My Granny was a very religious person. However, ever since my Childhood I had my reservations in the ways she practiced religion. Of course she was a great Granny to me but certain things did disturb my innocent and immature mind when I was with her during my holidays.
I always found it very strange and uncomfortable when this religious lady used to offer tea in separate cups to a section of people who would sit at a distance out in the courtyard and would also ensure at the end of eerie hospitality that they wash their cups or glasses and show their gratitude to my Granny for this awkward behavior.
Shivalaya on the bank of Madhuganga -Medhegad, Village Chai
Yes I do remember distinctly my Granny’s stories of places far off in the hills where only holy souls could visit. It sounded as if these holy places were meant for holy souls and people with meaningful and larger purpose in life. She would often narrate stories of towns in Himalayas like Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.
Kapil Dobhal a garib Kranti Activist in Chai village. Campaigning to bring about Land Consolidation-Chakbandi in the hills of Uttarakhand.
All these stories were fantasies to us meticulously carved out by Granny as reciprocation and bribes that she offered to us for good behavior, obeisance and helping her out with the daily chores and massaging her feet at the end of a hill woman’s tiring day.
Don’t know why but I always had a feel that in spite of having so much faith for those fancied places, she was never in a hurry to visit those towns. She would always say people need to go there with total devotion, respect and surrender to Almighty. She also stressed not everyone should be visiting the place, to maintain the sanctity of the surroundings, strengthening our belief of those enthralling places , an imagination of Granny’s love for us.
Lansdowne hills as seen from Chai Village
Today with what has happened to these childhood virtual towns, I sincerely feel she and many others like her exactly knew what they were sounding in terms of fairy tales and bed time stories. She knew exactly the same of what so many experts believe in their own worlds of intellectual arrogance the real meaning of striking a balance with Mother Nature. She was always subconsciously aware that these fanciful real places are palaces of heavenly souls with no worldly belongings, with a deep zest of total surrender, devotion and spiritual development; for people dedicated for the larger bourgeois population. They are definitely not to be mistaken for places of tourist interest and fun.
Community feast-Bhandara after the Puja on the occassion of Ganga Dhashara on 18 June 2013 at village Chai about 25Km from Landsdowne
At times I wonder- Is it really the angst of Lord Shiva – so popularly being spoken these days as “SHIVA’S TANDAVA”. And I seem to steadily develop a consensus with people who put the happenings in this context as well.
I sincerely feel we the lesser mortals who are otherwise so full of manners and observe all etiquettes in our so called civilized society , had over the years simply forgotten that Lord’s sanctified home cannot be taken for granted. His drawing room, his privacy cannot be disturbed inundated with guests all of a sudden. We may all define it as a sudden event but we do forget sometimes consciously that we all were really trying Almighty’s patience for a long time and this time it seemed Lord decided that enough was enough.
I have my reservations and annoyance with the way Lord treated all of us, the spoilt brats but “SHIVA KI MAHIMA” is well known to all and so is his TANDAVA. However I do believe that Lord also was not aware that his mild rebuke as sudden jolt on his part to wake up people from their deep slumber would go such a long way. He must have desired to teach with a twist of arm without harm.
As Margret Mead – Anthropologist and Humanist said 50 years ago: “Not War but a plethora of Man – Made things is threatening to strangle us, bury us in the debris and by products of our technology inventive and irresponsible age”.
I wish we had a larger, holistic, meaningful and much deeper sense and vision for our holistic development. Unlike the illusionary concept of developing GDP (Gross Domestic Product); if only we could tread on with small steps towards our growth indices with a more balanced and deeper concept of GNH (Gross National Happiness)- BHUTAN and GNE ( Gross National Environment).
A growth development pattern based on striking a balance between material and spiritualistic needs of people. A holistic development engrained and originating from the basic tenets of Buddhist ethics and conservation of environment. We need to understand and as early as possible the delicate balance we need to maintain between human beings and nature for their sustained long term interdependence to be fruitful.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Nature has enough for man’s needs but not enough for his greed’s”.
Major Rahul Jugran is with DMMC-Government of Uttarakhand