Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A piece on Nath Sect, Rajasthan

Kala Gora Temple, Sawai Madhopur

Intreactions with Nath Community at Kala Gora Temple, Sawai Madhopur

What goes around, comes around. I had recently put down William Darylmple’s Nine Lives. A book which talks about the nine community-based/localized religions, showing how fragile and virtually unknown they are to the common Indian, eg. The Rewari community of Rajasthan worshipping the Pabuji of Pabusar, was an interesting account, with the incumbents in a relentless battle to save the fragmented pieces of  an ancient, locally generated religious belief system.
During my visit to Ranthambore National Park, I took time out to visit an acclaimed and ancient temple of Kala Gora. Carved into the steep ridges of Arravallis around 10 KMs from Sawai Madhopur Railway Station it a small but colourful complex.  This Temple, one of its kind in India belongs to Nath Sect, a spin off from mainstream Hinduism. The two deities Kala and Gora (Goraknath) are two brothers, with the Gora being the famous Hindu god Bhairavnath, a reincarnation of Shiva and Kala his brother. Goraknath, a common man belonging to Nath community performed Siddhis to attain the highest order, Bhairavnath. Interestingly, Nimnath and Parsvnath (from Jainism) were disciples of Bhairavnath and are connected to the Nath Sect.
With of Old Sawai Madhopur from Temple Complex
The two moortis of Kala and Gora were present atop the temple complex at quite a height and gave a beautiful view of the old city and its surrounding mountain line. With only a little expectation in heart, I climbed up and entered one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had in recent times with the Priest of the temple (Shiv Narayan).
How old is this temple? I asked. “Around 1200 years old”, He replied.
He then remarked with a question, “Why have you come here? There is no god, You’ve put your own money, taken the bus, you decided and you walked up till here. If it weren’t your will and effort you could not have reached here”. It was an unsolicited remark. I felt captivated by this unassuming, unorthodox way of welcoming anyone on a temple(unlike the usual priestly-sweet-talk).

The stoical viewpoints he shared about his religious standpoint were strikingly self centric, that god resides within and that the god should never be extolled and put to a higher level altogether. These are bold statements and having the whole community to follow them is even bold yet beautiful. He elaborated that a person of his sect lived on the edge of a sword, tight-roped, always, forever. Meaning, unlike the usual Hindu community, they invite sufferings and physical pain in the process of attaining Siddhi. This seemed to borrowed from Jainism. The Temple, he told was the only place to attain Tantrik Siddhi for the entire Nath community and people from whole of the Rajasthan came to visit this temple.

Thoughts on Rama: He was on ordinary man who did a lot of common things, good and bad. He killed an animal for his wife. He killed Ravana and almost destroyed his entire clan and empire.  Exactly, what do you think remains of the original Lanka, like does the Ayodhya? His only great part was his obedience. If only every child obeys his parents the way Rama did, that’s what we can credit him for but the way and the moment we start giving them a place above us, when we elevate their status to something that we cannot reach, that’s when we discredit our own existence. God is within us. Science has now and in our community it has been said for ages that the same constituents which make us, makes the planet and this universe, makes the God. Its all one, chemically.

Temple priests, Shivnarayan on extreme left.
Thoughts on Human existence: The right question is not why we exist, it is, given that we exist, what is the most important and meaningful reason we should be alive. No one has ever and can ever stop the cycle of creation and destruction. Its like the waves at the sea-shore, the way air bubbles are created. Some of them stay for a long time, you have to be that bubble and important one who stays for a while and creates meaning. Interestingly, there is no point questioning why the bubble is created. Humans are undoubtedly the most important race. They have consciousness, can differentiate, judge, create and destroy unlike any other creature.   

Thoughts on Festivals/Diwali: Do you celebrate Diwali? I asked. Yes, when we are done with our field harvests, we take time out to clean our houses, paint them. It isn’t that ‘Ram’ came back or something like that, no! Though, I must say, community needs festivals to grow together, there is nothing bad is celebrating Diwali but not because Ram came back. It is me who has ploughed and I want rest and I want to celebrate.

Can we have something to take from this sect? Was this really a spin-off from Hinduism or stood on its or can now be attributed to have contributed to Hinduism as one of its constituent smaller religions ? Above all, I felt happy that there are sects, which can stand on their own and question what is written in sacred texts, as even texts were written by humans, like us.   

1 comment:

Shatakshi Tripathi said...

The part where you write, when we elevate someone to that level of God, it is then that we discredit ourselves, that there is a status that we cannot achieve; this was clearly the best rt of your blog. Keep writing.