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The Meaning of His Own Name a Politician Forgot


Indian Americans in USA

In a recent speech a well known politician from Bihar wondered how Mr.Modi, the Prime Minister of India, who offers milk to Lord Ganesha, can develop the nation. Obviously this gentleman who has been previously indicted by court in a corruption case does not understand the meaning of sacrifice or offerings to gods, which is the tradition of this country for at least 6000 years. The idea of sacrifice is central to Hinduism. The Vedas state that creation itself emerged out of a grand sacrifice performed by God in which he used parts of his own body as offerings. Sacrifice means giving. You give out of love or devotion or compassion and through that giving express your gratitude for the support you receive from various people, beings, and gods.

As Hindus, we make offerings to gods because they do not make food for themselves and depend upon human beings for their nourishment. Why do gods need our food? It is because they are so selfless that they do not want to make any food for themselves. Or probably they want us to cultivate charity, which as Brahma noted is difficult for humans to practice. He tried to teach restraint to gods, compassion to demons and charity to humans. It appears that he has not achieved much success in this regard. The same principle of selflessness apply to ascetics who are supposed to be gods upon earth . They are not supposed to worry about themselves. Not cooking food for yourself is the ultimate sign of renunciation and selflessness. The day you stop cooking food for yourself by transcending your selfishness, you become a true renunciant. Our scriptures say that since the welfare of the world depends a lot upon such pious people and gods, it becomes the duty and responsibility of the householders to nourish them through daily sacrifices.

Interestingly, the politician who made the comment has "Prasad" as his middle name, which literally means the remains of the offering. Probably he has not given much thought to that part of his name. From his comments and actions we may conclude that he has not yet overcome his ambition and selfishness and cannot think beyond himself, his family, and his personal interests. He nourishes himself and his family rather than the gods, the poor, and the renunciants. He surely wants to redistribute public money among his chosen people (dal) in the cause of socialism. Hopefully, someday he will overcome his limited view of Hinduism and understand the significance of sacrifice and social and spiritual responsibility.

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