One of the nice things that happen during going for walking with Paranthaman in the Mentone beach is the conversation between us. Thankfully we both share similar thinking in many things that make the conversing breezier. We both long for the simplicity in the life and how the simple life back in our school days had lot of goodness inherited but implicit, not much people realised its inner strengths. Last time we had this conversation which was triggered by one of the "Neeya Naana's topic on alcoholism. It seems that one of the reason cited for people indulging in alcoholism is the lack of avenues for a healthy time pass.
We talked about how we spent our times when there was no 24 hrs channel available, we didn't have mobile phones or computers. One of the regular activity we had was spending time in chatting with the neighbours, knowing them, bonding with them and another activity we discussed was visiting the nearby temples in the evenings. When I was growing up I had visited a lot of the temples and frequented to the local temple. I didn't understand its significance, the goodness it offered at that time but now when I looked back, when discussed I understood its purpose.
From the social perspective, the temples were a point of socialisation, where we meet the people we knew, sometimes we befriended people whom we kept seeing in the temple regularly. The local functions made the people to come closer in the pretext of co-ordinating the like minded people and in the due process the capabilities, talents of the locals were identified and utilised, organising the functions and celebrations which formed the reason for inviting people to the part of the happiness etc...
The temples were a sort of humbling the humans... no matter how much powerful or influential a person is, he/she must lower the head when coming to the temple. All the ego and vanity must be shed before stepping into the temple. So more we visit the temple, more we get the humbling experience. Also we have to share the temple with people of all strata and social status. That kept people reminding that we all are equal before the universe, which helped people in keeping grounded.
They also served as a moral police. I believe that the mythology stories and stuffs are basically created to teach people the way of life and warn that the wrong doers will be punished by God. So the presence of temples served as a "controlling" factor.
Unfortunately over a period of time, we failed to understand the reasons for the existence of the temples. Everything became mechanised and the human manipulations made lot of people lose faith in the institutions called temples. The so called seers, religious leaders made the temples as their quarters which lead to the untouchability, restrictions kind of unhonourable actions. This blog is not against the temples as such but just trying the rediscover the meaning and celebrate the simplicity of our traditional lives.