Appeasing the Rain Gods! Thirst for developing Scientific Temper!

Belief in god prevails throughout the world. During the primitive period of human race, people were frightened of certain things like fire, flood, rain, darkness etc. They were unable to understand the details about nature. Out of ignorance,

they were frightened. They started to develop some sort of supremacy of such things, because they were unable to exercise control over them. The supremacy , considered by them became admiration and ultimately turned into worship. The belief in gods started with fear psychosis and under the circumstances of inability to  find out  the reasons and safeguards from such inconvenient and deleterious cause, submission to such  unexplainable objects became the  subjects of worship. This is in brief the genesis of god.

When the belief in god got strengthened as a system, it was termed as religion. To follow the religion, rituals were formulated. Basically , the human instinct is tuned to the mindset of whatever things , connected to them, since practised by them conventionally are what has been better than others.

When the human race wanted to conquer other territories, they desired to spread their religious belief and practices. Some egalitarian religions began to propagate their religion as a mission. When religion was institutionalised, exploitation of the  believers within the religion got commenced. When such exploitation took place with the support of the ruling political power of the respective territories, people were submissive to such suppressions as if they were destined for it. When such exploitation attained its peak, revolts resulted as revolution. On many occasions the oppressive forces were mitigated in the name of reforms and religious renaissance. The religious manifestation continued in some other refined form. Complete extinction of religion was not be possible due to lack of sagacity and  commitment of the progressive leadership to continue the revolutionary path. Many such leaderships were content with certain limited reforms. Complete uprooting of infiltrated sentiments, if said frankly, superstitions were not aimed and attempted as mission and as movement. Even atheists attempted in a limited way both individually and organisationally. The roles and contributions of atheist organisations also vary depending upon the social, cultural environment and the ill-effects influenced through religious practices.

In India the influence of indigenous religion is unique and the intensity of ill-effects , inflicted by it can not be equated with others in the rest of the world. The tactfully designed discrimination by birth was perpetuated and it resulted in inequalities in the society for so many centuries in the name of god and religion. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar very aptly termed it as ‘graded inequalities’.

To demolish the ill-effects and to proactively perform constructive activities, an unprecedented revolutionary movement emerged under the unique leadership of Periyar E.V.Ramasamy. The effects of social contributions rendered by Periyar and his Movement are distinctly visible through the social and political conditions prevailing in Tamil Nadu which is very different from the rest of the states of the country.

The degree of superstitious belief is comparatively minimal in Tamil Nadu. But, its elimination to the core and formation of full-fledged egalitarian society is far off. The challenges are very demanding due to its centuries ridden nature. Sustained enlightenment of the gullible masses has to proceed further longer.

India’s indigenous profession i.e. agriculture is seasonal in nature. Owing to scientific advancement, practice of agriculture is possible during all the 365 days. Due to resource and input constraints, it is being carried out in season. This is a positive feature prevailing in the country. The negative feature also assumes significance equally. For the people to worship all the gods- glorified in the indigenous religion, through festivals and rituals, 365 days are not sufficient. More number of gods are ruling the minds of the masses.

The festivals and worshipping are cunningly designed with prayers for the seasonal requirements of the society. As science advances, the reasons of certain happenings which were not known so far were found out. Because of these the festival celebrations connected to the seasonal requirements were changed. For instance in those days, people believed that small pox was the divine disease gifted by local goddess ‘Mari’. When the cause of small pox was discovered and the incidence of the disease was eradicated, the need for praying goddess ‘Mari’ to get relief from the divine disease vanished. Many Such prayers with the orientation of ignorance vanished due to scientific discovery and advancement.

Despite the discovery of scientific knowledge for the genesis, due to the inadequacy of such needy resource, one superstitious belief still endures seasonally i.e. prayer to rain god. The genesis of rain is scientifically proved and being taught as lesson , finding a place in primary school curricula. The well educated masses are attracted towards such performance of poojas, inviting the rain gods ! There is no correlation between what has been learnt in educational institutions and the superstitious belief of preaching and performing poojas for the rainfall.

In India, people especially the rural folk practise the way of praying to the god for rain in their own way.

Frog marriage : Conducting Frog marriage is one of the practices to bring rain. People choose two frogs, a male and female category, decorate them, make rituals in accordance to Hindu marriage style and take them in a procession. People think that this would please the rain god and bring rain to earth.
Donkey procession: Donkey procession is one more practice. During the process, donkeys would be taken out in a procession to the temple hill where the mass lunch would take place after worshipping the village god.

 With the pre-monsoon showers appearing as a distant mirage and the seasonal monsoon evading the State, supporters of the ruling party  in Andhra Pradesh have taken to performing special pooja and organizing inter-religion conventions to appease the rain god.
A group of enterprising youths  performed ‘Sahasra Gatabhisekham’ at the ancient Sri Ganga Annapurna Tandeveswara Swamy temple at Pasumarru near Chilakaluripet, Andhra Pradesh.

The ritual involved pouring water on the Siva Lingam filled the entire sanctum sanctorum to a height of six feet with water to the recital of Rudra Parayanam by temple priests. Over 150 volunteers took part in the ritual held in the temple. Even as the ritual was going on, two young priests stood inside water drums chanting hymns.

Source: THE HINDU -  July 9, 2008

While people in the urban areas are eagerly waiting for rains, farmers in the rural areas are idling their days waiting for the rains.

In some villages, women are asked to go naked so that the rain gods would be pleased to shower rain. What an awesome superstition!

In a bid to appease the rain god, the people have been performing various rituals and special poojas. In Yaluvahalli (Andhra Pradesh) village people purified the ancient statue of Iraraya by pouring 101 pots of water and offered a special pooja. There is a belief among the villagers that if you pray to the statue with earnestness and devotion, rain is sure to come.

Special prayers

In the City, another kind of ritual took place to appease the rain god. In Vapasandra, the elders and youngsters performed a special pooja for the rain god.

After nine days of performing rituals, on the final day on Friday, the statue of rain god was carried on the head and taken from house to house. The woman of each house poured a pot of water on the rain god and prayed for rains.

Source:  DECCAN HERALD – October 1,2011

The  press coverage creates the confusion, whether we live in electronic age or primitive age. Genesis of rain is scientifically proven one . In spite of  the fact,  ignorant masses are exploited  to appease rain gods through rituals. The societal need is water for which we have to depend on nature. Instead of analysing reasons for the delay in the onset of monsoon, resorting to religious rituals  does not solve the problem. So far it is proved that environmental degradation like deforestation, hole formation in the ozone layer due to enormous use of plastic burning are the main causes for the delay in the onset of monsoons. Environmental protection through afforestation and isolated tree planting would solve the problem to certain extent. Through such endeavours we can keep atmosphere pollution free, facilitating hygienic living.

The meaning less rituals and its resultant nil effects must be exposed through rationalistic propaganda throughout the country.  The environment protection movement must play its effective role. It is high time to act upon  to restrict appeasing rain gods  but resorting to environment friendly living. Burry at fathoms deep the superstitious belief !

-  V.Kumaresan

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