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The true Indian Culture
We talk a lot about our culture and we have many believes and notions set in our mind. But have we actually gone through the pages of our actual culture. Did you go deep into the pages of our history? Our culture what we see today has been made by our ancestors and not directly by GOD. The culture is made up of our own believes. At one corner of the country people have some beliefs which are different for the people living in another corner of the same country. And then we have created a system called caste. We are divided by different borders, languages and caste.
This is the same country where we made religions and we heard stories of Shri Rama who ate Zizyphus fruit from Shabri who belonged to a lower caste. The story goes like this. Shabari was a hunter's daughter and belong to the Bhil tribal. The night before her marriage, she saw that thousands of goats and sheep were brought by her father, which was going to be sacrificed for the marriage dinner. Moved by compassion, during the early hours of the morning, she renounced the world and ran away to meet a Master. After days of traveling, she met Sage Matanga at the foot of the Mountain Rishyamukha and accepted him as guru, serving him with devotion. When her guru Matanga was about to die, Shabari—now an old woman—says that after serving him throughout her life, she wanted to reach the same "abode of peace" which Matanga reached. Thereupon, the sage said that by the virtue of her seva (service), Lord Rama shall give her darshan and asks her to wait for his arrival. Saying thus, the sage sitting in lotus posture attains Mahasamadhi. As per her guru's words, Shabari waits for the arrival of Rama.
Everyday Shabari would go out of her ashram, with the help of a walking stick and pluck berry fruits for Lord Rama. She would pluck a fruit, first taste it, and if it was sweet she would put it in her basket and discard the bitter ones. She wanted to give the good and sweet fruits to Rama. The thought never came to her that she should not taste it before it was offered to a deity. Traditional writers use this narrative to indicate that in bhakti, faults are not seen by God. Thus collecting a few fruits, Shabari went back to her ashram and eagerly anticipate Rama's arrival. Shabari is commonly used as a metaphor for an endless wait for God. According to the story, even though hundreds of other yogis were waiting to receive Rama in their ashrams, Rama went only to Shabari's ashram because of her sincere devotion. It teaches us that even God doesn’t believe in discriminating in the name of religion. But most of us do and most of the fights in India are on the name of Caste.
We believe in the Granth called Mahabharatha. What does it teach us? It teaches us to stand for the truth even if you have your own people standing against you. Lord Krishna gave the lessons which we read in Shrimad Bhagwad Gita but how many of us actually believe in those lessons? We do not fight for the truth, the cause. We fight for people, for our relations.
We have seen many culture crazy people who hurt their children if they fall in love and want to marry a person who doesn’t belong to their caste. This happens in the same country where love was given the devine position in our mythology. We pay devotion to Lord Krishna and we take his name always with Radha and not Rukmani who was his actual wife . Why? Because our culture believes in love above all other relations. Love signifies spirituality & devotion.
Take some time to go through the pages of our cultural Grantha’s and our old monuments. They will tell the true stories of the country called India. Go deep and you will find facts which are the part of our culture but we are never ready to accept it. We have seen women wearing “Ghunghat” and that we call is a part of our culture. Have you ever seen girls wearing Ghunghat in those pictures carved on our old Temples? People can re-write the history as per their convenience and opinions but these carvings cannot be removed. They could not delete these statues made long ago and they symbolized real India.
There are some true facts about our traditions that are very less known. Some of our beliefs originated with a frame of mind but later on they were molded into a totally different perspective. There are many such examples where our beliefs do not match with the truth. Most of the time we may do something but we don’t know why we are doing it. I would give you a few examples.
THE GHUNGHAT PRATHA:
Initially women were known for their beauty. Their hair added to their beauty. But they faced some hair issues due to the heat of sun as they found the rays were harmful and damaged hair. So they started wearing a cloth over the head to protect them from the harsh weather. The same tradition is still followed but the reason for the believe has been changed. We all know that.
GOLD & SILVER ORNAMENTS:
It is a scientific fact that Gold is a hot element and attracts cold and silver is a cold element which attracts heat. Our ancestors were intelligent enough to know this and thus they started wearing Gold ornaments like Mukut over head to keep their mind cool and silver ornaments in legs like Payel to protect their feet from cold. We still follow the tradition but the reason told was somewhat different.
THE SINDOOR PRATHA:
Have you ever wondered why do married women wear sindoor and what does that red color signifies? If you have never thought or known then be prepared to be surprised. After marriage a girl loses her virginity and the blood flows. The red color of the sindoor signifies that.
THE CASTE SYSTEM:
Initially there was no caste system but all were treated equals. People spend their life working for survival. Day by day the work increased. It was very difficult for an individual to take care of everything so they decided to divide the task as per the efficiency of a person for a particular work. So they made 4 groups –
- One who were intelligent and were good at studies, they were asked only to study purans, granths, language etc. They also prayed God and never ate non vegetarian food. They were kept away from meat because people believed that meat increases the temperament and causes heat in the body which results in anger. And these people not supposed to be angry so that they can fully concentrate on their studies.
- One who was strong by built was asked to fight for the tribe in case of any problem. They were given huge amounts of meat so that they become strong and can fight.
- There was a group of task that required creativity and so the people good at making ornaments, paintings, statues, etc were categorized into the third category. Their work was to make usable items like “Ghada’s” and other creative things
- There were some more people who were not good at particular task so they were given the left over work which included cleaning etc. Yes they were the people whom we call “Shudra”
The division of work was on the basis of efficiency but as the people got more power, they changed the rules.
We pray the Shivaling of Lord Shiva but most of us don’t even know what the Shivling signifies. For those who don’t know, the Ling is the penis and Shivling signifies the power of Lord Shiva, his manliness and his strength.
These are just few. But there are many stories of our culture hidden behind our beliefs, buried deep into the books of our culture. People have added scripts as per their convenience and the results is what we see the culture now. We read between the lines and loose the message itself which our culture tries to teach us.