Lucknow, April 4
More and more youngsters are turning spiritual and observing the nine-day fast during the ongoing Navratri.
Temple priests claim that the number of youths -both boys and girls- visiting temples this year is much more than older citizens.
"The priest at the Maa Lalita Devi temple, Raghuraj Mishra, said: "It is surprising for me to see teenagers queuing up for 'darshan' this Navratri. Almost all of them are observing the fast too."
Reyansh Mathur, 18, a regular visitor to the temple, said: "This is the first time that I am fasting for nine days and visiting the temple regularly. My younger sister, who is 16 years old, and my three cousins are also fasting."
Asked what made him turn spiritual at this age, Reyansh said: "The pandemic made me realise the futility of life. I lost three close family members last year and we could not save them despite having financial resources. This year I decided to fast and even though it has been just two days, I am already feeling a sense of peace within."
Interestingly, none of the other members in his family are fasting.
"My parents are diabetic and my grandparents are too old so, this time, is me and my siblings who are fasting," he added.
The Hanuman temple in Hazratganj also has a long queue of young boys and girls, lining up to offer prayers during Navratri.
"For me God is one – whether it is Hanuman or Durga or Shiva. I am coming here regularly since Navratri began on Saturday because it gives me a good feeling," said Pooja Sinha, a young bank executive.
Revati Roychaudhuri, who runs a working women's hostel in her home in Mahanagar, said: "Surprisingly, there has been a spurt in the number of girls fasting during Navratri. In fact, I have completely switched to 'falahar' menu because of the 17 girls, only two are not fasting."
Most of the teenagers who are fasting in Navratri still cannot remember and recite the shlokas. Almost all of them have downloaded the shlokas and aartis in their mobiles and use it for puja.
Mahant Divyagiri of Mankameshwar temple said that it was a good sign that young generation were becoming increasingly spiritual.
"The pandemic is slowly taking us back to our roots and this is a healthy sign for tomorrow," she stated.