Once, I was on an official visit to Mumbai and was staying in my departmental guest house located in the Pali Hill area. In the same building, my regional officer also used to stay with his family. Even during tours, I am in the habit of going for morning walk. This is not only refreshing but also gives a lot of insight into the local area. On that visit, my regional manager advised me to go to a nearby park for morning walk and he accompanied me to that place. I found the place very well maintained and enjoyed walking there. There was a nominal admission fee, which was being used for its maintenance by a citizen’s society. As we came out of the park after a refreshing walk, I saw a church adjacent to it. Since I like to visit worship places of different religions, I suggested my colleague to go inside the church to offer our prayers. He himself being a religious person agreed to my suggestion and we both went inside the church. At that time, the morning prayers were about to conclude and so we also took our seats at the back. After the prayers, all those present there were proceeding towards the statue of Christ for seeking His blessings. We also stood in the queue to seek His blessings from near. As we were moving towards the statue of Christ, we were stopped at a point and were asked whether we were Catholics or Protestants. I never see a religion from this viewpoint and so apart from being ignorant I am also opposed to this kind of man-made distinction. So my response was that we were neither of them but were only human beings.
The person who made the enquiry from us was perhaps not used to this kind of an answer. His prompt response was that in that case we were not allowed to go further. Respecting the tradition of the church, we didn’t mind and came out of the church after offering our prayers from a distance only. Thus, the matter ended there itself. However, his enquiry and response to my answer still keep coming to my mind. Which religion can be superior to a good human being but perhaps all religions have drawn their boundaries may be in varying degrees. I am not sure whether this is in the larger interest or not, but if we go by the definition of spirituality, it is the infinite expansion of mind. Viewed from this perspective, such boundaries are certainly not in the larger interest of the people. In the era is which we are living today, there is a need for rethinking on such restrictions, irrespective of the religion. I must also add that the above experience has in no way affected my reverence towards any religion.