Sunday, January 8, 2017

941. Anna Santarpanam.......!

In earlier days there were no hotels, not that there was no entrepreneurship in that field. The reason was, in the first place food was never a commodity to be sold in exchange for money. The second reason was that eating at a place, other than their home was a taboo. There were philanthropists who constructed choultries for the benefit of other travelling from other place. Manusmriti ordains that one must not have food without offering to others. At the same time elsewhere in the same scripture there is an emphasis that one should avoid partaking food at the house of another. 

One will be confused while reading those two contrast statements from Manusmriti, but deep contemplation reveals the hidden message. Though it encourages a householder to have a thought, “Which great one will I have the honour of feeding today?” on the other hand, the guest who is travelled from other place has to feel, “I should not eat at another’s place, but I have travelled for long and am famished. If some great one provides me food, I will be able to reach home before evening.” 

While people sought the hospitality of others only in times of need and that too with great hesitation, householders deemed it a great fortune and bound duty to serve and feed such people. This was how it was in earlier times. In fact, there was a custom in my native village where the householders would keep the food ready for anyone who has come from other place. Those were the time when we all as humans were concerned about the welfare of other first. Our endeavour was to make others feel that they are happy and comfortable on this earth plane. Being of use to others was our initial priority; hence Manusmriti encouraged us to be one. Simultaneously it also warned us to not have the attitude of “take it for grant” it rebuked those who were always depended on others to feed.

At those times the number of people who were ready to offer food was more than those who were accepting the food. Amazingly now the number of people who wants to be feed free of cost has increase substantially compared to those who are eager to feed. 

Now anything that is free is and should be used to the maximum. There is a tradition called Anna Santarpana (Sharing of Food) by those going on pilligrimage to Sabarimala. After pooja and bhajans the individuals in deekshe will organise this sharing of food (Oblation). In one such event I happened to see that though the strength at the time of pooja and bhajan was little, it swelled up during Anna Santarpana. There was a huge rush I wondered where these people were at the time of pooja and bhajan? There was literally pushing and pulling where aged, women and little kids were put to inconvenience. We have no patients to follow queue system. Our only agenda is to see that our expediency gets its priority without even thinking of what would happen to other. 

Truly we are living with the ideologies of Charvakas......Am I wrong to feel so??? 

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