Friday, September 30, 2011
All religions pagan and current refer to the light and dark side of religious worship and indeed the similar aspects in humans. That we all have a dark side to our persons is an undisputed fact but we are adept at hiding it from society and love to display our "goodness" in the most hypocritical way. Likewise, the divine is a source of light and darkness.!!!
Animal sacrifice appeases darker aspect of divinity September 29, 2011, 7:45 pm article_image All religions pagan and current refer to the light and dark side of religious worship and indeed the similar aspects in humans. That we all have a dark side to our persons is an undisputed fact but we are adept at hiding it from society and love to display our "goodness" in the most hypocritical way. Likewise, the divine is a source of light and darkness. For millennia, Gods have been appeased with the blood of human and animal sacrifices. The Judaic faith is very specific about sacrifices. To quote from Exodus of the Old Testament: "You will then slaughter the bull before Yahweh (Yahweh in Hebrew literally means Warrior God). You will then take some of the bull’s blood and with your finger put it on the horns of the altar. And then take all the fat covering the entrails, the fatty mass of the liver, the two kindness with the covering fat and burn them on the altar." Rams were also burnt. Burnt offerings were a smell pleasing before Yahweh and used to consecrate the Temple and expiate human sins. Jesus, the son of God, was the ultimate human/divine sacrifice and Christians are exempted from carrying out animal sacrifices, but at Holy Communion the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine are continuing symbols of Jesus’ body and blood spilt on the cross. I received communion only once after conformation. I found it repugnant. During the Hajj pilgrimage, there is an exclusive area for animal sacrifice. As there is a great deal of controversy over the animal sacrifice ritual at the Temple of Kali Amman in Munneswaran – an annual event after harvest. In at least two Temples in India over two hundred years ago, human sacrifices were conducted until laws were passed to put an end to the practice, but belief that Kali’s favour can be obtained through blood sacrifice remains popular even today. Those who shy away from blood sacrifice offer Kali sour lemons or lime, pungent chillies and bitter neem. Kali, in her inimical style, rejects things conventionally considered auspicious and seeks the inauspicious, even in food. Kali is portrayed as dark, naked and with dishevelled hair. She stands on Shiva’s chest, holds in her hand a bloodstained scythe and a human head dripping blood into a human skull she holds under the head. What is striking about her form is her tongue outstretched and smeared with blood. The form of Kali and its symbols are meant to evoke Bhaya and Vibhitsa – fear and revulsion – forcing the observer to acknowledge the dark and unpleasant aspect of the cosmos and the divine that one often tries to deny, repress and suppress. With the outstretched tongue, Kali teases and mocks her devotees – she sees through their social façade and know the dark desires they try so hard to deny or suppress. She makes us realize the hypocrisy in us – we show one side to the world and hide the darker aspects of us. She tries to remove the ego in us to liberate us from worldly ties. The skull in one of her hands, used as a cup, is believed to contain the nectar of immortality. Minister Mervyn Silva has no right to interfere in the religious rituals of any religion (a constitutional right). He is merely playing to the audience of "animal activists" hypocrites who have never expressed outrage when elephants and other hapless animals had their jaws blown up with the explosive Hakka Pattas, had burning oil and water poured on them, died slowly and painfully of gangrene due to bullets from rifles, been electrocuted, killed by speeding trains and vehicles, poached for their tusks, and all other horrific things wildlife has been exposed to in recent times. None of those activists have petitioned against the tearing down of wildlife sanctuaries to make way for illegal banana cultivations and all other threats to our flora and fauna. Whilst I personally find the taking of life abhorrent, we have to be tolerant towards the religious rituals especially of minority religions. People of other faiths also participate in these religious rituals, not just Hindus. Linda van Schagen www island.lk