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Making Mockery of Sachin! An attack on Hindu Rituals ? Another form of threat to Hinduism!

July 4, 2006

A few weeks back, I came across news about the famous cricket player Sachin Tendulkar's visit (with his family) to 'Kukke Subramanya Temple' in South India to perform some ritualistic worship. He was there to perform the ritual of 'Sarpa Dosha Nivaran'. This particular event got countrywide coverage from the media, which in turn resulted in an overwhelming increase in the number of enquiries about this ritual.
Well, someone may ask, 'What is so significant about the whole story?' A few days later, an editorial in a leading Marathi daily 'Loksatta' made reference to an article by columnist Shobha De published in 'The Times of India' making adverse comments on this issue. In addition to this, Congress Member of Parliament Mr. Shantaram Naik raised this issue during his debate on Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Here are the excerpts.

Sunday Times of India, page 12, May 28, 2006
Shobha De
Sachin's snake tales!

A lot has already been written about Sachin Tendulkar's 'Sarpa Dosh' ? the curse of an ancestor who might have killed a snake and forgotten to perform the rituals to neutralize the bad effects. That Sachin chose to perform the ritual at the Kukke
Subramanya temple in Mangalore with the media in attendance is somewhat strange, given the fact that he 'guards his privacy zealously. But the far reaching
impact of the publicised puja, is what causes deep concern. Especially in a nation steeped in superstition. The images of a contemporary sportsman resorting
to such a custom is rather alarming.

Last month, the King of Nepal had organized a yagna that involved the killing of several animals. At least, he had the good sense to ban the press from covering these gory sacrifices. But despite all those mighty efforts, look at poor Gyanendra now, despised and discarded by his own people. When such high-profile people choose to go public with their beliefs, there is the inherent danger of sending out the wrong message to a largely gullible nation. While Sachin is entitled to his faith, he must realize the responsibilities involved in his unique,iconic position. Watching him perform those medieval rites is to tell his fans that remedial messures for whatever it is that weighs on his mind, lie in the appeasing some devtas. It's hard to believe that such would bind an intelligent man like Sachin regresive thougats. I felt uncomfortable watching him, as he went about puja , accompanied by a horde of cameramen. While I respect his right to placate whoever, it would have been beter to undertake the puja in complete privacy.

At the other of the spectrum is a man who is creating waves with a bestseller called Code Name God. Mani L Bhaumik's extraordinary story has already been chronicled in several international publications. Now that the book is here, its worthwhile understanding what made the 74 year-old author, who resides in a palatial Bel Air mansion in California, write a book that links spirituality with science. To get an answer to that, we have to read what the man credit with having invented laser technology used in Lasik eye surgery, has to say about his extraordinary life. It's one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories. Beginning with his birth on a mud floor in Bengal and surviving the famine, thanks to the scrappings of food his grandmother sacrificed to keep him alive.

From that wretched start to earning a doctorate in physics, the man who acquired his first pair of shoes at age 16, has come a long way. He must pose a wealth of spiritual insights to share with the world. He says, being a scientist, he chose to understand faith, adopting a scientific approach. It was this search that led to book. Now of course Bhaumik is justly enjoying his newfound celebrity status. Since he has successfully married science and religion, it's in evitable that he should combine both and launch a TV series for children. If I ever get the chance, I would love to ask him what he thinks of 'Sarpa Dosh', or even rational, educated, successful individuals being vulnerable to superstitious thinking.
There must be a 'scientific' reason behind all such phenomena. Who better to deconstruct the mumbojumbo than a man who has seen it all?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that whichever angry snake it was that Sachin's ancestor had killed has been appeased. India will get its answer pretty soon. A lot is riding on Sachin's form and performance in the gruelling seasons ahead. Let's hope that the spiteful snake forgets past sins of erring forefather and blesses our star batsman. Even without a 'Sarpa Dosh' in my Kundali, I'm sending a small prayer to that vindictive saap. Spare Sachin.Save India.

