This is indeed one popular phrase I heard growing up in India and being a proud Indian. There is so much still unknown to me about the rich heritage and golden mythological past of my country that I surrender not to defend this idea. And it would be also wrong on my part if I completely dismissed this notion too. You may think I am biased. Well, we all are fond of our cultural, mythological and religious past and they have silently become a foundation for our beliefs and value system.
As kids while we are introduced to identify different forms of deities of God’s and Goddesses, we find that out of the millions mentioned in the reigious texts, more or less each one of them have their own symbolic animal pet, AKA -Vahans’. Some of the most popular godly forms like Shiva can be identified with two of his characteristic representatives – the snake around his neck and the bull by his side. While Parvati, his spouse and the lady who is all about power, is portrayed as one who proudly rides on the back of a lion and some times even a tiger, therefore known as Sheravali (Sher-the big cat & vali- owner). Their mythological children- Lord Ganesha on the other hand represents wisdom via hard-work and he chose his animal as the rat, Karthikeya chose his favorite one as the majestic proud Peacock; Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth chose the wise Owl and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge was given a Swan as her representing candidate. Goddess Kali, is also one of the most well known goddess worshiped across the whole of India and with a number of beliefs. Kali receives her name signifying time and also meaning dark.A Goddess whom I personally feel is so popularly misunderstood and publicized as being blood thirsty and being associated to the power for black magic.
I will certainly not be the perfect person to assess and proclaim that I understand all the philosophies in the name of my religion. What confuses me today is the disparity of what I learnt and what I see now!
Religion, sadly has become the softest target for any grieving or accomplished heart. When there is no end to ritualistic traditions in the marathon to please deities whom we address as our Gods’, there seems to be a path that misleads us, from what might have been the primary reason for bringing ‘religion’ into existence in the first place. Not only has it been about the convenience of the preachers, it has also converted us from being ‘believers’ into fearfully blind followers. Today, there is anything and everything that can practically happen in the name of GOD.
Every year, crores of money are spent in creative idol making. From the tiniest one to the sky reaching ones, the limits are boundless and so are the celebrations. You spend your hard earned money, your deep vested prayers and solemn beliefs in your desired idolized form and in the next 15 days you may find the very same modest idols lying by the roadsides, adjacent to the venue of celebration or near the river bank simply forgotten to be immersed. Witnessing such callousness in respect for ‘the once upon a time’ beautifully handcrafted and royally adorned Gods and Goddesses, now leaning against some old banyan tree in a half ripped stage, I feel is the complete reflection of most of the things prevalent in our society – Use and Throw.
In the recent couple of weeks, when there have articles and undercover investigations flooding over the media about how India is not only one but THE LARGEST market responsible for supplying cows legally and illegally traded to countries all over the world, the concept of treating cows as holy, one that belongs to God, or even considered as being a mother, seems so disgustingly hypocritical. Where does the theory of “the land of the God’s” vanish when the ‘holy cows’ are brutally culled for trade and meat, snakes blinded, goats slaughtered at the altar of Goddess Kali as rituals embarking sacrifices, tigers and lions poached and all the rest when the list goes endlessly? A particular God has a designated time for celebration and follows it is the speechless art of innocent animal torture being executed, in the name of it.
A reality, where people who preach and proclaim religion in broad daylight actively engage in the game of death by dusk forces me to think if this so-called religion has failed to teach about conscience or was it just the preparation of another shield to make an abundance of illicit wealth and defend the shades of derogated humanity ?
I feel so disturbed today by the thought of the systems that have brought us nowhere but to a stage where we are compelled to question our own credentials. This tug-of-war, to choose to be one that humanity requires and one that is ruled by the definitive minds is nothing, but challenging. Some hear it and some of us don’t.Celebrations of any festivity now seem to be appearing farce. After all, I am in a dilemma to choose between what I learned and what I am exposed to today. All I know is I may not be a doctorate to understand the nitty-gritty of religion, but surely I am sane and can use my judgement to understand that our belief system tagged with what we identify as God, needs no blood of its child of any kind and in any form, as a souvenir of sacrifice for the sake of wish fulfillment.