Friday, August 12, 2005

My vague thoughts

A human being has his religious duties too. But complications in an ordinary Hindu’s religious life are many. Firstly, we have plenty of religious books to choose. Secondly, they are in Sanskrit in which most of us are not conversant with. Thirdly, philosophical concepts are too complicated that one has to take special efforts to understand them.

Thus, I always had the guilt of an ignorant Hindu, knowing nothing more than a grandma version of Ramayana and Mahabharata. But when I started Ashok Banker’s version of Ramayana, I understood how greatly the epic can be narrated. When retelling can be so enchanting, which did not have the divinity and had more of commercial motive, surely, original version of Valmiki should be beguiling.

Thus, this Ashok Banker’s version of Ramayana could not help me in getting away from my guilt feeling. I have to learn more. With this thirst as I was seeing around, I came across few who knew more about our religion, who took some genuine efforts to learn what our holy books say.

Strangely, all those few were Vaishnavaites. Definitely, that is no coincidence.

Talking about iyers and iyengars, one can say that iyers are liberal or we can say iyers have liberalized their rules to a great extent so that they can co exist with iyengars. While u may find n number of Ramanathan and Narayanan in iyers, not even one Sivakumar or Ganesh will be there in Iyengar. There are staunch iyengars who choose to shut their ears, even when their hands are extremely busy feeding their own mouths or their grandson’s mouth, whenever they hear the word “Shiva”.

The motive of this post is not to blame any vaishnavaite. With this, please continue reading.

They believe in just one form that is Vishnu. Though I am not sure, I think they are not keen in worshipping navagraha also. I always curiously observe any iyengar classmate or colleague of mine to know how attached they are to Vishnu and Vaishnavism. Astonishingly, everyone I met was staunch believer and followed the religious routines vehemently.

As a routine they sing Thiuppavai and Thiruvamppavai. Thus, the religious thirst is inculcated in them when they are very young, and that makes them to know more about our religion. Their thirst grows beyond Vaishnavism, forces them to know about Hinduism.

Whereas, we iyers, who chose to be liberal, who chose to accept every form of God, (assuming someone is a pure saivaite and chooses to worship only Shiva family, then he has to worship a minimum of four gods), cannot boast of having many youngsters who still believe in chanting Thevaaram or performing Suryanamaskaram.

The values which we carried are slowly diminishing and I won’t wonder if they become extinct in near future. Because, we chose to be liberal with Gods initially, then we chose to be liberal with our religious duties, then we chose to be liberal with our religion itself. Now we iyers are completely modernized, that even an atheist is seen forgivingly by an elder.

They are so rationalized that they are fully into the practical world, forgetting completely about our religious world, formulating their own convenient ways of worshipping Almighty, that I fear our future generation would find it difficult to figure out whether Krishna comes in Ramayana or Mahabharata.

Our practical world has become so demanding that we really have to work hard to survive. But religious duties cannot be ignored for that reason. To refrain we humans from being slack on our religious duties, the rules should be made harsher.

I understand the ferociousness with which we should follow our customs. Blind faith will help us more. Atleast when it comes to religion. Our scattered belief in all hindu Gods made us to loose our custom and culture and now we find that we know very little about our religion. With mutual respect to each other, we should go back to our age old custom. This will be of some good to every Hindu. Instead of having a scattered faith, knowing in detail about nothing, it is always better to have concentrated faith, with indepth knowledge about something. Our initial confined faiths, will help us to set a solid foot in our religion, which will ultimately grow beyond the divides of Saivism or Vaishnavism and will embrace Hinduism.