Debate made by Shri Shantaram Laxman Naik (Goa ) in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, May 16, 2006):

Sir, all TV channels are supposed to propagate Scientific temper rather than superstitions. Recently, we have seen that all young people in the country are praying for Sachin Tendulkar's form to be returned, because he is undergoing medical treatment. But he went to some places for removal of Sarpa Dosha and that was very much projected by all TV channels and print media. When the Constitution commits itself to the removal of superstition and increasing the scientific temper, why should TV channels propagate Sarpa Dosha Nivarana of Sachin Tendulkar, while young boys feel that he has got some medical problem, he should return to his form and return to the field after getting medical treatment? Why should we propagate it? (Ends)

The editorial in the Marathi daily 'Loksatta' has criticised Sachin for performing the 'Sarpadosh Nivaran' puja. It says that Sachin has lost his self-confidence and that someone has inculcated in Sachin's mind this particular idea of performing 'Sarpasamskara' and the other rituals. It also says, it is one's prerogative where one wants to go and perform puja but someone like Sachin who is an icon for many should not have done so under the glare of the media. His performance of such puja has proved the weakness of his mind. Sachin is a ray of hope for the young generation, which is depressed because of the darkness of corruption, etc. in their surroundings. It is wrong on the part of their icon to perform some ritual in some temple wearing 'angavastram' (special cloth to be worn during the ritual) and sacrifice the faith of the youth who look upon him as their hero. It is unreasonable that he performs puja to negate effects of some planets. The editorial also resorts to quote Sachin's late father, who was a poet, to underline Sachin's fault! Worth reading! Those who would like to read it could refer to 'Loksatta' dated May 10, 2006.

So what are the important inferences?
1. Performing Sarpadosha Nivaran puja amounts to superstition!
2. It is unscientific too!
3. Icons like Sachin should never perform it!
4. If they do, then the media should not give publicity to it as it results in propagation of unscientific ideas, etc.!
5. To perform such a ritual is a sign of a weak mind! (Thus, we can say that not performing puja is a sign of a strong mind.)

First let us see what is Sarpadosha? What is Sarpadosha Nivaran Puja?

Following is the information given by A.R. Gopal (Appaji), Managing Trustee, Ishta Siddhi Shree Subramanyaswamy Trust, where Sachin performed his Sarpadosha Nivaran puja:

Astrologically, when Rahu-Ketu conjunct other planets or, in other words, the other planets are under the nodal influence of Rahu and Ketu, it is treated as "Sagraha Sarpa Dosha".

Kaalasarpa Dosha is said to be caused when all the planets are hemmed on one side between Rahu and Ketu. Depending upon the position of Rahu-Ketu and the planets, twelve different types of Kaalasarpa Dosha are said to exist. This Dosha is believed to emanate by harming or killing of a serpent (intentionally or otherwise).

Many great personalities who have performed wonderful deeds during their lifetime are said to have suffered from Kaalasarpa Dosha. To name a few: Abraham Lincoln, Kitoor Rani Chennamma, Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Emperor Nero, Chengiz Khan, Jesus Christ, Mussolini, et al. Although all these great personalities achieved great things in life, their end was terrible. The point to note here is that five out of these were assassinated.

Kaalasarpa Dosha is said to cause several difficulties during the course of one's life such as unhappiness in the family, continuous loss in business, miserable married life, childlessness, ill health, skin diseases, trouble in eyes, ears and throat, poverty and financial difficulties, delay in marriage, improper development of body organs, constant worries, loss and litigation, poor progress inspite of striving hard in life, etc.

A person who kills a serpent invites serious Dosha onto himself. Such persons often see cobras both in reality and in dreams. The effect of this particular dosha is very severe. The remedy for this is to perform "Sarpa Samskara", similar to the "Samskara" (ceremonies) done after the death of a person.

Can we say sarpadosh puja, a Superstition? What is superstition?

