Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hinduism: Answering a friend's questions

My friend had the following questions.
> In Muslims and Christianity, person from any caste can be a priest...
> In Muslims and Christianity, any body can enter any church and reach the "Altar" or
"Main pooja" place.
> But in Hindusim, I was told SC / ST can't be a priest (poojari)
> In Hinduism, certain temples are restricted for certain caste people .
I tried to answer him this way:
Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, well all religions of the world, have their positive & negative points. Most of the time, we all forget the gud points & focus only on the negative points Thats human nature, we are drawn towards evil more easily than goodness, is it not so?
Well, answering your questions:
Coming to enter the altar or the main pooja hall (We call it the Garbha Griha), nobody, even upper caste people except the priests, are allowed there. The garbha griha is sacred. Priests too have to enter under strict conditions, they should not have eaten food till the puja is completed, they should maintain personal cleanliness, etc. Infact, the priests, once they enter the garbha griha should not move out till the puja is completed.
You have to be clean, in body, in mind. Whoever does not meet this criteria, will be turned away, upper caste / lower caste.
Well, this is not restricted to Hinduism only. Even Islam prescribes it. Have a look outside the mosques, you can see people wash their feet, hands & feet before entering.
The purpose of these things is not merely to maintain tradition. You worship God with clean and focussed mind. Other things should not interfere your worship. So, these things are prescribed. Cleanliness starts from outside, clean body, clean clothes, clean surroundings==>clean mind, is it not so.
Frankly, there are no restrictions for people to enter temples, neither caste, nor religion. Recently, the Prime Minister of Turkey & his family visited a Hindu temple in Bangalore. This itself proves it, right?
Coming to being a priest, its not easy to being a priest in Hinduism. Priest's role is not merely to perform rituals or be a conduit for God. He has to live as an example for the others, he has to be a guide for people to attain God. He has to know the Agama shastras (how to perform puja), Vedas, Upanishads etc etc. The training itself takes about 15 years. He has to be rigorously trained from childhood ( training will be nothing less severe than that of a Marine commando. Only, the training is for the mind).
Whoever can take this training & successfully pass, is welcome to be a priest! Well this is same with all religions, is it not?
Coming to the basic question of castes, the division was based on skill, physical ability, mental make up of the person(s) in question. Ask any child psychologist, he will counsel not to force the child. We should consider the child's ability (mental, physical makeup), interest and choose the right vocation for him. The same was followed in Hinduism too. Certain people were more capable of being soldiers, some were more capable of being priests, some were more capable of being in business, so were capable of service jobs. They were assigned accordingly. Asking people to do jobs against their skills makes them squirm, uncomfortable & underperforming (remember the ad!). The present degeneration is our mistake, not the mistake of the system.
I admire & honour all the religions of the world, their prophets & their followers. Hinduism proclaims the same. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita proclaims " Whichever way(religion) you take, ultimately you will reach ME (God)" So, for us, all the religions are the same, since God is one & the same, for each religion claims their God to be Omnipotent, Omniscient, loving n caring. If the characteristics are same, then God should also be same.
What do you say people?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

’ಹಾಗೇ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ’ ನೋಡ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ, ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೊಟ್ಟೇ ನೋಡಿದೆ

On the way to work, I used see the posters of this movie. The male n female leads appeared like spoilt brats. Yuk, I did not want to spend 3 hrs watching their onscreen tantrums, their running amok. The director’s name Pritam Gubbi did not ring a bell. I never realized the song I liked to hum ಮಾಯವಾಗಿದೆ ಮನಸು ಹಾಗೇ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ was the title song of the movie I did not like.

Well, I wanted to watch a Kannada movie on the first day of the year. 2 reasons made me select this movie.
1. No other movie seemed watchable.
2.My online friend told me the female lead was a talented actress.

PVR had just 3 seats remaining. I was fast enough to grab 1 of those before they disappeared too. I was not sure if I would get my paise vasool. (Well, u do get 10% vasool with the nice, soft seats & the a/c in the auditorium)

When the movie started, it did not seem to be different from my image, a spoilt brat and his antics. 10 mins. into the movie, hey this movie seemed to be different, The spoilt brat had vanished! Kiran’s (Pritam onscreen, the director seems to have lent his name) acting seemed fantastic. This chocolate box hero can be tough competition to “ದೂಧ್ ಪೇಢ” from ಗಾಳಿಪಟ. He carries on with his role effortlessly, though a debutant.

The storyline is predictable: boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; boy runs around trying to make her fall for him; boy succeeds, and a happy ending! But what sets this movie apart from the run of the mill stories is:

1.The crisp storyline. You are sure about the ending, but subtle twists ensure your interest isn’t waning.

2.The dialogues. Pritam has not lost his ಮುಂಗಾರು ಮಳೆ magic. But no complicated long winding dialogues. Short, simple n effective.

3.Locations n camera work: Nobody has managed to show such beautiful locales, in our own Karnataka, onscreen in recent times. Karnataka Incredible! Some of them deserve to be on postcards. The photography too deserves a pat on the back. The colours of autumn are just perfect.

4.The music: Wow, that’s all I could say. The background music is pleasing, a peaceful island in the tsunami of cacophony some films pass as music. The songs too, are great except 1 which feels a trifle loud. They never feel out of the flow, even though one song seems follow another. Mano Murthy has done it again.

5.The movie is “clean”. No double meanings, no ‘items’ & hey, not even a single fight. You come out with happy feeling.

Every actor has done justice to his/her presence in the movie. None seem out of place. For change we get to see ಪ್ರಣಯರಾಜ ಶ್ರೀನಾಥ್’s posters on an auto.

Did I forget something? The heroine, Suhasi. This was the 2nd reason remember. Though I don’t approve of imported heroines, this 1 is an exception. She packs a whiff of freshness into the movie with her presence. She impresses not just with her dewy looks, but with her acting talent too. She again proves talent, not skin, makes you stand apart from the crowd.

I got my paise vasool!

How many of you remember Chandrashekar, the guy who sang ಸಂತೋಷ ಅಹಾ ಅಹಾ, riding a motorbike? You get to see him in this movie as Pritam’s dad. He has not lost his charm since ಎಡಕಲ್ಲು ಗುಡ್ಡದ ಮೇಲೆ.

Pritam (the hero) says, " ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಅಂತ ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಮಾಡ್ದೆ, ಆದ್ರೆ seriousಅಗಿ ಲವ್*ನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿದ್ದೆ".
ನೀವೂ ಅಷ್ಟೆನೇ, ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ನೆ ಅಂತ movie ನೋಡೋಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಿ, you will fall in love with it.

Like Nike says, Just see it (the movie, I mean )