“Namaste” Dear friends!
Today I am writing down about few Rituals and Customs of Hinduism, we will discuss about these rituals are scientific or simple superstitions people are following blindly as duty – as so called section of learned people now a days describes these customs as superstitions. As a simple Hindu I want to put some light on few customs and rituals Hindu people does follow.
First of all I am not defending all the Hindu rituals and customs as scientific or logical. Few of the rituals are man made, and those do have their short comings.
For so many people these customs are superstitions and has no significance at all. But scientifically I have some description to keep in front of you all. In recent times the science world has a lot to say about those rituals and customs.
Let’s start ..
Worshiping “The Tulshi” ( Holly Basil ) Plant –
Most of the Hindu Family with deep religious connection keep a Tulshi plant in their home or in their yard. Most of the Hindus worship Tulshi plant on a daily basis. Most of us do light an oil lamp in front of the Tulshi plant in the evening to show our respect to one of the most valuable plant.Which has great significance in our religion.
In Sanskrit, “Tulanaa Naasti Athaiva Tulasi” – that means tulshi is incomparable in its qualities to other plants.
In Latin Tulshi is called as ” Ocimum Sanctum ” , but mainly famous around the world as ” Holy Basil”. In recent times some scientific studies shows that Tulshi plants releases Ozone ( O3) with oxygen which helps maintaining our ecological balance.
Tulshi is the sacred plant to all the Hindus. And it is dearer to the Lord Vishnu. Tulshi plants symbolises purity. It is considered as the holy plant in the Indian Subcontinent. Tulshi got its name from Tulasi Devi, who was one of Lord Krishna’s eternal consorts.
Any Hindu house is considered to be incomplete without a Tulshi plant in the courtyard. Tulshi is believed to promote longevity and life long happiness. Hindus perform special Tulshi puja in the auspicious Kartik month of the Hindu calendar.
The Tulshi plant has got many great medicinal values. In Modern days around the globe Tulshi is taken as the herbal tea due to it’s medicinal benefits.
The oil extracted from the Karpoora Tulshi ( A type of Tulshi variety) is mostly used in the herbal toiletry. This oil is one of the best natural insect repellent and work very effectively against fungus and bacteria.
The Rama Tulshi ( A type of Tulshi variety ) is the effective remedy for the Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome. Juice of its leaves gives relief in cold, fever, bronchitis and cough. Tulshi oil is also used as the ear drop.
Tulshi is very effective against indigestion, headache, hysteria, insomnia and cholera. The fresh leaves of Tulshi are taken by the million of people everyday. For over the centuries Tulshi (the queen of herbs) has been known for its remarkable healing properties.
Every part of the Tulshi plant is scared to Hindus and every part of the plant has great medicinal value and importance.
Worshiping the “Peepal tree” –
The most worshiped tree in India which in Sanskrit is known as “Ashwattha”.
Peepal tree is also known as Bodhi tree or tree of enlightenment as it is believed that Buddha attained enlightenment under peepal tree. This is the reason why Peepal tree is sacred to Buddhist religion as well.
Also the present Kali Yuga began with the death of Lord Krishna that had happened under this tree only.
The much revered Peepal Tree is also called Ashwattha. This tree is considered as the most sacred tree among the Hindus. It is also called the world tree, Chaitanya tree or Vasudeva. As per the scriptures in Hinduism roots of the tree represent Brahma, Vishnu becomes the trunk and Shiva, the leaves.
According to Atharva Veda and Chandogya Upanishad, Peepal Tree is the paradise of Gods. In fact, it is believed that Vishnu along with Laxmi Devi resides on this tree on Saturdays and for the same reason it is said it is good to water this tree on Saturdays.
In the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita it says, Krishna had announced that one who loved or respected a people tree was directly showering their love and kindness on him as he resides in the Peepal Tree. It is not only a magical legend but also a lesson that a Tree is also a part of the cosmos like us, here to fulfill their destiny for this lifetime.
Above are the religious concept of worshiping the Peepal tree, now let us have a look on the scientific aspects and importance of the peepal tree.
As far as science is concerned, it is for the records that Plants release oxygen during day time and during night time as they release Carbon Dioxide. And scientific studies has found Peepal Tree is beyond this process as it releases Oxygen even during the night due to a special photosynthesis process called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). So people tree is a 24 hours oxygen generator.
