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Theetu

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Ramani from chennai

pl clarify
the anushtanam for theettu in travel.i mean while travelling to office some people from a death house boarding the bus.i cannot comeback take bath and go again.what the sastras say.

While observing theettu when there is nobody to cook meals/prepare coffee how to do it in the house by a person with theettu.

Ramani
 

Nara

Well-known member
Ramani from chennai

pl clarify
the anushtanam for theettu in travel.i mean while travelling to office some people from a death house boarding the bus.i cannot comeback take bath and go again.what the sastras say.

While observing theettu when there is nobody to cook meals/prepare coffee how to do it in the house by a person with theettu.

Ramani


Dear Sir, this is why orthodox Brahmins do not travel in bus or train. If you are particular about this, you need to get a scooter, but that also wouldn't do because there is no way you can avoid theetu in the office -- a female staff may be in rajas. The best is to quit your job and stay home, never ride in a bus or travel by train. If you do, you need to take a ritual bath and then change your yagyopaveetam.

regards ...
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
ramani,

maybe there are sects in hinduism that does not observe theetu. nara, do you know of any? theetu, i think, is the stupidest infection of the mind and once this poison is inculcated, it is almost impossible to get rid of it.

better still convert to some other religion which does not observe theetu.
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
"Theetu" came from 'theendu' meaning touch or 'sparisam'. The idea behind this concept was to keep clean and hygienic. But, it was extended to a stupid length in due course.

As long as one is neat, clean and hygienic, 'theetu' need not be applied. Being over finicky about this issue is totally unwarranted.

Another thing about women in their periods. I am of the firm opinion that anything that occurs naturally, upon which human beings have no control, must be accepted without any disgust or hatred. I shudder to think of the sad plight of women in yesteryears being kept in isolation, during such times. Instead of giving them the much needed rest, more embarrassment and humiliation were caused to them then.
 

girishsai

Member
I'm not sure of what you say that women were kept in isolation and were suffering from embarrassment in yesteryears. I come from an Agraharam were women always felt they got the much needed rest and a break from all the physical chores. I work in the corporate IT world today and see a lot of women tiring of due to stress due to pressures of work and at home.

Also, before we start preaching "Convert to other religions" which does not observe theetu just shows lack of maturity. We should not be the one to make judgement calls and see what the scriptures or sastras say in that regard.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Ramani from chennai

pl clarify
the anushtanam for theettu in travel.i mean while travelling to office some people from a death house boarding the bus.i cannot comeback take bath and go again.what the sastras say.

While observing theettu when there is nobody to cook meals/prepare coffee how to do it in the house by a person with theettu.

Ramani
Shri Ramani,

The only clarification I can give is that in earlier days - till the 1920's or 1930's - brahmins' travel was quite different (as was told to me by my mother, uncles, grandmother, etc.) In Kerala most of the travel was done in boats known as "keTTuvaLLam"கெட்டுவள்ளம், the same hull or structure nowadays modified as luxurious houseboats. The party would start early in the morning and by noon they would identify some compound where the boat can be docked. Then everything from rice, buttermilk, vegetables, pickles etc., carried with them would be taken out, a cooking fire lighted in an அடுப்பு with 3 or 6 bricks, local fuel from coconut trees - available in plenty - would be used with the consent of the owner of the compound, which was always given to passengers without question. The people will take bath before cooking, do "maadhyahnikam" and eat the meals in a verandah of the owner's house (if it was a vegetarian house - that is normally known before "berthing" the vallam) and then proceed. The boatmen used to carry his own provisions but if the passengers were brahmins, or other high-caste people, they used to be vegetarians. If there was any surplus from the food of the passengers that also used to be taken by the boatmen.

A similar routine used to be made at night also if the journey extended to the next day. At the end of the trip the menfolk used to bathe, change their sacred thread and recite Gayatri some specific number of times as "praayascittam".

The journey in T. Nadu used to be in bullock carts or கோச்சுவண்டி. The routine was similar except that it was a land journey and those who did not know swimming were more at peace. Incidentally, many B women, including my grandmother could swim or at least float and so had less fear of water!!

