Monday July 23, 2018
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With rituals getting digitized, you can now book your Pundit Online!

With e-commerce apps flooding the market, online booking of pujari's makes its entry into the lucrative field of Indian startups

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ONline priest. Image source:Home grown
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  • With e-commerce apps flooding the market in fields ranging from furniture to medicines to even booking a maid, it was only a matter of time that one jumped to religious services
  • A priest recites prayers in front of a phone connected to a house miles away from Skype or another social networking platform
  • There’s an advisory board that helps in recruiting pundits and the selected candidates go through specified tests; a process that clears any doubts of minting money by taking advantage of people’s ignorance

Is your mother ill? Has your career come to a standstill or is it a simple marital tiff? Fret no more! For all problems in the life of Hindu, there’s a Pooja with sacred mantras that can be performed to bring in peace, wealth, and prosperity.

Every year, there are thousands of rituals performed in India by priests for their temple devotees. There’s a difficulty in life and no way out of it? Don’t you worry, a guru will come to your rescue with a garland! But what if you don’t have the luxury to summon the disciple of the higher power, who will rescue you now? Put your worries to rest! Be it staying in UK, USA, Canada or any other part of the world, Indian start-ups now have the power to book an online pundit for you at your convenience. After all, would it be any different if that garland turns into your phone and the guru now virtually guides your hand through the ritual?

Let’s talk money

A few years back, one could never imagine a situation where a priest recited prayers in front of an iPhone connected to a house miles away through Skype but then don’t tough times call for some tough measures. Though in our case these measures provide employment opportunities and create a thriving start-up atmosphere all around the country.

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Some of the companies cashing in on this idea are onlinepurohit.com, wheresmypandit.com, panditforpooja.com, and bookmypandit.com. Each charging from a mere $10 to a good $500 for a package. Savvy NRI’s don’t mind shedding few currencies till the time they are promised a good outcome from these rituals. After all, why would you mind? The vibrations produced during the pooja are similar and the sound of the priest travels at the same speed whether it’s through air or through a mobile phone with a good internet speed.

Hinduism is the faith-laden arena that’s filled with unscrupulous Gurus. The online priest booking app’s pride themselves on this matter as they only hire Pandits who hold a degree in Vedas/Astrology and have an experience of 4- 5 years. There’s an advisory board that helps in recruiting them and the selected candidates go through specified tests; a process that clears any doubts of minting money by taking advantage of people’s ignorance. These details and the scarcity of genuine pujari’s in the locality of an NRI makes him bet his money on the online system.

Proponents of the idea

Online priest. Image source: TimesofIndia
Online priest. Image source: TimesofIndia

With e-commerce apps flooding the market in fields ranging from furniture to medicines to even booking a maid, it was only a matter of time that one jumped to religious services. India has a huge number of citizens, who worship Gods and Goddesses more than any other nation, which makes the idea of booking a priest even more lucrative. This digital twist on one’s faith is a welcoming change for many, as more and more citizens are migrating to different countries in the search of jobs or for pursuing higher education.

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These online portals have numerous reasons that go in the favour of their business such as the need for many Indians settled abroad to keep their roots in place and their traditions alive. This feeling calls in for a pundit online to help them do their ‘Griha Pravesh’ (Housewarming) or even their marriage. Companies offer more than 150 kinds of pujas, typically covering almost any event in person’s life, who is a Hindu by birth or has opted Hinduism as their faith. Some services are also customised depending on your convenience or crisis.

What more can a company ask for than few happy customers? There are a number of people who come back with positive feedbacks. The positive feedbacks come due to the professionalism with which the pundits perform the pooja’s, guiding the devotee at each step of the pooja, using traditional material and sending in a to-do list a day before the entire ritual.

Lastly, it all boils down to the authenticity one sees in a guru which gives a feeling of solace to a person in sickness and in health.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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  • AJ Krish

    Every single field is getting digitized and all of India’s indigenous professions are modernizing. It is good to see them adapt and keep up with the growing needs of the people.

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Shankaracharya: A remarkable genius that Hinduism produced (Book Review)

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

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He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita
He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

Title: Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker; Author: Pavan K. Varma; Publisher: Tranquebar Press; Pages: 364; Price: Rs 699

This must be one of the greatest tributes ever paid to Shankaracharya, the quintessential “paramarthachintakh”, who wished to search for the ultimate truths behind the mysteries of the universe. His genius lay in building a complete and original philosophical edifice upon the foundational wisdom of the Upanishads.

A gifted writer, Pavan Varma, diplomat-turned-politician and author of several books including one on Lord Krishna, takes us through Shankara’s short but eventful span of life during which, from having been born in what is present-day Kerala, he made unparalleled contributions to Hindu religion that encompassed the entire country. Hinduism has not seen a thinker of his calibre and one with such indefatigable energy, before or since.

Shankara’s real contribution was to cull out a rigorous system of philosophy that was based on the essential thrust of Upanishadic thought but without being constrained by its unstructured presentation and contradictory meanderings.

He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote extensive and definitive commentaries on each of them. Of course, the importance he gave to the Mother Goddess, in the form of Shakti or Devi, can be traced to his own attachment to his mother whom he left when he set off, at a young age, in search of a guru and higher learning.

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.
Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess.

Against all odds, Shankara created institutions for the preservation and propagation of Vedantic philosophy. He established “mathas” with the specific aim of creating institutions that would develop and project the Advaita doctrine. He spoke against both caste discriminations and social inequality, at a time when large sections of conservative Hindu opinion thought otherwise.

Shankara was both the absolutist Vedantin, uncompromising in his belief in the non-dual Brahman, and a great synthesiser, willing to assimilate within his theoretical canvas several key elements of other schools of philosophy. He revived and restored Hinduism both as a philosophy and a religion that appealed to its followers.

Also Read: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Varma rightly says that it must have required great courage of conviction as well as deep spiritual and philosophical insight for Shankaracharya to build on the insights of the Upanishads a structure of thought, over a millennium ago, that saw the universe and our own lives within it with a clairvoyance that is being so amazingly endorsed by science today. The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara’s philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess. The added value of the book is that it has, in English, a great deal of Shankara’s writings. Unfortunately, most Hindus today are often largely uninformed about the remarkable philosophical foundations of their religion. They are, the author points out, deliberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. This is indeed a rich book. (IANS)