Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Thaipusam Quiz

January 27th, 2016
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Thaipusam is just over. Many Hindus would have visited Lord Muruga’s abode, and quite a number would have fulfilled their vows, be it carrying paal kudam or kavadi. This is evident from the many photos shared in mainstream media and social media platforms.

I was listening to radio during Thaipusam and there were some talk shows on the religious significance of Thaipusam, the do’s and don’ts, etc.

Do you know what Thaipusam is all about? Take the challenge below and try answer the questions

 

  1. What does “Thaipusam” mean?
  2. Why is Thaipusam celebrated?
  3. Why do devotees carry paal kudam or kavadi?
  4. Who is Edumban?
  5. Why do the devotees wear yellow?
  6. Why do some devotees break coconuts?
  7. Why do devotees fast 48 days prior to fulfilling their vows?
  8. How long is Thaipusam celebrated?
  9. What happens to the milk carried by devotees?
  10. Can devotee fulfill his/her vow at any Murugan temple?

Leave your answers in the comments, or better still, let it be in your thoughts, always.

Mechanised paal abhishegam

January 28th, 2015
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Video source from The Rakyat Post:

Automated milk abishegam at Batu Caves

Picture source from The Rakyat Post

So, this year Thaipusam brings a new controversy at Batu Caves. The temple management introduced an mechanised method to conduct paal (milk) abhishegam (offering) for Lord Muruga. Usually, Hindus will do penance of carrying the paal kudam (silver container) for a distance and pouring it on Lord Muruga statue as way of fulfilling their vows, be it good results in exams, better job, recovery from illness, etc etc.

Fulfilling a vow is not just limited to the carrying and pouring of the milk. The person has to be in penance, like fast for certain amount of days, refrain from worldly activities as much as possible, be vegetarian and so on. The whole process is to reflect the hardship one is willing to go through in order to fulfill his/her part of the vow. And it ends as you offer your gift to Lord Muruga.

However due to very large number of devotees doing paal abhishegam at Batu Caves, the temple management find it hard to please those coming to pray who get blocked by the act of pouring milk non-stop. Imagine, even though Thaipusam is a week away, devotees had started fulfilling vows about a week earlier (since start of the month of Thai). Thaipusam falls on specific days, so I’m not sure if their vow is to do paal abishegam during Thai month or during Thaipusam day (but that’s another story for another day).

But this didn’t go down well those who intended to fulfill the vow and also many otherr Hindus. The general feeling is that the pouring of milk should done physically by the person or the priest.

The Hindu Sangam via its president also issued a statement (though I’m not sure why the statement is saying Dato Mohan Shan “vendukol” – request instead of Hindu Sangam “arivippu” – notice or “arikai” -statement).

Basically what the notice above states is that the practise of using mechanised method is not according Hindu agamas (scriptures dealing with temples, rituals, yoga, etc) as the items for abhishegam which is intended for Lord Muruga should not be poured into another container first. The excuse given that there’s lack of volunteers and priests to assist in the manual process should be tackled in other ways.

I’m not sure how the Mariamman Devasthanam can implement such decision without consulting the main Hinduism body in the country. Does this show some conflict or ego? Or lack of belief in MHS?

As for me, I would say, devotee need to be clear on what they vowed. There are many Murugan temples in Malaysia, so perhaps in future can vow in different temple. One can say, its the thought that counts, while another will say must do it as vowed. Each to his own, as we can’t know how God decides. This may be part of your Karma, for all we know.

Perhaps in future Batu Caves temple can issue limited place for paal abhishegam. Let’s say 500,000 and divided into different time shifts on the day. Same goes for kavadi bearers. So before you do the vow, you will need to buy the “voucher” earlier. Voucher should be non-transferable and sold in a transparent manner. Just my two cents.

Below is comment from Hindraf regarding the move by Batu Caves temple management.

Article from Rakyat Post:

For Hindus, paying penance to their deities by carrying milk pots is a common practice, especially during the annual Thaipusam festival.
This year, the Batu Caves Murugan temple management will be implementing a new system to ease congestion.
A spokesman said the temple would be using an automated system for the first four days of Thaipusam, which would see devotees emptying their milk pots into a drum.
The drum would then channel the liquid via hoses, to a pot attached to a machine inside the main temple, where the milk offering ritual is done.
Typically, the milk pots carried by devotees are passed to the temple’s priests, who will then shower the deities’ statues with milk while uttering mantras as a form of blessing.
“We just want to ease congestion during this festive period. We expect a huge crowd this time around,” said the spokesman.

This system, which has been in the testing stage the last two days, will only be used on the first four days of Thaipusam, which falls on Feb 3. It is not known how much the system costs.

