Advaitam and Science

OM, Purnamata purnamitam purnat purnamutachyate, purnasya purnamataye purnamevavasishyate – Bri.Up V.i.1


                                                                          IMPORTANCE OF RELIGIOUS RITUALS

India is a vast country and every part of India has different rituals and customs.  Hinduism is a religion that involves many rituals.  Many are ancient and some are newly formed to suit the convenience of the people who follow it, however rituals are rituals.  When a whole nation follows different rituals, it becomes necessary to know the importance of these rituals.  Any ritual ultimately leads to the realization of the Supreme Reality.  Different ways and methods are followed to realize that Supreme reality.  The methods may differ according to the people who follow it, but the Reality is non-dual.

One has to concentrate on the essence of the ritual.  When some procedure or method goes wrong while performing a ritual, it implies lack of concentration.  The fact is, if the mind is not concentrated, there will be delay in understanding the Reality.  An unclear mind veils the truth.  When a mistake is done in a ritual, normally people get scared that God may get angry with the whole family and take it as a bad omen.  They have more belief in superstition than in God.  Such thoughts are immature thoughts.  If such ideas persist even among matured people, then it is absolute ignorance.  People who follow rituals follow Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes).  God is worshiped by performing various rituals and during that process one must try to understand his nature.  This is the whole idea about worship and rituals.  Instead, if we worship for our material gains and accuses Him for not giving success, it is only a child play and God is not responsible for it.  Any ritual has to be understood in its original sense.  Ritual is one of the ways of understanding the Reality and it is targeted for the people who are of vibrant nature and fail to meditate in silence.  If the ceremony becomes an entertainment and social gathering, then the rituals will not serve its purpose.

Most of the religious rituals involve charity.  Charity purifies the mind and it gives a feeling that others problems are our own.  Instead if the charity is given with much aggrandizement, then it is not charity, it is an advertisement for our wealth and status.

Many things together make a ritual, and each of them has to be followed with utmost care.  In modern times most of the ceremonies are celebrated as an entertainment or get-together.  In my view, it is a challenge to perform any ritual as they did in the ancient period, however a ritual can be performed in modern times to purify the mind.  A ritual itself is a great purifier; instead if we disturb the mind for petty things, then the performance of the ritual will not serve its purpose.  A responsible person should understand the underlying principle of the ritual and perform it with a stable mind.