Saturday, 9 June 2007

Globalising Religions

I am taking the liberty of assuming that you are well aware of the details of the recent punyaham controversy at Guruvayur temple, following the visit of Vayalar Ravi, his son and family for choroonu ceremony. If not, please go through the following link at rediff for details.

I happened to come across the above news link during one of my browsing sessions and I felt I had to give a reply to it. The next few paragraphs below are extracted from the rediff Message Board (without permission) for your convenience. The message under the title “Change the rules” was posted by me while the subsequent messages were replies to my post, given by various other netizens in rediff. I’ll meet you again, below, after you finish reading this.

Change the rules..
by Sreejith Unnikrishnan on May 20, 2007 06:59 PM |
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Hinduism has rules???
Yes and No..

The rituals and so called rules are a product of a particular time and the people living in that time period. Period.

Most of the rules and rituals we follow today were made by our forefathers. Plenty of water has flowed through the Ganges since then.

Hinduism is a way of living. And ANY religion needs to change and adapt with the changing times for it to survive peacefully without conflicts.

I strongly believe all places of worship in India should be made open to all believers. Each temple/church/mosque can have its own unique rituals. But that should never be to deny a true believer his rendezvous with God.

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RE:Change the rules..
by Sai on May 20, 2007 07:08 PM
We can even open Pubs and allows Mac/KFC to sell Chicken instead of Prasadam ..

There are already people trying to do something similar in Tirupati. Looks like your dreams are coming true.

On serious note, temples & religion are meant to show the path to realise the ultimate. So as a tradition there are some specific rules laid down to discipline the individuals. For ex., the 40 day Deekha for reaching Sabarimalai brought about a transformation in many people. This I am sure would have happened even otherwise if people had observed those rules. If you insist on going to this temple without that "Deekha" aspect you may get some momentary satisfaction but there will be no lasting effect.

So cutting it short, first follow the rules. DO not question everything that is happening around.

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This post has been permanently removed following an abuse alert.

RE:Change the rules..
by Kumar on May 20, 2007 07:20 PM
Sai by your logic India should have remained slave to the British forever! When rules are unfair and bigoted they need to change. This is how humans have evolved out of the cave to the present day society.

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RE:Change the rules..
by Sai on May 20, 2007 07:31 PM
You are right. I did not mean to say that become a zombie and don't question anything. But don't go around putting finger in everyone elses house.
But thinking about it, the British rule itself was probably because some one did not follow the "rules" before?

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RE:RE:Change the rules..
by Girish Nair on May 20, 2007 08:47 PM
Sai, then we should not be crying hoarse when missionaries exploit such practices and start converting people. If he and his family believes in Lord Krishna, why can\'t they worship him. If his family were not believers why would they even conduct the ceremony in Guruvayoor. Looks like we Hindus try to keep others away from our religion, even if they are interested in following it (just because by his birth he/she belonged to a different community0

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RE:RE:Change the rules..
by srinivas swedaranyam on May 20, 2007 07:53 PM
talkabt malayalis being broadminded, a class apart from the rest unique etc. as is propagated by them. They are narrow minded fanatics who cannot think beyond their language and country. It is not gods own country. It is devils own country. A country full of poison. Every malayali is poison. A fanatic to the core, who does not know how to respect others
They are all criminals. so why should we bother abt what these narrow minded dogs think of or do

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RE:Change the rules..
by Sreejith Unnikrishnan on May 20, 2007 09:31 PM
sorry.. but u dont deserve an answer

you have highlighted DO in "DO not question".. i am leaving out tht "not".. questioning and rational thinking.. God gave us that.. to use it is my discretion and to keep it under wraps is your foolishness

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RE:RE:RE:Change the rules..
by rnambiar on May 20, 2007 10:18 PM
Looks like Srinivas is a Typical Chennai Tamil..with full of hatred against Smart Mallu's

Finished reading the messages? Ok, before you start calling me a pseudo-secularist or anti-Hindu, let me remind you what the whole article is about; it’s about the need for ALL religions to change and adapt to the new world.

Just in case you missed the important points in the article, let me re-state it here.

  • The rituals, beliefs and so called rules are products of a particular time and the people living in that time period.
  • All religions need to change and adapt with the changing times for them to survive peacefully without conflicts.
  • All places of worship should be made open to all believers. Each temple/church/mosque can have its own unique rituals/rules. But that should never be to deny a true believer his rendezvous with God.

There is nothing unique or new in the things I have mentioned above. Similar opinions have been voiced before, and still are being. What I would like to point out, is the need for such a change now.

