RAMLILA – INTERESTING BHOJPURI FLIP

This one is a Ramlila clip shot randomly.

The annual ‘Ramayana’ event, organized across India through plays, is being staged here at the Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi – on November 17, i.e., on the day of Chhath Puja in 2015.

Ramlila is played over an extended period of time at different places in Varanasi and it goes well beyond the Dussehra festivities – that fall usually in the months of September-October.

Here, in the Ramlila at the Manikarnika Ghat, the informal conversation interspersed with dialogues between the characters is quite interesting.

The part of Ramayana (or Ramcharit Manas, the most loved Hindu scripture written on Ramayana by Goswami Tulsidas in 15th-16th Century) being staged here is about ‘Vibhishan leaving his brother Ravan and joining Lord Ram’s side in the epic battle between bad and good’.

After Vibhishan has left Lanka, Ravan’s place, Ravan commands his spies to go clandestinely after Vibhishan and to report the developments from Lord Ram’s camp.

The brief conversation/dialogue here is in Hindi-Bhojpuri mix that also includes informal conversation between the characters about changing their appearances for the next scene and it can be heard well on the speaker. Bhojpuri is a dialect of Hindi and is spoken mainly in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

That is the way most of the Ramlilas are staged these days – just to fulfil the basic minimum of a tradition that is centuries old – without aesthetics of stage performances – but the flip here brings natural smile if you know the context.

It tells what has happened to this serious art form – that is weaved around something without which the Indian society cannot think of its holistic existence – and that – that still why it is so imperative – that you stop by to think about its serious revival – given that Ramlilas are an inseparable part of Indian cultural milieu.

So, you don’t appreciate the way it is done here, still you enjoy the show – not looking for professional finesse – that you cannot expect from poorly paid and makeshift actors – but for the sustenance of this Centuries old tradition.

I just thought to post it here…but it is quite ‘audible’ – Bhojpuri and Hindi the Banarasi way..

Enjoy it raw from the YouTube link here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpCnZHrPIkY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpCnZHrPIkY

Ramlila-1

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DIVISIVE RHETORIC ON SAI BABA AND HINDU DEITIES: UNFORTUNATE, DEPLORABLE

Well, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s deplorable.
We all haven’t heard or seen Gods.

And we have more than enough and valid reasons to believe that no one, including those who claim, has heard or seen any God – ‘any’ God because we are routinely told there are many Gods – because we are also told that all Gods lead to the One – everyone, in fact, most, cannot and never reach to that spiritual high to realize the ‘oneness’ of this ‘many identities’.

Anyway, that is not the concern here. The concern is – we all haven’t seen or heard Gods and yet, we, so shamelessly, keep on claiming Him (or Her) or claim in His name (or Her name).

It is saddening and maddening to hear the divisive rhetoric on ‘Sai Baba with Hindu Deities in temples’ these days that has gone well beyond the words to mobilize the religious factions, followers and fanatics on the ground – and the line between a follower and a fanatic is in imminent danger of losing its relevance.

On one side is a godman, claiming to represent the religious tradition of Shankaracharya, central to the Hinduism of the day in many aspects – who, in spite of his advancing age, has not been able to collect the spiritual essence of Hinduism (or of Vedas or of Shankaracharya’s teachings, who was just 12, when he did it all) and is targeting a saint, who has come to be treated as a God by his followers – a saint who never claimed he was a God – an ascetic who spent his life for others – a Messenger who never wanted to be worshipped as a God, as the literature says – and all the big temples and the growing religious infrastructure in his name are not serving his cause, are not spreading the message of his life – his Godliness was in his simplicity and access to all.

It is sad that Swaroopanand Saraswati’s rants on ‘unGodliness’ and religion of Sai Baba have found takers from both the spectrums – the believers of the Sai Baba tradition speaking against and mounting their protests – and the people ready to take Swaroopanand Saraswati’s agenda ahead.

Being religious and following a God is a private affair but the fear psychosis on God’s ways to control or run the lives of His followers, as proposed and spread by the men (the cults of godmen, the tradition of religious opinion leaders) has distorted and is distorting the real purpose of religion and God – making man a better man – making society a social amalgamation – making humanity more humane – making civilization more civilized.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FOLLOWING A RELIGION

These are my personal views based on my life experiences on how I perceive Religion and my religious obligations. This is not to hurt anyone. It is just a logical attempt to present my viewpoint.

