It’s not just the Christians who have a persecution complex, but also other religions? Say it ain’t so! But read this remarkable whine about poor, picked-upon Hinduism — did you know that only Hindu beliefs get mocked?
…why is it that only Hindu practices and traditions are targeted for censure and ridicule? How is what Smriti Irani did more superstitious or unscientific than a Muslim kneeling to pray to a black stone in Mecca or a Catholic imbibing bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ?
Here, I’ll make Ms. Aditi Banerjee feel a little better: all of those practices are absurd, superstitious, ritualistic baloney.
Is a Christian attending Bible study accused of promoting creationism?
Sometimes, yes. It depends on exactly what they’re studying, but if it isn’t creationism, I’m sure we can find something else silly that they’re pursuing.
Is a Christian who believes in the Immaculate Conception subject to the same scorn of being anti-scientific?
Really, there’s nothing special about Hinduism — it isn’t particularly singled out for ridicule. In the US, where Banerjee is from, I’m afraid it isn’t noticed all that often, because we’ve got bigger targets here that distract us. But I can try to laugh harder at the Hindu practices, if that will help.
Banerjee makes that easy, too, since much of her article is a defense of ridiculous Hindu religious beliefs. She’s quite irate that the media in India had made some noise about a minister who visited an astrologer…and she thinks that hoary old superstitious is defensible.
These attacks betray a gross misunderstanding of what real jyotisha/ Vedic astrology is. Vedic astrologers do not just use charts and planetary positions to make predictions; they use their powers of meditation and intuition to perceive certain patterns and trends and forces that act upon an individual based on their karma, as reflected in their birth chart, and intuit how they interact with forces operating in the larger cosmos at the current time. It is about probabilities and trends and currents that pull our lives and psyches in certain ways—it is not about fatalistic proclamations or specific predictions of what will happen when.
All of our Vedangas recognize the supremacy of purushartha (individual effort through the exercise of free will) to counteract what is written in our stars, for better or worse. Even what was written in our stars was not written by some capricious creator. What is written in our stars is the recording of the karmic fruits of our own actions and exercise of free will in the past, which are then divined through astrology and other such practices.
American astrologers have this same bullshit line: the stars incline, they do not compel. But of course they don’t even have the slightest evidence or reason to suspect that the stars even give gentle nudges. And honestly, telling me that they don’t just use star charts, but also the
powers of meditation and intuition doesn’t add any more credibility to the claims, nor does telling me that karma, another bullshit concept, is all intermingled with the influence of celestial bodies.
She also endorses palmistry and lots of other flavors of woo.
It is well-known by those who are proficient in astrology and palmistry that the lines on our palms change as our destiny changes through the exertion of our free will. Genuine astrologers are not fatalistic—they are life counsellors who recommend therapies, meditations, pujas, the use of gem / colour / yoga therapies to counteract negative forces and to chart our course through the various currents we face in life due to past karma. In other words, when used properly, astrology is another tool for therapy rather than a fatalistic foretelling of fixed events in the future.
She rationalizes the recent mass sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of animals at the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal. She has two arguments: everyone else murders animals, too, and the slaughter has good intentions.
Why are non-vegetarians exempt from criticism, but a handful of Hindus who follow their indigenous customs of worship (again, in this case, once every five years) are globally condemned for killing an infinitesimal fraction of the number of animals slaughtered by others on a routine basis? Why is it okay to slaughter animals for payt puja (to satisfy our stomachs) but not for Devi puja?
There is a good point there: we should be more outraged at the excessive slaughter of animals for the purpose of consumption. But who says non-vegetarians are exempt from criticism? They get lots of criticism! Unfortunately, the meat-eaters are a majority and they ignore most of it. Even so, though, has Ms. Banerjee ever heard the phrase, “two wrongs don’t make a right”? That a cow is slaughtered to be rendered down into a McDonald’s patty does not mean it’s then OK to murder a cow in the name of an imaginary goddess.
And this argument is painfully ridiculous…
I am a strict vegetarian and do not even like the touch of leather against my skin, but I accept that there are legitimate traditions within Hinduism that have the practice of animal sacrifice. In such sacrifices, the animal is not being killed for gluttony—the animal is honoured; the prayer is made that the animal receive moksha or a better life in its next rebirth; and the act is dedicated to the Divine.
Please spare me the ‘honor’ of having my throat cut to satisfy the delusions of a religious fanatic! The animal is dead; there is no rebirth; that someone believes its death makes an invisible intangible spirit happy is meaningless. At least the cow slaughtered to make a greasy hamburger is providing some small material benefit to a person somewhere; killing to appease a non-existent deity has no purpose at all.
Banerjee then goes on for paragraph after paragraph of obscure Hindu theology, throwing around archaic terminology to make herself sound deep and educated — but it’s no more persuasive than the turgid, self-referential crap I more familiarly hear from Christian wankers. Once again, Hindus are completely unexceptional, and bore me to tears as badly as any Protestant babbler.
Sorry, Ms. Banerjee.