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Parable - How Are Rituals Corrupted in Hinduism?

A parable explains how rituals or acharas are corrupted in Hinduism.

Once a man was performing the shraddha ceremony of his father. He was assisted by his two young sons.

When they sat for worship with eyes closed, their pet cat ate the naivedya before it could be offered. The man arranged for new naivedya and also put the cat in a corner and covered it with a wicker basket.

The cat was let out after the worship. The next year, before the worship began, the cat was confined to the same corner with the basket over it. This practice continued for many years.

One day the man himself passed away. Now his two grown-up sons got ready to perform his shraddha ceremony.

Just when the worship was about to begin, the elder brother exclaimed, ‘My God! We have forgotten an important ritual of our sacred tradition!’

‘What is it?’ asked the younger brother anxiously. ‘Don’t you remember, how at every shraddha ceremony our father would keep a cat in that corner covered with a wicker basket?’ replied the elder brother.

As the pet cat too had died by then, the younger brother rushed to the market and purchased a new wicker basket and a new cat in the name of the dear departed father.
The worship began with a cat once again kept in the same corner covered in a basket! A ‘sacred’ tradition had been safeguarded!!

The sooner such cat-basket customs are weeded out from our faith, the better for us. But what if we in ignorance discard the very fundamentals of our religion, like throwing the baby out with the bathwater?