May 18, 2022, 4:46 p.m. by Karuwaki Speaks ( 222 views)
In the words of writer Jodi Picoult:"Parents aren’t the people you come from. They’re the people you want to be, when you grow up.”
Well my Dad always told me" if you know where you are from, it will be harder for people to stop you from where you are going".At that time,i didn't understand the significance of those words & just brushed it aside smilingly.I was a bristly teenager & Madonna's iconic song "papa dont preach" was the rage those days!
A couple of years back,i met with a horrible accident which resulted in a complicated ankle fracture,then my dad suddenly died & my world turned upside down.As they say, when it rains it always pours!When the unexpected happened ,i was thinking so fast, thinking so hard, 'What should I do?' 'What can I do'?
Those initial days were tough, as i came to terms with the innumerable things which i had taken for granted.For the first time, i saw my strong mother faltering & i knew i had to take charge.As i tackled the bigger problems,i faltered over a small but significant issue.
The daily puja of our "ishta devtas" was based on the Indian almanac/calender. The worship of the Shalagrama shila which is a well-known hindu practice required meticulous & specific rituals of which i had no idea.The Kohinoor panjika written in oriya was worse than greek & latin to me.
The daily puja had always been a family affair without involving outside priests.I had grown up seeing my grandparents & then my parents doing the puja regularly so when some friends advised me to give away the idols & shaligrams to a temple,i didn't like the idea.
In desperation, I phoned my dad's elder brother who is 90 years and stays in the village. He listened to me & said "A person without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots". You have studied in a missionary school in English medium but that's no excuse to not know about your traditions. The missionary nuns at the convent school had taught us discipline, moral science,english but we knew more about Christmas than our own festivals. Anyway to cut a long story short, I felt like a miserable worm and decided to study the almanac on my own. In this endeavour the internet proved to be my saviour. The Indian calender offers a multi-dimensional method of structuring time, combining information about lunar days, solar days, lunar months, solar months, the movements of the Sun and the Moon in relation to stellar constellations, and other astronomically defined time spans. This lunisolar system is primarily based on the length of a synodic lunar month.It’s intricate to say the least but scientific to the core with a whole lot of mathematics thrown in.
It's been two years since i learnt the basics of the Indian lunisolar system. 'Aaj ki tithi' is the result & i just share this basic knowledge on social media, hoping it will be useful to some of you.Someone wise said:It is the roots which give a tree strength, not its branches.Our ancestors, our culture, our hometown is the essence of our life and it helps us stay grounded.
The patient efforts of my father's generation who guarded and maintained the ancient values and whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to us. I think that it will be enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down. Let us put our minds together and see what inheritance we leave for our children.
Walking a new path on my own, i realise thatwhere you come from is just as important as where you are going. Traditions are guides into the future so let's find ways to cherish and develop our cultural & spiritual heritage and we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying our society. "Ateetir prati kritagyata"! The gratitude towards the past which has shaped the foundation of our life and the wings of our future.