Thursday, October 08, 2009

A place of worship or discrimination

You go in with faith and you see discrimination. How would you feel?

Temples are one of those special places, which give a boost to the level of faith in God. This is one place, where people find peace of mind (I somehow dont, but some people I know believe in this).
How does it feel when in such places you see discrimination? We have seen that in so many temples.

Lets take the temples near our homes in India. The purohits give special preference to people who are regulars at the temple. Why?

A few temples, you dont get the theerta (holy water), unless you give the purohits dakshine (offerings)(mentioned about this here). Why corruption in temples?

Then comes Sabarimalai which is the abode of Lord Ayyappa. Girls/Ladies of age group 12-50 arent allowed here. The are so many stories and theories to this. But the same God can be worshipped by all ladies elsewhere. It's only in this place they arent allowed. Why would god discriminate? If he did, wouldn't this rule apply in all the temples?

I wonder if there is a Godess temple, where men aren't allowed!

Well, the reason this post has found a way in my blog is because of a temple I visited a few months back, and came back home angry. Yes, you read it right, ANGRY.

Now, this is the Swami Narayan Temple. It's got beautiful architecture. The moment you enter the temple, you actually dont look for the god, but the architecture. This is the same one as the Akshardham Temple in Delhi. I havent seen this one yet, but have been to 3 of them in US. One in Chicago, other in Atlanta and another in Houston. Below are the pictures of the Houston Swami Narayan Temple.






Beautiful!!! Isn't it?

Well, we were waiting for sometime, so that it would open up for Darshan. As we were waiting, saw a board which meant, Men will stand in front and Women will stand at the back during Arathi. We were a little confused as to why we would have to stand seperately. Seriously, it was not because we are husband-wife, its not even that we had to stand seperately. But why, guys in the front and ladies at the back.

I am not being a feminist here, even if it was the other way around, I would have asked this same question. Why, in the name of Godm are you doing this discrimination? Its nothing to do with equality or anything else. It's plain faith. A friend of ours was sitting in the front, and she was asked to vacate that place, as the guys were to stand there. What kind of rule is this?

We scream our hearts out in the name of racial discrimination, we shout so much for equality. But, when people do such things in the name of God, we just sit, and watch. I, felt ashamed that day, as i was silent and didn't question anybody. I wouldn't blame the men for this. Women have accepted this, and thats why its continued. We keep quiet, just coz its in a temple. And since, we are taught from childhood, we shouldn't question certain things related to god, we don't question such discrimination.

Aren't we all hypocrytes? We preach, everybody is equal in God's eyes. And then we do something shameful as this. Are we not responsible for such deeds???

Disclaimer : I have no idea why its done like this. If anybody believes that its right and have good reasons for it... Good for you. I still dont think its the right thing to do.


Chitra said...'s said that the fruits of a pooja conducted by the man of the family would be automatically bestowed upon the members of the house as well. Maybe the temple authorities feel the same in case of blessings as well. But ya, perhaps it's never been expressed in a manner so public.

Art said...

I have heard that too. Its not just about this... Even otherwise there is so much of discrimination. Sometimes when its so hard, you just realize this.
On a lighter note, we could just send the men folk to temples :)

enigma said...

Arathi, this is exactly how I felt when I visited the Swami Narayan Temple in London.... I too was Angry.. I had the same emotions as you...I don't feel like going there again...