The Valentine's day seemed to steal away the fame of Oscar Pistorius, the paralympic champion with the accident at his residence. He has been accused of shooting his girl friend. It was Lance Armstrong last time who has been stripped off from his titles, now its Oscar for another reason. Confused to idolize and look up to these champions. I wish these people make sure they are careful with their reputation given their fanfare across the world.
Picture of this post was captured in London, UK. While it depicts the beauty of nature, it cannot be enjoyed unless we pause the daily rush and have a glance at the beauty around.
Religion, this is a topic which is as vast as the spread of the Pacific. You know what sort of a debatable topic this term is in our country. 'Debatable' is too simple of a term to define the amount of havoc it can create in our country, if disturbed.
As part of every religion, there are certain rituals, practices and believes. These are set to make life traverse in proper direction, to lead an organised life and finally to attain salvation. I don't want to call them rules of a religion, as I believe no individual is bound to any particular rule but they are ways of life which will keep us away from unnecessary hassles. However, in the name of religious ways, over the ages we have adapted to some superstitions as well.
The downside of the beliefs and practices is that, in the name of religion, we have accustomed to some of the deeds which can create a pandemonium at times. Taking Hinduism into discussion, pilgrimage is very prominent part of the religious living. Visiting temples & other places of worship and conducting certain rituals are considered sane and vital to lead a pious Hindu life. These practices have lead millions of devotees to visit temples especially on auspicious days and occasions. It could be taking a dip in the rivers for pushkara (once in 12yrs) or attending the processions with all the paraphernalia, or visiting the temples. These may not be ruled out as superstitions, as on certain auspicious days of the calendar, the cosmic forces are quite strong when combined with a sacred bath or visiting places of worship (that are designed to attract cosmic energy) that they have great effect on human bodies and minds. This entire process is considered as cleansing of souls & bodies. All is well, if it is up to that. But, crowds thronging at pilgrimages on most important occasions can create a huge mess. In order to avoid this, endowment authorities prepare and make necessary arrangements, which in most cases fall insufficient. As it is evident that our temples collect huge amounts in the form of devotional donations, offerings and sometimes tickets, there is no dearth for monetary funds to manage it in a better way and increase the supplies. But how often do we see a temple management catering to the best of the basic needs of the devotees??? Even at Tirumala, which is considered as the richest abode of lord, there is chaos and mess every day in one of the queues. Although the Tirumala temple management has braced itself to handle millions of devotees’ every day, it still falls short of some basic provisions and systematic queuing. If we have to blame the authorities concerned, it is not always their fault. It’s the devotees who lack some fundamental civic sense. If you presume that this clutter happens with uneducated masses around, you are totally mistaken. Even if you buy the VIP ticket, you are sure to experience the same disorder. Your co-devotees don't care about you, no matter you trip and fall, they would jump over and go but none will offer a helping hand. So what sort of soul cleansing would they want to attain praying to the Lord without caring a bit for a fellow being? During my recent visit, I witnessed, a well-educated officer jumping over the queue lines and crossing the people so that he could get darshan quicker in a matter of split second difference. I was totally disappointed more by the co-devotees than by the management.
The recent Khumb Mela also witnessed this sort of chaos, of course worse in nature. While there was a blame game amongst different departments, how many of us realize that it was the uncontrollable mob that was responsible for that sort of stampede. I personally detest blaming the Railway authorities or the endowment authorities in most of these cases. The common man today lacks the very basic civic sense which is resulting in such turmoil. Who can keep guarding and guiding a madhouse mob. Even if the authorities intervene to sort it out, no devotee will be patient to bear with it and let them work. A very simple fact is always ignored in such labyrinth...that every devotee has come to do the same sort of ritual and is equally concerned about the time. Coming to Khumb mela, I cannot understand what sort of salvation does one attain by dying/getting injured in a stampede? What sort of sanity does one attain by dipping in polluted waters? I know this would appear as atheism to many, but to me this remains a prime question, when people compete to visit such crowdy places with infants, toddlers, veterans and disabled. Should that be termed as religiousness or superstitious? As long devotees/pilgrims don't have concern for his co-devotee or lacks civic and common senses, these occasions will have to witness more and more deaths in stampede and suffocation. Sometimes, RGV's (ramgopal verma, director) remarks about these stampedes and deaths at pilgrimages seem so valid.
In my opinion, you are never/can never be religious if you have no concern/humanity for a fellow being. No matter how many rituals you do and how many pilgrimages you visit, it all appears as mere superstition indeed.