Rationalists vs Traditionalists.
Rationalists vs Traditionalists.
There is an ongoing fight between atheists and supporters of
tradition in my state. It began with the rationalists eating chicken biryani
during the solar eclipse in defiance against the tradition of not cooking and
taking light uncooked food during the day. The rationalists argue that the
eclipse is merely a planetary phenomenon and it does not have any impact on
What is the rational behind not cooking and eating sparsely on
the solar eclipse day?
- The Sun is represented by fire. It is believed that the solar
eclipse leads to disturbance in this element in environment and within the
body. Therefore cooking with fire is prohibited. The fire within the body is
the digestive fire (jatharagni). Therefore the restriction on eating
- The restriction is according to ayurvedic principles that
recognizes the value of the elements space, air, water, fire, and earth
- There is some modern science behind it also. Gut microbes have
been observed to behave differently during the eclipse. Hormonal changes have
also been noticed.
- In animals, their behaviour is altered. Birds tend to fly to
their nests mimicking the evening ritual.
Thus the eclipse does have an impact. For the sake of health
taking precautions is not a bad idea. Medical science will not agree. But the
objective of medical science is not good health and wellbeing. They are happy
Ordinarily the Hindu society is not antagonistic towards
atheists and rationalists. There is the Charvak philosophy and its proponent
was known as Rishi Charvak. The philosophy is about enjoying the world without
regard for the afterlife. After all who has seen what lies beyond death?
But currently there is a societal uproar against the
rationalists. Why is this happening? The people of the state are alarmed at the
state of things. From naked dancing in the pulpit, high consumption of liquor,
rampant use of drugs, increasing crime rate to high level prostitution and
illicit often incestual relationships, the State is going through a turmoil.
Therefore the people feel annoyed if there is a movement that threatens
traditional practices. People are slowly coming around to think that society
was better off when the traditions were followed.
I personally hope that this fight does not continue. Currently
what is required is unity. Infighting does not help. There are many serious
issues plaguing the State. The media is blowing things out of proportion by
fanning the fight for TRP reasons. FIR's have been filed against the
rationalists. Things are set to take an ugly turn as the rationalists have
threatened to repeat their act during the lunar eclipse.
Who is benefitting? There is an election ahead and the political
parties are happy that non issues are hogging the limelight. The media is happy
with its TRP. The public is harmed by such conflicts.
I personally know the rationalists. They are good people. Maybe
they will listen to reason. May the people opposing them too tone down their
voices. We are in the midst of the 50th anniversary of the famous Peace Pagoda
at Dhauli Bhubaneswar where Buddhists from all over the world have converged to
pray for peace. The month of October is also a holy month for the Hindu's. Let
us all give peace a chance.