Festive Season in India
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 5 Dec 2022
Like other countries, India also has some part of the year that we can call the Festive Season. This season is linked with our Hindu Gods and Goddesses — Lord Ram, his wife Sita and Hanuman — the latter God who resembles a monkey not only facially but also in his ability to jump around, climb mountains, etc. for the good of society. We also have many joyful accounts of Lord Krishna who as a child was a naughty boy and played innocent tricks, and when he grew up, taught humanity the wisdom of Bhagwad Gita. Some people put up interesting exhibits demonstrating some features they love about Krishna.
Durga is a well known goddess who rides a ferocious looking lion and slays demons and wicked people. Another well known goddess is Parvati who is a symbol of power, purity and joy. A third one is Saraswati who is believed to be an incarnation of knowledge.
Brahma is a God who is said to have created the world as we know it; its maintenance is the responsibility of God Vishnu and its end likely be carried out by Lord Shiva.
Another familiar God is Ganesh who is the son of Shiva and has the face of an elephant. It is believed that he comes to visit his disciples every year and after staying for a few weeks, he is taken out and immersed in a neighbouring river or pool.
Not only Ganesh, but the goddess Durga, comes to India for a brief period (ten days). People pray to her and then her image is immersed in a river or a nearby pond. The immersion is locally named as visarjan.
After having prayed to Durga and distributed some gifts to people at large, these people show their raw, robust energies while they take the idols for visarjan. They beat drums, sing loudly in the trucks/tempos carrying the Durga idols and make their presence felt in no uncertain terms. Many ordinary people watching them also occasionally join them in singing. What a pleasure to witness.
There are several other religious beliefs in India — Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikh and other smaller faiths. They have their separate periods in the year where believers carry out special practices to demonstrate their faith. Of course like the western countries, Christianity in India is celebrated on its special days–Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter–in the memory of Lord Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion — on Easter.
Other prominent religions in India — Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism also have special events to propagate these faiths. Jainism is a very ancient religion — more than 2500 years old and believes in total nonviolence. As such, a section of Jains put a mask around their mouths so that even inadvertently they do not allow micro organisms to enter their mouths and get killed. Another peculiarity of a section of Jainism is that a section of men don’t wear any clothes and walk naked even on the streets. How amazing.
India is a country that demonstrates religious and cultural unity within its diversity. Come to India and see for yourself.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. email@example.com
Tags: Bhagavad-gita, India, Krishna, Religion, Spirituality
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Dec 2022.
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