Dashain Notes

<br><EM>ABIJIT SHARMA</EM>

Nov. 1, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. 04 No.-09 Oct 29 2010 (Kartik 12, 2067)

Dashain is finally over and Tihar is imminent. Every year as Dashain arrives; it brings a different charm to the whole environment. Family get-togethers, gambling, visiting temples, all add joy to the festivity.

Visiting hugely crowded Bhagwati temples during the festival, has been an annual ritual to me. Every year after I pay my visit, I question myself on the type of faith we people have in God.

Temples, especially of Bhagwati, are a sight to behold during Dashain. People from all corners flock to pay homage to the Goddess. Long cues of worshippers can be seen, animals are sacrificed and prayers are chanted. However, it is a disgrace that no one bothers to keep even such holy areas neat and clean.

The temples may be a sight of devotees thronging there to carry on the tradition and offer prayers. During the time, as in the rest of the year, the temples hardly look different as far as the proper maintenance and cleanliness is concerned. One wonders why the people can not sacrifice such a tradition of turning a blind eye to the surroundings of the temple, even as they sacrifice animals to offer to the goddess Durga to mark the festival.

One happy memory of this Dashain, however, was a massive decline in the animal sacrifice in and around the temples.  This is a very welcoming sign. Personally, being strongly against animal sacrifice, I felt glad that the people were realizing the futility of animal killing in the name of God. True, I agree it is a part of a long running culture/tradition, but it is good to see the negative side of the tradition being discarded. I hope in the coming years, this culture goes away for good.

I hope that yet another ‘culture’ goes away too. That of trying to be one-up even in holy temples. One thing that catches my eye every time is the hullabaloo made while worshipping the idol. People pushing, stepping and cursing each other to get a chance to pamper the goddess. And when they finally get the chance, they show no signs of leaving despite the large cue behind. This actually makes me wonder what the definition of faith is for them. How selfish can they be in front of none other than the Goddess? I hope that yet another ‘culture’ goes away too. That of trying to be one-up even in holy temples. One thing that catches my eye every time is the hullabaloo made while worshipping the idol. People pushing, stepping and cursing each other to get a chance to pamper the goddess. And when they finally get the chance, they show no signs of leaving despite the large cue behind. This actually makes me wonder what the definition of faith is for them. How selfish can they be in front of none other than the Goddess?

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