Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ghost of an alcoholic drowned in deep waters

2nd part

Turning to Naroo, Dattprasad asked Naroo softly, “Whence you have started this habit?” after stopping for a while he continued, “Naroo, you know this is my profession. I have to help people in their religious necessities. Whether you believe in it or not that is immaterial for the society. They believe in all these rituals and so long as they want it somebody or the other will have to perform it. Then why not I do it. I have been doing this for all my life; all the priests have been doing it for all these days. Your believing or not believing makes no difference for them or for me then, why you create this drama? For some long minutes there was no conversation in that room. Every body was concentrating on the breakfast.
Naroo murmured, “I was under the influence of that drink.”
Whence have you started this habit?”, repeated Dattprasad.
My friends forced me to have some yesterday. It was a birthday party and I could not say no to them. After all we all work together in the same office, you know.” He looking to his wife replied. Naroo's wife knew him so well that could immediately make out that it was a white lie. She kept quiet. And this is how the family of Naroo came to know of his this habit.
I hope you will never ever again drink such a filthy stuff". Spoken Dattprasad in anguish and questioned Naroo, “Is it the very first time that you drank?” looking to Naroo Dattprasad told him that he has seen life and world for more years than Naroo and he can understand a white lie.
Now you tell me my intelligent son, can you tell me what is worst? Drinking or performing rituals for the satisfaction of the simple people?” Dattprasad had thrown a bold question to his son who always ridiculed the practice. Then Dattprasad explained to Naroo.
We all Brahmin always know that these performances do not have any actual meaning but still we do it because it is the need of the people. You see, human being is a ceremony-minded creature. He needs to perform some ritual or the other when he does anything. As we have social mannerisms there are spiritual mannerisms. Showing respect to deities, showing respect to our ancestors, showing respect to our land and the spirits of the place or you may call it vastu devata are coming under the realm of spiritual mannerisms. Do you understand?” He asked Naroo.
I remember, Dattprasad continued, when you were in the gurukul to learn the ritual practices, one boy uttered the sutras wrongly and on that you raised your voice but instead of supporting you the teacher told you to keep quiet. And you had come to me to complain about it. Do you remember that?
Naroo nodded vehemently looking straight in father’s eyes. “Yes I remember.”
And ever since that incidence you became a non-believer. Am I right?” said Dattprasad smilingly. Naroo was serious and did not show any expressions on his face. “So what of that?” Naroo blurted.
Your teacher was in a way right and also wrong. Told Dattprassad right because, the correctness of the sutra is immaterial. They do not have anything to do with the performance. Even if you utter anything else as ordinary as blabber, does not matter! The performance has no effect on anything or anybody but the people for whom the performance is made. Do you understand what I am saying? Asked father. This is a sort of psychological treatment we give to people to pacify them. And that is why we Brahmins did not change over to modern languages and continue the practice in the lost language like Sanskrit! So that people would never understand anything we utter in the name of a sutra or a mantra! And so the mistake of the boy was not important. And so the teacher was right! What is important for our profession is the quickness and smoothness with which we perform the ceremony. It must appear to be a perfect ceremony. Any floundering during the proceedings and the performance suffers considerably. So, even if a Brahmin makes any wrong utterance of the sutras or simply forgets the in between sutras it does not matter so long as the performance is working all right for the host! Do you remember, we Brahmins go in pairs to perform any difficult puja. This is required to achieve that smoothness of performance. Suppose a Brahmin goes alone and unfortunately forgets a sutra or mantra then, that puja may appear disturbed and the host is very particular about that. At such eventualities next Brahmin shrewdly takes over the chanting of sutra in whatever way but the continuousness is thereby maintained and the host of the puja remains satisfied. My son, this are all tricks of this trade. Duttprasad said in one breath all this and looking to both Naroo and Naroo’s wife for appreciation he smiled. Naroo’s wife was like a devotee for Dattprasad shastry. She was full of appreciation for the way he explained the trick of the Brahmin trade of performing pujas. Then after a pause Dattaprasad said, "and he was wrong because as you pointed out rightly one must be perfect in whatever he or she does! Those days of perfection are long past gone, Naroo".
We just do things so that we can make the living for ourselves. Nobody nowadays, understands anything about these age-old sutras, even we do not! Who cares! Completed Dattprasad. Hearing this justification of his father, wrong doings in the name of a profession, Naroo showed the sign of being completely frustrated. He began to look around showing disgust. He actually did not want to make any argument with his father for two reasons, firstly he knew any amount of talk with father will not change his style of working and secondly he saw his wife was against his all habits of always arguing and objecting to whatever his father would do in the name of religion or rituals. As Naroo was not only loving her but more than that had great respect for her, he did not want to hurt her by doing any thing or commenting on what his father had told.

Story continues in this next post

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