Thursday, May 3, 2012
The beliefs that drive people( For those who are interested in “Why')
April 24,2012 was celebrated as Akshaya Thrithiyai a festival recently rediscovered to buy gold. It all started five years ago when a smart jeweler in our town caught hold of a so called Prohit to sow a belief that will boost his sales. A Prohit is a person who projects himself to have great knowledge of Hindu rituals and dresses him self in distinctly peculiar ways, fore head shaved and the hair left to grow long on the back is tied in a knot. They wear some religious marks on the temple either three horizontal bands of holy ash or a white U or Y mark having a red line in the middle.
Just as one does not question an automobile mechanic, people in India do not question these Prohits also. It is understood that there are some Veda Schools that teach the authentic techniques for the popular rituals and the Vedic rhymes that are to be chanted as mantras during the rituals. But most of these Prohits do not study there. They gain the knowledge of these mantras from some senior Prohit. The sad part is that many do not know the meaning of either the rituals or the mantras. However, Indians reverently believe what ever they say. This blind faith on these people has been exploited in rediscovering Akshya Thrithiyai.
Few years before one such Prohit was made to appear on a TV ad to say that Akshaya Thrithiyai is a day meant for buying gold. If we buy gold on this day, it was told by this Prohit, that fortune will follow through out the year. People in India have great faith on good time. The rest of the world may even be amazed to know that in each day there are periods called Rahu Kalam, Emakandam during which they do not start any action. There are special days and times marked for marriages. Out of 366 days in 2012 only 52 days are suitable for marriages. On every day 1 ½ hours of Rahukalam and 1 ½ hours of Emakandam are deemed to be bad times. I have asked several Prohits why is it so. They simply say that it is tradition and one should not take risk by starting any activity during this period because it will result in failure.
Truly, I have tested the validity of this belief and my conclusion is that nothing happens differently whether you follow this or not. Since it is belief carried over generations to generations, every one in India, born as Hindu are forced to accept these beliefs.
Since a belief has been successfully planted in the minds of the people making use of the religion, these days we see heavy rush to buy gold on this day. There are special offers and one can physically pay money in advance and reserve his or her piece of ornament and take delivery on the auspicious day. The result is more and more gold is accumulated in the house holds of India and gold will be maintained to gain value. The demand is going to increase rapidly. So the wise thing is to buy gold and yes, obviously you become richer.
A tradition starts with a belief. When more number of people start believing, the expected outcome is seen to occur. The belief becomes stronger and the philosophy is that we can never question a belief.
The driving force of marketing is belief. The beliefs can have some kind of scientific justifications or they can be based on occult subjects like astrology, numerology or mythology. With every belief things can be marketed. The truth is far beyond the beliefs but our life is based on beliefs and not on truth. When a belief is planted using mass media, a trend is set. The so called rational thinkers cannot refrain from following such beliefs without loosing heavily in cash and in terms of relationship.
I had wasted great amount of time talking about baseless nature of beliefs. It only earned me sarcastic reactions from others. If I have had this little wisdom about beliefs, I would have saved more time ,would have made more money and also be commanding more respect not only for money but also for the reason I share the sentiments of others with equal zest.
I fondly remember my translated blog post “ The perpetual search” in my blog that also explains about nature of beliefs.
Further reading if you know Tamil.(Thanks to popular writer Mr. Vai. Gopalakrishnan.)