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Friday, December 31, 2010

About pilgrimage

When December starts every year, some how people irrespective of religion starts some spiritual exercises. This may be because of the Christians who often start Christmas celebrations from the start of December and continue with their choir through out the month with the Santa Claus moving with them to the home of every member of the particular church.

By December Muslims would have completed their Ramzan fast and would have amply expressed their spirituality. Now it is the time for Hindus. The 45 days sanctity is to be adhered for all these purification exercises because it is believed that all the cells in our body will be replaced by new cells within 45 days.

So some one instituted the Ayyappa Temple based on some stories in epics that Ayyappa is common to both Vaishnava and Saiva cults of Hinduism. Saivaits have their own vradha in January and go on pilgrimages to Lord Muruga’s Temple.

The preparations involves rigorous exercises like getting up early in the morning and taking bath twice daily and abstaining from physical contact with woman and taking only vegetarian food.

No doubt the food we eat plays a major role in attitudes and temperament and this should have been experimented long long ago and well documented in Bhagavat Gita.

This is the physical preparation. The mental preparation is to perform Puja and Bajans singing songs of the God for whom the Vradha is undertaken. There is peculiar dress code to signal that a particular person is undertaking the vradha so as to get protected from others from offering some thing which is not in accordance with the life style followed by the devotee.

Apparently every thing looks perfectly alright since every individual has the freedom to live as he likes and develop his own faith. No doubt the vradha undertaken will purify the body if done correctly for 45 days.

What is being done is an awful manipulation. The whole exercise has been subsidised and the main focus has shifted to the tour to the Temples. This tour in case of Ayyappa pilgrimage is undertaken along with other men and women are excluded. Where as the tour to Muruga temple is undertaken by walking to the temple. The walking takes 3 to 4 days and people walk about 120 to 160 Kms.

The climax of these tours is the most thrilling one. Whether it is Ayyappan Temple or Muruga temple there will be lakhs and lakhs of people. The ultimate goal is to have a Dharshan( a respectful look) of the Idol in the Temple.

The important aspect of the exercise is the vradha. This is subsidised but in spite of the huge crowds the Dharshan is not to be omitted. The spiritual leaders thus ensure a steady increase in the crowd to the temple. By this way all devotees are under their control. If some body attempts some thing very convenient like skipping the visit to the temple, the whole spiritual fraternity will repeatedly caution the devotee that some thing wrong will happen because the God will punish. The individual devotee is thus caught to at least undertake the tour thrice.

The poojas create a slumber in the mind. This is mistaken for peace of mind. The mind becomes dull and unintelligent. The whole exercise will make one timid fearing God and fate. The belief on miracle keeps increasing. The self confidence is lost and always the individuals offer some offerings to God in return if their prayers are full filled. The offerings could be by way of material or by way of so many subsequent visits.

If one takes a rational look at it, the offerings referred to as ‘commitment to the God’ are very well orchestrated to increase the importance and revenue of the temples. Belief is built that miracles happen and people recite many stories to reinforce the belief. This goes like a network marketing and probably leaders in network marketing may have to copy cat some of the strong mechanism that is at work.

If some one is in despair and agony, he will be drawn easily by the stories about miracles and will be trapped in the band wagon of the devotees. Some times the initiation of the process is done by the astrologers and other futurists. Once a person falls into the groove of this kind of pilgrimage and develop faith in astrology, palmistry etc. he is going to be a victim for the whole of his life suffering greatly and achieving far little things.

The danger is, his followers and generations may have only two choices, either to accept his faith or to go away from him at times when he is in vradha.

Faith on God should not affect relationship. True God faith should make one understand what love is. An enlightened person is the one who is aware of himself and the dimensions of God. He can realise God in himself.

Aham Brahmaasmi

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