Monday December 18, 2017

VIP darshans: Are the Gods and time sole privileges of the influential?

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Praying_and_wanting_Maa's_Blessings_at_the_Maa_Chintpurni_Temple...Jai_Mata_Di

By Prerna Grewal

The demand to stop the practice of issuing VIP tickets for having darshan at the temple is the new mantra of many devotees. Today, society and economy function together in a way that one’s class becomes a significant determinant of the privileges one is entitled to. Over time, people have become used to this model to the extent that it is more often than not reflected in their mentality.

The spiritual realm, a space for expression of faith, for taking a break from worldly hustle or for seeking hope has also been infected by this mentality. Under the pretext of satisfying all these purposes this mentality is gradually coming up as an alternate micro economy with its own norms of transactions and profits. The mentality or attitude of a minor yet influential section of today’s society is playing a significant role in letting this economy thrive.

An advocate had once filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking an end to the special darshan concept, since such a special categorization is in violation of Article 14 (equality before the eyes of the law).

The PIL drew attention to the fact that there was no regulation on the timings and no ceiling on the number of devotees in a special darshan group, thereby leading to various hardships for the ordinary devotees.

In this fast paced world, people don’t have a minute to spare, or at least they claim so, and want everything to be winded up as fast as possible. This attitude is exhibited also with respect to getting darshan of the deities as well. In cases like these, the purpose seems to be devoid of its essence.

It seems more like a practice that has to be followed for the sake of custom or status.“We have to visit 15 temples in five days, and a quickie darshan is the only way we can do it,”said Nandini Jayanth, an NRI, who embarked on a temple circuit during the famous ‘Chittirai’ festival in Madurai recently.

N. Raman, another NRI, said that every year he visits Srivilliputhur temple during the Andal birthday celebrations. “It is a massive crowd out there, and I cannot spend hours waiting for a darshan, and I have a gentleman’s agreement whereby I get waved through quickly”.

Obviously the agreements of many such “gentlemen” ensure the survival of this alternate economy. Accordingly it seems that not only God but even the time is a privilege of the influential. Apparently, the ordinary men aren’t as constrained as these special personages. The latter, because of being ‘important’ have more important responsibilities on their heads. But are they doing anyone a favor by sparing time for such “quickies”? If it’s being done out of a sense of compulsion, then it would be better if they simply avoided it and if they truly want to visit, then they might as well spare some time for it like hundreds of others.

Another important aspect that deserves attention is the utilization of the benefits earned through these agreements. Isn’t a major share of it pocketed for personal profits?

Many areas thrive on the funds accumulated through religious tourism. People are willing to spare large amounts of money for these special darshans. One would probably offend many religious devotees if one dares to raise the following question.

Will visiting a particular place of worship grant them better access to God?

If one tries to put forth an argument regarding the ultimate redundancy of these darshans, one would be inviting a significant amount of trouble.

The truth nevertheless is that the entire system earns a significant amount of money under the pretext of bestowing blessings. Not all of it is utilized for the development and prosperity of these places. Often smaller committees of selective people manipulate with the temple funds.

Like many other spaces this one too is infused with corruption and propagates by exploiting people on the basis of their faith. In India, it can be seen as one of the most widespread and deeply rooted networks of corruption.

Religion is so engrained within our mentality that it plays an influential role in shaping our decisions across different walks of life. Ironically, if it makes class barriers apparent, it also breaks through these barriers by having a magnetic effect and forcing people from all classes to act in similar ways. Although there is no doubt that people’s status shouldn’t be a determinant of their access to these places, the larger question that looms behind it is whether these darshans are worth one’s time, energy and investment in the first place.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    If one has power, he can totally use it. And if problem still prevails, the system of special darshan lines should be abolished

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    If one has power, he can totally use it. And if problem still prevails, the system of special darshan lines should be abolished

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Rituals Exist in All Cultures and they are Important

Rituals play a prominent role in every culture

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Religion
Ancient Indian Religion.

