Lord Shiva: the Auspicious
I’m not a frequent temple-goer nor into anything seriously spiritual, at best an occasional visitant at the abode of god. No wonder I see things more than the assembly of idols show me in their flower-laden resplendence. Sometimes I gripe about the cleanliness of the area spattered with betel spits and the attitude of one-upmanship in priests at some other; sometimes I get overwhelmed seeing the exuberance of devotion in fellow temple-goers and quiet desperation in some others. Even there are occasions I have critically marked the choice of flashy dress in others or their ostentatious generosity. In a word, I’ve never considered myself a proper religious man…but still, I go to temple occasionally.
Today I had been to the temple of Lord Shiva, the god of destruction and of everything auspicious. And I happened to find there a gathering of small children, aged in the range of four to fourteen. They were fourteen of them and they had come there to eat the tasty offering to god. Yes the offering should be tasty with ripe bananas mashed in perched rice soaked, with liberal use of ghee and molasses. The children were waiting patiently and seeing them I was reminded of my childhood days. I marked something about children that never changes: the eagerness in anticipation, the competition to get one’s share before anybody else, the chirping voice of pleasure and…
What, only three girl children in the assembly of fourteen? Yes, it’s sad but true. Everybody wants male child these days; the females are to die in the hands of unscrupulous surgeons, even before they are born. It’s visibly prominent now, even in idyllic villages. They have hundred reasons to justify what they’re doing or what they have done: dowry expenses are heavy if you’ve daughter; family line is maintained by sons; male children are the old age insurance, and blah, blah.
I know primitive tribes are getting decimated because they don’t have women. Woman—our daughters are mothers of our grand children. One such example of motherlessness is the Ongees of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There may be many more examples in the books of Anthropology. But are we prepared to learn from these examples?
I remembered I was in a temple—the temple of Lord Shiva: he is the god of destruction and of everything auspicious. He deserves my obeisance.