The following is a pretty honest opinion that I have about temples/houses of worship. If you are easily offended or is not in the mood to hear this sort of stuff, skip ahead. Read another one of my posts (the funny ones, maybe) or close the window. I obviously have no problem having a rational discussion about this in the comments, but keep it nice.
Basically, thou shall the go away if thou is the butt hurt easy and not be the rude to me.
Anyway, I went to a temple today. I was made to wake up at 5 (AM!😱), shower (read: empty a tiny mug of hot water on the hair so everyone thinks I washed my hair) and travel for some 3 hours. This means I was already semi-grumpy and in a not-going-to-take-any-shit-today zone.
We went to one of the biggest temples in Kerala, India (shitty website tho 😛 ) so needless to say there’s always a crowd waiting to either see the idol or do some sort of pooja. People apparently wait for hours and hours (sometimes in scorching sun) to get into the temple but we knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who worked there and got these very special access pass. So I actually have no reason really to complain about anything but I saw some real bizzare things going on in there and hence this post.
The things people do, which is either some sort of superstition, custom or just random offering to God made me realise why I can never be a religious person. I feel the need to question everything I see/do and that doesn’t seem to be a thing in a temple.
For example, there some people who were rolling on the floor around the temple complex. This is a custom apparently (called Shayanapradikshanam) and it looked sad. I saw this one guy who was being rolled by a lady because he was semi-unconscious and tired from doing it for a long time. Now, after doing this the man might feel good (or he won’t) or some great desire of his heart would get fulfilled or something. I don’t know.
There were also people who were walking slowly around the temple. Like really really really slow. If you are unfortunate enough to get behind one of these groups, you’ll never reach anywhere. I thought they were just slow walkers, but turns out, it’s a custom. I wanted to ask them what was the point of walking like that, but none of them looked chatty.
There are also those poor souls who stand in line for hours just to see the idol for 5 seconds. Again, it’s their wish to whatever they want to do, so I am not commenting on this. I don’t understand giving God money either, because when did God become high maintenance? There’s special fee for prasadham, which is gheer and unniyappam and stuff (They are tasty AF so I ain’t complaining about that at all). Oh and people also did this special thing where they balance their own weight against certain items (from bananas to gold) and then offer that to the temple. Honestly, I don’t really think the God cares about your gold but these people are rich so I don’t know how their mind works. There was an elephant there in chains too, and if I start writing about how I feel about keeping animals in chains (wild animals that too) this post is going to go another way.
Point is, a temple or any house of worship, in my opinion should be a place where there’s peace and quiet. Honestly, this temple trip stressed me out. I saw tired faces wherever I looked. I have been to places with crowds before which were more peaceful than my own home. So the people aren’t what’s causing all the noise and stress. It’s the fact that the temples have become less Godly and more commercial. Everything people do to please the Gods are done after they pay a certain amount and get a receipt. I wanted to figure out how much money the temple must be making every day and I gave up (the numbers got confusing).
I have no issues with God, he/she/it seems chill. I don’t really think he/she/it gives many Fs about our lives coz seriously, we are pretty mundane in the big picture. In the meantime, people are rolling on the floor, slow walking, weighing gold and standing for hours under the hot sun to get the God to like them. If that makes them happy, so be it.
As for me, if I ever feel the need to go to a temple I think I’ll keep my visits limited to the smaller, calmer temples. Who knows, maybe those Gods have lesser visitors so they’ll hear me clearer. Until then, I’ll pray for the poor chained elephant.
P. S. I saw a tall man with long white hair and a white beard. So yes, Dumbledore is still alive and well. ❤