Reading between the Lines in the Chapter “Religious Hymns”

I have noticed that many religious terms in the chapter “Religious Hymns” are implicitly written by the author. The reason behind this is that the writer assumes readers know about those festivals and cultures. However, this is not true for foreign readers as they are not acquainted with the Indian festivals. Consequently, they have difficulty understanding those terms. As an Indian, I tried to read between the lines, and I understand some of the terms. Therefore, I want to share them with you.

Janmashtami — It is a festival for lord Krishna. Janma means to take birth, and ashtami means eighth day of a fortnight. This festival is celebrated every year in the eighth day of a fortnight in the month of August. On this day, lord Krishna was born in a prison. His maternal uncle put his mother, Devaki, and father, Vasudev, in the prison because once, he heard that Devaki and Vasudev’s son would kill him. Therefore, he kept them in the jail and killed every child of them. However, when their eighth son, lord Krishna, was born in the midnight, his father replaced him with one of his friends’ new born daughter. Lord Krishna lived in the home of his father’s friend and treated him as father. Later, when he grew up, he killed his maternal uncle and took his parents out from the jail. Lord Krishna had many qualities of god because he was one of the forms of god Vishnu. Therefore, many people treat him as a god and worship him. Some people also do fasting in Janmashtami. They keep idols of Krishna in their home and worship it in the midnight. After their fast ended, they put the idol of him in a river.

The second thing is that the author has written, “Vitthal and Rukmini were in the inside room, and outside was a linga of Shiva and a stone of Nandi. The linga required leaves of bel, so outside the temple a bel tree had been planted” (Moon 41). Here, God Vitthal is one of the forms of lord Krishna, and Rukmini is Vitthal’s wife. The linga was a symbol for lord Shiva, and Nandi is name of a Bull, who was vehicle for lord Shiva. Whenever, he went anywhere, he used to sit in the back of Nandi. Therefore, Nandi is also worshipped with lord Shiva. In addition, bel is a very sacred tree in the Hindu religion. Therefore, people put leaves of bel on Shivalinga. Some people also eat it to cure many diseases.

Image of lord Vitthal and Rukmini

Lord Krishna

The Nandi and Shivalinga

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