Sunday, July 1, 2018

Old Age Home for Gods

Old Age Home for Gods

You may wonder what I am talking about. Haven’t you seen collections of discarded photos / pictures of Gods in temple compounds heaped upon cement platforms around trees? Gods, represented by their photos, who have served their purpose – old pictures in frames, broken glass, worn out frames, de-colored images – all constitute retiree or “older-adult” among our gods who are no longer needed in Puja rooms. They find their way in “old age homes” as mentioned above, in temples.

Some months ago when we took up painting / white washing of our house we did the same thing. We took the opportunity to de-cluster (downsize) our house and the Puja Room was no exception. From nearly 40+ photos we reduced it to just about 8. All the gods whom we ‘retired’ went to occupy some shaded place under a tree in a nearby Hanuman Temple.

You may have seen that temples are not different from other ‘business’ houses in re-cycling or selling away things they accumulate, be it sarees gifted to  deities, coconuts or even human hair offerings.  In Pune, I have seen that complete raw coconuts (without removing fiber) (“Kobara bondas”) being offered in Ganesha temples making easy to re-sell those long lasting products. Framed Pictures or photos of ‘retired’ gods are no exception. Shops selling photo / picture frames buy them for recycling. Broken glass goes for melting and making second grade items.

When some persons are brain dead their organs are harvested for use in others in transplantation. Such dead persons continue to live through others. Similarly ‘dead’ gods also live in other goods in some other format / configuration, decorating some politician or young couple.

When I see a large number of god photos deserted in temple walls I am pained. Gods face the same fate as men as they age and are no more useful. When they were ‘young’ or new, these gods received lot of respect; they were decorated with flowers, daily puja was done with incense sticks etc. When I find some stray dog ease himself at such collections where god photos are strewn or stacked, my heart misses a beat or two.

Isn’t there a better way of disposing off old unwanted gods whose time is gone?

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