Saturday, April 04, 2009

Celebrating Ram Navami.

Ram Navami was celebrated all over India and to my mind it appears that a kind of competitiveness has taken over and genuine devotion has taken a back seat. No, please don't misunderstand me. I don't question the spirit behind the celebration of festivals. But I do not understand why there have to be 5 pandals, each blaring a different devotional song, in a two kilometer stretch that I cover as part of my morning walk? Two such sites were on opposite sides of a busy intersection and honking motorcycles and cars raised the noise levels and pedestrians continued to cross the road oblivious to commuters on motorized vehicles. What is the purpose being served I wonder? Long ago as a school girl I read somewhere that festivals are actually social events and a poor man's method of enjoying the day. He forgets his woes and takes his children out, buys them an article or two as per his affordability and the family roams around enjoying the music that invariably accompanies such gatherings. This made sense if the participants were farm labourers who toiled hard all through the year and a whole village got together to relax and celebrate the day in a single temple. So much the better if the poorer sections of society were treated to good food in the form of a wholesome meal cooked in hygenic conditions. May be I am getting old and cynical but I find something missing in the way pujas are organized these days. It looks as if there is a pressing need to prove a point.

Lord Ram was a devoted son who spent 14 years in the forest to honour his father's commitment to his step mother. To my old fashioned mind it appears as if the best and only way to express one's devotion to Lord Ram whether as a deity or a noble King would be show concern for the elders in our family and others in our neighborhood. We have old people leading lonely lives with children having flown the nest. Why not spend an evening with them listening to soft music and relishing some wholesome, healthy food and generally making them feel useful and wanted? Why can't brothers live like Ram and Lakshman instead of fighting over who would look after their parents and for how long?

I often say that if a son or daughter is strong enough to say that these are my parents and I am going to provide them a peaceful life in their old age, their spouse and children would soon soon follow. They may not be happy doing it initially but will ultimately get used to it. Very often people disagree with me and say that several parents are dominating and demanding. The onus of explaining the situation to parents also falls on the son/daughter. Rare is the parent who does not understand the son/daughter's plight.

So while wishing all of you a 'Happy Ram Navami' though belated, let me pledge that I would celebrate the day serving/attending to those in need, preferably senior citizens so that their children working in distant places may lead their lives in peace.

My own mother was born on Janmashtami and passed away on Ram Navami day. She was on dialysis toward the end of her life. I was able to pay my respect to her memory on Ram Navami by spending sometime with a friend who is also on dialysis following kidney failure. I pray for her speedy recovery for her own sake and for the sake of the wonderful children that God has blessed her with.

16 comments:

ugich konitari said...

HHG,

Wonderful to see you back on the blog, and thanks so much for posting something that I feel so strongly about. I shudder everytime a festival approaches. If its not the blaring audio, its the so called compulsory voluntary donations they collect (with no accounting). As you say, the entire meaning of festivals has gone for a toss.

rm said...

gald to see u back.

shubhi said...

it is real spirit of ramanavami

preetischronicle said...

I totally agree, the spirit has gone out of our celebrations.

shark said...

what a noble thought! yes thats the true spirit of ramanavami. I wish every son or daughter sees the world with the same eyes.
Even if living together is not feasible for whatever reason, atleast spending some quality time with then once in a while can go a long way. I see too many old people around me craving for some love and care... **sigh**

Sumana said...

Your posts, needless to say are thought provoking and very true to point. I was not doing too good that day and spent time with my parents and gave me immense satisfaction.

vishesh said...

yup,that is the problem,the Gods are meant for showcasing....

Hip Grandma said...

ugich:would you believe if I tell you that I thought of you while I attended my grandson's b'day in Powai.I did but did not know how to contact you.As for the spirit of Ram navami, I knew you would second me.

rm:i was never away.

shubhi:The only real way to celebrate any festival is to respect the sentiments of all concerned.Collecting donations and squandering public money in the name of God serves no real purpose.It can be put to better use by feeding the poor.

preetischronicle:with the Hindutva politics taking charge things have gone from bad to worse.Hinduism is about flexibility and accomodativeness.But who is to drive this point into these nutheads?

shark:I have some elderly acquaintances whose children treat them like unwanted junk shunting them around and generally making them miserable.When I see these very people pray for the well being of their children I wonder why they don't realize that their parents also pray for their well being in a similar manner.why does a DIL think that her husband's affection for his paents is inferior to her own feelings for her own parents?No answers available.sorry.

sumana:please be there for your parents and in laws whenever possible.They're going to love you for it.

vishesh:i am counting on your generation to change all that and provide leadership of a high calibre.

Mampi said...

very noble and relevant thougths, HHG. No you are not turning old or cynical. The attitudes are changing. Ram belongs not only to one religion or community, he belongs to all-but look at the monopoly that a single political party has been trying to lay to his name.

Hip Grandma said...

mampi:the political party that claims to own Ram sounds hollow and stupid when they talk of Ram and Ram raj.

Artnavy said...

pl take up the tag

Priyanka said...

I am totally with you on this. We should be looking for better ways to celebrate our festivals. The decibels rise to deafening levels even during Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri etc. disturbing the peace and quiet of people around.

Hip Grandma said...

artnavy:will do it soon.

priyanka:This kind of celebration does not make sense in cities where so many other forms of entertainment is available.sometimes it is sheer waste of money and time.

kurrodu said...

I am very much with you on this....
This is a great and fruitful way to spend the holy day. There are so many senior citizens around me who need help.... Feels great to read your posts!

Hip Grandma said...

Kurrodu:thanks I knew you'd understand.

Destination Infinity said...

I don't know if I am right on this, but most of the elders who are alone, might have ignored their parents too in their hey days?

Destination Infinity