Sadhana explores the contradiction of digital India vs. goddess worship in The Asian Age, October 19, 2015.
Nothing can describe the paradox of Indian culture better than this famous statement of the great Cambridge economist Joan Robinson, “The frustrating thing about India is that whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true.”
It needs a western thinker to see and comment on the dichotomy of the Indian mind. Indians, born and brought up on contradictions, are conditioned to accept both the extremes simultaneously without feeling disturbed by it.
The contradictions are galore. On one hand the government wants its vision of a “Digital India” where advancements in technology and connectivity can improve the quality of life of citizens, to materialise. While on the other hand the fictitious image of goddesses are worshipped fervently as if they were true.
Technology needs a sharp intellect and rational thinking, and Indians have proved that they excel in it. But how does worshipping an image of their imagination fit with this digital mind? Can a rational mind believe in the fiction of idol worship? They don’t find it strange that they worship the imaginary woman and abuse the real woman at home or on the street. It is ironically, indeed, that no other country worships goddesses with so much fanfare as India does, yet the situation of its women is among the most deplorable in the world.
One wonders whether people are compensating for the lack of respect for women by worshipping their idol counterparts?
We are missing something. If you delve into the meaning of the popular Sanskrit chant which is used to praise the goddess you will be surprised. It is not about worshipping the statue, it is about the worshipper. It is a reminder of all the feminine qualities that everybody is born with and which lie dormant within. Not only women, but men too possess these qualities. This chant says, “Bow down to the feminine principle that dwells in each being as trust, intelligence, strength, compassion, peace, devotion, friendliness, modesty, sleep, abundance.”
The Navaratri festival is a celebration of the feminine — within and without. The creaters of this insightful poem never asked of believers to make a statue and worship it – and that too just for nine days! What about the remaining days of the year? Do we forget these qualities and be cruel to women otherwise?
No, we have to wake up to reality. Its women’s condition is a stigma to Indian society and the solution is neither political, legal nor social. Only an enlightened consciousness like Osho can resolve the issue. Firstly, he says that unless a man accepts and cleans up his own sexuality he cannot respect a woman. Why does every woman remind him of sex? Why so much obsession?
Osho wants men to give women their due place with respect and apologies. “She is equal, but she is not similar. She is different and she should remain different; her difference is her beauty — and the difference between men and women is their attraction…. It will create a bridge. And a loving bridge will create more friendship.” If Indian men start respecting women for real, their need to worship an idol will become redundant.
Amrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad
Quote by Osho from Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Ch 19
Illustration Osho News