As Hindus prepare to celebrate Maha Shivratri festival today and tomorrow, it was just a matter of time before our left-liberal media outlets started lecturing about the ‘harmful’ impact of the festival. And first off the block this time has been Raghav Bahl’s ‘The Quint’ with an article titled “Malnutrition vs Devotion: What to Do With Milk on Mahashivratri?”
Many were reminded of the now famous Adarsh Liberal meme which came out in early 2016 and accurately predicts how liberals view each and every Hindu festival –
— हम भारत के लोग (@India_Policy) February 13, 2018
Here is the complete Adarsh Liberal ‘Festivals Calendar’ –
Incidentally, The Quint is no stranger to controversy – quite a few of its columnists have wished for PM Modi’s assassination, one of it’s journalists was booked for abetment of a jawan’s suicide while doing a ‘sting operation’ in an Army cantonment, while its founder Raghav Bahl wrote a piece criticizing demonetization with ugly stereotyping of Gujaratis as corrupt businessmen who eat “greasy vegetarian meals.”
What is Maha Shivaratri Festival?
This beautiful article on India Facts explains the significance of Maha Shivaratri and the meaning of various rituals associated with worship of Shiva –
“Shivaratri is unambiguously the most prominent and significant of spiritual festivals for all who worship Shiva and Shakti. Every year on the 14th tithi during the Krshna Paksha of the month of Magha or the month of Phalguna, depending on the calendar being used, this festival is celebrated by millions of Hindus across India. Many Hindu scriptures of the medieval era speak of this Mahashivaratri (Maha because every month too has a small Shiva ratri), its associated stories and the methods of celebrating this night. According to some legends this is the night when Shiva performs his fantastic dance of Tandava, while another story explaining the significance of Shivaratri says this was the night when Shiva was married to Parvati.
The simplest form of Shivaratri celebration involves fasting all night along with contemplation on the magnificent tranquility of Lord Shiva and abhisekha of Shiva Linga using water, milk, bel leaves, dhatura, honey, curd, ghee, bhasma, etc. as the night keeps progressing. Offering each of these items is supposed to bring a specific result to the devotees. During each prahara (the night is divided into 4 such praharas) there are specific mantras used for worship and abhisekha of Shiva.”
Essentially, there is no hard and fast rule to celebrating the festival, and bhakts (devotees) worship Bhagwan Shiva as per their tradition, capacity and degree of devotion. This article provides another perspective on why some devotees offer milk to the Shivling.
It is no one’s argument that Hindu socio-religious practises should be frozen in time. But what is required when suggesting changes is an empathetic insider perspective on the tradition, especially when you are talking about a religion which does not impose itself on believers and holds that even non-believers can attain moksha (liberation) by purifying their minds through actions & thoughts.
However, what one see in the ilk of The Quint columnist Naina Sharma (a journalist and Political Science graduate) is a sense of derision and utter contempt for Hindu beliefs and traditions. She ends her article with the contemptuous line “The choice to move beyond our religious obsessions is in our hands.”
Yes, to a left-liberal brought up on a diet of Western Universalism and self-loathing, Hindu Dharma and its myriad traditions might well appear to be “religious obsession”. For them, anything associated with Hindu beliefs and practises is a zero-sum game, where society is always better off in junking its Hindu identity. Extending their logic, one could ask – why any individual should play golf on water-guzzling courses, visit malls or watch Bollywood potboilers, splurge on luxury tours, organize taxpayer-funded elitist literary fests disconnected with our roots, or indulge in any personal endeavour which interests us – while poverty and malnourishment exist?
Same folks can also lecture you on sanctity of private property rights, unless the private property happens to be milk.
— Vivek (@vivx) February 13, 2018
Hindus are not averse to change. No other society would have witnessed the flux in socio-religious norms, the emergence of countless enlightened souls with their own unique teachings – all of whom were accepted by society as great teachers. But what we will not accept is hectoring and shaming by those who have neither appreciation, nor empathy for Dharma and its practitioners.
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