Science also proved that Peepal tree is said to be a great source of Oxygen along with Neem and Tulshi. It purifies the surroundings where it is planted and kills harmful bacteria. Worshiping the tree means being in the vicinity and thus breathing in health and breathing out impurities.
So the Hindus from ancient time related the Peepal tree with their customs and rituals, so no one will harm or destroy this tree of such great ecological importance.
It is interesting to see how the Hindus understood the value of this important tree among other trees thousands of years back , long before even the birth of modern science.
Why the Hindus do ” Namaste” –
In the Hindu culture, people greet each other by joining their palms and bowing their head – termed as “Namaskar.” or ” Namaste” . In Hindu culture people does not greet each other by handshaking or hugging like other cultures.
” Namaskar” or ” Namaste ” is an ancient form of greeting which is till date practiced among the Hindus . It’s origin is billion years old, according to Hindu mythology even the Gods greet each other with ” Namaste ” , it is a wonderful way of Salutation Which has a proper scientific description also.
In Hinduism when a person greets another with ” Namaste ” or ” Namaskar” the greeting is accompanied by slight bow made with the hand pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards and closely positioned in front of the chest.
Along with this position the word ” Namaskar ” or ” Namaste ” is pronounced. This is called as “Namaskar Mudra” in Hinduism.
The general reason behind this tradition is that greeting by joining both the palms means respect. However, scientifically speaking, joining both hands ensures joining the tips of all the fingers together; which are denoted to the pressure points of eyes, ears, and mind. Pressing them together is said to activate the pressure points which helps us remember that person for a long time.
And, no germs since we don’t make any physical contact with other individual.
Why Hindu women wear toe ring –
Wearing of toe rings is highly practiced in India. It is worn as a symbol of married state by Hindu women and is called Bichiya in Hindi.
Toe rings are a must for married Hindu woman. Tradition of wearing toe rings carries tremendous social significance for married women in India. Hindu Women wear these Toe rings, as a symbol of Married state.
They are usually made of silver and worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet.
Wearing toe rings is not just the significance of married women but there is science behind it. Normally toe rings are worn on the second toe. A particular nerve from the second toe connects the uterus and passes to heart. Wearing toe ring on this finger strengthens the uterus. It will keep it healthy by regulating the blood flow to it and menstrual cycle will be regularized.
Toe rings can not be made of gold, as gold holds a ‘respected’ status and may not be worn below the waist. As Gold is the metal of Goddess Lakshmi , it is inappropriate for the Hindus to wear gold in the toes. As per Hindus Gold should always be wear above the waist.
The reflexology texts also mention about treating gynecological problems by massaging the second toe.
There is also a belief that the wearing of toe rings press on certain nerves that pertain to the reproductive system, keeping it in balance and healthy.Ancient Ayuvedic medicine has long been used along side acupressure.
By wearing this in both feet, it is believed, that their menstrual cycle course is regularized with even intervals. This gives good scope for conceiving to married women.
Also it is said just because that particular nerve in the second finger from toe, also connects the uterus and passes thru heart. Because of this, the constant friction caused while walking and doing all sorts of chores during a day, it revitalizes the productivity of the organs.
As Silver being a good conductor, it also absorbs the energy from the polar energies from the earth and passes it to the body, thus refreshing whole body system.
The Hindus understood and practiced acupressure for thousands of year. Now the modern day science is proving one after another Hindu rituals as scientific and logical.
Throwing Coins in the river –
A big question in everyone’s mind , why should a person throw part of their hard earnings in the rivers, why the Hindus throw coins in the river.
These Hindu rituals started hundreds of years ago, and were very relevant for that time. The tradition of throwing coins in a holy river or spring is very common. We see people touching the coin to forehead and throwing it in Ganga, Yamuna or other holy rivers and ponds. The Hindus think it brings Good Luck and health to them by practicing this custom.
In ancient times, most of the currency was made of copper, unlike the stainless steel coins of today.
According to science Copper is a vital metal for human body as it helps in metabolism, and we all know that our body cannot synthesize copper. Hence the supply for absorption must come from outside.
Ponds and rivers were the only sources of drinking water in ancient times. Throwing copper currency in them was one way of our fore-fathers ensuring that we intake sufficient copper on daily basis.
Also, copper helped settle the dust particles to the bottom, thereby making drinking water available on top. In those times water purifiers were not present and river were clean. People consumed its water for drinking and cooking.
So the Hindus knew the scientific reason behind most of their rituals and customs. And they practice it with great compassion and respect.
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