Saturday, October 20, 2007

Temple rituals

I visit temples often, and when i do, i have a ritual to perform. No one tells me to do this, and nor am i the kind of person who will do things because someone tells me to. Well, i do, it depends on the person tho. Most of my rituals inside the temple is based on what my grandmother told me. And i have been at it, like clockwork, since the days i can remember.

But then increasingly i have been seeing myself do these things and wonder, why, what. And as i stand there inside the temple, i start thinking, is this all real. Who is this being, that i am trying to reach out to? Does it matter if have gone around the idol three times? Whether it achieves any significance in the eyes of others, it sure sets me at peace. I am not then thinking about any non-adherence for the rest of the day. It has a way of working in your inner head. The voice from in there, never really shuts up.

So in a sense i do, what i do, for my own peace. Not because it is a secret ritual to be peformed a million times to open the sacred doors of heaven. Palazhi (milky ocean) and its doors are my visions of heaven, based on the multitude of stories narrated by my ammooma (grandma). So, then is it ok, for others to do their rituals to appease their inner voice. I guess it must be so. What's good for me, must be good for others too.

But, what happens when that ritual and effects of those, cause pain, distress or suffering to others. Or what if it results in wastage of money or other resources in the name of appeasing the lord. I think i both cases, i am against and will not support or participate as best as i can. It is saddening to see milk poured over an idol to cleanse it, when it could be used to feed a few poor. I wonder if that would have appeased the lord more ?

So while, rituals are necessary part of the process of religion and god etc. But i think it is important for us to realize why we are doing these. Are they meant to satisfy your inner voice ? In which case, can it not be toned down, so that it doesnt hurt people or other living beings, or even waste money and other precious resources.