The last post detailed something I came across in book I’m reading. This post is meant to do the same. For details on that book, please see my last post. Otherwise, I’m going to assume you’ve read that and jump immediately to the rule I’m planning to ignore.
This is apparently “another important form of retreat followed by all knowledgeable Hindus.” With that in mind, please allow me to just go ahead and lump myself into the “other” group of, apparently, ignorant Hindus. This so-called form of retreat indicates that “Siva’s devotees must observe a period of 31 days following the birth or death of a family member during which they do not enter temples or home shrines, perform worship rites or attend auspicious events.”
This rule also states, like with menstrual cycles or major surgeries, that japa and personal sadhanas can and should be continued during this time, and that the judgment of who is part of the family rests on the shoulders of the family itself.
Pardon my American English, but that’s bullcrap.
For one, when I lose a loved one (or gain one!), God is the first place I go. Usually, God within me first. Then, once the actual event in question has transpired, I go to God within my home mandir. And as soon as is practical after the event, I go to God within my local temple. I wouldn’t say I seek shelter or solace necessarily during these kinds of times, but I bring everything to God, regardless.
Forgive my frankness, but my current understanding kind of makes this seem ridiculous and unnecessary. Why should I stay away from worship for 31 days because my family welcomed another child? At the rate my family goes sometimes, and certainly with the openness my family considers others “one of us,” I could/would easily be required to go half the year without so much as a single aarti. I ain’t havin’ that. And, too, for most of the last few years just about EVERY month of January has meant a death for us. It’s bad enough to start the year off with a death, but it’s a double whammy for me to think of also starting the year off away from temple. Again, bullcrap. In my opinion, welcoming new life into the family OR parting with life in the family are both excellent reasons to absolutely go to temple – either out of gratitude, or to seek a comforting darshan. I don’t believe in using religion as a crutch during these times, but these times specifically, I feel, call for drawing as near as ever to the Divine.
As long as January continues to be a cursed month for my loved ones, I’ll continue to go to temple in January.
Om Tat Sat