Thursday, May 03, 2012

#140 Was atirAtram sacrifice performed during 'vAlmiki rAmAyaNa' days?

Question: Was a sacrifice by name 'atirAtram (or athiraatram or athiraathram) performed during the vAlmIki rAmAyaNa days?

Answer with ybrems
I am unable to trace anywhere in 'vAlmIki rAmAyaNa' , the performance of atirAtra sacrifice by the king daSaratha or any other person.

People who claim that atirAtram sacrifice was performed in vAlmIki rAmAyaNa days , have to give the volume No. i.e. kAnDa, chapter No. i.e. sarga, and verse No. i.e. SlOka No. I seek readers' co-operation in this respect.

Question: Does atirAtram sacrfice yield rains?

Answer (ybrems)
I, personally do not believe that there is a cause and effect relationship between the performance of atirAtram sacrifice and the rains. During the April 2012 atirAtram sacrifice held at bhadrAcalam, khammam District, Andhra Pradesh, one day there was a heavy downpour.

bhadrAcalam is a place noted for its high summer temperatures. Hot summers, according to meterologists, we may get, convectional rains.

How the convectional rains materialise?

Ans: Air on the ground heats up on very hot days. The hot air, being light, moves upwards. A vacuum results at lower levels. Winds, blow from all sides, to occupy the vacuum. Winds bring clouds also. Thus we get convectional rains in afternoons and evenings of very hot days.

This takes place quite frequently and almost daily in equatorial regions. Our bhadrAcalam (16 degrees North and 82 degrees east approx.) is in monsoon regions. Convectional rains can take place even in monsoon regions, albeit somewhat less, when compared to equatorial region.

Thus it is difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship between atirAtram sacrifice and the rain which fell on one day of the sacrifice.

Question: Media reports indicated that the organisers of the sacrifice predicted that there would be rains on the concluding day.

Answer: On the concluding day, called 'pUrNAhuti', the organisers burnt all the thatched cottages and halls raised for the sacrifice. But, there were no rains as predicted by them.

Question: The priests raised fire-balls of about 3000 degrees Celsius by mixing up special clays, goat's hair, and cows milk/clarified butter.

Answer: I have seen the fire ball on the TV screen. I am not sure whether anybody had really measured the temperature of the fire balls using some modern thermometers. Did they invite any meteorologists or scientists to research/study the phenomenon? I do not think that the organisers had invited any such scientific explorers of truth.

Question: The Government of Andhra Pradesh sanctioned Indian Rupees five million for the sacrifice. The Tirumala Tirupati DevasthAnam temple granted another 2.5 million Rupees.

Answer: One problem is: The State and Central Governments are subsidising Haj travel, JerUsalEm travel, and probably amarnAth trAvel. They have to stop all types of religious grants/subsidies, whether to majority religion or minority religions, if our Constitutional preamble goal of 'Secular' is to be really accomplished. Otherwise it becomes an empty slogan. On the other hand, the rulers have preferred to redefine 'secularism' to mean 'equal patronage to all religions (sarva dharma samabhAvA)'. Whatever that equality means, people who have influence to peddle and exert, are using it to make some wealth.

QuestionCloud Seeding too has failed in Andhra Pradesh. Who benefited from the cloud-seeding? The contractors, bureaucrats and politicians. Spending a few million Rupees on sacrifices, won't it be better than, squandering on cloud seeding?

AnswerIf cloud seeding continuously fails, we have to stop it. But China is claiming that it is successfully regulating rainfall, with cloud seeding and other techniques. We can seek some international help.

QuestionNearly a million people visited bhadrAcalam, to witness the sacrifice. They were all happy with the showers. You look like a real donkey, by criticising the 'atirAtram' sacrifice.
AnswerI am not afraid of self-declaring myself as a donkey or somebody else declaring me as such, rather than becoming a real gullible ass in the hands of manipulators.

We had a very good heavy rain on 29th April 2012 at many places in Andhra Pradesh, including my own place. The ceiling of my home leaked. Who performed 'atirAtram' in our place? Nearly 20 people died in the State of Andhra Pradesh, when lightning struck at different places.

India is a very big country. Andhra Pradesh is also a big State. Rains fall at some place or other in the country, on some day or other, irrespective of performance of atirAtram sacrifices.

Question: Can't you find something good in the sacrifice?

Answer: If a million people have to visit bhadrAcalam, during the ten days of the sacrifice, how much petrol/diesel they would have burnt? India is an oil-starved country. International Oil prices go up, whenever India enters the market to buy crude.

How many people might have been injured or dead in accidents which took place during the unnecessary journeys? At narasarAopET, a former Municipal Councillor and his wife lost their lives in a car accident, while proceeding to bhadracalam to see the atirAtram.

How much clarified butter and cow's milk the priests would have poured into the sacrificial fire? Hundreds of thousands of babies and children suffer from malnutrition, because parents cannot afford to buy dairy products. Can India afford to pour them into fire?

Still, you want me to see something good in the sacrifice. Here is one good thing, which the organisers did. They have not sacrificed a real goat. They have sacrificed only a goat made of flour.

Question: Many Ministers, IAS and IPS Officers visited yeTapAka (place of the sacrifice). Were they all fools?

Answer: They are not fools. We are fools. Reason: They use Government vehicles and petrol/diesel. They use Government drivers. Many of them, may cover up their visit as an official trip and claim Travelling Allowances and Halting Allowances. They might have stayed at Government guest-houses. Thus, for them, yeTapAka sacrifice is a joy ride. If anybody had applied for leave on that day, used his personal vehicle, personal private driver, personally purchased petrol/diesel, I shall salute that gentle soul.

Question:News reports indicate that nearly 1500 childless couples have taken the milk-rice-raisins preparation with great confidence that they will beget children. Are they fools?

Answer: They are not fools. They are hopefuls. Some of the couples may conceive. I am using the modal verb 'may' because, there is a 50% probability of their conceiving, whether they take the atirAtram pAyasam (milk preparation- a kheer) or not. Besides, we have what is called placebo effect. Confidence and faith are real boosters. Pessimism and depression work as blockers. I only wish that the couples were not made to pay large amounts, induced by the misrepresentations (I am not using the word 'fraud', though it can as well be a fraud) of the organisers. Some of the couples might have already paid huge amounts to modern medical super-speciality hospitals and fertility clinics for numerous tests.

One problem which arises is, those who get children, tom-tom that they got children only with the help and by the grace of the atirAtram sacrifice. Those who do not get children, remain silent thinking that it was their karma (effect of past sins) which was obstructing their fecundity and serendipity.

It will not be out of place to narrate a practical experience of a friend. He was a chronic asthmatic patient. Once, he was in an Intensive Care Unit of a Modern Hospital for nearly three months, under a 'ventilator'. Treating specialist doctors had lost all hope of his survival. Yet, he survived. Prior to his admission into the Intensive Care Unit, he was childless. After discharge from the hospital, he shifted his City of Residence and job. His wife conceived in a few months, and gave birth to a healthy baby-girl.

How to establish a cause-and-effect relationship for this result? Did the medicines and fluids administered during his three months sojourn at the hospital, make any change in his sperm-count or testosterone levels? Or did the change of his occupation make him productive? Or did the change of place, water, vegetables, grains etc. make any improvement?

Diffcult to say. More and more clinical studies become necessary to trace and establish facts.

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