BELIEF ON GOD & OTHER BELIEFS
Beliefs are formed, in general
By the people
On following certain traditional modes of behavior
Certain beliefs are firmed
After these are transferred
From generation to generation
With utmost love and affection
Some old beliefs are considered most potent
While the others lose their importance
With passage of time or space
But the ones which are considered enduring
Are etched in the memory of people remain continuing
Even time do not lessen
Their eternal sheen.
One belief that outshines all other beliefs we dearly go after
Because this belief is the belief on our most dearest One amongst all
That is the belief on our dearest God.
Other beliefs just continue to flourish
And are religiously followed
By the societies around
With verve and vigor at our command.
All other principles and beliefs
May be dented and may undergo some changes
Evolve as the time passes
Some beliefs fall by the wayside
And fade into oblivion
Because these beliefs have lost their relevance
Which is proved by empirical evidence.
The traditional beliefs, principles, doctrines which the people would like to continue – despite their ill-effects sometimes. The thought that prompted me to write about these was the instant reaction that was witnessed in the state of Tamil Nadu (India) after the Apex Court intervened for discontinuation of Jallikattu, a bull sport on the occasion of Pongal (harvesting thanksgiving) considering it a cruelty to animals because the bulls are forcefully intoxicated and sometimes chilly powder is sprinkled in their eyes for maddening them. The protests against the decision of the Apex Court, especially spearheaded by the youth was obviously peaceful based on non-violence (Gandhian in fact) and the Government was constrained to issue ordinance otherwise the protests could have spiraled out of control which unfortunately it did on the last day of the protests by the youth.
Although this traditional sport was started during 400 – 100 BC in order to showcase courage and strength and for that a lot of practice went into this for taming the bulls. When tradition is inbuilt in the hearts and minds, the Government in power have to intervene to listen perforce and yield to the wishes of the general masses; which it was done. But a belief when crosses the limit and borders on cruelty to the animals then something tangible has to be done to alleviate the pain caused to the bulls during the sports. Beliefs and traditions can flourish only when these are in consonance with natural justice and fair-play.
In effect, different societies and regions differentiate in their cultural forms or beliefs of behavior. The traditional modes of practices are spearheaded with humane, moral and ethical overtones and transferred from generation to generation liberaly. There is attachment of huge sense of pride in following such beliefs/principles held dear. How a belief or tradition takes its root depends on the fact beliefs and faiths along with the value system that our parents feed us in our childhood periods. But care ought to be exercised that the childhood conditioning should not remain static, it should change in its methodology and evolve as per change In time and present scientific temper.
But with the passage of time, some beliefs and practices are felt to be redundant and hence banned. The tradition of Sati Pratha and widdow burning beside child marriage, honor killing, infanticide of females practiced in some parts of India, among other practices have been banned.
Beliefs and principles which have continued cutting across religious caste lines are considered beneficial for enhancing inter-religious goodwill and brotherly feelings. It is also true that the continuing of beliefs and traditional practices bestow the requisite impetus and security to the concerned societies.
Some traditional beliefs and practices which still continue to be practiced are enumerated below:-
THE AGHORI SADHUS. Aghoris are the Hindu Sect members who generally worship Lord Shiva and live near the cremation grounds. They are having belief that everything they do within their power and nothing is considered sacrosanct for them including drinking alcohol / drugs and eating the dead human flesh. This may seem bizarre but it is true. In fact, they live on the dead bodies; eat their flesh, put on the clothese the dead bodies are put on by their relatives including the use of burning pyre for keeping them warm besides for other purposes.
BABY TOSSING. This practice has been followed in Solapur (Maharashiretra state) where the parents toss their babies from the foot tower and the thrown babies are held / caught on the ground with the help of a sheet by others.
WALKING ON THE BURNING COAL. There is a belief that those who walk on the red-hot burning coal are cured from their diseases due to which some get their feet burnt and forced to get medical help. Still this practice continues.