  1. Your Religion has to be the evolved one and so it has to be logical. One must not accept because one was asked or advised to accept.
  2. There should be a harmony between your conscious and your Religion. When it comes to choosing one of the two, and when you believe in the universal tenets of Humanity, you should go for your consciousness.
  3. One should practice a Religion accordingly, and not just observe it as a body of norms inherited to be followed.
  4. For your Religion to be evolved and so to be logical you must seriously question its tenets and you must vehemently seek answers. Faith has to be logical. It must not be blind.
  5. It is true no one can claim to see God, the basis of any Religion, and so Faith is about your preferences, it is about your believing in God without seeing him, it is, basically, about feeling Him. So it can be argued how to correlate Faith with Logic then? Okay, no one is saying to question God, and so the religious tenets, for the sake of questioning only. But do question the tenets when your conscious says a God cannot allow certain events to happen, events that are ungodly in nature.
  6. If you don’t find answers it means you don’t understand your Religion or probably the questions where your Religion is silent are the questions to be explored in the next phase of its journey to evolve.
  7. Doing so leads one to the Spiritual quotient of God, the essence of Religion. You must understand that Spirituality and Religion are not different but are mutually interdependent concepts on the path leading to the manifestation of God, or to say His feeling in our conscious.
  8. Spirituality is not about some big concepts and sacrifices. It has to be, basically, feeling your God inside you while following the universal norms of Humanity that tell you need to take care of the other human beings the way you take care of your family. It has to be the quest within. Be honest to your God within you and you are well on the way to gain the Spiritual wisdom.
  9. Your Religion should tell you to respect other Religions the way you respect yours. If it pushes you to treat other Religions as inferior, you are fundamentally flawed then. It says either your Religion has problems or you have indoctrinated it without understanding its essence. Fundamentally, all Religions promote equality and peace – you need to ‘come’ to believe this.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

GOD, SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION: AN INTERDEPENDENCE WE FAIL TO UNDERSTAND

What Religion should be for us?
Why should we follow a Religion?
What Religion should we follow?

These are the different questions that, many of us, ask, from time to time, without caring for what we know of and how we know the Religion we practice.

The reason that pushes us for this sort of questioning, a process of reasoning in tougher circumstances of life, comes to our thinking whenever we face hopeless situations in life, where we are not able to reconcile with God for the events happening around us, whether with us or with anyone else where we see the events in motion, events that directly affect our way of thinking.

It is true we ask these questions regularly but we seldom realise what this regular frequency says to us for, we seldom think that our faith and so the Religion we follow should be the evolved one.

We ask questions but we don’t seek answers.

God, Spirituality and Religion – the mess that we have created around the meanings and the symbolisms of these three fundamental words of any human life and so any civilization is responsible for it.

These three words, their meanings and their symbolisms are mutual, interdependent and related. They cannot be practiced in isolation.

Those of us who ask questions but don’t seek answers don’t understand or don’t want to understand the dynamics of these basic principles of organizing a life.

Basic principles, because even if one doesn’t follow a God, a Religion or doesn’t believe in Spirituality, the person needs to know why he is not following when the majority is doing the contrary.

His alternative thinking should also be the evolved one.

When we see or start to see these three fundamental entities, God, Spirituality and Religion, in isolated blocks or when we compromise one at the cost of the other, or when we begin to make combinations without knowing the dynamics of the interdependence, we fail to understand any of these three fundamental principles of life.

And that is what most of us do.

That takes us away from the logical path where we don’t know, we don’t understand, so we never realise, but we follow. So we question but don’t seek answers because even those questions are not the evolved ones, because we become opportunist in seeking God.

But to know God, one must understand the Religion.

But to know life, one must understand the interdependence between God, Spirituality and Religion.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

“Politics is supposed to be the sociological function to shape and strengthen the democracy in a country like India. Politicians are supposed to be the elected custodians to serve the cause of the people to support the elements of democracy.

Religion is supposed to be the ideological, spiritual and social function that inculcates a discipline to follow life according to the norm in a society, a norm that intends to promote the humane values, the concept of ‘humanity first’.

But, both, politics and religion are creating effects, events and undercurrents in the society and in the country that are antithesis to these supposed functions.

Add to it the cancerous concoction of religion and politics. It completes the circle of exploitation, of democracy, in the name of democracy.”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIOTERS: WE EVEN PLANNED TO PUNISH THEM

We were just too young to think the good or bad of that. Yes, we naturally felt elated when, after spending an hour or two in school, we would get the opportunity to head back home, day after day, for many days, that year.

Some of the super-seniors in the school, whom everyone saw as bad characters and so needed to maintain a distance from, would come directly in the class, would throw some religious slogans, would ask the teacher to leave the class and would ask us to go home.

Though, we were aware that all this was happening to build the Ram Temple in Ayodhya in place of the Babri Mosque, the only point that concerned us then was the fact that we were getting an early leave from the school, an added bonus.

Initially, for some days, it all looked so pleasing to us. We had plenty of time to hang-around, to play, to read comic strips, the in-thing those days. As classes were not running, there was no pressure of home work. Cricket, candies and comic strips – the 3Cs – they flowed so smoothly.

But it didn’t last long.

One day, we were told by the parents that schools had been closed till the next information as tension was growing with increasing rallies and protests of temple-supporters. Soon after this, we were informed that curfew was clamped not just in Varanasi but in many other cities as riots had broken out.

We are aware of words ‘curfew’ and ‘riots’, but not what they meant in real terms. These were just newspapers words newly added to our vocabulary after the family elders told us about. Elders told us they meant bad, ominous developments. But for us, it was more about its dictionary meaning. Rather, for us, it was an opening into the period of more relaxed days with more time at our disposal.

