Whom do we pray to or worship or pay respects
|Category||Object of worship or veneration or reverence|
||Natural forces like Agni (fire); Varuna (water); Indra (rain). Super beings and objects like huge trees, mountains, powerful animals.|
Great men, heroes, prophets, ancestors
|Mental or abstract
||We are sure all this exists, but can not be described in terms of physical laws. Life force (prana), consciousness in the individual; Mental states like happiness, anger; Satyam (truth), Laxmi (wealth), Saraswathi (Knowledge), Yama (death)|
|Unknown or beyond explanation
||Spirits (ancestors and other natural); soul (atma); creator of the universe (Paramatma); [Prayer: "God if there is one, save my soul if there is any"]|
Myths in Bharath
Until 14 years old, for me, puranic stories, slokas and our beliefs were beyond doubt or questioning. They were my only source of my knowledge. We believed that Hanuman will fight chinese and save Indians during Indo-china war. Indra is pouring water from heaven to get rain. If you fly upwards, you can meet Indra and Gods. Godmen will talk with Siva and Kamakshi during night. Priests can talk to ancestors. I believed that snakes are Gods and we have to give milk to them as part of worship. My friend showed me Encyclopedia to prove snakes can not digest milk. It is a myth. So, my source of knowledge is not perfect. I should check whether information obtained from religious people is true or not.
At school, for names, they will give some meaning. For tamil names, we know what it means like Rajaraja and Kalaivani. For sanskirit names, we just say it is gods/goddess name. We tell the story of the gods/goddess. At times, this showed ignorance. If we understanding meaning, it is easy to talk and discuss. same way if we understand background and reason behind customs, it is helpful to discuss and make it two way communication.
When I was 16, I went to a mutt to serve and pray. After serving for 2 or 3 days, I just realised that they are also just human beings with different skills and abilities. People regard them as divine beings because they do abisheka and other pooja. These activities can not make them divine beings. We consider learned, musicians, magicians, good administrators and spiritual business men as Gods/Godman, with super natural powers. As in Bajagovindam, many godmen just pretend to be Gods to earn livelihood. [ஜடிலோ முண்டீ லுஞ்சிதகேஸா | காஷாயாம்பரபஹுகர்தவேஷா| .
பஸ்யணபி சந பஸ்யதி மூடா| உதரநிமித்தா பஹுகர்தவேஷா| - There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in orange, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood.]
We expect wonders. Buddhist teachings enlightened me. "we are all ruled by Dhamma, powerful divine law or law of nature. Buddha can not bring back life of "Gautami's child". All have to accept, as of now, no one can cheat death. Every one should seek enlightenment or their own Nippana. Guru/Teacher can show you reference material, explain some terms or some belief theories. You have to find your own enlightenment.
We should use our knowledge, logic and reasoning to accept right things and to reject or correct wrong ones. Be different. Be yourself. The only way to get to know this real self is through research and contemplation
- All heavenly bodies are assumed at different distance, based on the appearance. So the order of mandalam is surya, chandra, nakshadra, pudan, sukra... Varahamira/Baskara corrected this. But our texts have not been updated.
- Water is the key element in earth. Some texts are interpreted to mean that all heavenly bodies starting with soma/chandra came from water.
- Many languages have become extinct. So, we miss lot of original scriptures.
- Meanings of words change over time. So, it will be difficult to understand what author wants to say. Vedic sanskirit had no script, only spoken language.
- Ancient tribes include Gandharvas, Devas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas, Valakilyas, Pisachas, Rudras, Adityas, Danavas, Maruts, Nivatakavachas, Daityas, Kalakeyas and Vasus. Sanskirit, called deva basha may be the language of deva tribes.
- Panini codified classical sanskirit. Grantha, Sharda and Siddhaṃ scripts were used. Only from 19th century, devanagari became a popular script.
- Everything recited in sanskirit is sloka or about God. But bulk around 99%, are not at all connected with religion. During ritual, they will tell some thing in sanskirit and ask you to wash your hands. That sloka means "wash your hands" in sanskirit. When TV/radio started sanskirit broadcast, the people started showing dhupam to TV thinking it is religious ritual.
- All religious texts are not originally written in Sanskirit. There are many languages like Pali; Prakrit; Devanagarika; Tamil; Kannada; Telugu; Sauraseni; Magadhi; Maharashtri; Kucheo; Brajbhasa, Bundeli; Awadhi; Marwari; Maithili; Bhojpuri; and Magahi. There are many ancient scripts and originals are in different scripts such as: Brahmiscript; The Kharoṣṭhior Gandhariscript; Siddhaṃ script; Gupta script; Bhujimol script; Kalinga script. Kashmiri had an appropriate and precise script of its own in Sharda used by sankara.
- Patala means beyond seas - not below seas. Krishna crossed the ocean and rescued teacher's son from Ethiopia. This applies to story of Mahabali also.
- Devaloka means north of Bharatha, Himalayas and beyond. Not above.
- Swarka means "swa - raka, same type or category like us". Naraka means opposite "na - raka, , not our type or category". They are not physical locations. One is happy when he is in company of like minded people. Similarly, heaven means sky or other planets/solar systems, home of alien myths. People thought devas/gods came from heaven (sky). Alien myths, that super beingscame from sky or other planets and developed our civilization are widely believed in all cultures . Later people created stories on them. When an airplane that had accidentally landed in a remote Indian coastal village, villagers rushed to garland the plane and pilot as gods came from heaven.
- People believed that life/gene comes from male lineage. Role of female is to nourish and embryo development including gender determination around 4th month. So, gothram, Pithru karma and rituals are based on male lineage.
Later, may be Kapila or some sage would have understood genetic theorey and corrected it and started introdusing mathru gaya and stressed importance of STHIRI VARGAM (MATHA MAHA VARGAM. Because of lack of understanding, texts are still biased.
- Soma is mentioned as existing in all plants and many different types of Soma are indicated, some requiring elaborate preparations. Water itself, particularly that of the Himalayan rivers, is a kind of Soma. In Vedic thought, for every form of Agni or Fire, there is also a form of Soma. In this regard, there are Somas throughout the universe. Agni and Soma are the Vedic equivalents of yin and yang in Chinese thought. Soma is a transformative substance that can be found in many plants. The five great plants, of referred in earlier texts appear to be Soma, darbha, bhanga or marijuana, yava or barley and sahas. The Somas in India were mainly special powerful plants growing in mountain lakes and riverine regions.
- The term 'Aryan' in Indian literature has no racial or linguistic connotations. The brahmins did not write the vedas, the Rshis did, and the brahmins just passed them on from generation to generation. Brahmins (referring to profession or title) are just document keepers or oral librarians. So, they are adised to stay in one place (modern mp3 players). Rshi refers to any person belonging to any caste tribe, race or gender, with knowledge or wisdom.
To conclude, let us pray to almighty as per one's own traditions as per old song below:
பிறவா யாக்கைப் பெரியோன் (Sivan) கோயிலும்
அறுமுகச் செவ்வேள் (Murugan) அணிதிகழ் கோயிலும்
வால்வளை மேனி வாலியோன் (Bala deva) கோயிலும்
மாலை வெண்குடை மன்னவன் (Thirumal and indhiran) கோயிலும்
மாமுது முரல்வன் வாய்மையின் வழாஅ
நான்முறை மரபின் தீமுறை யருபால்.
[இந்திரவிழவூ ரெடுத்த காதை 169- 175 - ilangO atikaL described the festivities to support different local traditions in various temples devoted to deities