I’m sure a topic about God or religion is always going to invite controversies. Nowadays, due to the involvement of political parties in religious activities people hesitate to speak their minds. However, the internet has helped quite a lot on this account because it gives a virtual platform where one can share their views/thoughts without fear. Today, my mind led me to talk about ‘religious offerings’. This is purely based on my own beliefs.
Born in a religious Hindu family, I grew up visiting family temples regularly and watching elders doing daily pooja ceremonies. The Goddess we worship in the family temple is like our own mother, having superior powers. An yearly festival is conducted in the temple when all the family members are united. Everyone takes part in the rituals and enjoys the togetherness. This event gives the family a chance to renew the bonds.
Over the time, people started moving to far away places, settling down abroad with their nuclear families. Some of them flew down to attend the festivals and get togethers, some others did not return. Gradually the daily number of visitors in the temple dropped. The temple became more of a responsibility for the family members, the question of who will pay for the expenses came into picture. Subsequently, the system called ‘offerings’ developed. Every member is expected to contribute to the temple in some way, either Pay in cash or donate to the beautification of temple structure or give offerings to the deity. Offerings can be of many types – flowers, oil, camphor and so on. In India, every temple have their own list of offerings for the deity, the rates vary according to the popularity of the temple.
Coming to think of it, back in those days women plucked flowers from their own gardens, made a garland themselves to adorn the deity because they respected the Goddess and wanted to make her look superior to them. Then they made sweet dishes themselves which are called ‘Nivedya’ for the deity, later it was shared to all in the family as ‘Prasad’.
Ironically, things have taken a great twist today as we pay money for anything and everything related to God. There is no temple without money. It has become a business hub more than a place of worship. We goto temples to find peace, but we believe we will get that only if we buy offerings.Why these offerings? – to fulfil wishes. What wishes? – mostly material things.
The basis of giving offerings to God so that we get a good job or to build a new house is purely psychological. Why do children follow this path when their exams are near?- because they had been taught that way…they see elders doing the same. If we believe in ourselves and the God residing within us, we will achieve what we are capable of achieving. What we couldn’t, is simply not meant for us.
The already existing systems cannot be changed in a day or two, but some baby steps can help change the perceptions. Now, will you please think twice before you pour a litre of milk over an idol? Will you rather give away the fruits to the poor than keep it infront of a deity who cannot eat them in real?
I would love to see your comments. Thanks for reading my blog!