A conduit between us and God | india | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 21, 2017-Tuesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

A conduit between us and God

We will fail as a society if we abandon our values in the face of religious prejudice.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2006 12:56 IST

Myth has it that Shiva was overcome with lust for Mohini (an incarnation of Vishnu) and their union led to the birth of Ayyappan. The abandoned baby was adopted by King Rajasekhara of Panthalam in Kerala. But when a son was born to the royal couple, the queen tried to kill Ayyappan by sending him to get the milk of a tigress. Ayyappan saw through the deceit and survived, but has harboured a deep distrust of women, ever since.

Men who have been badly let down by women and vice-versa can also develop a hatred for the opposite gender. Such a stance will not be contrary to the manner in which human dynamics function. However, keeping myth aside, the fact is that temples are hallowed places which act as conduits for us to God.

The Christians and Jews have also termed their places of worship as "sanctuaries of God". The dictionary meaning of the word being "a place of safety or where the injured can take refuge" a sanctuary in that sense, is indeed, a place which offers a sage and secure environment for oppressed souls.

According to Vir Sanghvi (Reflections, HT July 1) any fair society cannot be based on an acceptance of sexism or prejudice. It must be based on strong liberal principles. The challenge before us is to reform religion, so that it respects those principles. If we abandon our values in the face of religious prejudice, then we would have failed - as a society, as a nation and as human beings. The movements and the people who have unleashed social reform have removed malignant cancer. Child marriage and sati are simple examples.

We live in a social order, where despite claims and efforts to give back to women their dignity and status, they are trampled almost on a daily basis and abused with impunity. It is precisely to protect women from such abuse, that access to all places of worship, to all educational institutions and to all avocations, must be university recognised and practiced.