Window Seat: Free Prasad

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | November 26, 2023 IST

Window Seat

Mrinal Chatterjee

Prasad (read food) is distributed free, in several religious shrines often irrespective of faith or background. In Tirumala Balaji Temple besides the ladoo, delicious lunch is served free to all. I have taken that food. It is served in a clean and hygienic hall. The langar (common kitchen) in almost all Gurudwaras including Dantun Sahib and Patthar Sahib in Ladakh offer free food to all. The largest among them is located in The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib, first constructed in 1604 and was later rebuilt in 1764), located in the city of Amritsar.  It typically feeds roughly 40,000 people a day for free. On religious holidays and weekends, the langar feed upwards of 100,000 people a day. About 90 per cent of the staff is made up of volunteers (known as sewadars) who can help out for as long as they like. The sewadars help in cooking, serving food and also cleaning the utensils.

In Tirumala Balaji Temple also there is a tradition and institutional system of volunteering. In both the places the system runs mostly out of donation made by people.

I often wonder why such a system has not been adopted in Puri Shreemandira, at least during the month of Kartika? During the month of Kartika several hundreds of widows observe habisha. They are usually called ‘habisali’s. They take food (usually the anna prasad of the temple) once a day.  Many of the widows are poor. During Kartika the rate of the anna prasad is hiked. Can’t the temple provide them prasad free for this month like Gurudwaras do or in Tirupati Temple? I am sure many would like to donate for this, if pilferage-free delivery is assured.

The State government has taken some steps to provide them shelter and food. But an institutionalized robust system has not yet emerged.

Happiness

Recently I was invited to speak on ‘happiness’ by a philanthropic organization. I do not why they invited me. Probably I always look happy, though my wife tells me otherwise.

So I read about happiness. Happiness has been studied from sociological, psychological, theological, spiritual perspective; also from medical angle. It is interesting to note that though we covet happiness, many people are actually scared to be happy, lest it brings something bad on them. 

One school of psychologists believes that some people are genetically wired to be happy. Some are not. It is a trait. The other school believes that one can learn to be happy. It is a skill that can be acquired. So much so that several known universities across the world are offering courses on happiness that teaches how to be happy.

Recent research on happiness from psychological and neuro-science domain, focuses mostly on functional neuro-anatomy of pleasure. Interestingly, both have some strikingly common points:

1.   Happiness does not lie in amassing wealth or materials or even in its complete absence.

2.   Your happiness is deeply connected with everyone around you.

3.   Social isolation/rejection causes pain. Good social relationship is a critical factor in happiness.

4.   Positive surprises make us happy.

Early morning train journey

Early morning train journey has always been fascinating for me. As you have to get up very early to get ready to reach station, there is always that tension of the cab not reaching in time, or the alarm bell not functioning. As a result you keep awake the whole night or have a fitful frequently interrupted sleep.

Then, as you reach the station, even the familiar one also looks so different at early morning. It is like meeting a prim and proper gentleman you are accustomed to see in business suit in lungi. You see people sleeping on the platforms, some just waking up. The smell of freshly brewed tea floats lightly with winter mist. As the train chugs into the station in what seems like slow motion, passengers scramble into compartments. In unreserved compartments there is a rush to grab the window seat. Luggage shoved under the seat or piled overhead beans, passengers settle down as the dawn just breaks over the corrugated tin dome of the platform fighting the tenacity of darkness.

Tailpiece: Lesson that we learnt

The single most important lesson that we learnt from the recently concluded world cup cricket final is: Kamala Pasand is scented elaichi dana.

Tailpiece-2: Question

Sunny ne doctor se poochha: Kya doodh pine se rang gora hota hei?

Doctor: Yes, isme calcium hota hai.

Sunny: Phir, bhains ka bachha kala kyun hota hai?

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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