Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Are we just beggars?

Its been quite long that we posted anything... but well, we are back now right in time for Deepavali (the festival of lights).

In Singapore, and I am sure in many other places around the world, we can see people thronging the temples. There is a street in Singapore called Little India which literally becomes India during this time of the year. Most Indian temples are located in this area and we can see they become more crowded during this period of time.

This reminds me of something else in relation to temple visits. During my pre-university board exams, I along with my group of friends used to go a temple... only during the exam time :) I have seen people putting their engineering entrance exam admit cards at the feet of the Ganapati before going for exam. There are various other things people do - going to temple early in the morning on the day of the exam, putting the newspaper (containing the exam results) at the feet of god before opening it, etc. etc. etc.

What is the point of all this? We go to a temple out of sheer greed and fear. Whether we accept it or not, this is a fact. Out of those 10 emotions that come to our mind when we go to a temple, atleast 9 if not 10 are of fear and greed; that last one may be one of real devotion.

We have completely brainwashed and conditioned by all kinds of sources - parents, relatives, friends and ofcourse our dear society, that when we should go to a temple because that is good. Its a common sight to see a father or mother or grandparents telling young kids, 'ask Ganapati to help you get good rank in class.'

These are the two emotions that we grow up with right from when we were a kid and we associate god also with these emotions. We want something, so we go to god; we are scared that something may happen, so we go to god.

There are millions of people who donate large sums of money, clothes for gods, tube lights of temples etc. Most people believe by donating to a temple, they are getting rid of their karma, their sins, their guilts etc. In Tirupati, we can see millions of people everyday tonsuring their head, putting gold in the hundi (Tirupati god's piggy bank) and donating various things. Whats the point when the same person after the darshan allows the same emotions to engulf him again. The same greed, the same ego, the same jealousy, the same worry, everything is back to the same. People then come up with their annual trips to Tirupati. Every year they go and believe that they shed all their guilts etc. and then become eligible to accumulate more... Ridiculous isn't it??

Swami Nithyananda says, 'when someone donates money to My temples or ashrams, they think that I am going to give them a special pass to heaven. Be very clear, if you are thinking that, you are already in hell.'

A temple is a sacred place and like I said before, it is an energy hub that is meant to relieve us from our strong base emotions like greed, fear and guilt. But we do not allow it to do that because we do not understand the energy behind the idol in the temple. We see it as a boon giver and we beg and in the process we bring down that energy also to our level, a beggar.

If you think about it, there is no difference at all between us who go to the idol and beg in the temple, and the beggar sitting outside the temple and begging to us. Literally speaking, both are beggars.


Ma Nithya AtmaShree said...

yes..totally agree with u sri arpana. Fear and greed are the motivators for most of us, until the awareness dawns on. Gratitude is the greatest prayer and 'thank you' the greatest mantra. We have been born out of Mooladhara chakra (greed locks this energy center) and die in the Swadishtana chakra (fear locks this center). Once we begin to raise ourselves to the higher energy unfolds itself beautifully, as unseen before :)

ramya said...

I agree with you completely.....I think it is absolutely vile and nonsensical that parents, in imparting religious instruction, teach their children to be 'God fearing' and to do good deeds and be charitable etc in order to accumulate 'good karma' and thereby win the favour of God. Philanthropy should be motivated not by a fear of God or a need to please Him, but because of a natural, innate desire. In fact I do not believe in this concept of Karma at all .... esp. when people claim that Karma gets carried on across several life times!!! In my opinion, if say 2 people, live crime free lives, are law abiding, but one person has dedicated his life to charity, helping the poor etc, and the other has done no 'generous' deeds at all in his life, I still think that in the ultimate analysis, these 2 individuals 'score' a human being, I feel I am not obliged to be charitable and is a totally different matter if I do a lot of charity because it makes me feel better about myself - this however does not make me a better person. All living beings I feel are fundamentally selfish - it is impossible to be otherwise. Whatever we do - charitabl or not - is done with a (sub)conscious belief that it will afford us some gratification/happiness - whether we are right or wrong about this is a different issue.

Sri Nithya Arpanananda said...

Hi Ramya

In your comment, this caught my attention - "In fact I do not believe in this concept of Karma at all .... esp. when people claim that Karma gets carried on across several life times!!!"

Karma has been interpreted/misinterpreted in many ways :) Swami Nithyananda gives a very different meaning to this whole theory of karma, we as lay persons can easily understand. This topic has been there in our mind for quite sometime. We will dedicate one full post on this soon :)

Sri Arpanananda said...

Ramya said: "In fact I do not believe in this concept of Karma at all .... esp. when people claim that Karma gets carried on across several life times!!!"

Whether you believe in Karma or not, it doesn't matter. When you do some action, which expands you, making you blissful, consider that you are getting closer to "heaven", and when you do some action which makes you isolated, sad, (all those negative emotions can come here), then you are getting closer to "hell". Getting closer to "heaven" implies, being closer to your true self, and "hell" would be in the opposite direction.

Now, question, why some actions make you expand in bliss, while others don't? Question, why should generosity make you feel blissfully light, while in jealousy you feel heavy? Why! Has it anything to do with we aren't isolated islands as we think we are?

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