Last year when I had gone for the most interesting trek of my life I happen to witness the morning Ganga Aarti at Haridwar. I had only heard great thing about the aarti and trust me I have never seen an aarti in my life of that grandeur. It starts at around 6:30 in the morning at the Har Ki Pauri Ghat. The aarti changes the whole atmosphere. The aarti song is also played on the loudspeakers so that everyone can sing along and worship Ganges. A hint of divinity spreads in the air. The smell of incense, wick lamps and flowers made the whole experience just perfect. But there were many elements which made my Ganga aarti experience a little less sublime.
Also Read: A trek into blossoming Valley of Flowers !
We Indians are very religious. We are very intelligent too, because we know how to link everything to religion and make it look right. Be it a political issue or an environmental issue. The best way to make a hullabaloo around it is opt the easy target which is our religion. Basically you can get away for doing anything and everything if you are adept in the art of associating it with some or the other religion. I am suddenly saying this here because while the Ganga aarti was going on there were many people who were taking a dip in the holy Ganges. And that would be perfectly fine as the holy water helps us wash off our sins, right ?
Okay accepted, our mythology says the holy water is powerful enough to wash off our sins but is it strong enough to make our clothes germ free too. Yes you heard it right I saw few people (not many) washing their clothes after bathing in holy Ganges. On one side there is a big group chanting the Ganga aarti and on side I have to embrace such sights. It deeply saddened me but I tried focusing on the good thing and turned a blind eye to it, don’t we all do the same.
Just when I was trying to focus all my energy on the aarti I couldn’t help but notice how everyone was offering flowers and incense by leaving them in the water stream. It symbolizes your offering to mighty Ganges but do you really have to let go off that plastic bag as well. It is not biodegradable and will not decompose any point of time. I couldn’t dare to reason/stop anyone as it is a sensitive issue and I didn’t wish to hurt anyone in anyway.
I am not suggesting to revolutionize the way we offer our prayers but a little bit of tweaking wouldn’t hurt. We have been talking about responsible tourism how about talking about responsible prayer practices too. Some of the very small and yet powerful practices that we can adopt:
- Don’t leave the plastic bags in the water stream.
- Instead of leaving a bunch of flowers, settle with a single one.
- Don’t don’t and don’t wash your clothes in the holy water.
- Instead of taking a whole dip how about just sprinkling some water, its going to serve the same purpose anyways.