Oxford dictionary defines the word superstition as 'A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences.' And the word irrational is defined as 'Not logical or reasonable.'
Here, the necessity to perform the puja is established as per astrological criteria. As mentioned earlier, Sarpadosha is diagnosed with the help of Astrology. Astrology is a science studied and believed in every part of the globe. Many learned men take help of astrology in their life. It has well-defined methods. For thousands of years, many have benefitted from the application of this science. The ritual explained is performed in a particular way and each step is backed by logical reasoning, just like there are specific steps involved in any scientific experiment. This specific diagnostic criteria for the problem (here Sarpadosha) and the specific method used as a solution (the puja or the ritual), has benefited many individuals over many centuries. Thus, we can say that the ritual of ?Sarpa Dosha Nivaran? has also survived the test of time. The point to be noted here is that it is being diagnosed and performed in the same manner in many other places too! So, what is irrational? To label anything that is beyond the perception of our limited intellect as supernatural, and then discarding it, without adequate reasoning, is dishonesty with self!

So now, will you call the puja performed by Sachin a superstition? If yes, then it means the basis on which this particular ritual rests i.e., the Law of Karma is also a superstition. Do we agree? Law of Karma is a very fundamental concept of Hinduism and is accepted by many as reality!

Is it Unscientific?

Every religion has a prescribed set of rituals which people following it abide by. Considering the extremely wide time frame for which Hindu Dharma exists and the endless tradition of sages (Rishis) it is not surprising that Hindu Dharma has far better insights about life. The rishis approached problems in life with pure intellect. If we were to compare the analytical mind of a rishi and a scientist engrossed in research we would find no difference. (Rather, I would say rishis were far more superior in this field of experimentation than present day scientists.) So how can politicians, columnists or an editor of some daily discard such rituals as unscientific without proving them so? The onus to prove something, which is being performed for many centuries and has benefitted innumerable lives, as unscientific lies on the person claiming so! So in case of such rituals, one has to remember that people cannot be fooled for centuries together! The Truth always stands the test of time and triumphs and the untruth gets lost and destroyed with the flow of time. Thus, so-called intellectuals cannot just declare time-tested rituals as unscientific without proof.

Oxford dictionary defines the word unscientific as 'Not in accordance with scientific principles or methods.' The word scientific means 'systematic or methodical.' Science means 'an organized body of knowledge on any subject.' Hindu religion is the most scientific religion as there is a science behind each and every ritual it has prescribed. To understand this science one need to study it thoroughly. Have these so-called intellectuals studied the Hindu rituals, which they claim to be unscientific? If yes, what were their methods?

Is it wrong for an Icon to perform religious ritual?

According to some, Sachin's performance of this ritual has given a wrong message to his fans. They have commented that realizing his responsibilities, as an icon, Sachin should not have performed this ritual. What is wrong with an icon performing religious rituals? If Mr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India and leader of the secular UPA government can visit the Gurudwara and can express his wish to visit Nankana Saheb Gurudwara in Pakistan, then why can't Sachin perform the Sarpa Dosha Nivaran Puja? Many of the icons in India advertise and promote things that are hazardous to health. Many have their personal life published in periodicals, which no sensible parents would like their child to follow. These things are hardly noticed and criticized but when it comes to someone, especially a celebrity, performing a puja (a Hindu ritual!) there is a big commotion, mockery and criticism from so-called intellectuals. Politicians like Shri. Shantaram Naik make the said event a point worth criticizing in Parliament! Such is the state of the intellectual atmosphere in this country named India that was once the spiritual master of the world.

Performing a ritual is sign of weak mind. Is that so ?

According to some, performing such rituals is a sign of weak mind. (Does it mean that those who do not perform such religious rituals are progressive and strong-minded? And all those who perform puja are weak minded?). One day a colleague of the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Subramaniyam Chandrashekhar, the Nobel Prize winner saw him performing a puja. He was surprised. Dr. Chandrashekhar said, " I get bliss. Why shall I not perform it?" A mind possessing divine qualities is a strong mind. So-called intellectuals who indulge in idle talk to criticize Sachin do not define what they mean by a strong mind and a weak one. Rituals are one of the ways that help to develop such a mind. Someone might have commented this considering Sachin's present form and his difficulties. As he is not able to get away from his present difficulties he has done this puja, which means he has lost all his guts to fight out. On the contrary, in the social circumstances that prevail currently, inspite of being a celebrity who is constantly in the public eye, whose every act reflects in the media, Sachin performed the puja. This shows his courage. Human beings have an existence at the spiritual level apart from their existence at the psychological and the physical levels. So the problems occurring in their lives have their causes at all these three levels. Sachin is already taking hard efforts at his physical and psychological levels. What is wrong if he does something to solve his problem at the spiritual level? That too for a problem, that has been diagnosed using scientific diagnostic criteria?
Actually there is another angle to this ritual called Sarpadosha Nivaran. Apart from the astrological diagnostic criteria used, the symptomatology of the problem points towards unliberated ancestral lingadehas (subtle bodies) creating obstacles in one's life. It should be noted that one of the symptoms of this particular problem is seeing serpents in dreams. This peculiarity should be noted when the ritual of Sarpadosha Nivaran comes into picture.

