Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hindu festivals at crossroads

            Never has Hinduism been at such crossroads with incessant attacks mounting from sickulars within complementing the Breaking India forces and being supplemented by even judicial activism. The firecracker debate has brought all the chinks to the fore. It is very critical to take a few moments for us to reset the gaze within. Every battle involves not merely sizing the opponents might and weakness, but also our own. In this modern Kurukshetra, as Hindus we are faced with a tough question – Do we forsake the symbolism in Hinduism or dig deeper to find its roots or let these forces digest and destroy us by being a passive observer?

            Hinduism is clothed in numerous layers of symbolism and this is the only reason we are the oldest living tradition for many millennia, even predating the Saraswati valley civilization. Unlike the desert religions centered around Abrhamism which focus on the fear of going to eternal hell or the lure of heaven forever, Sanatana Dharma has be centered around values, raising oneself from a lower Self to a higher. Owing to a host of factors, for the past few generations, the Hindu society has been divorcing itself from these core ideals. The lingering symbolism in the form of culture, festivals, habits and etiquettes have been sustaining the Hindu civilization. 

            If one observes any Hindu festival, it is an admixture of some natural phenomenon, some deep historical relevance, an opportunity to take a break from the daily materialistic madness and an excuse to go inward – an exercise to immerse oneself with the Supreme Self. Our ancestors lived very closely with nature, observant of dharma and in harmony. As we have moved far away from this harmony, many of the practices, festivals and customs followed show up as huge problems or at least get highlighted as being anachronistic.

            For instance, the practice of using Vermillion, a practice that has been proved to have existed during Harappan times by archeology has morphed into a mere fashion statement. The traditional way of making Kumkum is a lost memory for the most common public. This has been replaced with tons of synthetic chemicals and many cause side effects. In come the western researchers to highlight the heavy metal levels in Kumkum and shame the practice. The feminists, libtard and pseudo sickular brigade use these materials to mount an attack on the Hindu practices. The vacuum created by the shaken foundation are filled with radicalists or eager proselytizer of Abrahamism.

Festivals of Bharatvarsha

            Diwali or Deepavali is a festival that transcends the differences in Indian society. Various historical reasoning attributed for its observance include the return of Sri Rama to Ayodhya and Krishna’s vada of narakasura. It provides an excellent opportunity for every individual to introspect and identify the dark qualities of the mind and destroy them. Whenever there is a destruction of tamas and the dawn of sattva in the mind, it is a cause for celebration. Hence the outward expression of it by lighting lamps, bursting crackers and giving of sweets to everyone around.  Today this has been replaced by pomp and show, pride of bursting the biggest or the longest bursting firecracker in the neighborhood and the worst, sharing of sweets or snacks only the few we like. It used to common practice to enquire anyone we come across, if they had their ganga-snan and this is now replaced by binge watching special television programs. 

Obviously in this context the firecrackers or TV watching or gouging of too many sweets will be rightfully deemed as going overboard. But if we return to the values of working on the character of oneself, which libtard or sickular or judge can even have the temerity to question.

Pongal or Sankaranti, the quintessential harvest festival of India is an opportunity for being thankful to Nature, the Sun, the farmers and the farm animals. We, the practicing hindus, have reduced this to being as much as the opposite of its spirit. In south India, Pongal is also a time, when people do their spring cleaning. In the past when people lived close to nature and in harmony, disposing the old by burning was ideal and cost effective, even eco-friendly. 

Today we have not understood the significance of the symbolism, but burn tyres and other trash which obviously add to the heavy pollution. Ripe target for cutting off the roots. Can we rediscover our eco roots? Can we re-educate ourselves that Jallikattu is a bull taming sport that involves yearlong care of these bulls and maintaining the biodiversity of these breeds while the media, PETA and sickular brigand’s equating it with Spain’s bullfighting is absolute bogus and malicious.

Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival that unifies the different philosophies in the vedantic world has been at the center of controversy as well. In the past, Ganesha murtis were only made of clay. This clay came from desilting the waterbodies nearby, thus cleaning them. In fact, if one were to see the worship more carefully, we use only the least used flowers – Calotropis, grass for archana and even the flowers that are favorite to Ganesha are lesser known locally sourced ones. The visarjan provided an opportunity of returning the clay to the waterbodies. 

In came, the modern twists. Ganesha made of plaster of paris and with synthetic chemical paints. From a journey of self-evolution and living close to nature, we have morphed it into a pompous display of a community. This is not to take away anything from the devotion of the ones who are true to the cause. The same fate bemoans Durga in Bengal. 

