Quote: “Datta Jayanti, also known as Dattatreya Jayanti, is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birthday of the Hindu god Dattatreya (Datta), a combined form of the Hindu male divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The full moon of Margashirsha (Agrahayana) is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar (December / January) throughout the country, and especially in the state of Maharashtra “…
Yes, on a Saturday, December 18, 2021 was the date of Datta Jayanti’s commemoration and I have decided to cover 25 kilometers within the city where I currently live, Pune, in order to see for myself the greatness and scope of respect in the Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Mandir, in the center of Pune. While another rather cold day was passing over there in Southeast Europe from where I am from (as I read, from +1 to -4 Celsius in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe) here, with a pleasant 26 above zero Celsius with the sun’s rays only slightly covered by clouds, it was a great opportunity to be on the spot where the deity is most revered and where I could be convinced of the power of the message that strives for energy.
Energy control of the “conflict” of politics and religion
No, before that, allow me a brief introduction to the topic through billboards. Namely, here in India, billboards are not “normal” sizes as in Europe (5.04 m. x 2.38 m. or even smaller 4 m. x 3 m.) but they are huge billboards that require wide steel structures and my “rule of thumb” estimate that it is a ratio of 12 meters x 8 meters in the” smallest” case, while there are also of 20 m. x 15 m. It has everything – from advertisements for apartments in newly built buildings, all the way to pre-arranged reservations for a building yet to be built, and characters from politicians to actors who are selling something – ideology and / or the latest perfume (regardless of the actor’s and / or politicians gender).
But what does this have to do with idolatry and the worship of the Hindu god?
Simply, everything that is seen within religion itself anywhere in the World (not only in India) as idolatry and belief (which I respect and appreciate as their commitment to an alternative to the afflicted everyday life from which only devotion to truth and justice can bring us out, and that for them worship gods certainly are), is transformed into everyday life in this area.
Either is it in the form of a billboard congratulating a local politician on his/her election and / or the announcement of new elections, where, even six months before the local elections, billboards with characters promising haven paradise if elected, are published here. Our politicians, back in Europe, would also have something to learn from them.
Why? Well, the other day a nicely packed package appeared in front of my flat door. If I were in Europe, I would suspect on an explosive device, but here is a polite gift (candy) from a local politician who sends a letter in Hindi, with cakes, waiting for my vote. I guess he thought my landlady was still there, so he brought it to her, and I, a sincere cake lover, didn’t pass it to her (I am so sorry, indeed) – and why would I, because in front of my current door, candy’s were waiting for me. This reminds me of that fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel and the house made out of sweets, and the witch, sorry, the male whitch (warlock) should be a local politician. I’m not kidding, during one of my lectures, I asked my students here, how much of what they promise, local politicians realize after the election and I got a well-known answer: Not even 20%. Eo ipso, warlock, for sure.
Capitalism uber ulles
So, Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Mandir is surrounded by narrow, cobbled streets and the entrance is on the side, on one of them, Security is really noteworthy and there is at least one person on each corner of the temple, both outside and inside, and the army and police are not far, some ten yards away. Like, they control really heavy traffic in the very center of the city, but their primary obligation, I’m sure, is to secure the Temple. The entrance is unusual, at least for me. On the left side are many small shops selling local memorabilia, such as paintings and / or jewelry stores in Mostar or Bašćaršija in Sarajevo (BiH), which are related here to the worship of the Hindu god.
On the right side, like when you go to check in na aerodromu or check your passport at the airport custom border section and circle, barefoot, until the very entrance to the Temple. Yes, you have to leave your shoes and walk barefoot, first outside and then inside. And leaving the shoes costs 5 IR, but I guess, as a foreigner, they didn’t charge me for that, although I asked: “How much?” And the boy just immediately waved with his hand and gave me the number, taking away my shoes.
Ok, I told to myself and I continued, which reminded me of my driving a car (and you know that they call rickshaws “cars” just as they call academics “faculties”, but, semantics is a strange science and you should know all parts of it as if you would like to understand the details) a couple of days ago when they had a problem with “internet connection” and when I expect to pay about 40 IR (0.53 US $ dollars), the driver just shows me information from the mobile phone screen = 0.00 IR and said that I do not pay anything. Then it was a virtual and now, maybe, a real mistake. Either way, it was good for me.
We entered slowly due to the really huge crowd because, I guess, they came from a nearby river or stream where the ritual bathing custom is performed in the early morning hours.