Unjust criticism of Media for propagating Sachin's Sarpadosh Puja

The media was criticized for giving coverage to this puja. On May 16, 2006, Shri. Shantaram Naik, M.P. from Goa said in the Rajya Sabha, 'When the Constitution commits itself to the removal of superstition and increasing the scientific temper, why should TV channels propagate Sarpa Dosha Nivarana of Sachin Tendulkar'. The media is always on the go to catch a glimpse of what goes on in the personal life of celebrities. So, the puja performed by Sachin appeared in the media! Now, was the event so bad that the media should be criticized for telecasting it? Particularly, when many television channels literally deliver obscenity to us in our living room. Sachin is a celebrity. The media gives coverage to both the professional as well as the personal life of a celebrity. And as far as following religious beliefs is concerned, this is not the first time that the media has done so. We have seen our Prime Minister visiting a Gurudwara. The list is endless. Then, why this criticism? Just because Sachin performed a Hindu ritual and others will follow his footsteps? Those who are criticizing this today may say tomorrow that anything about Hinduism should not be telecast, as people may follow it.

Uniqueness of Hinduism!

Every now and then we hear about animal rights protection. Many groups are working towards protecting animals. Because of their zeal, celebrities stopped using mink coats etc. Salman Khan was sentenced to imprisonment by court for killing a protected animal. In this ritual of Sarpa Dosha Nivaran, the individual is asked to perform puja as a remedy for crime of a similar nature committed by him or his ancestors in the previous birth! Does any modern science have a better method of inculcating the 'Live and let Live' principle in social minds? Actually, animal rights people should support Sachin for publicly doing this puja and should thank the media for telecasting it all over, as it supports their cause! We need to understand and appreciate, the extent to which Hinduism goes in respecting and protecting animals, and pay gratitude to it for the same. Hindus celebrate festivals like Pola and Nagapanchami wherein bullocks and snakes respectively are worshipped.

Is it ignorance or anti Hinduism?

Sarpa Dosha Nivaran is labelled as superstition and unscientific by the Member of Parliament Mr. Shantaram Naik. Columnist Shobha De finds it hard to believe that an intelligent man like Sachin performed such a ritual. So shall we say that playing cricket well is a sign of all knowing intelligence? She concluded that he is bound by regressive thoughts. We see that inspite of being bestowed with the best of material things in life; thousands of believing individuals visit holy places and perform various religious rituals. Are all of them unintelligent and bound by regressive thoughts? What can we call all this argument by so-called learned intellectuals? It as an unjustified mockery of Hindu rituals. It is demeaning Hinduism just for the heck of it. Demeaning Hinduism is a favorite habit of these so-called pseudo-intellectuals. For them, to criticize Hinduism is a sign of being secular, modern and intellectual. They will not criticize any prayer but will criticize Hindu rituals. They don't want to understand that a ritual is a prayer with a certain discipline.

