21 October, 2020

Stardust In The Havan

Before the temples of the gods, the rich, bent low with offerings, genuflect. But they stand privileged still.

Stardust In The Havan

There are a few occasions when the prince steps out of his estate and joins a stream of paupers. Actually, that’s not true. While faith and the desire for ritual sacrifice has the rich routinely queue up before a saint or a stone idol, they’re not exactly stranded amidst the humbler supplicants, waiting for their turn for whatever benefaction they seek. The rich are different so, of course, they have different queues. A little money goes a long way in India, and a lot of it assures you a hotline to heaven. It also buys the comfort of personal audiences—whether with gods or gurus—helicopter charters, hot and cold showers and luxe accommodation, making the token deprivations tolerable.

This give and take, the negotiation between something given aga­­inst hope of gain, has sanction in Indian spirituality. Even the mig­hty Akbar grovelled before  saint Moinuddin Chisti when begging for the boon of sons. There’s a tradition in Rajasthan of the barefoot parikr­ama between throne and shrine for the protection of kingdoms and the...



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