Crossing the sea. Previously journey across the sea was considered unholy. For example Swami Vivekananda was not allowed to enter the temple after he came back from America where he had gone to attend a Religious Conference and where he delivered his famous speech on Hinduism. But this belief is not being practicised because of globalization and considered irrelevant.
MARRIAGE WITH TREE. It is believed that according to astrology when there is MANGAL DOSHA in their horoscope in respecitve houses then it is suggested that in order to lessen the adverse affects of mangal dosha they should get married firstly with a tree by chanting of vedic mantras.
LATH MAR HOLI. I have seen lath mar holi in Mathura (the birthplace of Lord Krishna) where women folk beat their male partner with a stick and the partners save themselves with shields.
ENTRY OF WOMEN IN TEMPLES. There are some holy places of worship where the women entry is banned due to one reason of other. In some cases like Shanidham in Shignapur, Sabarimala temple and Haji Dargah (both in Maharashtra) women entry has been allowed due to the judicial intervention of the Court. Yet the entry in Lord Ayyappa temple, Patbausi Salra Assam, Lord Kartikaya temple, Pushkar etc is still not allowed.
THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF OF RELIGIONS. Strongly religious people would like to continue to religiously follow the religious oriented beliefs given in their respective religious texts and tenets. It has also been observed that those who are affulient are less prone to follow religious beliefs to be book. It is also observed that the modernity and scientific temper has markedly made the people to question the advocacy of the ancient beliefs held dear. Following ones religious belief is all right but without impinging on the others to follow their own religious beliefs held dear by them. Intolerance of any sort is really irreligious because all the religions teach us as to how to reach to our SINGLE SOURCE.
THE PRINCIPLES OF CASTES. Manu (the law giver and architect of Hindu society) divides Hindus into four Varnas – also grading these by their respective professions/occupations.
The variation of the occupation was considered as beneficial for the society as a whole. These Varnas are:-
- The ones connected with knowledge. They are assigned the task of having scriptural knowledge and also how best to spread the same.
- Connected with power and hence are assigned the duties of ruling and administration.
- They are associated with wealth
- They were assigned the task of serving all the three Varnas.
Notwithstanding the varieties of functions assigned to different VARNA, with the universal spread of education, the caste system which was hitherto being followed has lost its luster. Now a Shudra could study and follow any profession to which he is profession. A Vaishya could change could enroll in defence or a Brahmin could adopt any other trade of occupation just divergent to his VARNA.
THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF OF CULTURAL TRADITIONS. There are certain belief which are difficult to be erased from people psyche. These principles are dear to people. The festivals connected with religious orientation/overtones or connected with seasons remain. The religious festivals such as Dussehra, Shivratri, Janamashthmi, Diwali, lohri, Ieds, Christmas Day celebrations, Basant Punchami, Holi, Prakash Utsavs etc.
THE TENETS OF FAMILIES. There are the principles held dear which are particular to individual families purely based on family traditions and modes of behaviour. Family customs and traditions such as worshiping the family deities, observing shradh ceremonies for the dead ancestors, observing religious tenets etc.
THE THOUGHTS ON POLITICS. In politics there are the people who follow different political philosophies. For example, communist party, liberals, democratic, BJP, Congress, or other regional parties have their own agendas etc follow different sets of principles. All of them offer their manifestos and ask people to vote for them.
Traditional beliefs, doctrines and principles held dear could change with the passage of time but one thing hardly changes and that is belief on our Creator. Different people can have varieties of beliefs, principles, doctrines which could undergo any change due to evolution in thought but there is only one truth about God which hardly changes in time or space. All the religions are pointers to indicate that there is only one ABSOLUTE TRUTH. All the practices and beliefs lose their importance when we talk about God – eternal truth. Faiths, principles and practices are merely pathways to reach that SOURCE. It is OCEAN OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH in which all the rivers in the forms of different faiths flow. When we establish our connectivity with this ETERNAL SOURCE with sincerity in our meditation/prayer and thus the ETERNAL SOURCE gives us eternal joy and eternal peace.