A Pujari (Hindu priest) used to confine his cat in a basket during his pujas (prayers and rituals), so as not be distracted by it. When the Pujari died, his son took over as priest, and he too continued, the practice of shutting the cat up in a basket during Pujas. In course of time, the cat too died. The son continued the pujas for a day or two without the cat. But then he met with an accident, and the accident was attributed to performing Pujas without the cat. So he started searching for a cat, being quite careful to find one that had the same color as the dead one. After much trouble, he saw such a cat and bought it at an exorbitant price. He then resumed the suspended Pujas after duly installing the cat each time under the basket. What used to be a practice of convenience for the father had thus become a ceremony and ritual for the son, giving rise to a dogma that without a cat of a particular color, kept in a basket of particular shape. Pujas are ineffective and even harmful. Are we any different from the Pujari’s son who went looking for the cat?
It is time we ask ourselves questions we dared not ask for the primordial fears instilled into us by our parents. It is time we dare find answers to them.
[From the book, “Religion or Irreligion”, published by Win-Win Books.]