Why do I guess? I heard a conversation in English (yes, people here speak English quite normally, even though their Hindi and / or Marathi language – it is spoken by about 68 million people, in Maharahstra, here, as in Mauritius) between two young people, in front of me in the line, who were waiting for a friend but he did not arrive yet from the morning ritual bath so they came without him.
At the very entrance, wide but short, the policewoman controlled everyone at the entrance and waved me to pass, but don’t lay Devil, a male colleague behind her, immediately let me know that my little bag must be scanned, so I returned. And scanned. The worship of the Hindu god was also divided by gender, because upon entering, I saw two lines and I saw “gents” and went there, in the glitter of the interior covered with silver, while on paper pasted on the wall, it said – no photographing the deity, with a loud warning from one of five security guards instruct me to put my cell phone away. Yes, what else could I do. They are stronger.
At the very act of worship, a donation can be left through the iron bars, but also worship, some 3 seconds of deities served by two half-naked priests (they had only a robe wrapped around them, but bare shoulders were) by bringing flowers and incense that people donated and placed in front, on a shelf.
Between us and the deity was a space some 50 centimetars wide controlled by two priests and no one could get any closer. The procedure of worship was to stop, join the palms, bend down and touch that space with the forehead – that shelf, look at the deity, say the words of worship and move on.
They were in a hurry, these security guards, pushing everybody to do the worship as soon as possible. And I followed my neighbors in line, and I did everything as they did. Except for those words of worship, because I don’t know them. And out of respect, I should learn. And how will I, when I don’t even know namaz in Islam, I am neither a communist (even was part of the combat against them being an co-owner of the first private newspaper – titled „The move“ in the socialist country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a part of Yugoslavia, back in 1990) nor a believer. Only a realist who can’t deal with one or the other, especially in Southeast Europe. I have just come here and I still, indeed really, do not feel this kind of pressure from either the believers or the unbelievers. In India, others and different ones seem to be more respected. Kjafiri (unbelievers), even, like your reporter is.
But, to be clear, the methodology of scientific proving is based on questioning and proving or disproving hypotheses initiated at the very beginning of research. As a scientist, it never (and never will, for sure) occurs to me to enter into a polemic with believers, because they are in dogma and dogma does not allow questioning.
So, with mutual respect, I am slowly moving away from the deity, because I see that deity did not react to my arrival, and I am leaving, now, next to those same small shops that were outside, but are now like copy / paste inside (they are already calling for you to come closer, not pushing you away), only five meters from the deity. And that’s where they sell souvenirs. From the collected money, they help orphanages, initiate jobs, equip national kitchens. And that’s good. Only now do I see why there are many law enforcement agencies in and around the Temple. Civil servants left it to the deity worshipers to do their work through donations. Less work for them if the priests from the Temple take care of everything. Win / win situation.
I took my shoes, ordered “OLA” taxi and headed to my home, here, in Ravet, Pune, India.
With one thought running through my soul.
Unbeliever, until the meeting (sorry, return to) 21 grams of soul, with the Energy
Namely, I remembered a conversation with a prominent Muslim priest, imam, more than 25 years ago, after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), when he asked me in Bugojno (in Central BiH), after a meeting in the hall of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque while I was guiding a colleagues from France to visit Bugojno, then.
He said: “If you came to us on Friday pray at Juma’h, half of the citizens of the city of Bugojno would follow you.” I answered him: “I will think about that, but, please, answer me on one simple question: Who is bigger Muslim, me who respect other and different ones, and my own, first of all and I go and congratulate Bajram Mubarek Eid, Christmas and other holidays, but I also drink, when everything is added up, a crate of beer (16 bears) only within 12 months and a half liter of wine, while I am not fasting and not worship five pillars of Islam per day, do not steal, do not cheat, don’t gossip, don’t hate … or the one who doesn’t leave the coffe bar for eleven months, comes home drunk every other night, cheats, steals, gossips, hates, but worship Ramadan all month and doesn’t leave the mosque during that month? ” His answer was: “He, because he is with Allah at least that month.” I just said to him, “Here you are, you can have him, then you don’t need me.” He replied, “Very good.”
Precept/Lesson/Moral: Religion is a private matter of every human being, but if it is used for private purposes of any living creature, and this is the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the whole world, apparently, it is no longer faith but manipulation of faith. A long time ago I wrote: “I love God, but without religion.” And here, also, in India.