But, soon, the feeling of joy was replaced by a lingering innuendo of boredom. Though our house was in a sub-lane, away from the main road where regular police patrolling was being done, we were not allowed to venture out of the house. TV had no satellite channels then. The only mode of communication was the landline phone of BSNL that we children were not allowed to use on our own.

So even if some of us were so not into the games of daily routine, like going out, playing cricket, table-tennis or hide and seek in that part of the year because winter was approaching and early arrival of darkness would give us a chance to play the game within the time set by the parents to reach back the house, we started feeling yearning for outings.

With no outdoor games, controlled TV timings, no communication with friends, of school or neighbourhood, and no school classes (yes school and daily trip to it were looking better options now), we soon started feeling isolated, as if we were incarcerated on an island and there was no set timeline for our freedom.

But there was more to come. The menu of meals at home was getting increasingly same, day after day, and so tasteless. No milk was non-issue but tea or coffee, that was first on a reduced availability, and soon became sporadically available, and that too, if anyone could go out during the relaxed curfew hours and if was lucky enough to get some milk.

Also, as parents and elders, too, were restricted to the house, it resulted in the development we needed the least, in fact we detested. Since they, too, did not have much to do, their attention was drawn directly to our free time, that how much of time we were wasting, that we could utilize the time to cover the syllabus to get ahead of others. And soon, we had more than willing teachers monitoring us all the time.

24/7 teachers, a dull menu day after day, no outdoor games, no talking to friends, no enjoying the daily trip to the school and back home, no new comic strips, (no milk was ok but) no milk or coffee – we were having a troubling time and we had no idea how long our ordeal was going to continue. Even the long hours of the school-time were (we were increasingly realising) much better than this (though, a realisation that didn’t last long, once, the school was routine, again). But then, in the circumstances of ‘pushed’ study hours and reduced free time, we were missing the school and the freedom associated with it like anything.

With every passing day, we were getting disappointed, we were getting frustrated and we were getting angry. And on our target were those who took our freedom, who took out rallies, got our school closed, and spread riots. We would curse them in whatever words we could. We even planned to punish them if they came across us. For us, the only culprits were those who orchestrated the rallies, the curfew and the riots and they deserved the severest punishment our thinking could think of.

Our ordeal did make us experience the negatives of words like ‘curfew’ or ‘riots’ but we were still not able to understand why these words were so bad in effect.

We also thought, before punishing them, if they came across us, that we would first ask them the ‘why’ of this ‘badness’ behind ‘curfew’ and ‘riots’ and so of our ‘ordeal’ and the ‘why’ of why they spread it if it was so bad.

The plans still echo, even after so many years, whenever riots kill the humanity. Yes, age brings to you the understanding of ‘why’ of words like curfew and riots but still, the ‘why’ remains.

Why a person kills a person in the name of God when He is the creator of us all, when He is in each of us?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RELIGION: IT IS THE SYSTEM THAT SUCKS

We are made to drink vials and vials of religion from the very first day we arrive here.

It doesn’t matter whether we are passive receptors or we actively participate in the process.

At the end, the end of which never comes, we are made to assimilate a lot, without given a chance to realise what we needed to assimilate and what we needed to be aware of to keep us away from.

It is a cycle that begins with birth and goes on and on. Even the death doesn’t put a lid on its spillover effects.

And we cannot be blamed for it. It is the System that sucks.

But if we are the System or a part of it, we are to share the blame. So, even if we cannot be blamed, we are to be blamed, in a way, by the feeling of a transferred burden, continued unabated, the beginning of which no one knows.

And neither ‘they’ are to be blamed directly, who, unknowingly or unwittingly, become part of this elaborate trap of indoctrination of religious elements, manipulated and wrongly interpreted for ages to the extent that religion, in reality, has lost its essence for the commoners who form the majority of the followers of any religion.

The spiritual quotient has been killed effectively and the fear quotient of religion reigns supreme.

Religion, being dominated by its different contractors today, has become a well-oiled machinery of the System for its opportunist diversions.

Whether ‘they’ are our immediate family members, our friends, our neighbours or our teachers, they themselves are the victims of this mentally tortuous cycle of domination of few over the waves of the multitudes by implanting in masses the fear of religion and the subsequent religious hatred, that it so easily inculcates then.

And like us, ‘they’, too, are to be blamed for being part of this System, carrying the feeling of the transferred burden, knowingly or unknowingly.

The heterogeneity of religious hierarchy has this homogenous characteristic – the followers largely bear the similar traits – ignorant, fearful, threatened, burdened and confused – that make the thousands of millions of them ruled by a numbered few.

The prevalent forms of almost of the practicing religions have been manipulated into the worst forms of indoctrination practices and the exercise begins right at birth.

Had it not been the case, we would not have the likes of Asaram Bapus or the likes of millions of their followers.

And Hinduism is not singular to this rot. Christianity, Islam and every other big or small religion (in terms of number of followers) have their Asaram Bapus.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/