Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Thursday, September 05, 2002

This morning, after logging onto the Net, the first thing I read was Abe's blog. She wrote, at length, about Buddhism and the practice of chanting to have good Karma. I thought it was a great thing to read in the morning... well, actually a great read at any time of the day!. And it was a nice big blog from her after a really long time. Keep it up, Abe! :-)

Taking a cue from there, I begin today's blog (ok, so its already begun... so what?!)

Lots of religions in the world have strange rituals and customs. Well, most of them at least seem strange at first while others seem as though they serve no practical purpose. But, from what I have realized, most of these customs have a deep scientific basis. And, come to think of it, we would be amazed at the level of understanding of science shown by our ancestors while starting off these customs. But a disclaimer to this view is that not all customs are scientifically based. Lots of them are purely blind-faith and serve no practical purpose other than to further the cause of that particular religion.

Since, we're on the topic of Buddhism and more specifically chanting, lets take this as the first example. Ok, so what is chanting? It is repeated utterance of a particular word or phrase in a rythmic manner. Now appreciation of music or rythm is the job of the right hemisphere of the brain (yeah, Abe, if you're reading this, you already know this!). The left hemisphere controls the day to day binary activities. So, if you lead a hectic, stressful life, the left hemisphere of the brain is overworked. Now, chanting in a rythmic manner stimulates the right hemispere and there is a 'switch-over' from the work-horse left part to the creative right half of the brain. When this happens, it provides a stimulus for creative/positive thinking and causes a relaxing effect on our mind and body. With a lot of positive thinking and relaxed mind, karmic bliss is not a distant goal anymore. So there... I enlightened you people!! ... isn't that a noble thing?! ;-)

Ok, lets consider another example... Hindus usually observe a month of vegetarian diet during the month of Shravana (this is according to the Hindu calendar). Now, people who normally enjoy a hearty non-vegetarian meal, go without eating a morsel of meat or eggs or fish during this month. Fisherfolk do not even go fishing during this month. Now, why is that?! ... Shravan (which is currently going on, by the way) falls during the rainy season. During this period, the fish are supposed to reproduce. So, the wise old men of Hindu religion decided that they should let the fish mate and reproduce without disturbing the natural scheme of things. And so, Hindus are discouraged from eating fish during this month. A similar argument (though not one relating to reproduction) goes for other sources of meat. So, even those food products are not touched. Plus it also helps that many Hindu festivals also fall within thes one-month period (and no non-veg during festivals!). And therefore we have a period of one month when no non-vegetarian food is partaken in many Hindu homes.

Believe it or call it just a convenient explanation. This is what I believe... primarily because I refuse to follow by blind-faith. I allow myself to follow a custom only if I find that it has a logical explanation. So, there!

Anyways, this isn't a religious discourse. Far from it, au contraire!! ;-)

Well, I'm not going to bore you further on this! ... And I'll blog about other stuff after some time... i.e. after I take a night's sleep!! ... I need sleep!!!

bye for now... cheers!


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.