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Making gods happy this festive season

 ‘You can do it, if you are a little innovative and develop eco-friendly cisterns to use for immersion.’ The priest, known to the locality for realistic interpretation of Hindu scriptures without pomp and show, has offered a plausible solution of idol immersion, that makes newspaper headlines every year in the country all for wrong reasons.

Construct a large deep covered cistern with two-tier bottoms, and doors and other outlets for use as and when required. Put the idols in the cistern in a row after the ritual pujas and visarjan, then run flowing water through hosepipes in a siphon style to fall on the top of the idols to melt in time.
When the clay and paints wash away completely to deposit in the bottom deep of the cistern, drained through small holes in the top tier of the plain on which the idols stand, entire chemical-rich clay sediment can be gathered for burying under earth. The wood and straw structure of the idols, thus bereft of the clay and colour coatings, can thereafter be dismantled humanly or mechanically. Idols do not need to be immersed in the surface water bodies.

This saves the quality of water in rivers, ponds, seas, rivulets and others from getting polluted.
Why cover the cistern? Pat replies Muktipada Chakraborty, the Kali temple’s chief priest, ‘You cannot feel happy to see dismembering of the bodies of the idols, whom you have worshipped with full devotion only a few days back. Particularly for the devotees, it is a terrible sight, hurting their sentiments, which is so touchy.’

Muktibabu has a point. Can humans tolerate the scene of dismembering of a dead body of a mother? When Hindus worship Goddess Durga, they actually invoke her as Mother in human avatar, also they indeed dedicate themselves to the Mother. The idol is infused with praana through mantras to emerge as a visible divine reality, fit for offering pujas. Can you insult those idols just because you have delivered ritualistic visarjan and reduced the idol to a matter without life (praanheen), and throw away in water bodies never to look back at it to see what exactly happens to the idol?  This thought pains the conscientious Hindus.  

Every year, water bodies in the country are condemned to human-induced pollution when the gorgeously coloured and painted idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are immersed in these. Dismantling within water takes very long, even as the depleted structures cause miseries to people who use the water bodies, ponds and rivers in particular, in their daily life.

In the Yamuna at Delhi, and many rivers in the country, deaths were reported many times in the past after the idols of Ganesha, Durga and others had been immersed.   

As we save the sediments from the cistern, gathered from the melted idols, we indeed save energy and put it back to the earth. Muktipadababu explains, ‘What do we mean by the Puja? It is only invoking the power of the kshiti, opp, tej, marut, and byom. That means, we infuse ourselves with the energy of earth, water, fire, wind and the sky through mantras, seasonally. These are the five essential elements, which we use in our pujas. 

With great diligence and care we create these idols, add value to their looks with great artistry, and at that time these idols are only clay-made things, which in Sanskrit we call ‘Mrinmayee’. By infusing praana into the idols we turn them into ‘Chinmayee’, that is the divine reality according to our chetna, chinta or Imagination. What’s wrong if we return the same Mrinmayee back to the earth from where it was created?’

Muktipadababu’s explanations sound like what Indian yogic pranayam preaches for gathering internal spiritual strength. Pujas are only the mediums for that.  

Interestingly, there are sigma principles, which can be applied in the ideas expounded by Muktipadababu about eco-friendly idol immersion. According to ASQ, for excellence you have to ‘sort’, ‘store’, ‘shine’ ‘standardise’, and ‘sustain’.

At least the country’s ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) should be happy to hear this novel idea of idol immersion. You are not flouting the ritualistic ordains mentioned in the Hindu sacred books. But you are saving umpteen numbers of water-born fauna and the earth-born flora. 
We are indeed stopping our usable surface water from getting contaminated by use of chemicals in the idols.  IPA
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