If you look at or touch a stone or a piece of wooden furniture, it is solid and unmoving. Yet science says it is composed of atoms that are in constant motion. This is a contradiction in matter.
Different elements are composed of merely different quantities of protons and electrons. Yet these different quantities are supposed to be what creates different qualities in nature. This would be like putting various wooden blocks of different dimensions together and getting glass. This is a contradiction in matter.
The universe is composed of innumerable atoms, each of which has the same basic structure. To believe that they were created without a designer would be a contradiction in matter. Evolution may account for more complex species, but what accounts for the repeating, basic organization in the universe?
If you go half of the distance between two points, and then half of that distance, and then half of that distance, etc., you will never reach the end. Yet we traverse distances. This is a contradiction in matter.
I think all this points to the fact that the finite world is unreal, as Hindu religion has said for eons.
The concept of Guru Diksha or spiritual initiation was introduced to me by my parents, both of whom were initiated by Shanti Ma – Bhakta of Lord Vitthal, and at one point my grandmother had asked me whether I would like to be initiated by her as well. Some religious impetus came from watching the TV series on Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shri Krishna, stories of Saints. There were also some self-efforts in terms of devotions, readings of Gita and scriptures, prayers and vespers, these being partly driven by devotion and partly by what Swami Vivekananda terms as formative aspects of religion.
The life of challenges and free choices in a big city was awaiting me. I was putting myself into situations of adolescent life, encountering new people and new attitudes, the Mumbai frame of mind. Between the fun and struggles, I got introduced to Dream Theater, a progressive metal group and the works of Ayn Rand, these two would strongly influence my ideals and perspectives.
Just as any child raised in a middle-class Indian family, life revolved around activities related to God. My grandfather ensured that the memory was trained well by learning many hymns of Sri Sankaracharya. Daily prayers were a must, even if only as a chore. My dad introduced us to the “concept” of monks, and although he portrayed them as “super humans” I only grudgingly went along! What stands out from those visits was the sincerity and openness he exuded during such trips. My parents were very liberal in their definition of religion, and they introduced us to other faiths through their visits to the places of worship. Although I didn’t appreciate any of this back then, I understand that it is to such exposure that I owe my current inclination.
Sometime during my high school years, I got my Guru per chance. I got initiated only because I was at the right place at the right time, without any previous plan or knowledge of it. As I write this, it occurs that this was the one event which I didn’t ask for, but was blessed with. I did the Japa only because someone put it into my head that if I didn’t do it regularly, my Guru would have to pay the penalty, and I was afraid of my mom’s outburst if such a thing should ever happen!
I turned into a hypocritical rebel during my college years. Although I’d despise my dad’s habit of visiting monks/temples, I would secretly pray for good grades, job, money and even boyfriends! What surprises me – God gave me everything I ever asked for; every little desire has come true sooner or later.