Home Up About Dal Sabzi Search Contact Shakun Mailing List Site Map


Sacred Days and Festivals
What They Denote Pg. 1
What they Denote Pg. 2
Rituals & Practices Pg.1
Rituals & Practices Pg. 2
The Vivaha Pg. 1
The Vivaha Pg. 2
Child Page One
Child Page Two
Rituals of Death
The Gita
The Tulasi
Back Page



An agnostic is not necessarily an atheist. The faith of a blind follower could be shaken by a doubting Thomas or a questioning pilot; but when this self-same faith is founded on rational argument It becomes rock-like, strong and invincible.

The spirit of inquiry often opens gates to vast expanses of knowledge. Newton saw an apple falling from a tree and a question arose in his mind - why did the apple come down to the earth and not fly away towards the skies? This question led to the discovery of the law of gravitation.

Swami Dayanand, when he was only a boy in his teens, saw a mouse eating away the fruits offered to God Siva on the Mahasivaratri night. He began to ask himself: How could this image of stone be God, who cannot protect the food offered to him against mice. The result was a new interpretation of the Vedas, a renaissance and the reform movement.

Millions follow blindly, without questioning, the numerous social customs and religious rites, blind­folded, without ever bothering themselves about their sig­nificance and purpose. When such a blind follower is questioned, he is confounded. This confusion could turn him into a non-believer. It could also expose his rituals to ridicule and contempt.

The author of this work, Shakun Narain. had such an experience when she was studying at a Spanish Catholic School in the Canary Islands. Her schoolmates, through sheer curiosity, flooded her with questions about the various customs and rituals of the Hindus. She had no answer for these. But this did not turn her into an atheist, or non-believer. An urge arose in her mind to delve deep into the meaning and purpose of these customs, beliefs and rituals and unravel the mystery in which they are shrouded. She made a diligent study of these customs, beliefs and rituals, trying to grasp the meaning, purpose and significance thereof. And this book is the result of such research over long years.

I do not know why I have been approached to write a foreword for this volume. I am neither a theologian nor a priest. Perhaps she has thought fit to come to me because during her long years of research and study she often came to me with her doubts and queries and I tried in my humble way to solve these to the best of my ability and knowledge, gathered from what little study I have made of such matters.

The volume, though small, is a treasure house of knowledge and wisdom. She has tried to show in this book that our customs and rituals are not meaningless exercises, but that they are pregnant with deep significance and that there is a purpose and meaning behind every such custom or ritual.

Our womenfolk are asked to offer water to the sun in the morning. One is apt to call this custom silly, for the simple reason that this water could never reach the sun. Who could suspect that this innocent practice was intended to maintain and improve the eyesight of the devotee. Similarly she has uncovered for us the purpose and meaning of a vast number of varied customs and rituals associated with the Hindu religion and Hindu society. For example, she has tried to explain why cutting nails at night is forbidden, why salt is not to be spilled on the floor, why keys should not be jingled and so on.

While talking of this she has tried to show that it is not the Hindu society alone that has such customs and conventions. Every society and every religion has its own peculiar customs and rituals - Christians and Muslims not excluded.

I believe a perusal of this book would help an otherwise foolish-looking or silly follower of meaningless customs and rituals become an intelligent and informed person, who could defend his faith against onslaughts from adversaries or against ridicule from half-baked intellectuals.

She has rendered one more valuable service too. Sometimes some of the legends inscribed in our epics and mythological works appear absurd and unintelligible. Why had Ravan ten heads; why has Lord Ganesh the head of an elephant implanted on his body; why was Draupadi married to five persons, why did Lord Krishna marry 16,000 wives. She has tried to give a rational explanation for all these baffling questions. I have, therefore, no hesitation in recommending the ‘book to the members of the Hindu cult generally and to the doubting Thomases particularly.

(Prof. Ram Panjwani)



Dal Sabzi for the Aatman ™  is the sole property of Shakun Narain.
This website was created for Shakun Narain by SunUt Designs.