Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Bhoota daya

Hinduism – 8

Hinduism appears to give more importance to rituals, traditions and customs. There are so many festivals throughout the year. There are celebrations in homes as well as temples. Apart from these, in events like birth, marriage, death specific rituals are performed with suitable mantras.  Every one of these is practically useful to us. Let us examine a few.

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The birthday of Rama is celebrated as Sri Rama Navami festival. It occurs in the month of April when we start feeling the severity of summer. We offer ‘Panakam’, a drink made of jaggery and pepper, to the deity and take it back as his gift to us. It is obvious that it quenches our thirst and protects our health from Sunstroke and other seasonal diseases. But unfortunately this practice which should continue during the peak summer season is confined to a day or nine days as we forgot the real significance behind this and are following it only as a ritual connected with religion.

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At the end of celebration of marriage there is a custom, a playful competition for the bride and the bridegroom. A gold ring is put in a vessel with milk and the two are asked to find it. They take a few minutes to find the ring in that reasonably small vessel though the onlookers encourage them to find it first. But the couple takes time to feel the thrill of touching each other’s fingers for the first time. Such acts help in familiarizing and building an association between the two, hither to strangers.

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In schools children are made to memorize the saying “Be kind to Bhootas”. The Hindu concept “Bhoota Daya” is a unique one. ‘Bhoota’ means ‘Prana’ (life) and ‘Daya’ is kindness. It appears to mean we should not kill but love fellow human beings and animals. But the word ‘Bhoota’ also refers to five elements: earth, air, water, fire and space. That is to say Hindus consider the five elements as living beings like us. If only we realized the meaning of this ancient concept there would not have been any pollution of the five elements in the world. It is a tragedy that we never cared to understand the words of sages in their true spirit.

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Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.


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