The famous temple of Lord Jaggannath at Puri in Orissa was built in 1161 AD. A strange ritual called “Anasaar” is a unique temple tradition there. On the full moon day of the Jyeshtha month, a “Snana Yatra” (ritual bath) is performed on the idol of Shri Jaggannath. He is bathed with 108 pitchers of fresh water from holy rivers, after which the Lord catches cold, a sort of flu, and goes into self-quarantine for 14 to 18 days! Mark the number of days in quarantine! He practices “social distancing”. Does that sound familiar? During this period, he is served a liquid diet of boiled herbs and roots, (jadi and booti). He is in total “Ekanta vaasa” seclusion, so that he neither infects nor is infected further. How strangely contemporary does this sound! Even our greeting namastey, physically distances but emotionally unites. Hindu homes have forever followed the tradition of washing hands and feet before entering their homes. Decorated water pitchers welcomed a guest. Across the eastern world, China, Cambodia, India, Bali or Japan, is followed the hygienic tradition of removing shoes before entering homes. No outside pollutant is allowed into living spaces. With the exception of martial races, Hindus generally pray to animals rather than eat them. Dead flesh is a fast breeding ground for potential disease spreading bacteria. Therefore, largely Hindus prefer vegetarianism. Breathing exercises to cleanse nasal and bronchial passages like “pranayama” have been in practise for centuries as essential parts of yoga.  Also, the Cremation of bodies is now being accepted as a quick and clean method of disposing the dead.
This ancient religion has slowly evolved beneficial systems and wisely assimilated practical traditions from other cultures to form a healthy and spiritually elevating life-style. Hinduism, they say, is not a religion, but a way of life.
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi
Email: prarthnasaran@ gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

*