Karva Chauth is a good example of how even private practices with no outward celebration can still be a target by the pseudo liberal brigand. These hit and run masters will question how a woman’s practice of keeping a vrath can help her husband. Praying for the well-being of the spouse is not acceptable for the feminist gang. But they will not have the brains or guts to turn and ask other communities. Will they even dare to ask how a so-called dead man, who comes back, can vicariously cleanup our karmic debt by merely signing up for the plan? So by that count the Las Vegas shooter is guaranteed heaven, if his last thoughts were, pardon me and I accept this plan.

The list is endless with Janmashtami Dahi Handi or noise levels of Dandiya during Navaratri. While this list keeps growing, no one seem to apply the same logic on the other communities. Forget the Pagan roots of even Christmas tree celebration, do these sickular hypocrites ever argue for the trees cut? Do they ever question the needless blood shedding of goats during Bakrid or they mindlessly let out on the streets? All in the name of sacrifice. The pollution advocates do not mind the Azan calls multiple times a day.

The biggest danger come from the ill-informed Hindu society. We may have forgotten our roots, but that is not an excuse to remain ignorant. Can we rediscover the real meaning behind the festivities of this great land? Can we attempt to begin an inward journey? Can we get more committed to understanding what Dharma is and how to protect it?  Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha – the Dharma we protect will in turn protect us.

At the same time, do we have to give up all the rich layers of Symbolism that has protected Hinduism over the millennia? Heck NO. We must fight in every possible arena to keep the real meaning behind these symbolism and bring it into today’s context. In case of Ganesh Chaturthi, it may mean we embrace our traditional clay murthis or for Diwali, celebrate with firecrackers as a collective society rather than as individuals.

Katha Upanishad teaches us about the two paths that exist with us all the time – Shreyas (the path of the good) and Preyas (the path of the pleasant). We must abandon the lure of false logic or arguments pseudo sickular brigade, as they are nothing but the path of Preyas.
If we need to rediscover the meaning of our festivals, the teachings of Hinduism or achieve our highest potential by rediscovering our true Self, the following are imperative:

  •   Learn to expose the tactics of the pseudo sickular brigand. These comprise amongst others media houses controlled by motivated interests, high profile C-grade media stars, the ever scheming politician who is interested in splitting up the society for his petty vote bank gains, the misinterpreting self-styled mythologists like Devdutt Pattanaik or the openly hinduphobic western scholars like Wendy Doniger or Sheldon Pollock. Also be aware of the closet converts who are sheep in wolf’s clothing. Many popular Hindu name people are in fact closet Christians but act sickular by attacking ONLY Hinduism. Also included in this are Hindus who call themselves as cultural Hindus and believe that the religious, spiritual and philosophical roots are a bane. Stand up against their tactics and go after their hypocrisy. For instance, several folks who have come to canvas against Diwali firecracker pollution themselves used it for their own wedding or some other occasion. Point out their duplicity.

Any return to Shreyas, is through these duplicitous characters as they have cloaked the true Hinduism with their narrative. We must cut this veneer of falsehood to let the real light of Sanatana Dharma to shine.

  •  Sadhana - Unless one connects with OneSelf, it is impossible to operate on the path of Shreyas. It is very important that every Hindu takes little time to study their scriptures, not in the lens of some modern mythologist or western prism, but the traditional way, be it by reading (Svadhyaya) or listening to good pravachans. The strength of the sickulars is their raucous numbers and the ONLY strength of Dharmic people is their Sadhana. If and when we rediscover our roots, there is no opportunity for any of the sickulars to stand before the real Knowledge of actual experience and practice.

  •   Be a truth-seeker – Let us give us our own falsities even as we want others to give up theirs. Instead of mindlessly clinging to a morphed practice, let us take time to go to our heritages. Let us not deride our pedigree from great rishis by sticking to wrong things. Let us make a commitment to ourselves that we will educate ourselves to the letter and spirit of the wisdom handed over the generations. The oddities that have crept in must be identified and discarded. Fresh ideas are always welcome in our society, but not at the cost of degrading our tradition.

Remembering the origins and nature of the customs and practices is very vital. Being at crossroads, we have a choice – do we succumb to the attacks of people who lack wisdom like our sages? Do we succumb from within, due to our ignorance and arrogance? Can we rediscover ourselves by trying to follow the wisdom of choosing the path of Shreyas

I firmly believe that there is enough collective wisdom and memories left in our Hindu society that we will aspire to be on the path of Shreyas.

Om Tat Sat
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