2. Now I will give one or two real-life example of a boy (he is now 50) who was brought up with a large dose of "aacaarams" injected into his brain. He had particular fear about menstrual தீட்டு, apart from other items like cooked food-non-cooked food, yesterday's clothes (மடி) and what not. He studied upto M.A. first year, was a gold medalist in B.A. All along he used to starve till he came back home, took bath and changed poonal (one per day!) and then only took meals. His fear of menstrual தீட்டு got so worse that he discontinued his study after I year M.A. Somewhere along the line he got the funny idea that when he ate something it is not only the fingers and the palm of his hand, but by contact, the rest of the hand also became எச்சல். So he started washing his entire right hand upto the shoulder and, since the left hand was used to wash the right one, the left hand also is washed up to the shoulder. Similarly he washes both his legs up to the waist and this washing goes on for hours because he always suspects that some unclean water drop has just touched the hand or the leg. Even today he spends most of his waking hours like this, has no time to eat, his daily food being one or two raw chapatis (brought to his home by a brahmin lady in whom he has unshakeable faith) and two bananas.

3. There was a very highly placed and very influential brahmin official in the Maharaja's days. After Independence it became State Govt. and the officer next below this brahmin happened to be a lady. Poor man was ever so particular about menstrual தீட்டு, that, it is widely known, that the lady had instructions not to come into his office during her monthly course and, in those days, he used to sprinkle a bit of water on the files before touching them. At times this practice even smudged the writings!!

So, it is for each one of us to decide where we should draw the line.
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
sangom,

that was a good post #6. i wish to emphasize that theetu is all in the mind.

i also realize, that in india, with ingrown passed on or inculcated prejudices, we try to excuse the most ridiculous or racist actions under the guise of religion and traditions.

i think, one of the benefits of education, would be to cleanse ourselves of nasty habits and not attempt to justify such actions. nor do we realize, that prejudices are something that is learnt and passed on. people are not born with prejudices.

it is one of the residual shames of our community that the sooner we shed, the better we would become.
 

Nara

Well-known member
...I come from an Agraharam were women always felt they got the much needed rest and a break from all the physical chores.

Dear girishsai, Greetings!

If women need rest, and they surely do, why not treat them as special and make them comfortable. For example, they do no work, get to go anywhere, get to just sit and lounge around, do whatever they want, they get to eat first, etc. But for the rest they get, in Agraharams, they are made to stay outside the main premises of the house, not allowed to enter the house or certain parts of the house, have to stay at least 10 feet away from everyone, they are fed like dogs get fed, and so on. Why should women pay this price to get the rest?

Yes, if you ask Agraharam women, they will probably say they are thankful the rest they get, what else can they say, at least they get rest for a few days, and for that they are willing to put up with all this nonsense, which they probably believe in too, after all this is our great tradition, and everything in our tradition is so wonderful, right?

As for women IT workers having to work in the office and at home, it only shows what pigs the men in their lives are. Why can't these men share the load?

Also, before we start preaching "Convert to other religions" which does not observe theetu just shows lack of maturity.
I am confused by this comment, who is preaching this? Can you be specific please?

Cheers!
 

sangom

Well-known member
sangom,

that was a good post #6. i wish to emphasize that theetu is all in the mind.

i also realize, that in india, with ingrown passed on or inculcated prejudices, we try to excuse the most ridiculous or racist actions under the guise of religion and traditions.

i think, one of the benefits of education, would be to cleanse ourselves of nasty habits and not attempt to justify such actions. nor do we realize, that prejudices are something that is learnt and passed on. people are not born with prejudices.

it is one of the residual shames of our community that the sooner we shed, the better we would become.
Dear Kunjuppu,

What I find even today is that some people who, during their middle ages led a life free of any religious taboos like தீட்டு, etc., undergo a certain type of regression and turn out to be very orthodox, believing in all that religion demands and become more and more conservative as they grow old. They take to some Guru or another and a religious activity like Bhagavata parayanam and immediately start trying to proselytize others also into their new-found virtuous life. This perplexes me.
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
By 'isolation', I meant they were not allowed to participate in daily chores and not allowed to move freely within the house and not allowed to take bath and dress as they liked, those days. I never said they were kept in a quarantine.

