I have been meaning to talk about it for a while now. And I think there’s no better medium than my very own pandatechie. Before I start sharing my views on this seemingly controversial topic, I want to share my religious inclination. I am NOT an atheist, but at the same time I don’t believe in the concept of ‘god’ per se. I am in congruence with the fact that there is a supreme power that governs this universe. Its just hard for me to define it. For some reason, I believe that is the beauty of it.
Also, when I try to visualize a god like figure while I am praying, its mostly a Hindu god. This may be by the virtue of my past experience and family values.
May be not while praying, but I think most of us have seen Hindu Gods. Considering a skewed religion mix, at 80% Hindu population, we have a temple in most of the neighborhoods. Also, there is a huge market for religion in India, so you may encounter them on calendars, posters, car dashboards or being sold by a street vendor. If nothing, you must’ve seen the infamous Mahabharata and Ramayana as kids (and as adults in lockdown). Although CGI looks absurd in today’s world, but these sagas surely carry wonderful messages.
With that thought in mind, let us discuss, why I think perception of Hindu gods is changing with each passing day.
Disclaimer: These are purely my views and observations. It is totally okay to disagree with it. I do not aim to harm anyone’s feelings with this post.
You must have heard or read at one point in your life that perception is reality. We all perceive and approach different situations in life uniquely. We have set character sketch of each person we meet in our head. However, by the virtue of folktales, scriptures, religious texts there is some element of commonality in case of gods. Here’s how most of us view them:
Bringing back the thought of epic Ramayana, lord Ram is shown as ‘Maryada Purshottam’. A man of righteousness. Without uttering a word, the man gives up his kingdom and goes to live in a forest for next 14 years of his life, just to honour his father’s commitment. He fought one of the longest wars in history, relentlessly, for his spouse’s prestige just to let her go to later because that’s what his duty as a king demanded. Living such a difficult life requires courage. And every iota of Lord Rama exhibits that trait.
Similarly, lord Hanuman is shown as epitome of strength. Exhibiting immense love, loyalty and devotion towards his god. Even after being portrayed as the most powerful man in the universe (he picked up a mountain for god’s sake), there is a subtle modesty to his personality. He renounces materialistic possessions and seeks serving lord Rama with selfless humility.
And, when you talk about calmness and serenity, you’d always think about Lord Shiva. The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead. The first image of Shiva, one paints in his mind would be of him, meditating on an ice slab, somewhere in the mountains. Peace.
The times have surely changed since Ramayana and Mahabharat aired on TVs in 1987 and 1988 respectively. And with changing times, there is a shift in the construct of religion. This has caused a drift in the personality of Hindu gods as we perceive. I am not questioning the morality or correctness of this perception. Just observing and acknowledging the shift that has happened from the eyes of a keen observer. Here’s some facts that make me think about it.
In recent times, the persona of the King of Ayodhya has taken a new shape. It may be all this news that keeps on challenging our belief system but lord Ram is now “Ram Lalla “. From a vigorous majesty who led an entire army to teach Raavana a lesson, lord Ram is now seeking support of it’s devotees to build a place for themselves, in order to worship him.
I am not going to touch upon the entire controversy around the issue. It is just the image of a god that this incident has created, bothers me. For the first time, a human figure has surpassed the aura of the ones that apparently created him. It seems as if without his support, lord Ram would be nowhere today. And I have seen people supporting this unsaid claim.
Just to be clear, my family also celebrated this event. We lit up earthen lamps in our balcony and were genuinely happy with the Supreme Court ruling. However, it was not a victory per se. It was justice delivered. Definitely NOT looking down upon other religious groups. Most definitely NOT doing a favour to the god. Unfortunately a big chunk of people don’t resonate with the the latter stream of thoughts.
Now I don’t know if it had something to do with the above personification of lord Rama. But, our beloved loyal and humble Hanuman turned into a ferocious and vexed individual. I no more see Lord Hanuman sitting on his knee with folded hands in front of Lord Rama. I see him painted in Saffron colour, irked as one could be.
Now I am totally up for standing for one’s rights. However, emotions like these being drawn from someone who is supposed to guide you to in you life, seems a little off. I recently saw a series on Netflix named ‘Vikings‘. The entire community worships gods like Odin, Thor etc. Since they portray them as gods of war, gods of storms etc., they indulge in practices like sacrificing people to please these gods, killing people of other belief systems and what not.
Hence, I conclude that for the people who may not understand the real motive behind an emotion may pick it up as a general trait one must carry and that eventually causes troubles. We are observing the lowest levels of tolerance already. I am not sure what future holds in store for us.
Till 2017, I spent 7 years of my life in Noida. Out of these 7 years, last two were mostly spent in Ghaziabad, where I had my office. Every year in July, we observe an auspicious month of “Shravan”. Thousands of Devotees dress up in saffron clothes, take up a daunting journey on foot, known as ‘Kaanvad Yatra’.
According to the ritual, the kanwariyas (people taking the journey) collect holy water of River Ganga from places like Haridwar, Gangotri, Rrishikesh in pots and carry the covered pots on a beautifully decorated kaavad or pole, balancing it by carrying it across their shoulders.
However, since I have seen this up and close, I know that the flip side of this devotion. In the name of Lord Shiva, these people would do drugs like opium, weed and what not. And if someone tries interrupt in the hooliganism they resort to, after getting high, they gang up and beat the person. All in the name of “Shiv Shambhu”. There’s a slogan that they chant while doing all this: “Bhole ki fauj, karegi mauj” (Army of Shiva, will have fun”).
I am not even getting started on the nuisance they create by jamming the roads. The best part? Raise your voice and get humiliated publicly. What kind of religion teaches that?
I am not speaking for any one else, but this state of affairs dampens the spirit of the country. Coming from a small town and living in a metro city, I am totally perplexed. There is one side of me that is optimistic about India being the next super power. There’s this other side which realizes that majority of the youngsters that we are betting on may have different priorities in life altogether.
May be I am just overthinking (I wish..)
Do you resonate with my opinion on this matter?
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Until next time..