I notice that we have started talking about our past a lot. I am not talking about the days we were young – sad to say that that is also the past now. 🙂 No – I refer to the glorious past – of India, of Tamilnadu, of Hinduism etc. There are lots of videos doing the rounds showing us how Sage Agastya talked about an electric cell, how the big temple of Thanjavur was built, how there are 5 kg stones that are still floating in water (giving an idea of how the Sethu was built between India and Lanka), how all the jyotirlinga temples were built, etc etc. What I notice most about the narration in these videos is the sheer sense of pride taken in how advanced we were, how rich we were or how superior we were.
I have different reactions when I am either told about the past or see something like this. My first feeling is of sadness – how come we have deteriorated so much. Where did we go wrong? Was it because of head strong youngsters like me, who always questioned things when stated and wanted to adopt new things, did not want to follow ancient lore and culture because we wanted to be cool? I remember, asking a hell of a lot of questions but not getting any answers as to why things had to be done a certain way. Or even if I got answers, they were really quite unbelievable. Sample this – question – why should we not oil our hair and shampoo it on Sundays? Answer – because you would be born as a dog in your next life. This not something I made up – honestly. Or was it because our elders wanted to run a dictatorship where everybody should just follow instructions without giving any details or reasons? Now there are a whole lot of people who are analyzing and coming up with scientific reasons for ancient beliefs. What was the need for this time and labor? Were there records? Were they destroyed or did our ancestors not bother with records?
My next feeling is anger – anger that we are a far cry from where we used to be, anger that we are looking back with pride instead of sadness, anger that we are not making major attempts to go back to the place we were. In fact, we seem to be regressing further – morals are going for a toss, corruption is rampant and feel-good stories are extremely rare.
I feel helpless – wondering what we as a generation can do to ensure that we take a step in the right direction. How can we teach our children things of the past that are shaky to us too? It is easy to teach them morals and virtues once we start practicing it. That is not what I mean. I mean how do we teach them the science behind the pushpaka vimana, the flight or leap of Hanuman to Lanka, the mystery of how Draupadi survived the cheer-haran and all such stories. We are seeing that science now is finding answers to make us really accept that these were not tall claims but actual facts. However that process seems to be a slow one. We need a quick fix (our generations’s curse) and now. Any ideas?