With Vasant Navarathri starting today the ban on onions and garlic for 9 days begins. Yesterday while shopping at a grocery store I saw a neat table set out for Navarathri Items. It dint strike me then that Spring is here and so is Vasant Navarathri. I thought the shop guys probably overstocked their Navarathri items during Oct last year and have put it up on sale now :P. Today morning when I was making breakfast it still din’t strike me that its an auspicious day today and I should not be putting onions in food. DH likes onions and I generally am very generous in the usage because both of us feel that it adds a great flavour to our palate. Just when I started started cooking DH’s mom called (I don’t like calling her MIL per se. Somehow MIL sounds very strict to me.. She is too good to be called one) and asked DH to refrain from eating onions for 9 days. Bang! I get the connect and announce to myself that its the first day of Navarathri.
Now starts the confusion. Every time I am posed with a ritual, my mind starts to swing like a pendulum. Since I am a wannabe regilious daughter-in-law, its even more challenging. “Wannabe” because I have always been someone who is too scared to challenge the rituals and someone who also wants to be modern in her thoughts. Now all I strive for is to strike a perfect balance between the two.
I am someone who has never questioned ” Why going to temple is important ? ” because I feel I do not need an explanation for that. I feel at peace when I go there, I feel I am taking some step, even if its a very small one, towards connecting to God. I enjoy the vibration felt when I hear the Aarathi or bhajans and I am in bliss when I sing one. All these are good enough reasons for me to go to a temple without an iota of doubt about its importance. Similarly, there are many more rituals which I am totally convinced about and enjoy following them. Even otherwise, as I already told I am too timid to question them. I might still go ahead and follow something just because the elders in the house ask me to do so. If its something very simple and following that would bring smiles in their faces I totally do not mind doing it for greater good. All I try to find out is an answer for myself !
Coming to onions, I think the scientific reason for not eating onions and garlic during auspicious days is because they are Tamasic in nature and one can loosely say that these foods can arouse sensual pleasures and dullness in minds. To elaborate more on this – Every food can be categorised into 3- Rajasic, Tamasic and Sattvik. (I am not sure of spellings).. Sattvik is prescribed during such pious occasions.
I would be at my inlaws in the evening and will try to seek more information but with just this scientific reason in mind do I shun onions ? No!!! I know, Onions are Tamasic but I do not think we have enough luxury to sit at home just because we are feeling dull today. Life is so fast paced that no one cares if you’re dull or not. Life has to go on. And talking about sensual pleasures..Well, I am sure all of us are eating onions daily..Poor thing, does that arouse the sensuality in you 😉 ..
Then, will that mean I continue eating onions ? – Probably ‘No’ again! I might have if I was not told about it but wouldn’t want to hurt someone’s sentiments after being told. After all I am a good cook and i can do wonders with whatever limited ingredients I have !!
So, as the heading says- here goes my 2 cents on rituals –
Follow it as long as your hearts agrees to it, as long as you have an answer to convice yourself.
If you cant then take a stand and stick by it. Swaying will do no good.
Haapy Gudi Padava, Happy Ugadi and Happy Vasant Navarathri !!