Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hinduism: Meaningless Rituals?

Most religions (and maybe all religions) have some degree of ritualistic behavior. But many people of faith love to point to people of other religions and mock the rituals that they follow. Human nature I guess...

If you ever go to a Hindu temple, one of the rituals you might notice is people circling the inner sanctum of the temple. This is one that I myself have always wondered about. Most religious rituals have (or had) some meaning or significance. Some rituals have lost that relevance and some others have been mindlessly practiced for so long that people have forgotten their meaning. So one time I asked our priest about this one...

So said the learned priest: When you visit the temple, you come with a lot of baggage. Your day to day life, your stresses, your hopes and desires, your anger and frustrations. In this state of mind it is very difficult to really feel the presence of God or to make a connection to your own spiritual self. Circling the inner sanctum of the temple, or doing pradakshina, is a method to unwind yourself from it all before trying to reach out, or in.

Typically you do three pradakshinas before praying. During the first one you should attempt to unwind and disconnect your mind from your worldly possessions. During the second you should attempt to unwind and disconnect from all your relations and relationships. Finally, during the third you should attempt to unwind and disconnect from your own ego and sense of self. When you have successfully disconnected from all this can you really connect with God.

Does this mean that if you cannot manage to disconnect some day then prayer is futile? I asked. Not so, said the priest, your prayer is still heard, you just may not be able to hear the response due to the noise.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time Lapse Video of Grand Prix Board Game

Halfway through the game I decided to start taking a picture every so often and create a time lapse video. This is the result! If I had planned it up front my images would have been from a fixed POV etc. etc. But it turned out to be fun anyway and I might do more in the future.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Hinduism: Idol Worshippers?

So said the learned priest: People of other faiths always point to Hinduism and say that it is a religion that promotes idol worship. They scoff and say that Hindus worship stone idols and not a true God. Well, they are wrong.

Here's how he explained the deeper philosophy...
When you talk to your friend on a cell phone, you appear to people around you as talking to a phone. But are you really talking to a phone? Indeed you are not. Even though you cannot see them, you know that on the other side of the phone and phone connection is your friend. Similarly, an idol is just a medium, a symbolism for the one God, the Para-Bramha, which allows you to feel a connection with God when you pray.