Thursday, January 10, 2019

I agree with Shashi Tharoor's religious belief related stand on Sabiramala deity, Ayyappa (Supportive of "Ready to Wait"); Some additional views of mine on it

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY POLITICALLY NEUTRAL role in this post which references an Indian political leader.

I entirely agree with the following points related to belief in Sabiramala deity Ayyappa, expressed by Dr. Shashi Tharoor in this article: Forgive me liberal friends, but I can’t completely overlook faith of Sabarimala devotees, https://theprint.in/opinion/forgive-me-liberal-friends-but-i-cant-completely-overlook-faith-of-sabarimala-devotees/174990/ . Please note that I am not commenting at all about Indian politics and Indian political parties mentioned in the article.

1. Confusion of liberals about the restrictions on women’s entry into Sabarimala.

2. Sabarimala worshippers "believe in its legends the way Catholics believe in the Virgin Birth or Muslims in the divine revelation to their Prophet, as beliefs integral to their faith. Just as a Supreme Court verdict ordering the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests and bishops in the name of gender equality would occasion outrage rather than compliance, so also this verdict has been rejected by those who believe it assaults the very foundations of their faith in the deity installed at Sabarimala."

3. There has been no mass movement of women having faith in Sabirimala deity, seeking to have access to Sabiramala at any age. Tharoor writes that many (women, I presume) told him that "the nature of the deity at Sabarimala is such that if you believe in Him, you would not wish to disturb Him as a naishtika brahmachari. They are therefore “Ready to Wait”." [Ravi: Naishtika brahmachari means eternal celibate. See http://sanskritdictionary.com/nai%E1%B9%A3%E1%B9%ADhika/19067/4 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmacharya.]

4. Some of the women of the age 10 to 50 who want to go to Sabiramala temple are not going there out of belief in Sabiramala deity (which would include not wishing to disturb Him as a naishtika brahmachari).
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Ravi: My considered view on this matter is that the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India should give adequate weightage to belief in the Sabiramala Ayyappa deity being eternal celibate, and the tradition followed strictly by what seems to me to be an overwhelming majority of women believers in that Ayyappa deity, to NOT take darshan of the deity between ages 10 to 50, as the belief is that such an act may disturb the deity.

Yad bhaavam tad bhavathi - As is the feeling and the emotion, such is how it/one becomes. The feeling, the emotion, the belief is a vital aspect of Bhakti/devotional traditions in Hinduism. For the sake of a few women who may not be sincere believers in this vital traditional belief associated with the Sabiramala temple's deity, the Hon'ble Supreme Court's decision, which has been appealed, seems to have caused immense suffering and disturbance to what seems to be the overwhelming majority of women believers of the deity who are "Ready to Wait" and almost all of men believers of the deity. They are suffering as they believe that the deity's sacredness has been violated by women of age 10 to 50 taking darshan of it.

My considered view as an Indian resident, an Indian citizen and a Hindu, is that the Hon'ble Courts of law of India are not qualified to judge whether the belief that women of ages 10 to 50 coming before the deity may disturb the eternal celibate nature of the deity, held by large number of Sabiramala deity devotees, both men and women, is good or bad, right or wrong. That should be left to the devotees and the priests and the Sabiramala temple management. It is their responsibility, not that of the Indian courts of law, to consider what traditions should be changed in our early 21st century times and what traditions should be left unchanged.

Women who would like to worship other Hindu deities are free to visit almost all other Hindu temples in India. If women would like to have a women only deity whom men should not take darshan of (perhaps some such Hindu deities and its Hindu worshippers already exist), I think the Indian constitution's freedom of religion sections should be interpreted in such a way that women are allowed to have such a deity and such worship traditions. As a Hindu man, I would certainly support the right of Hindu women to have such a deity and such worship traditions.

[I thank theprint.in and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above small extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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