Monaco: Learning Hinduism and reading epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata have kept Missy Franklin occupied ever since the five-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer announced a shock retirement in December last year.
Chronic shoulder pain forced the 23-year-old to hang up her boots but on a brighter note, it allowed her to indulge in things that she couldn’t enjoy as an active athlete.
Earlier, she did yoga for fun but after exploring Hinduism, it became a spiritual experience for the bubbly American, who is majoring in religion at the University of Georgia.
“I have been studying religion for a year now and it is so fascinating and eye opening. I love learning different cultures, people and their faith,” Franklin said on the sidelines of the ‘Laureus World Sports Awards’ here Monday.
“My own religion is Christianity but two segments I have found so intriguing are Hinduism and Islam. Because those are the two religions I did not know a lot about and after reading and learning about them, I think they are beautiful,” added the winner of four gold medals at the London Olympics.
Besides a champion athlete, Franklin also comes across as a bright student who knows quite a bit about Hinduism. She is fascinated by the Ramayana and Mahabharata and has also made a conscious effort to learn the unfamiliar names in the two epics.
“I think the most beautiful aspect of Hinduism is the idea of Karma and of being good to one another, doing good deeds and how that all comes back to you, how the universe works,” Franklin stated.
“I find their myths and tales incredible, it is also fascinating to know about their gods, reading the Mahabharata and Ramayana has been such an amazing experience for me. The family names in Mahabharata would always confuse me but I remember learning about Ram and Sita in the Ramayana. How Sita lived her life, how loyal she stayed to Rama,” added Franklin.
Another thing on her to do list is visiting India, the country which has the largest Hindu population in the world. Thanks to her time at the University of Georgia, she also knows a lot more about the history of yoga.
“Learning about the true roots of yoga and its process, how actual yogis live their life of renunciation, it is so incredible. In the west, I think the spiritualism in yoga was left out and that is a huge generalisation. But it is great leaning about what yoga is all about and how it is about that connection with the divine and creating that oneness,” informed Franklin.