The Folklores are dangerously taking over…
The Hindu folklores play an important aspect in the celebration of religious ceremonies. A dose of folkloric elements creates vibration, gain the attention of people, creates awareness, stimulate desires for the crowd to participate and convince people to remain in the fervor of God. The part of Hindu folklore I am referring form part of religious ceremonies.
When culture and folklores are blended with rituals they produce the booming effects where bhaktans feel they are really ‘in’. The folklore is the art and the pooja is the science. But as a kid, I was very much attracted by the art, i.e the folkloric aspects. I believe this was obvious at that time. I usually find the poojas as boring sometimes because I could not understand the science of the rites and rituals. However, the folklores vibrated my chakras. But my ignorance of the spiritual body anatomy did not allow me to understand this as a kid, at that time.
There is no doubt that all religious ceremonies require a balanced approach between the art and the science, i.e folklores and pooja. An ideal ceremony would compose of 70 per cent of pooja rituals which include deity invocations, dhyanam, abishegham, recitation of powerful mantras, stotrams and aarti and alankaram. The remaining 30 per cent are bhajanam, music and other art performance.
In the Vedic age or after, pooja and religious ceremonies focused more on the scientific edge. The ceremony was guided only by a sage-archagar. He was the master of ceremony. He decided on the time and resources to be allocated on folkloric tales and music. He was a respected figure.
In the current period, the archagar has partly lost control over certain aspect of the ceremony. But in temple, which strictly follows the agamic rules, he still leads as a respected figure.
One of the main reasons that contribute to the lost control over his duty and ceremony is the interference of unknowledgeable people in Hindu temples. The unknowledgeable ones guide and influence the content and protocol of religious ceremonies. They choose when to dance and sing. They choose when to prolonge the bhajanam. They decide on the cultural content to perform and exhibit.
In Mauritius, the significance of Mahashivratree are losing its significance. Pilgrimages look more like a touring journey towards a physical destination rather than an inner journey. Ninety per cent of the bhaktan population dedicate themselves to the construction of kanwar (note 1) and road display rather than on pooja. The folklore predominates. The spiritual aspect suffers; and the knowledgeable (archagar) has relatively little control. A great portion of the pilgrims finds more worldly pleasures while pulling disproportionate kanwars during pilgrimage than atonement of sin and control of the mind towards Shiva.
The celebration of Cavadee is provoking curiosity more than ever since a decade. The polytheistic faith of bhaktans is mingling strangely well with the ignorant minds and they are taking fleeting objects as something real and displaying atrocity piercing. The folklores predominate. The spiritual aspects suffer. I am pretty sure that Lord Kartikeya, the personification of the Power of Grace of Lord Shiva, is disturbed. Those who have read and understood Arunagirinathar’s Kandar Anubhuti would never get entangled in such folklores.
The celebration of Govinda pooja, in favour of Lord Vishnu, during the month of puratassi is usually celebrated with great fervor. Saturdays are auspicious for the worship of Lord Vishnu as Saturdays are free from the influences of Saturn and other planetary forces. A whole night, during Saturdays, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has profound religious significance. The homas, bhajanam and sacred chants and recitation of Vishnu sahasranamam, as well as kummi dance discipline our mind, revitalise our body and keep us alert overnight. Unfortunately, these days Govinda pooja is misunderstood to be a folkloric festival. As the folklores are not enough to sustain over the whole night, many have started ending this sacred pooja at midnight only. You will surely understand the reason…They have not enough folkloric substance to carry on until the next early sunrise. Once more, the folklores predominate. The spiritual aspects suffer.
In this kaliyuga era, the existence of world’s oldest religion is in real danger because bhaktans are guided more towards self-expression through folklores than self-expression through the inner world. Folklores are good; but when in excess it nourishes the mind and the ego. It is useless to feed the soul.