Listening to Carnatic music, watching and being with nature, reading and discussing Jiddu Krishnamurti’s philosophy.

S Madhavan

Android or Alangudi

| Updated on August 28, 2013 Published on August 28, 2013

"Dr Dabholkar’s campaign against superstition and inhuman rituals needed a certain level of intellectual introspection. It compelled us to check our position on an abstract concept like faith as opposed to concrete issues like corruption and rape." — Sandhya Gokhale and Amol Palekar (Sorry doctor, we didn’t deserve you, The Hindu, Aug. 28, OpEd 11)

When I read the article on Dr Dabholkar in The Hindu, the following thoughts rushed to my mind.

Even though every student studying Tamil is taught a two-line verse from Thirukkural that asks people to seek the truth in everything one hears, seldom are students encouraged to question an abstract concept like faith.

In this regard, a question that often arises in my mind is of people going to Navagraha temples situated in and around Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.

We all know that planets are in the sky at various points in time according to the Earth’s movement. Then why do we visit temples that represent planets? When I asked an astrologer if the deities that reside in Alangudi, Thirunageswaram, and so on, are available in the sky, he said yes.

Then I asked him why did he not encourage people to see the ‘truth’ in the sky. Why did he instead ask people to visit temples which is just a ‘representation’ of that truth. To that he said people could not be educated on these lines easily.

When people can be educated to believe in a certain deity which merely represents the celestial body why can’t they be educated about the actual planet that is in the sky?

My friend’s argument that it is difficult to educate people might have had takers in the past wherein there could have been a tinge of doubt as to the planet one sees. Was it Saturn or Mercury — the lighter planets on the one hand (with reference to our vision), as opposed to Jupiter and Venus, the brighter one? Subsequently, an astrologer might have been forced to teach people the constellation, horizon point, etc. However, that argument doesn't hold good anymore. Our Android phones can tell us which planet we are looking at.

If one wants to worship Venus, just lift the mobile in the direction of West, now very much present in the evening sky, and the bright spot that is visible even to the naked eye which our dear Android will readily spell as Venus. Instead of going to Tiruvelliangudi or Kanchanur in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, a believer can start doing poojas then and there. But are the believers ready for this truth?

For those who are interested in watching the night sky, below is the link that speaks about the night sky happenings at present: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

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Published on August 28, 2013
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