the Hindu gods and goddesses who would supposedly possess him and speak through him. In Hinduism, it is considered an honor to be possessed by the gods or goddesses.
Yet, Chandra was not fully content with these religious rites and rituals. He would always have this feeling that there was something not right in his life. He felt that his path was blocked by some kind of darkness which he wanted to clear so he could reach the light. He knew there were 3,360 gods in Hinduism and he prayed to several of them.
Whenever he felt confused, he would go to library to find out more about Hinduism. He knew there was still a lot more to learn. Many of the Hindu priests did not want to share everything that they knew. It was difficult to learn Hinduism, as most of the writings were in Sanskrit.
Chandra could not find any religious books that would satisfy his quest. All the books were written by different authors and each of them had different ideas about how and when Hinduism started. The scripture in Hinduism he found were mere literature books, teaching we should do good and pray to the gods.
During this search for enlightenment, Chandra was approached by a Christian missionary worker in Toa Payoh making him involved in Christianity in the hope of enlightenment. He renounced Christianity later due to “the indecent behavior of the young men and women in the church.” Ideologically too, Christianity was not what he was looking for and therefore he withdrew.
Chandra could no longer attach to so many gods. He could worship only one God spiritually and worship the other idols physically, but he did not know who the one God was. Chandra would occasionally get into a trance.
Chandra had curious Malay Muslim friends asking him about Hindu worship. They did not tell him much about Islam but they did tell him that unlike Hindus they pray to one God.
Chandra, who was the leader among his working mates, would go along with Malays when they performed their Zuhr prayer, waiting while they prayed. At the same time, he would pray to God in his heart, and ask for the right path.
Chandra was very impressed with Adhan (Muslim call for prayers), which had a soothing effect on this. The Adhan touched his heart so deeply, especially when it was followed by the prayer that his friends and other Muslims never failed to fulfill. He felt like it was so simple to recognize one true God.
“Just worship him. Why does one need all these idols and mediators?” It did not take long before he felt it was Islam and God that he had been searching for.
After their marriage, his wife Indrani was still quite active in her temple activities. She became puzzled when her husband, a more pious Hindu than herself, used to hint repeatedly at the existence of one Almighty God, about praying to One God and that a true religion should not have many gods. Her mother-in-law felt that her previously pious son might have offended the gods.
Even after marriage, Chandra continued his search for enlightenment. He was trying to search for his one God in Hinduism, trying to know the one God he was praying to spiritually. He was no longer interested in any of the temple activities, no longer got into a trance. His mother, while in a trance, pointed out that her son’s change in behavior was due to his being under a charm.
To be continued next week
n Courtesy: enislam.com