Healing - God loves fun
by Suma Varughese
Enjoying oneself and having fun is not anti-spiritual, says Suma Varughese
The Sathe family was planning
its Diwali holiday, a practice
it had been following for the
longest time. Every Diwali, it
had decided to forsake the
noise and pollution of the metro and head
out to some quiet corner of the country
and bring in Diwali in its own way. This
time, the family was planning to go to
Coorg, which none of them had ever visited.
Dad’s friend, Nitin Covoor, had a
small but beautiful coffee plantation and
had offered to host them all. They would
have the house fully to themselves as
Nitin lived in Bangalore. It was going to
be a luxurious holiday because the house
was well-kept, and there were enough
domestic staff to take care of their needs.
“A break from cooking,” gloated Mom, as
she helped everyone to second helpings of
tehri, a North Indian pulao a friend had
taught her, served with a tangy green chutney,
crunchy papads and delicious potato
and paneer cutlets.
“You deserve it,” smiled Dad, who
was looking forward eagerly to
spending time in nature.
“Let’s have as much fun as possible,"
said Avijit, busily planning the games they could play.
“We must have lots of picnics and nature walks,
Dad,” said Nisha, a nature buff herself.
“There is a wildlife sanctuary close by that we
must explore,” said Alka with shining eyes.
Even Aji and Ajoba were excited. “How pleasant it
will be to sit in the garden and listen to the song of
birds and drink in the beauty of the place,” mused
Ajoba. Aji was looking forward to meeting local villagers
and listening to folk songs and tales, for
which she had a passion. In fact she and Mom were
coming out with a compilation of folk tales and a
CD of traditional lullabies.
Suddenly, Nisha looked up, a puzzled expression
on her face. “Dad, is it sinful to have fun?” she asked.
“Not at all,” said Dad decidedly. “What has put the
idea in your head?”
“Well, I was speaking with a friend of mine who
said her parents never allowed her to watch movies
or TV because they were sinful.”
“My friend Kavita says her parents refuse to eat
out because their religion forbids them to eat from
outside the community,” chipped in Alka.
“And you know, in St Anne’s, our convent
school, it was always considered vaguely
sinful to look pretty or to dress up,”
“Come on, Dad, even you keep talking
about transcending desires all the
time,” said Avijit.
“Kids, let us first address the concept
of fun. There is nothing wrong
with having fun. In fact, there is
everything right about enjoying
yourself and having a good time.
When we are happy and enjoying
ourselves and making others happy, I
am confident it makes God happy.
After all, we are His children and a
parent loves to see his kids enjoying
themselves. I can’t tell you
how much joy it gives your
mother and me to see you
kids being happy and having
fun with your friends.”
Ajoba added, “The sight of
little children playing innocently and unselfconsciously is such a source of joy
even for us. How can it not be for our Maker?”
“Or the sight of little puppies tumbling over each
other in play, or little kittens playing with each other,”
said Mom, feelingly.
“To play is one of the most basic human instincts
and we are extremely foolish not to give expression to
it,” said Dad. “No matter how old animals are, they
never lose their instinct to play.”
“I will put a rider to this though," added Ajoba, "and
say that one needs to define fun. Playing loud music
late at night may be fun for you but not for those
whose sleep you rob. Motor cycle races at night might
seem great fun to those who participate in them, but
they endanger the lives of the participants as well as
others. Smoking, drinking, promiscuity can all seem
fun but there is a huge price to pay. So the kind of fun
we are talking about is fun that does not damage anyone
and that only spreads joy!”
“The other danger is that we might get addicted to
our idea of fun, whether it is playing cricket, or
cards,” said Dad, “and then it soon ceases to be fun!”
“Where do movies and TV come into this?” wondered
“There can be no doubt that there are all kinds of
movies and TV programmes and many of them convey
the most pernicious of messages, but there are
also absolutely beautiful films and shows that can
inspire and delight and it would be a tragedy to miss
out on them,” said Mom.
“I think what is called for is a sense of discrimination,”
said Dad. “Instead of banning TV or cinema,
parents can teach children the right values and enable
them to choose with care.”
“I agree,” said Ajoba, “Banning and any kind of religious
withholds do not work. They only suppress and
push the need to indulge further down where they
may fester and turn into an obsession.”
“I agree. One needs to outgrow them instead,” said
Dad. “Watch enough films and there comes the day
when you are not drawn to them any more. Or eating
non vegetarian food. Instead of suppressing the need
for it, we simply consume then without guilt and with
awareness until the need for it leaves our systems.When we can do this we have truly outgrown
or transcended our desires. They will
never come back to trouble us again. That is
what I mean when I talk about transcending
“My yoga teacher used to call it outgrowing
your vasanas,” said Mom.
Dad laughed, “Mom used to have quite a
vasana for gold, but fortunately she is
through with that phase now!”
“Thanks to that we have enough gold put
by for both the girls’ marriages,” retorted
“True,” mollified Dad. “So you get the picture,
I hope. Good clean fun is to be fully
enjoyed as that is when we are most childlike
and innocent. But we need to define our
sense of fun to make sure it does not have
any adverse effects and if we do find ourselves
too attached to them, then we free
ourselves through awareness.”
“Wow, that was some discussion on fun,”
said Avijit. “How about a game of chess to
put the principle into practice, Dad?”
“You are on,” said Dad, rising from the
table with a laugh.