Meanwhile, Hindraf has lambasted the temple management over the system’s implementation.
“Hindraf is totally mystified by the committee’s attitude in pursuing the system as it clearly desecrates the Hindu rites and practices.
“It appears that the committee has no regard for the feelings of thousands of devotees who have undertaken severe penance to participate in showering their Paal Kodam (milk pots) in the final ritual known as abishekam during the Thaipusam festival,” Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy said in a statement.
He added it was widely believed that the practice of showering milk on the deity was a process of cleansing oneself of one’s sins.
“Such practice is conducted worldwide in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore during the Thaipusam month.
“Even in India, millions of people who bring their milk pots have the satisfaction of their milk being showered individually by priests, who normally chant mantras, as opposed to the motorised method intended to be practised in Batu Caves.
Waytha said motorising a “personal and spiritual” ritual not only desecrated Hindu rites, but also insulted individual devotees who had painstakingly undertaken severe penance to fulfil their devotion to the deity.
He called on the temple management to review the use of the machine, failing which he urged devotees to forgo Batu Caves and pay their penance elsewhere.

Ustaz mocks Hinduism

July 30th, 2014
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This guy who has an police report against him for assault (refer http://suara1umno.blogspot.com/2012/02/surat-laporan-serangan-ustaz-shahul.html ) courts controversy by providing false facts about another religion. Refer video below:

The video above is part of a 1.5 hour speech which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAZlpwbs7V0&feature=youtu.be

Preaching is common among religion, but need to be careful on how its done. Not at expense of insulting other religion, or worse still providing wrong information. He is also in danger of being sued by those companies mentioned here for defamation, and even by JAKIM for questioning its halal status.

The crux of his speech is basically saying must support Muslim products and businesses to best of ability, as doing otherwise may be haram; directly/indirectly supporting non-Muslims; stifling Muslim business. Not sure if this strict view is their religious teaching or just a liberal interpretation.

Since MIC had its protest today and many police reports has been lodged, this guy now made an apology. Video below from his FB:

Among his points in the apology video:

1. the speech was in a closed function, for muslim only. [maybe acceptable in the pre-internet era. however God still exists in closed areas right?]

2. was uploaded without his consent, maybe (“mungkin”) with bad intention. [or maybe with good intentions to share his superb speech with other followers. Pls dont pre-judge the uploader and qualify it with “mungkin”].

3.  his speech based on his knowledge [well, this is unacceptable. if not sure, then can check with authorities or the people concerned. Why deity got tongue sticking out? go ask Hindu Sangam…or would that shake your belief? or you think its perfectly acceptable to make a joke of it?]

4. some words maybe (“mungkin”) cause unhappiness among Indian community. [ yeah right, maybe will create unhappiness.]

5. Hopes this issue is not prolonged. [of course, you are busy person, got many speech sessions to do, souls to save.]

6. will ensure this thing won’t be repeated. [what “thing” won’t be repeated? recording and uploading of speeches or insulting other religions?]

According to this FB page, he is also running a religious school and is known for giving speeches, so imagine how many “majlis tertutup” would have been conducted, spreading lies and hatred.  “Mungkin” kan. Need to also investigate his school. “Mungkin” got training for creating terrorists.  See, I also can use “mungkin”.

Let’s see how the police investigation turns out.

If you think this is first time incident, then refer to this video:

So how do you treat repeat offender? Should send him for some course on how to give speech without touching other religions or spreading lies?

PS: Hindu Sangam still drafting its press statement?

DNA tests reveal interesting news on caste system

August 30th, 2013
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To quote the important statements:

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

Regardless of the manusmriti, its interesting to note that genetic mixing was prevalent till 1,900 years ago in India, and it originates from two main bloodline groups: Africa and Eurasia. As mentioned, nearly every Indian can be traced to genetic mix of these two groups. Full article below.

 

India caste

Dr. Kumarasamy ThangarajKumarasamy Thangaraj takes a blood sample from an Andaman islander, as part of his research into the genetics of India’s castes

Kumarasamy Thangaraj traveled 840 miles (1,350 km) off of the eastern coast of India by plane, then ship, then six hours by car, then ship again to collect blood samples from an isolated tribe of hunter-gatherers on the Andaman Islands. Their blood, he explained through an interpreter, would help him understand a pivotal moment in India’s genetic history. The tribesmen had never heard of a gene before or an academic study for that matter, and the whole pitch struck them as an interesting diversion from their usual routine of spearfishing.

“They mostly laughed,” Thangaraj says, before they offered up their arms in exchange for food. A few needle pricks later, they returned to their boats to fling short wooden spears into the water with uncanny aim, while Thangaraj made the long journey home to Hyderabad. He deposited the latest samples into a blood bank, alongside another 32,000 samples from his countrymen.

The collective bloodlines at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, India’s leading genetic-research institute, pose a unique riddle for researchers. On the one hand, geneticists can trace nearly all bloodlines back to two ancestral groups, one hailing from Africa, the other from Eurasia. These groups mingled, married and swapped genes. A mixture of their genetic material can be found in nearly every person on the subcontinent today.