If this is not isolation and denigration of women, then what it is?
 

girishsai

Member
Madi and Theeru, the words that are in question are in Sanatana Dharma for a long time but it is because Brahman realized 'Brahman' (or God and hence the name). In olden days, the duty of Brahmin is just to do yajnas/homas for the welfare of the mankind and for that he had to do with external forces through vedic mantras. There was absolultey a need to main cleanines in both body and mind as Brahman has to undergo 40 samaskaras a day dealing with both fire and water. We have come quite a long way off that but we need to realize the fact this is nothing but hygenic science. It is upto to the people to realize if they are indeed following the right things as stated in sastras before determining whether they are over or under doing it.
 

Nara

Well-known member
Madi and Theeru, the words that are in question are in Sanatana Dharma

[...]

It is upto to the people to realize if they are indeed following the right things as stated in sastras before determining whether they are over or under doing it.
Sir, so can I take it that the "rest" argument is bogus?

The argument now is about ritual cleanliness as described in sasthras passing off as hygienic. Let me ask a rhetorical question, who is more clean/hygienic, a menstruating woman maintaining a high level of cleanliness, or a Brahmin male reeking with body odor, wearing "madi" but horridly unclean clothes?

Madi and clean/hyhienic are two different things, what is madi can be clean or unclean, and similarly, what is clean is not always madi.

Personal hygiene and cleanliness come from good habits, not madi, teetu and acharam.

Cheers!
 

Nara

Well-known member
....maybe there are sects in hinduism that does not observe theetu. nara, do you know of any? theetu, i think, is the stupidest infection of the mind and once this poison is inculcated, it is almost impossible to get rid of it.

better still convert to some other religion which does not observe theetu.

Alright, this is where the objection about "convert to other religion" is coming from.... Folks, get over it, I am sure this was just an exasperated lament, that is all, no need for anyone to convert.

K, I think Happy or Shri sangom may be able to answer your question better than I can. From what little I know, I think Lingayats of Karnataka don't observe this theetu business, but they are technically not Hindus, but in practice they have become just another caste. I don't know what the custom is in the north.

Cheers!
 

girishsai

Member
Ok, I guess both Nara and Pannvalan feel so bad for women in those than those females did. Fortunately I have two grandmothers at my home hovering well over 80's and they absolutely feel that the lives of the present day women go through is miserable. Let me qualify 'miserable', it is not in terms of money or freedom, but more in terms of peace and happiness. It is also nothing to do with men sharing the work load at home, how much ever men share if a woman continues to work it is still very stressful for women to handle home and work and with kids the plight has to be even be bad. To an extent the same could be said for men too who help women with their home.

As far, as the statement below this was a carry over from the other post so ignore it.

Also, before we start preaching "Convert to other religions" which does not observe theetu just shows lack of maturity.
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
'Theetu' is also a kind of untouchability practised by a person, who assigns himself a higher position inside the family or the society, against the socially disadvantaged section/s. It includes women also, who were voiceless until the first half of the 20th century.
 

girishsai

Member
Ok, again the statement that women were voiceless until the first half of the century is baseless. You and I have not lived through the period and we read some books and a few rationalists throw up this statement and we nod our head in agreement. To find out the truth you have to verify that with people who lived through that period and find out details. I have fortunate enough to find that out through various elderly people. In fact the present day women's plight is worse and I guess it will a different topic altogether and will not align with the subject of this thread.
 

girishsai

Member
You have the right to disagree with me as long you have solid facts to back it up. It is indeed very unfortunate that the so called rationalists have depicted the plight of brahmin women as miserable. See today the condition of modern women, especially in chennai. In terms of liberalization what we are doing is just following the west, in terms of food, culture, etc. Just look around and see how much of women with good character you see. Every one (there are some exceptions though) has one or more boyfriends/affairs. The same can be said for boys too. As I stated befo, we need to ask this question to ourselves, are we more peaceful and content (both men and women) than our father/grandfather of yesteryears. We have more money and comforts but does that give peace to your soul. You can argue with me for the heck of it but deep inside your heart you know what I mean and know the truth.
 

Nara

Well-known member
... Fortunately I have two grandmothers at my home hovering well over 80's and they absolutely feel that the lives of the present day women go through is miserable.

Hi,

You are now reverting back to the rest and leisure argument. Which is it? Make a choice and stick to it.

The teetu business is rooted in ignorance and irrationality, and the goal is ritual purity. Rest for women is just an unintended side effect, and even this rest must be "enjoyed" in miserable conditions in the ரேழி or புழக்கடை in the company of மாடு.

