Faith

Now, religious rituals get a digital makeover

Home is the new office. It is also the new temple.

With places of worship shut due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Avani Avittam, which falls on Monday, August 3, will be very different this year.

This annual ritual, believed to be auspicious to kickstart the study of Vedas, is usually performed as a group, inside the premises of a temple.

In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic and lockdown, a Chennai-based team has given the custom a virtual makeover. Their website, Parampara, aspires to help people do these rituals at home.

Using their video-on-demand service, one can perform the ritual at any convenient time. “We also consider the attributes of the performer and generate specific mantras so that there is no ambiguity,” says Aswin S, who founded the website along with Sandeep Chandrasekaran and Deepak Subramanian.

There have been other recent online applications and websites that offer live-streaming service of this ritual, but Parampara has an edge, believes Deepak. “The challenge with an audio service is that these rituals have a lot of actions that need to be performed correctly; thus, a video reference would help to visually guide the user. In a live streaming session, the mantras are common for all and thus the onus of pronouncing specific parameters is on the performer rather than the guru,” he says. In Parampara, a user can get a “customised set of rituals”, where the set of chants and corresponding actions are tailor-made to the set of requirements.

Now, religious rituals get a digital makeover

Guided by gurus RL Nagarajan and Ramkumar Shastrigal, the team got their website up and running a few days ago, and have already received more than 100 registrations. It is currently a free service. “However, we believe that just like how people pay guru dhakshina to a priest, people will contribute what they please once they perform the ritual,” adds Aswin.

The team already has future plans to automate other religious rituals, including the sandhyavandanam and tharpanam, so that people can perform them without the need to refer to books. Their line-up of projects includes working on rituals associated with Ganesh Chaturthi, Gokulashtami, Saraswathi pooja for home and offices and Suryanarayana pooja.

Look up www.parampara.app

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:37:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/how-certain-customs-and-rituals-are-going-online/article32230610.ece

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