Hinduism is a practice, which is known for its rich rituals. From the Vedic ages, Hindus perform certain activities right from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they sleep. These activities may include, Pooja (worshipping lord) and Karya (Working), which integrate their culture. The events manifest a certain beauty, without which Hinduism is incomplete.

Different sects of Hindus worship different deities. Various Poojas are held for different festivities and occasions called the ‘Utsavas’. People during different festivals not just gather to worship the god, but also come together to celebrate life, with beautiful colours, clothes and delicious food. This itself proves that rituals manifest the beauty and celebration of life in Hinduism.

Meaning Of Rituals:

However, certain sections of the society have a preconceived notion about the rituals Hindus perform, which leads to them being called ‘superstitious’ or ‘overtly religious’. But is it fair to tag them? What is the meaning of the ritual? Ritual can be any activity which you perform. It is a way of communication. A teacher teaching his or her students can be a ritual. A mother feeding her baby is a ritual. Ritual is a generic term, which must not be linked with traditions, religion and beliefs? And, even if it is associated with these customs, then Hinduism should not be the only target. Every religion follows some beliefs. For example, a Muslim reading Namaz is a ritual; Christians visiting church on every Sunday is a ritual or Thanksgivings, when people have dinners with their friends and families. Hindus may have more rituals to act on than Muslims or Christians, but this gives no one the right to invalidate their belief. The rituals which Hindus perform don’t just have a connection with God, but also scientific reasons behind them. For example, Surya Namaskar is good for health as facing the light at that time of the day is good for your eyes, and makes you a morning person.

Also Read: Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship

The reason why people not like rituals is due to their stifling and obligatory nature. Since our childhood, we have been asked to adhere to certain activities, and never taught the reason behind them. This develops disconnection towards them.

Benefits Of Rituals:

Rituals should be seen as art. We must not do it for the sake of doing it. We must sense its meaning like we sense the meaning of art. There is a side of these customs which we don’t want as well, but at the end of the day, they generate a sense of unity and belongingness. They bind you as a community. As long as we live as humans, these practices will have an integral role to play in our life, which can not be neglected.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.      Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya.

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Three reasons explaining the science behind temple visits

Various reasons explaining temple visits by Hindus. The coming generations are however not aware of them, unlike our ancestors.

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why we should visit temple
why we should visit temple
  • There are Scientific reasons behind visiting Temple.
  • These scientific reasons go beyond the limits of  ‘belief in God’.

Have You Ever Thought? Why do We Visit Temple?

Visiting Temple is a popular culture in the Hindu religion. However, the worshipers themselves are unaware of the real science & the benefits of behind the visiting temple, as they believe what is continuously being ingrained in their minds, the belief of taking blessings from the God. Their belief is not fallacious, but it tries to negate the scientific discipline behind it. This belief is more popular in the present generation, unlike our ancestors who were well versed with these explanations.

Scientific Reasons Why we should Visit Temple:

Paying visit to the temples are not only to get blessing but to get a calm and better mind set. The following 3 scientific reasons are the actual purpose of visiting the temple according to the Hindu script & you will understand, why we should visit temple often

  1. Moolasthanam

Idol
Moolasthanam

Many Hindu religion practitioners visiting a temple in the morning say that “prayer to God” gives them peace. Their statements have been proven true, as religious shrines are places known for attaining mental peace.  The structure of the temple is built after the idol is placed, which is at the pivotal point, known as the “Moolasthan” or the inner part of the temple. This is the point where Earth’s magnetic waves are extreme, which creates positive energy and builds a peaceful atmosphere. This one of the main scientific reasons why we should visit temple.

 

  1. Parikrama:

Parikrama
Devotee taking parikrama

Definition of Parikrama: Once we done praying, circling the inner sanctum of the temple where the deity resides is a a very common ritual in Hindu temples .This is called Parikrama or Pradakshina or Pradakshinam.

