I recently read the book – Hindu Rites and Rituals- Origins and Meaning by K.V Singh. The book had decent ratings on Amazon and a nice attractive Saffron cover. I expected a lot of scientific reasoning behind the hundreds, if not thousands, of the rituals that we have in Hinduism.
I had mixed feelings about this book. It was a good read. Short chapters, easy explanations and familiarity with most of the rituals mentioned helped. It piqued my interest to know the background of such practices. There were many chapters which had good explanations. There were many which brushed through at a surface level. Some of the points were very repetitive. And some looked more like the author’s theory than a convincing explanation. There were quite a few things that I learnt new as well.
The thing that I liked the most about picking up this book was not the content of the book itself. It was a byproduct of this book. I wanted my daughter to start learning cultural topics and read it out loud to her before sleeping one day. Then, my son started insisting to read everyday – not because he understood any of the words but because he liked the idea of turning the page when I am done reading one page. This transformed into a night time reading habit which my kids enjoy. This also forces me to think through to choose good books to read to my kids rather than picking books at random. The next book that I have picked up is “Ramayana Unravelled” by Ami Ganatra. Looks promising so far.
3 thoughts on “Book: Hindu Rites and Rituals”
Reading with your children is a wonderful thing! Have fun, and encourage argument and dissent!
Over the last few years, I have moved away from believing in rituals. This does create a cultural hollowness, so I more clearly understand the need for rituals. They provide a sense of continuity and community, as well as some structure to our daily lives. Most importantly, I think, they provide pure aesthetic pleasure. What would we do without music and dance, flowers, kolams and oil lamps glowing in the dark? All these things make us feel good, and so make us happier and hopefully nicer people. However I simply can’t believe that these rituals have any material effect on our future life or lives. And recent attempts to provide “scientific evidence” that they do are just plain ridiculous. A case in point: https://youtube.com/shorts/_aLJS5rojd4?feature=share
Yup. My daughter is already asking a lot of questions. Most of the time i do not have the answer. I realised that i never tried to understand many of these myself. So i tell her what I tell in corporate life when I don’t know “let me get back to you on this” 😀