Bribery and rituals
#1
In my part of the woods (Andhra Pradesh), there is a very very important ritual called Satyanarayana vratam. It has a story associated with it. The story talks about a few instances where someone performed the vratam and gained wealth. It also mentions a poor sod who didn't acknowledge the power of the vratam and was swiftly punished:

Quote:Maharishi Sootha continued: "Once there was a king called Thungadhwaja who underwent a lot of misery after refusing the Satyanarayana prasad." One day, after hunting, he was resting under a shady tree. Some cowherds were happily performing Satyanarayana puja nearby. The King, in his vanity, refused the prasad they offered. When he reached his palace, he found that his kingdom, his 100 sons, his wealth and everything was destroyed. Then it occurred to him that Lord Satyanarayana was probably angry with him. He went back to the cowherds, prostrated himself before Lord Satyanarayana and performed the puja with great devotion. Lord Satyanarayana showered His blessings and the King regained everything he had lost earlier. He lived happily and reached Vaikuntha after death.

Reading it reminded me of the bribery culture that pervades India and how rituals reek of it. It is not sufficient if you mind your own business and live a moral life. You also need to appease the right entities to live a trouble free life.
Reply
#2
Wait, the king lost his 100 sons because he didn't eat prasad, and then gained them back because he went back and prostrated himself before an idol?
Laugh
I realize that Indians love anecdotes, not realizing how little they have to do with the truth, but how the heck is such BS able to pass for a true story?

But yeah, I see how such ideas are tied to our culture of bribery. In fact, the entire Indian system of Brahmanical thought, the caste levels, the authoritarian hierarchy, everything about the cultural mindset of the people of India provides a strong foundation for this culture of bribery. Only if you "take care" of the gatekeeper on one level can you get to the next, where there is another gatekeeper to "take care" of, and so on... all the way to the top.

Edit: And the bribery is indeed ritualized. Can this understanding be useful in breaking the culture of bribery? I don't know. It is too much a part of how things are done. The rituals surrounding bribery might just be a bit too comforting to people for any real change to happen, unless our entire society goes through a rude shock. People need Nirmukta Wink
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Reply
#3
(13-May-2010, 12:17 PM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: I realize that Indians love anecdotes, not realizing how little they have to do with the truth, but how the heck is such BS able to pass for a true story?

I think it has to do with desensitization. These kind of stories are taught to kids from a very early age. Things you learn as a kid are very hard to undo later on.
Reply
#4
Quote:
Quote:I realize that Indians love anecdotes, not realizing how little they have to do with the truth, but how the heck is such BS able to pass for a true story?

I think it has to do with desensitization. These kind of stories are taught to kids from a very early age. Things you learn as a kid are very hard to undo later on.

I think it also has to do with the fact that most of the time, these are chanted in Sanskrit which very few understand and anything chanted in Sanskrit is generally accepted without question.

A person who knows some Sanskrit will be able to point out the mispronunciations and mistakes in the chants by the typical priest down the street. People do not generally question the priest because
a) they do not understand
b) they do not dare to question the "holy" man
c) they just do not care

.
Reply
#5
There is also the tradition of making religious pledges. Some examples are:
a) If I pass the exam, I shall break a coconut in xxx temple
b) If my daughter gets married, I shall donate xxx amount of money in yyy temple
c) If I get the promotion, I shall donate my weight in bananas in zzz temple
d) If I am able to clear my debts, I shall shave my head

Very few turn to religion to
i) find peace of mind
ii) to understand the inner meaning of life
iii) to get liberation
etc, etc.


Popular religion is nothing but a trade / business deal going on with an imaginary business partner. Most of them turn to religion / God to strike a business deal! "You get me 90% marks in Maths and I shall donate Rs. 90/- in your temple", and so on.

I read somewhere that day trading in the stock markets is primarily driven by greed and fear. I think the majority of those who turn to religion are also driven by greed and fear. Greed for more and more, desire for what one does not deserve and what is not achievable drives one to take such religious pledges. Likewise, fear of the unknown, fear of losing what one possesses or is possessive about also drives one to plead for divine protection.


.

