Sunday, December 04, 2005

The marutis who sold their monks

As India proceeds on its 8% brave new world growth rate, as the intestines of an aging superstar get more prominence than the rain ravaged interiors of Tamil Nadu and as ' naughty becomes in and nice is out' since the czar of candyfloss claims it in Neal N Niki, I always wonder how Hindu roots, rituals and traditions would evolve in the next 5-10 years. Usually there is one section of the young generation , which believes that most of our rituals are crap.They dont know why a shraadh should be performed every year, why a sacred thread should be worn, and have forgotten to pray with verses . There is one section that believes in God but not in the ecosystem that comes with it , the pujaris and the pyres. There is one section that just follows their parents and performs activities as per their wishes just to avoid any confrontation. There could be many other sections.
What is of acute concern is the amount of time we spend to gain insights into the Hindu religion and its philosphy either through experiences or reading. It is unfortunate that most youngsters learn a foreign language like French during school for better global prospects rather than Sanskrit. Knowledge of Sanskrit enables one to atleast understand the various mantras chanted during a ritual or the scriptures in the Vedas. Another barrier is the mental block associated with the effort required to understand or experience. Sample this ' I went to Enigma this weekend; it rocked' versus ' I went to a Rudrabhishek pooja yesterday'. How uncool . Today's generation is making choices without adequate knowledge. Its a strange vaccuum where the joys of materialism after years of Brahminical restraint and the vapidity of mainstream media have left us very little time or inclination to find and know our roots.
However the outside world is now exhorting the virtues of the Hindu way of life with all the marketing chutzpah associated with it. For this look no further than 'The monk who sold his ferrari'. The wisdom of the fictional 'Sages of Sivana' mentioned there is no different from the journey of self-improvement advocated in the various texts. If one starts seeing the holistic picture based on 'using religion as a means to spiritual bliss and being a better person, the wonders of yoga and ayurveda for a healthy mind and body, there emerges a beautiful path to being a better person which is what everyone strives for. My next post would be how all the modern thoughts of self-help and science and lot of our age-old wisdom are the same.
As a start let me leave an interesting thought: We all know that E= mc2 where E = energy , m = mass and c= velocity of light . If one studies Hindu mythology we have a multitude of Gods. Well all our Gods are just different manifestations of energy and God and all the mythological stories are physical forms ( the m part) of that energy. In fact if one reads some ancient shlokas, they describe the arrival of some Gods as "prakashit" and prakash in Sanskrit is nothing but light. In fact some of the world best healing technique "Reiki" is energy based. Now there are enough dots like the above. We all need to connect them in our unique way on this journey to wisdom. And there is no destination, the journey is all that matters. No wonder some sages in the Himalayas as claimed even in the "Monk" are more than 100 years old.

11 Comments:

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Parth said...

Brilliant blog title and I totally agree with you! Perhaps the future lies with the rural youth, if they can escape Neal and Nikki

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Shivaji said...

I am skeptical of following age old traditions just because they are age old. The same people who practiced yoga and meditation to purify their soul also had no qualms in abiding by the henious caste system, And just because someone knows to say the word "light" doesnt mean that he knew all about e=mc2. The fact that many of the self help methods of today refer to age old practices is because of 1) lack of imagination 2) nothing works, so stick with referrals. The so called spiritual superiority of us Indians didnt make us any less a violent nation throughout our history. Even in the last fifty years we must have fought as many wars as USA. Spiritual baldersdash goes only thus far when it comes to basic instincts- and it applies to all societies.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Mridula said...

I am with Shivaji.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

A thing about sanskrit. I guess I have had a moderate level of education in it. That in no way helped me in understanding the mantras. Not even a bit. The mantras supposedly are recited in some ancient dialect of sanskrit. In spite of that I even ventured out to find out what are the meaning of the different mantras we recite. Since few people knew the actual meaning, I got a very few genuine answers. The use of Sankrit make the mantras sound more impressive than their actual meaning. Hence the use of sanskrit is still in place. Sanskrit is a tough but an extremely expressive language as far as the usage goes.

And I agree with the point of mental block. That is inevitable in any society. What is in fashion will always be the 'cool' thing. Very few people have the vision to have an impartial choice with all the strong influences. I cannot judge if this is for better or for worse.

On the whole your post makes me uncomfortable. There are too many vague ideas, some pieces of the puzzle strewn all over. I am not even sure that they are pieces of the same puzzle. Lot of confusion; very little clarity.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Jayesh said...

Shivaji... the truth is that the people who used meditation etc to purify their soul were NOT the same who brought in the caste system. The caste system was created much later and was created by devious marketers for selfish reasons. By equating the two, you are completely disregarding the wisdom of the former. And wait for modern day genetics to take fruit we might actually feel the caste system was bang on target ;-)...

Ravi... the attempt was to provoke thought...answers will never be unique or easy...each one of us has to experience and learn on the way to spiritual maturity(only if that is one of your interest areas)...

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger The Unrest Cure said...

Absolutely brilliant satire! Bravo! Bravo!

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger piqxxx said...

Are you saying the current generation is disregarding Sanskrit and the older generations didn't. I took my family as a sample and except my mother and my uncle (fathers cousin) nobody in the past two generations know a smidgen of Sanskrit. Surprisingly the two who know Sanskrit fluently don't have a lot of respect for rites and rituals. My mother is one of the most non-religious woman I have ever met. My uncle is a philosophy scholar and has read the scriptures extensively and frequently lectures on them but again does not perform any rites or rituals.

 
At 2:05 AM, Blogger Taz Snow said...

While I can understand what you mean about today's youth losing touch with our roots and heritage, and increasingly so with each successive generation, I am not too sure that rites and rituals are the way to their 'enlightenment'.

Point of fact being that rites and rituals are what have been instituted to make the general populace live/work in a certain way ; what is important to note is not the means but the end.

Hinduism is not only about the various actions, but is about living a life the leads you to The One. And Hinduism at its core is not about the plethora of Gods, but about The One whose myriad aspects these multitudes signify.

The essence is about the philosophy of Life, about realizing Truth ; and this comes in all languages, not just Sanskrit! A thought you should consider..."The sign should not be mistaken for the thing signified. The sign-post is not the destination" (S. Radhakrishnan, from East and West, The End of Their Separation)

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Gaurav said...

I guess the question is not whether the rites and rituals are the way to your "enlightenment" or not. The question is have you actually tried all the ways that are possible and then boiled down to one of the paths. Now, here is how is actually works:
We always have been told (at some level, subtle or direct) it is uncool and laborious to go along the path of scriptures, rites or rituals. And so this path (to the supposed enlightenment) is actually by default put last on our list. On the other hand it is "cool" to go on the path of philosophical investigations. Have any one of us actually given a sincere attempt to go along the rituals path. Do you think crores of people who actually follow Hinduism in the form of rites and rituals are actually mad? Do you think those long lines (which last for more than 72 hrs sometimes) at Tirupathi temple to worship an idol is absolute madness. Look, the point is that, something of this significance and magnitude should be given a chance and we (the youth) do not give it even a meager chance.
Jayesh, a good post. The E=mc^2 funda is misplaced though. Its like looking at something from a westerner's eye. Like Yoga is looked upon now in India.

 
At 6:09 AM, Blogger Dinesh said...

Pretty late...but wanted to give this deserving pat on the back!

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger Anuradha said...

Good post Jayesh...I agree that we need to understand our own heritage, while we try to understand the rest of the world.

 

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