But at some mysterious point in history, these braided bloodlines began to fray. The population divided along linguistic, religious and tribal lines, to the point where it separated into 4,635 distinct genetic groups. Europe and Asia look positively homogeneous in comparison, says Thangaraj. He and his collaborators at Harvard Medical School wanted to know when exactly the Indian melting pot stopped melting.

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

It’s a point that he stresses to anyone who wants to turn bloodlines into battle lines. On Aug. 15, on India’s independence day, a mob from the Rajput community in Biharattacked men, women and children in the Dalit community. They beat them with rods, killing one and injuring 54. “Look, we were all brothers and sisters 2,000 years back,” Thangaraj says of this sort of violence, “why are you fighting now?” Although he did observe one notable outlier from the extended family: the spear-wielding fishermen of the Andaman Islands have no trace of the genetic mix that pervades the mainland. Proof that the only the thing that really could have stopped India’s ancestral populations from mixing was an 840-mile schlep to a remote tropical island.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/08/27/what-dna-testing-reveals-about-indias-caste-system/#ixzz2dQiYOQ2x

The Case of The Crystal Crown Hotel Halal Signboard

January 10th, 2013
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This a good example of  how things will turn out in future. When clashes like this occur, the “non-halal” group will have to give way, due to economic reasons. The owner won’t want to lose licensing and risk losing revenue from those customers. On the other hand, the non-halal industry will see lesser customer base due to smaller population and armtwisting measures such as this. In may not be viable in the long run to operate such businesses. So, only pockets of such non-halal eateries will exist, that too in areas with significant non-muslim population.

I thought if the goods are properly packed and sealed, it should not be an issue. Maybe the non-halal items are carried in plastic bags and with some liquid dripping on the floors will contaminate the halal products. Whatever the reason, the non-halal operator will suffer.

I wonder if in future will have separate lifts for people, you know, in case a non-halal food consumer burps or brings such food with him. Separate lifts (or worse asked to use stairs!), taxis, buses, office areas? As it is, school students are not allowed to bring non-halal food to school and canteen also can’t sell them.

So, in the future, you may have to travel some distance to get that bowl of bak kut teh or wan tan mee (for example, look at areas like Shah Alam, Bangi, or Putrajaya). Extra cost and time for you. I wonder if this can be some form of racial segregation since eateries of different races will be separated.

Its easy to say that implementing some laws or rules won’t affect others, but in reality, you will be affected.  Be it halal or syariah or hudud or even use of certain “words”, you can’t run away from being involved because the ones interpreting and executing those laws are humans, not God.

 

PETALING JAYA: The controversial signboards beside three elevators at the Crystal Crown hotel here were put up to comply with the requirements stipulated by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) regarding the transportation of non-halal food.

Crystal Crown’s chief operating officer Khoo Hui Keam said: “Our ‘halal’ licence expired last June and Jakim had new requirements which stated that we [Crystal Crown] could not renew it because we had a Chinese eatery within the hotel which served pork.”

She added that the hotel management tried speaking to the Chinese eatery to stop serving food which contained pork.

“The owner of the restaurant turned back at us and said: ‘If you guys want us to stop serving pork, it is as good enough as asking us to leave’,” she told FMT.

However, Khoo said that the management was reluctant to vacate the Chinese eatery as they had been long-serving customers of the hotel and were good “pay masters” for rental.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) got involved as well, according to Khoo, and they offered to appeal for the hotel to get its certification renewed if they separated the passage through which “halal” and “non-halal” food were transported.

Crystal Crown’s management decided to go ahead with the JAIS’ recommendation and the signboards at levels B1, B2, and B3 were erected to notify food suppliers that only “halal” food could be transported using those elevators.

FMT understands that food suppliers to the Chinese restaurant have to use the staircase to transport their “non-halal” goods.

Asked if there was any monitoring of the goods that go in the lifts, Khoo said: “There are security personnel at all three floors and the lifts have video surveillance as well.”

New sign soon

Referring to the signboards, Khoo added that both Jais and Jakim visited the hotel premises last week and were not pleased.

“They said that it [signboards] were ‘too high’ and wanted them lowered to eye-level. They also complained that the signboards are not striking enough,” she said.

Due to their complaints, Khoo said a new sign was to be put up soon with a brighter colour so suppliers were well aware that only “halal” goods could pass through the lifts.

FMT discovered that 20% to 30% of the hotel’s patrons were from government bodies and if Crystal Crown was to lose its halal certification, it would lose all the customers from this target group.

Quizzed whether other hotels were practising the same, Khoo said many do not because their licence was still valid and not up for renewal.

“Once their licence has lapsed, then they will have to comply with Jakim and Jais’ requirements if they are to keep their certificate,” she added.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/01/10/hotel-explains-halal-signboards/