Much Ado About Holiness

Why do you people go to temples? Why do people go on long, strenuous pilgrimages? Perhaps to attain purity, peace of mind, rid themselves of sins, and pray for their wishes to be granted by the almighty.

I can’t answer my own questions because when I see temples, I see money making machines, I see dirt and filth, I see lies, and I see people being tricked and fooled.

I happened to make a visit to the Kamakhya Temple, situated in Guwahati, Assam. Many Hindus consider it to be an important pilgrimage destination. Now you must be wondering why, of all places, I decided to venture into a temple. Well, I’ve been told many a times that temples aren’t simply religious sites, but also places of experience. A judgement or dogma cannot be formed without experience, so in I went to experience theKamakhyaTemple.

As I walked in to this famous temple, it felt a lot like walking into an animal farm. My eyes were subject to the sight of goats and hens and roosters loitering alongside each other. Something you expect out of a well-known destination? Not particularly what I had in mind. As I walked further in, I saw the mundis (severed heads) of several goats that had been “sacrificed” in the name of God and there they were lying at the feet of their Holy God. There was dust flying everywhere- how I wish I didn’t have to leave my shoes outside the temple.

In the interiors of this temple, you can see numerous babas squatting for whoever will drop offerings into their hands. I must tell you, they won’t settle for just any small rounded pennies, they crave for large amounts.

The actual rituals take place in the dungeon (if I can put it that way) of the temple. It’s a long and claustrophobic wait in extensive queues to accomplish what people actually come for, a moment with God, a moment to receive blessings and to bestow offerings to the almighty.

One need not go through tenacious efforts to attain the blessings of God. Purity of the soul is a simple exercise, which can be achieved through good deeds and actions.

Let’s not remain blinded to the fabrication that hovers over our eyes.

Shreya Kalra

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