– Aina Barca
Although the majority of the Nepalese population is Hindu, several religions coexist in total harmony in Nepal. Hinduism identifies 330 millions of Gods. This religion is characterized by the belief in the reincarnation and a Supreme God “The Creator” called Brahma. It is believed that the main reason of the existence, beyond the reincarnation, is the liberation: the liberation of the soul, free from the karma which dissolves in Brahma.
Hinduism is deeply ingrained in people’s lives. On the one hand, many festivals are celebrated in Nepal, which truly makes Nepal a culturally diverse and rich country. Since 2012, when Nepal became my home, I have been very lucky to see, live and celebrate several of the Nepalese festivals. On the other hand, many people pray, visit temples and make offerings (puja). “We are what we have done, we will be what we do/will do”- is what the law of karma says. Therefore, it is not surprising that people invest a great amount of their time and fortune in making big offerings in order to guarantee their “good karma”. It is said that having a “bad karma” can imply, among others, to reincarnate as a disabled person. I have always wondered: “How can this be possible?”
Based on my experience of last six years of working with the kids with intellectual disabilities, I can say that these children are good from inside. They are pure. They never steal, they never hurt anyone intentionally. If karma is a balance of our good and bad actions, I consider that these kids’ purity leans the balance towards the goodness. Despite that, disabled kids are marginalized. In Nepal, there is a God for everything and every occasion. I wonder; if there is one god for the disabled children. I hope that gods have not forgotten them, though at times we and our societies have forgotten them.
There is a Nepalese song that says, “Ke puja garchau madir maa gai pahile aphno bani sudhara”. Maybe, the lyrics are right. Maybe, only helping others will bring us closer to Brahma. At occasions, in the face of widespread injustice in the world, I find it hard to keep up the good faith. And, I wonder: Is There Really a God? Sometimes, I do not know: What should I believe in or whom should I believe in? However, I always believe in our intellectually disabled children. I think: If God is represented in some way in the earth, it is inside these children.
(Note: This article is a translation of the original article, which was written in Spanish. Ms. Aina Barca is a Spanish citizen, who has been living and working for the intellectually disabled children in Nepal since 2012. She is the President of “Familia de Hetauda, a Spain based NGO and is associated with “Asha Special School & Rehabilitation, Hetauda” & Hetaudeli Pariwar, Hetauda. She has played a pivotal role in establishing and running the Asha School. English translation: Judith Ambroa Mato, Spain)