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Feb28
STRESS AND KULADEVATA (THE FAMILY DEITY): DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR
STRESS AND KULADEVATA (THE FAMILY DEITY): DR. SHRINIWAS
KASHALIKAR

One of the varieties of STRESS is; one that results from severance from the habitat or childhood atmosphere. In our life this STRESS results because of being away from our native place, family members, and childhood friends and often neglected or ignored but important entity called KULADEVATA i.e. family deity.

Most of us belonging to the Hindu way of life; have their family deity and the temples of family deity in their respective native places. The customs and traditions of worshiping family deities differ some what, but in essence; they involve; regular visit to the temples of the family deities; especially on the occasion of yearly festivals of celebration called jatra.

Many of us instinctively know; the kind of STRESS resulting from the deprivation of habitat; and hence make a yearly religious visit without fail; to the temple of KULADEVATA, on the occasion of jatra.

In our early childhood we used to go to Walaval, where there is a temple of our family deity Laxmi Narayan. We traveled in our neighbor; Mr. Chintamni (fondly called Chintu) Patankarís hired; van like private vehicle.
The narrow brick red roads to Walaval; flanked by the greenery, the water streams, the rivulets, the typical shacks selling hot tea and bhaji (the smell of which percolated in the atmosphere and titillated the olfactory sense and taste buds), the houses with tiled roofs and lastly the temple of Laxmi-Narayan (also called Dev Narayan) are still very fresh in the memory.

The Laxmi Narayan temple is several centuries old and there is a lake by its side. In those days; the lake appeared fearsome as we did not know swimming and there was the belief that at least one or two persons died in the lake! The pujaris (the people appointed for worship of the deity); had maintained the sanctity of the temple, which created a sense of reverence and awe! These feelings and even the taste of the simple; but fresh and hot food; served by our distant relatives, linger in our minds even today.

But later I came in touch with Marxist analysis of poverty and misery in the society. Since I had no strong enough argument to counter the Marxist analysis, my beliefs somewhat drifted (in search of truth), from the family deity Dev Narayan, who appeared to be redundant and restricted to the temple and provide no solutions to challenges in personal and social life.

But today we are convinced that Marxist analysis; (though definitely more advanced than the indolent, parasitic, helpless and deterministic outlook), has to be culminated quickly into the globally blossoming process of self realization.

Thus God is one, but deities are many. Every family has a family deity. The child is introduced to the deity right from the birth. This introduction is immensely important because it keeps reminding the individual about the destination viz. blossoming into comic consciousness!

Thus the family deity is a forward step, made easy by parents, towards the realization of truth! At that age, no amount of philosophy can work. In fact it can be counterproductive and convert young minds into fanatic fascist robots. It is this introduction, familiarity and actual participation in the activities meted out for individual and social blossoming that constitute; some of the valuable aspects of acculturation called SANSKARA.

Today we are under the stress of being away from our habitat. Let us understand that being educated in alien atmosphere, alien curriculum and alien ideology; boosts and bloats our ego and disgruntlement. We then keep grumbling about our literature, our deities, our history, our capabilities and our future. We turn against our own ancestors and culture as if they were villains and we are heroes! Such self destructiveness; turns us away from the loving ambience of our families and family deities. We egoistically think that the family deity provided no solutions (as if he/she was supposed to provide ones); and hence is redundant and restricted to the temple. This arrogance and disgruntlement itself is the hallmark of stress resulting from the deprivation of habitat.

How can going back to this habitat physically and intellectually be extremely pleasant and beneficial in Total Stress Management?

Return to our families and family deities; is reunification of our-selves with our emotional roots. We are introduced to the family deity right from our birth. When no amount of philosophy can work; or in fact can convert our young minds into fanatic fascist robs; the introduction, familiarity and actual participation in the rituals of KULADEVATA enrich our habitat and ensure; individual and global blossoming. This is how going back (if we are broken away) to our family deity and physically and intellectually would ensure Total Stress Management.

The family deity conceptually then grows into cosmic consciousness and the individual develops cosmic perspective in the course of time.

Family deity is a very important and vital component of the process of individual and global blossoming and emancipation!

Our family deity lives in the beautiful temple located in the beautiful place mentioned above viz. Walaval in Kudal Taluka, Sindhudurga district, Maharashtra state, India. Even as Dev Narayan is my family deity, any one who visits the temple, would be reminded and reoriented to the cosmic consciousness in the course of time, besides being rejuvenated by the especially invigorating ambiance!

However the humility and openness; is very much required for the physical and intellectual return to KULADEVATA i.e. family deity (and Total Stress Management); and subsequent orientation to the cosmic consciousness; becomes possible through the practice of NAMASMARAN.

We may not believe all this; but can think over and verify!


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