Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Growing up in a diverse country with several religions following different traditions and customs, I closely observed and witnessed what’s called blind faith. People often followed age-old customs that were completely irrational. Be it, animal sacrifice, idol immersion in a waterbody, or burning incense sticks to please god. I have always wondered how would one make god happy by destructing or harming something created by him. However, religious beliefs are sensitive topics that have the power to start a war. Religions all over the world were created with faith as the foundation but over centuries they took a different shape in our social system and might have done more harm than good.
As I grew up in the city, whenever I used to visit my hometown I noticed many superstitious customs that people followed. One such custom was followed in a Hindu temple where women are not allowed to enter.
This temple is located in the state of Kerala in India. For ages, the priests do not let women enter the temple premises. The temple belongs to a deity called ‘Padmanabhaswamy’. As I grew up I realized that there are more temples in India, that follow the same tradition. I was further surprised to know that some temples do not allow men to enter and are open only to females. I never understood the rationale behind these traditions and their origin always intrigued me. I could not find convincing evidence or answers from anyone with whom I discussed my views.
What difference would it make if women enter these temples? If God is the creator why would he not allow women/men to worship him? To this, some people replied by saying that they are not stopped from worshipping but cannot enter the temple premises to pray and express their faith. Some also say that God is celibate and cannot have women serve him. I found this unreasonable. As these customs are very old, we can never know who started these customs, why, and why are we following them blindly today without understanding the truth.
This tradition that prohibited women from going inside the temples was, protested against by thousands of women in 2018. The ban was lifted by Supreme Court for some places of worship but not all. I was relieved to know that people have finally started challenging such illogical rules and upholding equality for men, women at least with respect to worship and prayer.
Author - Eesha Acharya
This is confidential intellectual property that belongs to Grad-Dreams. Duplication/ Replication/ Publication of full or any part of this content is strictly prohibited and doing so will have serious legal implications.