Science states that the parikrama we take while as part of our prayer to the God, helps us absorb all the positive energy present there. The parikrama should be taken in the clockwise direction. This one of the important reasons why we should visit temple.

Also Read:  Shradh Puja: Five Facts you should Know about Death Anniversary Ritual In Hinduism.

3. Visiting Temple Activates your sense organs

One can absorb the positive energy only when the five senses are activated. So, we should visit temple in order to activate our sense organs to absorb positive energy.

The Sense of Touch:

aarti
Taking Aarti

After the aarti, we move our hands over the camphor or diya and touch our eyes with it. The warmth activates the sense of touch.

The Sense of Smell:

The items kept around the worshiping area like the flowers, camphor incense sticks, create a strong essence and activate the sense of smell. Flowers like marigold and rose petals offered the most have a strong fragrance.

Pooja material
Pooja ingredients

The Sense of Sight:

Worshippers close their eyes while praying and once they open them, they see the camphor lit in the Moolsthan, the only light seen in dark, which activates their sense of sight. The Moolsthan is a dark place.

Prayers
People worshipping

The Sense of Hearing:

Bells
Worshiper ringing temple bell

The bells emit a sound creating unity in the right and left portions of the brain; the sound emitted lasts for at least 7 seconds in the form of an echo. These 7 seconds are enough to activate the seven healing chakras in the body.

The Sense of Taste:

copper vessel
copper vessel

Ayurveda states that Charnamrut given to us helps in balancing the three doshas- Vata, Pitta, Kapha, as it is kept in a copper vessel. Charnamrut is a liquid prasad made of curd, milk and ghee. It also activates the sense of taste.

[bctt tweet=”Three reasons explaining the scientific  reasons as why we should visit temple”]

The people living in the ancient times were well aware of these reasons, and that is how they lead their lives. However, the strict impositions of ‘belief in God’ put on people to worship have kept them away from these scientific disciplines.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  Twitter @ImMeghaacharya


Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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Temple in Cambodia Raises Sacred Baha’i Symbol which Represents the Relationship between the God and Man

The Baha'i community witnessed this installation of the sacred symbol and offered prayers and devotions during the ceremony

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Baha'i Temple
Sacred Baha'i Symbol called Greatest Name. Wikimedia
  • A temple in Battambang, Cambodia has raised a sacred Baha’i symbol to the apex of its dome
  • The symbol is a representation of the relationship that exists between the God, its various manifestations as well as humans 
  • A prayer ceremony took place recently where the Baha’i community of Cambodia gathered to witness their first House of Worship/ Baha’i Temple in the local area

Battambang, August 23, 2017: A small community of Baha’i people gathered in a local temple in Battambang city of Cambodia. The community had gathered to celebrate their first local temple with a holy Baha’i symbol.

On August 20, the Baha’i temple in Battambang had installed a sacred Baha’i symbol on the apex of its dome. The symbol, known as the Greatest Name, was raised as high as 11.8 meters from the ground.

ALSO READ: Fragments of a shattered Faith: Bahá’í Community of Iran

The Greatest Name was drawn by Mishkin Qalam. It symbolizes the relationship between the God and fellow humans. An important milestone was marked as the symbol was installed in the temple.

From the Arabian Caligraphy comes the Greatest Name which comes from “Baha” or glory. The two identical stars in the symbol represent Baha’u’llah and Bab while the vertical line is a symbol of God diverging into various manifestations including human.

The Baha’i community witnessed this installation of the sacred symbol and offered prayers and devotions during the ceremony.

From the Shrine of Baha’u’llah’s sanctuary, the holy dust has been collected and stored in an ornamental box which Shoghi Effendi originally purchased. This box will reside within the campus of the House of Worship and will denote the pure bond between the Centre of Baha’i faith and the local temple.

The Baha’i Temple is also called the House of Worship. The Battambang House of Worship is planned to be inaugurated on the 1st September of this year. This House of Worship, which is the first in the local area, implies a new era of recognition and development for the Baha’i community.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.