Author: Hariprasad Nellitheertha

Dharmashastras

Dharmashastras and Customs As Valid Sources For Modern Law

The sacred temple of Swami Ayyappa at Sabarimala is under the danger of defilement due to the over-eagerness of a ‘secular’ State to impose its ‘Constitutional Morality’. The fundamental rights of millions of women devotees of the shrine have been ignored to facilitate the entry of a few non-believers. While the instruments of ‘Constitutional Morality’, ‘discrimination’ and ‘equality’ have been used in arguing against the practice of not allowing women aged 10-50 to enter the temple, the arguments about the traditional and ancient customs and rituals of the place have been completely ignored. This brings forth an important question. What should be the law on the issue of customs and tradition in religious practices? Increasingly, the judiciary is taking a stance that only those practices that are ‘essential’ to a religion shall be offered protection. And the definition of what is essential is left to the judiciary itself! The current interpretation is that, at the minimum, the practice in question must be defined (written/codified) in the key doctrinal texts of the religion. It takes very …

A Fulfilling Journey To Kailash Manasarovar

दानतीर्थतपोयज्ञपूर्वाः सर्वेऽपि सर्वदा | अङ्गानिहरिसेवायां भक्तिस्त्वेका विमुक्तये || Daana, teerthayatra, tapas and yajna are all instruments to perform constant service of sri hari; (They lead to bhakti) Bhakti is the chief instrument for mukti” – Sri Madhwacharya, Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, Adhyaya 1, Shloka 98 It was a typical March morning. Bangalore’s fine weather and comparatively mild traffic meant I was early in office. The phone started ringing. It was, unusually at this time of the day, my chikappa (paternal uncle) Girish calling. “Hari I’ll speak to you about other stuff later. I called to check one important thing. Abhijeet and I are planning a trip to Kailash and Manasarovar in May. He says he can take one more person. We want you to join. Can you?” It was a complete surprise. Completely unexpected. Although I was jumping to say “Of course!” I played it safe and told him I’d call back in a short while to confirm. A call home to ensure there was nothing else planned in May and a quick check on my …