Almost all religions grew up independent of each other. They started among a group of people who shared similar culture and backgrounds. From there, they spread by word or in some cases by the sword. The problem of how to deal with a non-believer or a person from another faith never arose. Times have changed.

Globalization has resulted in people of all “kinds” coming to live in one small region. Today it isn’t taboo for a person to be practicing one religion while still believing in another one. While trying to retain one’s identity and culture, care should be taken to not hide oneself in a cocoon – a cocoon of mistrust and chauvinism. By over-protectionism and trying to hide your God, you are only demeaning His stature. As God himself hasn’t laid out any cut-offs for entry to his abode, why should we? (provided a believer is willing to follow the other rules).

Opening up places of worship for people of other faiths will help in giving a better understanding of our culture and the rich heritage each religion has. This is even more necessary in today’s world where conflicts often stem up from prejudiced beliefs about other religions and a foolish sense of supremacy about ones own faith.

For true-reform to happen, all people need to change and accept willingly. I fear this is near impossible in today’s scenario. History has shown us that when a law is enforced by a competent authority, it will be followed in letter and spirit. I am referring to the Temple Entry Proclamation Act of 1936. That was the time of kings while today we are the rulers. If the Government can bring about another such law for all places of worship, after taking into confidence all concerned parties, I am sure the succeeding generations will enforce it vigorously.

There is nothing more wonderful than living in a society where religion is only for self-guidance and not for filling in admission forms.

I rest my case. Tell me what u feel by posting a comment.

The Last Ink-Drop : The reasons why I included the replies to my post in rediff, here, are two. Firstly, to show how total strangers reacted to my idea. Secondly, to remind you that internet too isn’t free from racial abuse (or any kind of abuse). The message saying, “This post has been permanently removed following an abuse alert”, had some choice expletives. The north-south divide, mallu-tamilian egos, male chauvinists-feminists bickering, fundamentalists-liberalists clash ... aah .. fodder for another article some other day.


cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS said...


Good post....Dont worry, I would not call you a pseudo secularist ;)
but there is one thing i would like to point out....

your asking for change...change takes time...if a person tries make 180 deg turn to a system, it would require drastic measures, esp in a country where there are so many religions and fanatics. I believe you should work from within the system and try to 2-3 deg turns at a time. It would be the path with the least number of causalities. Its true that we have the right to believe what we want but we must remember that we dont have the right to break the faith of a 70 year old person according to which he/she has lived his whole life , cuz ultimately its a matter of faith rather than right and wrong.

I had replied to a similar post in my blog at do take a look if you have time.

sreejith said...

@ cool alien

as u had commented in my blog, i agree that it's small baby steps that we need to take initially.. but that should be only regarding creating initial awareness and discussion. After that when the rule has to be changed it has to be done in one quick stroke.

You urself have written in ur nlog, "Like an majority of the old generation Brahmins would have revolted at the idea of a shudras entering a temple, but now you don’t find that much people revolting, at least not openly. slowly as time progress the 'general opinion' will turn in favor of the other side of the rule and it may be allowed". When Temple Entry Act of 1936 was brought in, the majority of those who had access to temples then were against it.. but nw the situ has changed nd have accepted the law.. so i dont believe in waiting for the majority to turn around, tday

"matter of faith" applies not only to the priveleged (those who have temple access now) but also to the less fortunate.. so nothing wrong in choosing the right path.

cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS said...

Hi There,
Yes the act in 1936 paved way for its acceptance, but can you say that it did not hurt the sentiments of a lot of people.
I dont know you see people who opposed it (or in your words people who had access)....see they are not "bad" people. they are just constrained by the world in which they grew up. In their world "the fact" was that, lower caste people should not enter the temple. From where we are standing this might seem to be an egregious or wicked thing, but it is not for them. They were brought up like that and their faith is liked to that.

And I for one believe that we do not have the right to take away their faith from them. We can create awareness and when our generation comes, it would become "unnatural" thing and get removed but till them its better to wait.

sreejith said...

@ cool alien

Of course it would have hurt many. What I meant was, even if we wait for time to heal and help, there would still be many who are dissatisfied.

Happy to know that you too believe that, ultimately the rule needs to be changed. It's only on the time of execution that we differ
It can be
1) as u said l8r; when the nxt generation takes over. But thing is you wud have denied justice to a small number who neednt be alive even then
2) or it can be done immediately. delivering justice to all but wud certainly be trampling a few people's beliefs
Each has its own merits and demerits. Peace for now :-D

cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS said...

shalom! :)