.
Reply
#6
This ritualized bribe system of the castes is indeed revolting and unhealthy for the creation of a "moral" society. I have asked couple of people who go to Tirupati what was their idea of god. I didn't get any response.

In my society fear is not associated with gods. It is identified to ghosts/spirits and serpent (Naga). Gods are associated with greed.
Reply
#7
(21-May-2010, 10:52 AM)Krishna Wrote: I think it also has to do with the fact that most of the time, these are chanted in Sanskrit which very few understand and anything chanted in Sanskrit is generally accepted without question.

That is so true. There is an English saying - Anything said in Latin sounds profound. This could be a corollary: Anything said in Sankrit sounds mystical.

Quote:Popular religion is nothing but a trade / business deal going on with an imaginary business partner. Most of them turn to religion / God to strike a business deal! "You get me 90% marks in Maths and I shall donate Rs. 90/- in your temple", and so on.

I read somewhere that day trading in the stock markets is primarily driven by greed and fear. I think the majority of those who turn to religion are also driven by greed and fear. Greed for more and more, desire for what one does not deserve and what is not achievable drives one to take such religious pledges. Likewise, fear of the unknown, fear of losing what one possesses or is possessive about also drives one to plead for divine protection.

It has been my general observation that people who are into careers which involve a lot of uncertainty (business, agriculture) tend to be more religious. It would be interesting if a study could be done on this.
Reply
#8
(21-May-2010, 11:56 AM)manju Wrote: This ritualized bribe system of the castes is indeed revolting and unhealthy for the creation of a "moral" society. I have asked couple of people who go to Tirupati what was their idea of god. I didn't get any response.

Tirupathi, the holiest of Hindu places exemplifies the culture of bribery. The more you pay, the closer you can get to god and the longer you can spend time with him. Even when I was a Hindu and a believer, that place used to disgust me.
Reply
#9
(12-May-2010, 01:30 AM)Lije Wrote: Reading it reminded me of the bribery culture that pervades India and how rituals reek of it. It is not sufficient if you mind your own business and live a moral life. You also need to appease the right entities to live a trouble free life.

Your understanding of Hinduism seems really superficial.
The Vedas are divided into two sections: karma-kanda and jnana-kanda.
Karma-kanda consists of the various rituals, and jnana-kanda consists of the philosophy (Vedanta).

In the Bhagavad-Gita, it is stated that performing the various rituals can only provide temporary benefits. They cannot help you achieve atma-jnana (self-realization), which is what ends up releasing you from the cycle of birth and death.
Reply
#10
Sorry for the double post.

Anyway, there's a reason why Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta became so popular back in the day. It wasn't through spreading meaningless rituals, like the Purva Mimamsa school did-- it was through the sheer brilliance of his philosophical polemic.
Reply
#11
(15-Jul-2010, 06:01 AM)TTCUSM Wrote:
(12-May-2010, 01:30 AM)Lije Wrote: Reading it reminded me of the bribery culture that pervades India and how rituals reek of it. It is not sufficient if you mind your own business and live a moral life. You also need to appease the right entities to live a trouble free life.

Your understanding of Hinduism seems really superficial.
The Vedas are divided into two sections: karma-kanda and jnana-kanda.
Karma-kanda consists of the various rituals, and jnana-kanda consists of the philosophy (Vedanta).

In the Bhagavad-Gita, it is stated that performing the various rituals can only provide temporary benefits. They cannot help you achieve atma-jnana (self-realization), which is what ends up releasing you from the cycle of birth and death.

Can you please explain what are those temporary benefits from performing rituals and the evidence for these benefits? And can you also give us some evidence on this alleged cycle of birth and death?
Reply
#12
(15-Jul-2010, 06:18 AM)TTCUSM Wrote: Anyway, there's a reason why Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta became so popular back in the day. It wasn't through spreading meaningless rituals, like the Purva Mimamsa school did-- it was through the sheer brilliance of his philosophical polemic.

http://nirmukta.com/2010/03/25/hindu-rev...-ignorant/
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Food wastage in Hindu rituals Prahalad 9 10,130 11-Jul-2012, 06:58 AM
Last Post: Prahalad



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)