ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS?- Udai Pai
My friend in the West recently saw a photograph related to my daughter's engagement ceremony and told me: "It is very funny to see a person like you perform ancient tribal rituals...Your religion is plagued by enormous superstitions, wrong customs, bad and ugly rituals, ceremonial impurity and immoral traditions...It is high time that your religion is modernized and move according to time like the Semitic religions in the West...”.
"I have two questions
(1) Can you show me a single superstition in the original Sanatan dharma scriptures?
(2) Can you show me a single scientific truth in any of your religions? “I asked.
He sent me a smiley of "lol" and rolls out and laughs!
"Seriously," I said, "I want to learn...As far as I know there is not even single superstition in any of our scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, Dharma śāstra, Shrauta Sutra, Brahma Sutra, 40 Gitas (including Bhagavad Gita), Yoga Vasistha etc..."
"Oh, come on, everybody knows India is a land of superstitions and foolish beliefs...And how will people know about your scriptures? Non-Brahmins were not even allowed to learn Vedas, right?"
"You are a non-Hindu: even you can learn Vedas. Vedas are freely available for download on the Net. The scriptures said, “Brahmajnanana Eva Brahmana" means only if you learn Vedas you will become Brahmin. It is been mis-interpreted as "Only Brahmin should learn Veda"...Please don't go by postings on the Net or talk by fanatics from other religions or leftists. Seek truth and read it for yourself..."
"Really? You mean to say all your customs, rituals and beliefs are truth?"
"I didn't say that...There are Anacharas (irreverent, obsolete, outdated rituals, not useful in this century, but it might have been useful in olden times) and Duracharas (negative rituals like black magic, killing animals etc) that crept in Sanatan Dharma at a later stage...A person with common sense can remove those rituals and focus only on Sadhacharas..."
"What do you mean by Sadhacharas...?”
"Sanatan Dharma advocates rituals, customs traditions and belief that have any of or all of eight benefits..."
"Yes, all out rituals are either or any or all these results: Psychological effect, physiological affect, physical benefits, spiritual family bondage, social bondage and national integration, environmental protection, sustainable healthy living....But all rituals that you people follow is ONLY to get link with god or to reserve a seat in the heaven nearer to god."I said.
"Let's don't compare..."he got angry, then he said: "I am curious to know, your acharas are not to link up with god or heaven?"
"Nowhere it is said that you will reach god if you follow acharas...It says, you will live like you are in heaven...Dharma sastra tells that acharas are for a long happy and healthy life and for sustainable and permanent positive results. By practicing those rituals you become happy, prosperous and wealthy (not in material terms). Those acharas will take you from darkness to light. It develops a sattvik character in you. It also says that you should eradicate anacharas and duracharas by logical, scientific and rational analysis..."
"And, what are those good acharas?"
"Have you heard about Pranayama (breathing exercise), Yogasana (or Yoga), Surya Namaskar (Salutation to sun) etc..."
"I know...all have excellent proven benefits...I asked my children to follow those"
"But you have just said we follow superstitions and thousands of years of tribal rituals...."I laughed.
"There could be other bad rituals..."
"Yes, we have lighting lamps, chanting mantra, singing bhajans, reading Gita, satsang, seeking blessings from elders by touching their feet, offering sweets to everybody after offering it to the deity...Do you think these are superstitious bad things. You please try to attend a function to learn any of those eight-some benefits..."
"Interesting...What are other acharas?"
"Going for pilgrimage all over India - the followers of Sanatan Dharma consider the land of "Bharat" as mother. They were patriots (in non-violent terms) hence national integration was their major agenda...The invaders consider India just as a piece of commercial real estate...Our ancestors believed that rivers like Ganges are god - now environmental protectionists groups can better explain to you the logic behind my ancestors worshipping rivers, mountains and trees..."
"I know all those things...the people elsewhere think that these resources are meant for exploitation. I agree with you."
"Then we have festivals to concrete the social bondages - like Diwali, Vinayak Chathurthi, Holi, Onam, Dussera, Durgashtami, Navaratri etc..."
"But, what about those people doing poojas and homas..."
"Hmmm...Even those homas and rituals have strong foundations. Take for instance, Ganapathy homam...Here we burn coconuts...The fibrous part of the husk (coir) produces moderate sulfur oxides (Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfur trioxide (SO3)), the coconut Shell, when burned produce phenol and when you burn coconut with ghee, it produces pyrazine (a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound)...Please ask any school students, they will teach you how these can prevent virus, bacteria and germs that create chloera , typhoid, teatnus, neumonia, chicken pox etc..It is Antimicrobial. Please talk to any scientists about havens (homa). They will explain those things better. I am not talking about its spiritual and psychological benefits"
"But your people propagate superstitions like astrology and horoscope matching..."
"Our teacher, Swami Vivekananda said: "Anything of western origin- verify it and then accept it. Anything of Indian origin- accept it and verify it if necessary." The signs of the Zodiac are of Babylonian origin. Astrology was originated in Egypt. Hora means hour and Horoscope examining time/hour or fate. Indian Astrology is a modification of Egyptian system. Astrology doesn't have Indian origin. The cosmic science Astronomy has Indian origin. Vivekananda further said: “Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food, and rest." Nutty people may blindly follow astrology..."
"Hmm...So all scriptures in Sanatan Dharma teach you for an inclusive, sustainable and eco-friendly way living..."
"I can't say "all" scriptures...take for instance, Bhavishya Purana, which is been manipulated by Vamana Shastri who was actually the brother in law of Akbar, the Moghal King. Sometimes names are misleading about their true religion. So, there could be false elements that added in some scriptures by die-hard fans of invaders, Chinese and Russian communist and British-Church..."
"Hmmm....you made your points. The Semitic concepts are not scientific. And the basic principles of Sanatan Dharma are truly scientific and far advanced...But what about ground reality? The man on the street is just superstitious and idiotic..."
"You have answer in that question. He/she who follows superstitious ritual is an idiot. Nobody can correct idiots. We can tell people to follow only Sadhacharas. If they don't listen to truth, what can we do? Can it be blamed on our Dharma or Shastra? We cannot kill or die for religion. Ours is an inclusive Dharma."