By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 11-03-2015
I do not why, but this situation happens with me on the occasion of most festivals. This time it was the festival of Holi. Like many other people in our region, family members go to the place where lot of woods are placed to be lit in a particular mahurat of ‘Holika Dahan’. Our family has an additional tradition of visiting this place twice on the same day. Once in the morning to make some special offerings as a part of ‘Thandi Pooja’ or ‘Cold form Worship’ in front of wooden logs, that are just placed as a heap, and then in the evening when the heap is burned. This time we could not go in the morning, as my wife was not well. We went to the place of ‘Holika Dahan’ in the evening only, to perform both the parts of worship together. Somewhere, deep inside my mind the guilt of breaking a long established family tradition kept rolling. I kept telling to me, that it is ok, the situation is due to a genuine reason, but my other part kept pressing me to think otherwise.
I become this kind of split personality especially on the festivals. I start carrying the guilt that if I miss a ritual, God will punish me. I also have another part of me, which has been recently developed, that is a complete atheist. This part tells me to stop all this nonsense and be a sensible person and tells me to stop dramatizing things like this. Don’t know if it is the habit of repeating same things for years that brings this kind of internal conflict or these traditions do have some meaning.
I think that many of you may have experienced this kind of conflict, especially while following the religious customs. Sometimes you convince yourself, by saying that it is a matter of personal beliefs and individual feelings. Some other times, some attempts are made by some people to explain the rituals giving some strange type of logic. Anyway, the point I want to make is, if we are ready to debate the strange rituals. In the name of symbolism of remembering an ancient story, we keep doing things year after year that may not be relevant now. Burning huge amount of crucial resource of wood on the day of ‘Holi’ is beyond any explanation in current days. Similar things we do on other festivals also. In my opinion the best way of enjoying a festival is to share resources between different classes of people rather than wasting them. Today, I complete my ‘Holi’ celebrations, by sharing these feelings with you. Let us expand the word ‘HOLI’ as (H)appiness (O)f (LI)fe.
About The Author
Dr. Dwaraka Nath, who took his doctorate from Mangalore University in 2007 is a qualified healer in Naturopathy and Yogic sciences. The insatiable fire within, to exploit the good old Indian preventive health care strategies to its full, ended up in Mitran Foundation, dedicated to humanity.