I find people all around me doing and telling things which amuse me. Touching your forehead seeing a temple. Telling me not to touch the broom with your feet etc, etc. Well if you believe me god is all around you are sees you even when you are not in front of a temple. Bowing your head in front of a temple does not give you a head start in the quest to please god.
Being brought up in a family of believers of gods and not just prayers of gods I see some new things now that I live out of the family for studying. Various things people do in fear of god. Well to first clarify I am a Hindu by birth and I by all mean’s a believer in god. I don’t not wish to hurt any sentiments in any case. These are just how I see things. It’s a very broad topic, a topic on which I would not claim I have all the expertise in this world, but as a part of the religion I follow these are my views on what I see the society blindly following in the name of religion.
Hinduism is a very ancient religion, the oldest in the world if I believe the internet. But what happened then and what happens now is very different, and in fact over the last few decades we have developed and changed a lot. Also as Hinduism has been susceptible to various invasions and influences from time immortal, the mughals, the britishers, the turks and the others, it has been adopting the changes time brought to it, revaluating the society and its beliefs. So here are a few examples of things which we do today in the name of religion, some of which I find outdated and others non- meaningful.
The concept of fasting. We Hindus have fasts on most of our demi-festivals ( as I would like to call them). When I was younger I thought that the fasts provide a quick way to please god, but as I grew older I thought that maybe the fasts were designed to give our bodies a rest on some days of the year, by going on to a fruit diet, meditating and thinking. But now in the 21st century these fasts I think have lost all meanings. They are merrily a way to please god by fearing them. Today most of us eat such highly fried food right at the end of the fast, that the whole purpose of fasting is lost.
The concept of a girl should always be “covered”. Well I will say that this is a societal change, a mindset that has been carved into the minds of people, and furthermore I would say it is something that is being increasing over the years. Our holy scriptures never specified on how a person should dress up. We see it all around us in the ancient painting and the sculptures of gods depicted wearing no or bare minimal clothing. Gods could do that then, but today even if god is shown in minimal clothing it would be highly condemned. So today if a person especially a women is scantily dressed than the person lacks moral sense and is highly susceptible to all the evils of the society.
Our marriages, well I consider the marriages today nothing but a merry occasion to show off. Around a million people are invited to a marriage. Acquaintances of acquaintances are invited, more than 90% of people the bride and the groom don’t know. Even our wedding ceremonies. A Hindu marriage is full of ceremonies and starts weeks before the marriage. These ceremonies are a good way of entertainment for all the guests around the house. But my question is why are most of these ceremonies being celebrated? They probably had societal relevance in the olden days but now they are just mere social antiques. I have a very interesting example, I was in a marriage and just after the bride was wed off she sat in the car with her husband. Now this car was not just any car it was an BMW. What happened after that caught my attention, as soon as the driver turned on the ignition all the brothers and male members of the bride’s side went and started pushing the car! Well the car was a BMW it can do without your push also. The custom of pushing the vehicle probably dates back to the time when there were hand pushed carts. But now for me it was an antique at which I was astonished at. Also the heavy commercialisation of the concept of a marriage saddens me, as I have said and I would repeat it has become a tool of show off to the society. Be happy and celebrate it’s a prestigious and momentous event of a person’s life, but even if it is less sparkly and less over the top maybe it will make more sense.
Also another thing which amuses me is why women shouldn’t be allowed to enter the temple or do religious ceremonies during their menstruation. The very thing because of which humans have populated and grown in number, the very thing which is the basic instinct for other living things- producing their young. Why is it considered unholy and a social taboo. If the answer to my this question is sanitation, then well yes there might have been a time when women had to rest during menstruation because there weren’t a lot many sanitation options available. But today when we pat on our backs telling each other how much we have developed, how can we still site this as a sanitation issue. Or has it become a social problem over the years where we have started considering women as weak and inferior? And is this mind set of people leading to the number of societal evil which we see and hear about every single day these days?
What I suggest and say is that, as we have being developing so should our mindsets. We try and look 21st century but our mind sets especially our religious beliefs are stuck far behind. Maybe we developed a little too fast to catch up on the religious front, maybe we were exposed to so many influences in the past that we have learnt to stick to what we know. Whatever be the answer we have to take serious decisions in own lives to think about what we do and why we do? Because the answer to these questions cannot come from the government nor from god himself but from within us.