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Getting belted

An interesting dichotomy plays out in India, on the roads. Traffic will suddenly slow down as one nears a place of religious worship like a temple. Why? Because the drivers will attempt to steal a glance at the presiding deity and mutter a quick prayer, in the hope of averting any mishaps on the road. A similar prayer is often told even at the very start of the journey, just as the car is being powered up.

So what is the dichotomy? You will expect that such people would improve their chances of mishaps being averted, and hence wear seatbelts. But nope. You will still see most people not wearing seatbelts. Even if the driver is wearing one, the co-passenger will not wear it. Often you will see a toddler perched up on the co-passenger, also completely unsecured. The same is true for bikers, who just do not wear helmets. A common sight involves these helmets hanging from the handlebars of the bike, as if to protect said bike in the event of a crash.

All of this, despite scientific proof that wearing seatbelts and helmets can significantly reduce injuries and save lives.

This reminds me of the gulf between prayer and karma. Just because one prays, it is not enough to ensure bad things wont happen. There are many things the Lord has empowered us with. A seat belt is one such thing, as are other things like our mind (if used well), intellect (to distinguish between right and wrong) etc. Prayer is a supplement, like the icing on the cake. We cannot replace our stupidity or laziness with prayer.

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