Through the article “In god’s abode, questions for man” (July 4), Ajaz Ashraf has posed many inconvenient questions on the Uttarakhand disaster. I am sure the article will offend many and, in the process, they will miss the point. Irrational thinking and mindless worship are deep-rooted in India.
The proliferation of caste-based politics and communal violence bears testimony to the common man’s inability to analyse things rationally.
There is a saying in Tamil, Kandavar vindilar; Vindavar kandilar, which means one who has seen has not revealed, and one who has revealed has not seen. The long-debated issue on the relevance of god after natural calamities has no known finale.
Faith and belief are in another realm and those who see them in the proper perspective will not question them. Nor will they squander their energy, time and money venturing to all abodes. God is omnipresent.
When we believe that god is omnipresent, why should we go on a pilgrimage to get his blessings and attain salvation? Fareed ji says: “Fareed, why do you wander from jungle to jungle, crashing through the thorny trees? The Lord abides in the heart.”
One does not believe in god to escape from natural calamities or death. God doesn’t gain anything if more people worship him, and he doesn’t lose if more people become atheists. It is unfortunate that a partially natural and partially man-made calamity has been used to malign believers.
Faithful Hindus always give god the benefit of doubt. If their wishes are granted, they feel it is his benevolence, if not, they feel it is their karma. They never find fault with god. Difficult-to-reach shrines and holy spots must remain so — difficult to reach — so that only those who can endure hardship visit them. In the past, visiting Tirumala was a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. Now it is a one-day excursion.
I stayed in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, for 100 days in 2006 and I used to visit the Mariamman temple in the city regularly. During the Vietnam War, the city was bombed by the U.S. but this temple remained intact.
The local Vietnamese have very high regard for the temple and contribute oil for the lamps and flower for daily worship.