The funny side of.well, everything really 😀
This exerpt has been taken off the author’s blog page- mmblogtrack.wordpress.com
Ladies and gentleman, we have finally lost the entire plot of the story.
A few mornings ago, while skimming restlessly through television channels as only a new generation kid is prone to do, I stumbled on some gold: ePuja.com. I call it gold because its absolute ludicrousness produced some hearty, enjoyable laughs to start the day. But gold it really is not; it is a sad state of affairs we are coming to.
Firstly, an introduction to the latest offering on the World Wide Web. ePuja is India’s first online portal that marries convenience with faith. No longer do you have to absolve yourself with a shower, don clothes appropriate enough to avoid the wrath of temple elders and trudge to the nearest holy place. No longer do you have to stand, fighting to anchor yourself in a sea of surprisingly strong old women itching to get the best view of the Lord. ePuja allows you to book pujas at around 3,600 temples in India and have the prashad, the offerings, shipped to your doorstep; it traverses distances for the Lord.
The temples of India have produced multiple stories of unfathomable wealth stored within their walls while India continues to suffer high poverty rates. The blame doesn’t necessarily fall on the temples because religious devotees do not think twice to pour their riches, sparse or extensive, into metal trunks that stand invitingly just as soon as you walk in. The problem is, however, that within holy grounds, devotees are obliged to pay not just for spiritual ablutions but also the occasional under-the-table transaction to fit themselves into God’s schedule. While that seems desperate, ePuja just seems a lazy offshoot.
I am not the most religious person. However, even I understand that for the rest of the God-fearing population, prayers and faith are a grand ritual, steeped in tradition and meaning. It does not just start
and end with a heartfelt prayer. It is the shower, it is donning those clothes, and it is making your way to the temple come rain or shine because you simply can’t not go. It is the effort of snaking your way around the temple in a claustrophobic stream of humanity for just five seconds to see Him or Her and trudge back out home, sweaty, tired, nursing a backache but excited to see how your prayers will play out for the week.
Pujas, they say, bring about good things and flag auspicious events. While it isn’t always easy to find temples in many corners of the world and it isn’t always reasonable to fly out to India on a whim, the concept of online pujas seems impersonal, nonetheless. It boils the entire ritual to the oft-delicious prashad at the end of the puja—while that part isn’t necessarily bad, of course, it is the ethics of it all. If you are religious enough to believe in the power of the puja, don’t stray for convenience— despite what a marketing team of an admittedly niche idea may tell you.
This is just one piece on the mosaic of Hinduism in India, held together by 800 million followers and dangerously close to cracking with the heat of businessminded ethics flowing through.