With due respects to your octogenarian grandmothers, their opinion cannot be the final word. My own wife, in her younger days in her parent's house, was not allowed to pass through the front doors, had to walk outside and around the house to get to her designated place in the back. In many ultra orthodox Brahmin houses, a woman in rajas cannot stay under the same roof, that is even today.

Women today won't countenance this nonsense, and more power to them. Perhaps the older generation was more peaceful, more happy, who can say, we both can make claims about the state of mind of generations long gone. Each generation will have to find these things the best way they can -- jettisoning irrationality is part of it, like we jettison fear of பூச்சாண்டி when we grow out of childhood.

There is nothing immoral about having boyfriend or girlfriend -- morality is of the mind, not body, haven't you heard the story of a sex worker and a sadhu, one keeping track of the activities of the other?

With due respects to Kanchi Sankaracharaiar, I don't look to his words for moral guidance.

Cheers!
 

girishsai

Member
Nara, Mine argument is for both from physical (rest) point of view as well as from hygiene point of view. Think about this, you have taken your wife as example and conclude this is some kind of barbaric crime. Even when I was young in Agraharam males who had a haircut or shave were not allowed inside the home and had to go around home to take bath. It is a combination of rest and hygiene. It is uto you to take Maha periayavaa's words as final or not, but all I said was read it. Well at this point I say good luck and we will find out later in our lives who is right or wrong. Time and god will say.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
.... Time and god will say.

giri,

i am not so sure that we want to bring God into these arguements. i cannot believe that God will worry about whether women are confined to a corner of the house, set apart and generally treated as an untouchable, during what is their natural physical processes. it is more the worry of the menfolk.

it was a while ago, a kazi in egypt wanted to ban women from all educational and public institutions, because they secrete an odour. not sure whether the khazi realized that he himself secreted a more odorous odour. from time ancient, to suit their convenience menfolk have come up with rules.

to such menfolk, the liberation of women, is not only a threat, but possible competition to their own careers. whatever it is, the fact that these practises have not held fast with time, perhaps shows the grit of current day women to assert themselves. do the men, to whom, many women dutifully submit their paycheck, think twice to accept the money, if it is delivered on the menstruation? money does not any theetu!

giri, you may wish that time & god are on your side. i believe they do too. in time, when there is dissent from within one's daughters, the menfolks, i have noticed, have a sudden flash of wisdom about universal truth and sometimes a silly past or prejudice. maybe i may not be alive to see it. but God will. and that is a victory for God. :)
 

girishsai

Member
Let me a get a few points clarified here. What is the contention here, whether you feel that women are being suppressed by the men or were they in the past? If you think yes then I would beg to differ for the following reasons:

1. As I stated in my previous posts just because a woman was in a separate place during her periods we all jump the gun and ridicule. Have you ever thought what kinds of anushtanams the sastras has men to do? Many are not anyone followed over the last few decades but the theetu is for men as well. How may times we as children were told to stay from home or keep a certain distance when some important yajnam is going on? One was in case of shaving/haircut and there was time every year for a mandalam (48 days) when I have seen a lot males undergoing Ayyapa vradham. I'm sure how much how of you have seen or heard of it but it starts with having a bath in cold water at Brahama Muhurtham (around 4.30 AM) with very strict rituals surrounding food, what you see, no footwear and wearing on the floor. The same happens during various rituals and Yagmans where men toil in front of agni (I'm sure you will agree with how hard it is to sit in front of an Agni Kundam for hours together). All these things were done for the welfare of the family and to an extent to the welfare of the world (even if one did not wish to, the mantras mean that).

'BAKTHI/DEVOTION WITHOUT DISCIPLINE IS OF NO USE' - These are not the words of mine but the words of various gurus and acharayas who have lived in the Karma Bhoomi (India). Now one of the biggest disconnects I see my self with this group is when there is a conflict of ideas we need to refer back to scriptures/sastras or through a proper guru, who removes the darkness, but what I see is the opposite. With due respect to all our theories, ideas and rationale behind we rely on what we see for the past few decades and then go by a few what we see, few by what we hear and a few by what we read. It is indeed a pity we do that and do not refer to what the sastras/gurus say in the regard and form our own opinion. It is good have your own opinions but when it comes to sensistive issues like this I think it will be prudent for us to go back to our revered gurus and sastras and see what is in it. Of course, I'm not denying that there all exceptions and exaggeragations in every single doctrine and that is the precise reason my request to go and check our sastras.

