Festival of Chariots

Ratha Yatra, Brisbane style

When I saw the headline in the local paper, I thought we must have done something rather well if we’d achieved such an exalted status.   But no, nothing to do with us.   Just an annual event that’s been running for about 5,000 years or so.   And even for the past 5 years in Brissie, I find.

It’s a celebration within Hinduism which has caught on in many cities around the world, possibly because of the Beatles’ early fascination with Krishna, and a jolly good thing it has, in my ‘umble opinion.   You can look it up in Wiki, or on this local site.

Unlike many other religions, which are so often associated the screaming of dire imprecations and much frothing at the mouth, Hinduism likes to look on the sunny side of the street, so notice that everyone is smiling broadly, and entering into the spirit of the thing.   Which seems magically to make pulling a four-ton chariot a pleasant task.   Good on ’em!   Here’s the article in the Brisbane Times which caught my eye.

Boadicea is in Japan for a while, but she’ll be back soon.   I hope.

Author: Bearsy

A Queensland Bear with attitude

11 thoughts on “Festival of Chariots”

  1. “Unlike many other religions, which are so often associated the screaming of dire imprecations and much frothing at the mouth, Hinduism likes to look on the sunny side of the street”. I am sure the Shudras and Untouchables are pretty happy with their lot.

    Christmas and Easter are two joyful celebrations in the Christian calendar, or at least they were until hijacked by atheists and turned into commercial orgies. I suspect that it would be non PC to attack Hinduism.

    I found this excerpt from Wiki, the bit about caste being an invention of the British, fairly typical of modern thinking.

    Main article: Varna (Hinduism)
    Hindu society has been categorised into four classes, called varnas. They are the Brahmins: Vedic teachers and priests; the Kshatriyas: warriors and kings; the Vaishyas: farmers and merchants; and the Shudras: servants and labourers.[331]

    The Bhagavad Gītā links the varna to an individual’s duty (svadharma), inborn nature (svabhāva), and natural tendencies (guṇa).[332] The Manusmṛiti categorises the different castes.[web 7]

    Some mobility and flexibility within the varnas challenge allegations of social discrimination in the caste system, as has been pointed out by several sociologists,[333][334] although some other scholars disagree.[335] Scholars debate whether the so-called caste system is part of Hinduism sanctioned by the scriptures or social custom.[336][web 8][note 21] And various contemporary scholars have argued that the caste system was constructed by the British colonial regime.[337]

    A renunciant man of knowledge is usually called Varnatita or “beyond all varnas” in Vedantic works. The bhiksu is advised to not bother about the caste of the family from which he begs his food. Scholars like Adi Sankara affirm that not only is Brahman beyond all varnas, the man who is identified with Him also transcends the distinctions and limitations of caste.[338]

  2. Once again Sipu, you seem to have chosen to miss the point.

    Yes, you’re a dedicated and acknowledged smart-arse and, yes, you can usually find something to validly criticise, but this comment has to take Olympic Gold for irrelevant persiflage. Mind you, it’s still infinitely better than no comment at all!

    Give yourself a pat on the back. 😎

  3. Do yourself a favour Bearsy. Don’t make nasty digs, where they are uncalled for. You understandably chose to highlight the Hindu celebration, but here was absolutely no need to make unfavourable comparisons to other religions. That comment was designed offend.

  4. Hinduism is complex and Hindu logic is circuitous. The caste system, like Hinduism, has evolved over millennia. The Raj had little to do with it. The British class system and the South Asian caste system were instantly recognisable. If Hindus adopted and adapted some elements of the colonial British class system, it wasn’t through force but through the same instinctive cultural borrowing that is inherent to South and South-East Asia. After all, Hinduism has adopted and adapted the Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus and Mohammed into its pantheon. Not all cultural borrowings are necessarily positive, but that’s another matter.

    Caste wasn’t, isn’t, necessarily the same as wealth and quality of life. Some high-caste Hindus are impoverished. They might be beggars or servants working in the homes of well-off members of lower castes. A Brahmin cook can cook for members of all castes because of perceived purity. A Brahmin beggar gives members of other castes the ability to gain greater merit for the next cycle of rebirth.

    There is a risk in assuming, however, that Hinduism is inherently peaceful and optimistic. Elements of it are, elements are far from it. There is a fundamentalist strain which has led to a great deal of communal violence in India. It goes against what it regards as heterodox elements within Hinduism, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims and Christians. Some more intellectually honest Indian commentators have noted that the threat of radical, fundamentalist Hinduism is real and growing — and could well undo India’s recent progress, even its ability to function as a state.

  5. Strewth!

    After days with neither posts nor comments appearing on a deserted Chariot, I published a cheerful, colourful article which recorded my pleasure at seeing people enjoying themselves attending a genuinely multiethnic, multicultural party. Makes a nice change from seeing the nasty, evil aggressive mobs that usually plaster themselves across all forms of news media chanting some childish nonsense based on the same tired old theme, “my god is better than your god, and if you won’t do what I tell you to do I’ll kill you”.

    And what happens?

    Rudeness from Sipu (nothing new about that) and political analysis from Christopher (which I’m sure is excellent, but it has f-all to do with a nice day out in a friendly Aussie city).

    Sod the lot of you, I shan’t bother again. 🎈

  6. Bearsy and fellow charioteers, I think the lack of posts and comments are symptomatic of an apathy that will hard to shift. Jolly posts like this one become targets instead of catalysts. Pity.

  7. It was a general discussion of Hinduism. I’m sure it was a lovely parade. The most interesting thing happening in western Dorset is that a number of women are going to climb Cerne Abbas man tomorrow.

  8. Somewhat surprised there are enough ragheads in Brisbane to get this together. Time to leave town in my book.

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