Recently, two dear friends of mine, met with an accident. There were a lot of after thoughts on how the turn should have been made and what speed they should have been at, but all I could think of was - Dear God, you have given us yet another reason to say thank you! Thank you for saving their lives. Thank you for not making one of them guilty of taking the others life. Thank you for no handicaps. Thank you for not having me explain the loss of a loved one to their mothers.
I couldn't stop thanking and then I got thinking of the little things my Dad used to tell us to do. These are things which I many times questioned, argued and rebelled about. But now with ever passing experience, I question my questioning!
My Dad had told me to remember the Lords name each time I got into the car, maybe even bow down to the moorthy on your dashboard, maybe offer a flower to Him, do something to let him know that he must take care of you. He also quoted a family friend of ours several times who, every time he got into the car, said, "O Paarthasaarthi, be my Saarthi" (Oh charioteer of Arjuna, Krishna, be my charioteer today). Yes, I too laughed and found it silly when my Dad said that. But I wonder now, is it really that silly? The more I think about it the more I realize, it's not which God you pray to or what you say, its the faith you have! Faith brings miracles over and over and over. Again, I am not saying that doing all of this would have guaranteed my friends no accident, but this advice comes from a man who has driven across 3 countries for 40+ years accident-free (*touch wood*). He often says, by giving the Lord the reins of your vehicle, you start respecting it even more, which probably leads to a safer drive. Definitely something to think about.
He also suggested other little things like ringing the bell above the altar early in the morning to let the beautiful sound spread auspiciousness to the day, chanting "Narayan Narayan Narayan" when we see situations we can't help like the cattle crammed in the back of the truck getting transported to the slaughter house, remembering Him before your flight takes off and then thanking Him for the safe landing, lighting a lamp in the evening near the altar, offering the food you make to Him first etc. etc. Now the teenage me would probably have argued that God isn't going to bless the earth with his next avatar to kill the butchers and free the cattle and stop over my place for lunch on the way, but I think what my Dad was trying to get at was that it is the faith we put in these rituals that will bring miracles galore.
So even though all this still does not make complete sense to me today, I think I am slowly learning to stop questioning and start believing.