Indian mythology is a world in itself. From defining the basic elements of life, to explaining the complex methodologies with which the life is governed, it has been a guiding force for umpteen generations from the time immemorial. And all our mythological brilliance are stored and immortalized by our holy scriptures. Who hasn’t heard about our Sacred Vedas, and Shri Shri Bhagwad Gita? They still live with us, as our soul, as our breaths, in our way of life, in our habits, and in our methodologies. And one of the gem of our golden collection is Garuda Purana.
Garuda Purana, is also one of the oldest mythological scriptures and part of collection of Vaishnav Puranas. But, not only this is the oldest, but also one of the most mysterious and bone chilling scriptures of Indian Mythology. It defines the basic principles that tries to explain the cause of life and death, and what happens in between the infinite gap between them. The concepts of hell and heaven, what factors leads to moksha, and many other teachings and customs, like the one to be followed during funeral, are written in the form of conversation between Lord Vishnu and Lord of Birds – Garuda.But what’s horrifying and horrendous is the punishments, and the blow by blow account of brutality of various sins, that are showered in hell.
Why am I discussing this? Well, because I find some really strange teachings and concepts in there, which certainly have influenced the culture and customs of our country.
And the problem lies in the punishments and their haunting ruthlessness. Believed to be 4.9 million in number, some significant ones are the one that are available online.
Nevertheless, the small amount of study of these punishments have revealed quite a lot about, if my shallowness is excused, some loopholes, which certainly have gone unquestioned for long. Three of most derogatory punishments are further elucidated.
Booyoga – a punishment involving bite of snakes given to people who mix with prostitutes and impure women.
Vajrakandaka – Punishment involving getting hugged by devils with body burning in fire given to people who mix with people who don’t match their status.
Paribathana – Punishment of drinking lava given to people who drink alcohol.
Now the question arises: are these punishments worth mentioning?
The first one straightway puts prostitutes as people who are lowers and trash in the society, which certainly isn’t so. No women sells her body for fun. It’s all the slaps of helplessness financially or family pressures which leads to it. Making normal people staying away from them is a plain way of discrimination.
The second one again promotes untouchability. How can one know if he or she is going to take birth in a rich or poor family? Or just say upper or lower caste? What is the need for caste? They just separate a class of people with limited capabilities from ones who are able. And this punishment clearly promotes it. It shouldn’t be done.
The third one is a purely self-contradicting one. Great fighters and kings like Yudhishtira also had tasted jaam (alcohol). But people still consider him as epitome of truthfulness. Talking about today, alcohol is a root material for hundreds of products like perfumes, medicines, dyes, in many manufacturing processes and some way or the other, we are consuming it. Does this make the whole world a sinner?
My voice is not to let down our holy scriptures. Neither it is in anyway trying to hurt the mindset and accepted beliefs of people. But what I am trying to tell is that we should all change with the time, holding the wheels of progress. It is inevitable. Surely, the Almighty is omniscient, and we are nowhere near to challenge his rules. But also it is to be remembered that God is a guiding force and not a dictator. Whatever path we choose, he is all happy, and the end results are all on our deeds. The needs and demands of today and the way of thinking is no way medieval anymore. So any thinking going towards it should be boycotted.
All of us are same. It’s the same blessings which keeps our breaths running for the next second. With the blood of same colour, we share an equal bonding to the ultimate force. We are his children. The future demands, therefore, can be by no way predicted using past beliefs. With days passing, the past rules are eventually bound to perish. It’s time to bring a change.
It’s time to check the correctness of our corrections.
Reading lots of books is not his cup of tea, but a good book surely holds his mind's controls.
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