Dr. Durgesh Samant MD
National Spokesperson,
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

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06 Mar 2007, 08:18
now the next step is how to propogate your website..?
no doubt this is what is required in modern day india, awareness of hinduism..
so how to make people read such articles...
ullekh hegde
06 Apr 2007, 00:57
a real eye opening article. nowadyas the intellectuals n psuedo-secularists speak keeping their brains in their pockets. they think they r the most intelligent people of the world. this is the root cause of the problem. when a person thinks he is the most intelligent, then starts his downfall.whenever we comment we should research and then comment. i salute HJS for creating awareness among sleeping hindu mass
15 Apr 2007, 21:17
Sachin should do meditation. Meditation techniques have been practiced for thousands of years. Originally the goal was to help individuals deepen their understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. And for many, meditation continues to be a spiritual and religious practice. Variations of meditative practice are found in all of the world's religions. Meditation is used by people who are perfectly healthy as a means of stress reduction. But if you have a medical condition that's worsened by stress, you might find the practice valuable in reducing the stress-related effects of allergies, asthma, chronic pain and arthritis, among others.
Pandit Devindra Maharaj
17 Apr 2007, 21:31

To those that cannot appreciate the science of rituals and who confuse this with superstition.

I would like to briefly explain this from a scientific point of view. According to our present understanding of Quantum Physics - a Qwerk is the small part of material nature and it is found that the Qwerk is not solid but electrical force.
What has been uncovered in the process of scientific discovery is that from solid form to minute states there are finer and finer particles of energy. What has never been acknowledged in this process is that at each finer level there exists a universe that has an interconnected reality to our state ( Superstring theory etc..)

What can be deduced from this, is that the whole universe while it appears to our consciousness as solid, is an aggregation of forces !

The law of conservation of energy says Energy is neither created nor destroyed it changes from state to state.

All beings are essentially energy (in its lowest forms ) and are a product of the combined energy of the sets of preceding ancestors and are connected to them by virtue of this energy. This is the idea behind the performance of Shraddha where offerings are made to God for the benefit of seven preceding generations and seven successive generations. This is done so that any ancestors or progeny that are experiencing pain or suffering (food and water are offered) will be relieved of that suffering.

This ritual can be classified as superstition but is is really ? According to our Yogic texts the Human body is composed of five energy sheaths called Koshas which are Anamaya (food), Pranamaya (lifeforce), Manomaya (mind), Vijnaamaya
(intellect) and Anandamaya (bliss). These are said to house the spirit of the being. Now what is of interest here is that the food that is ingested is converted from the Anamaya kosha to energy to feed the Pranamaya which in turn feeds the Manomaya Kosha ( to form the mindstuff ).

This points to the fact that these Rishis/Yogis were aware of Quantum Physics from a spiritual point of view, albeit with different names and understanding. (Reference Spanda Karika - The stanzas on Vibration - Kashmiri Shaivism / Shaktism )

Upon death, the astral body which separates from the physical body departs( as a preta) and exists in that state of energy that is has acquired in Human existence - Hence the description of the Seven hells and seven heavens.

When a lower being is killed and acquires a spirit form, it acquires the powers of the spirit which is not then constrained by any energy fields (which are limitless depending upon intelligence and evolution of the spirit !) When this being (in the case of the Sarpa) has an enemy it will attack that enemy with full force (psychically), if it cannot find the direct enemy that which is interconnected by energy to the enemy becomes the next available target (as energy is not static but dynamic.) The universe is elliptical and so when an energy is released moves infinitely until it reaches its target.

The rituals of Puja has ten karmas which are Shanti (pacification), Pushti(increase ), etc...

Hence the ritual Sarpa Dosha Nivarana is done to pacify any such attacks and can prevent malefic energy from reaching progeny who may have no knowledge of what transpired however long ago !

This therefore is highly scientific and not just a set of blind beliefs !

Congratulations to Sachin for following his Dharma and for upkeeping his religion and beliefs.

Best Regards
Pandit Devindra Maharaj
18 Apr 2007, 09:56
The so-called intellectuals like Shobha De, write trash and obscene literature,which will morally corrupt youngsters. Most of them live and propagate an immoral,western life-style, whereas true Bharatiyas follow a disciplined,value-based,spiritual life-style, which can be a model for youngsters to follow with pride. The atheists of India are the most vicious,vulgar characters you can ever think of!
Sneha Mehta
18 Apr 2007, 16:26
Since when has rituals become superstition. Every faith has their own customes for religious ceremenies. Why, then, when a Hindu performs it it is wrong in the eyes of so called secular. These seculars are trying is create negative feelings in the minds of our Youngs.. People like Sobha must be stopped and every magazine/publisher publishes such articles must be bycotted by every Hindu..
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