One has to be mentally prepared to listen/read about religion. All topics on religion cannot be read casually as a fiction. Some of them may demand high level of concentration of mind. But the objective of writing through this blog is to convey the reader in a simple form which may activate more reading later.
Although it calls for faith to proceed further and sustain it throughout the life, we should never adapt and adopt the practices of others who create /innovate new ways of worship. Let me explain this for better understanding. Most of us are familiar with the sight of people embracing Nandi and telling their wishes to his ears with the belief that it would be passed on to Shiva. I think that the practice has migrated from North India. On the other day, I saw a lady putting a garland of chocolates around the neck of Nandi which was quickly snatched by boys and girls who keep a watch(?) on the footwear left near the entrance. It is also not uncommon to see people writing Rama’s name in small bits of paper, tie them as a garland and offering to Hanuman’s idol. Some others use betel, coconut,”Kondai Kadalai” ,currency notes in garlands and offer to deities. While cow’s milk alone is recommended for “abhishekam”, people offer milk packets which may contain buffalo’s milk, milk powder and other ingredients.
Where are we going? Who will teach people the right things and correct their wrong beliefs? Dilution of rituals and departure from the tradition will ruin the foundation laid and practiced by our ancestors.
It is also argued that there is nothing wrong in diluting the tradition to suit the need of the modern world. All I can say is you cannot ask for short cuts for everything in life. The pseudo worship will be self centered and lead to selfishness. On the contrary we pray for the universe in our traditional worship. Dilution has come to “chocolate garland” and it is an ongoing process which will continue endlessly to suit everyone’s likes.
Will it help if Dos and Don’ts are printed and distributed to devotees? I am afraid very few of them will go through the lengthy list. Reluctance to change is another phenomenon that forbids people to correct the errors. I have seen big boards in major temples with appeals to devotees. Very few onlookers take serious note of it that they know that already and following the same perfectly (!!)
May I appeal to the archakas, temple authorities and scholars who give discourses at temples to focus more in stopping/plugging the breach in the religion? Magazines should concentrate on this by allotting few columns and guide people on the right path. Unfortunately many magazines are commercial and assume they would survive only when they write differently.
When I was in the midst of relatives & friends in a marriage hall recently, an elderly person of about 80 years came to me and requested me to pray for everybody during the puja. I realized the need for it and subsequently appealed to the Lord Parameshwara to depute an acharya who can take the task of putting back the house in order. It happened once when Shiva appeared as Aadi Shankara and reestablished the vedic faith. Now we have to jointly pray Him to save the universe.