2. There is another argument/counter-argument that is floating around which I do not understand. The saying is if mind is clean then we should not worry about other things. Does that mean all the rishis, great avatars and revered sadhus who carried on all the anustanas and acharaas were not clear in mind and were trying to clean it the whole time and we are all born pretty clean and do not need it ? Just like practice makes a man perfect it is those anustanas/acharaas that makes the WANDERING MIND come to a certain degree of control and help us progress realize the self. I have to give my own example here, a few years ago I was thinking all the anustanas and acharas were exaggerated form of rituals but one revered guru made me understand the significance behind and I could see quite a of changes mentally. Again, it is we understanding the significance and rationale behind it, do it with sincerity and you will see results over a period of time. Again I do agree some misunderstand the concept behind and may over do it or misunderstand but in that case we need to find out the truth rather than condemning the ritual/practice and totally abolishing it. Let me give you an example, now I say my mind is clean, but sleep with many women, drink and pray to god without taking bath and keep telling every body that if the mind is clean there is no necessasity for even having a picture/idol of god and praying it.

3. When a man and woman is a boy friend and girl friend there is only one way to go in this present world. I have two sisters and quite a few cousins and a whole lot of friends and what I see in this age is a big massive turn around of what used to be in yesteryears in terms of morality, character, etc. Again, in a few occasions men were at fault too but at this present times you see in the name of modernazation/liberalization women are going a bit over board. Well if you see nothing wrong in that then I would say practice what you preach, will we let our kiths and kins marry a woman if we knew she had an affair before and now she tells her conscious is clear. Again, the same applies for men too. What can be said in discussion boards will become hard to implement in an individual's life.

The sastras, if you read has separate ethical teachings for both men and women and made sure they did not step into each other toes. What we understood out of it is partial, only if women works like a man she is an equal else she is not. Half a concept in any philosophy is very dangerous. Now for arguments sake let me tell you this even if a woman thinks she is independent because she is working, is she really ? To an extent financially, but there are other issues she has to deal with as women at work place, it may be harassment, suppresion, ridculing her at work, or she may do a few things that may not be in alignmnent with her family traditons/customs.

I can go on more but my only request to the members to go back to sastras and follow it. If it is not clear go and clear with a guru who always has one thing in mind, selfless love and removal of darkness/ignorance for his disciples.
 

sangom

Well-known member
K, I think Happy or Shri sangom may be able to answer your question better than I can. From what little I know, I think Lingayats of Karnataka don't observe this theetu business, but they are technically not Hindus, but in practice they have become just another caste. I don't know what the custom is in the north.

Cheers!
Dear Shri Nara,

Lingayats are considered as part of Hindus by some scholars though the stand of Lingayats themselves is probably different in this regard. Lingayats do not believe in ritual pollution, including the menstrual one.

I have found that some of the Scheduled tribes in Gujarat observe the menstrual pollution to the extent that the woman concerned should not touch the stock of water and food which others will also have to use. Of course, the tribal woman is never supposed to come face to face with her father-in-law (mark of respect, rather than pollution) and the menfolk who are orthodox do not have sex with their wives when the latter were in menses.

From my readings (I may not be able to cite references now) it seems that at the primitive tribal society, the phenomenon of menstruation created a sort of awe and a supernatural aura was given to it. Since the society then was mostly matrilineal (the role of the male in procreation having been not understood) the menstruating woman was looked at with a certain fear. In due course of time, when the role of the male in reproduction was found out, the society turned male-oriented and the erstwhile awe and fear about menstruation gave place to the notion of pollution, untouchability and inferiority (though temporary) for the woman. This became more and more rigid as time went on and there were small separate dwellings at the end of each agrahaaram to house the menstruating women and the treatment meted out to them also had worsened a lot.

A close relative of my wife, married to a man from an utterly orthodox TB family, used to spend her periods in a small dilapidated hell-hole like house at the end of the small street with just a few houses, but she used to confide to my wife that she found that even the sufferings in that dwelling a welcome relief when compared to the incessant harassment on normal days, day and night, from her MIL. As just one simple example (these things will never come out except through the ladies' circle, they will not tell any male) the MIL used to sleep with her head resting on the wooden step (படி) to the bedroom of the couple, saying that her headache does not come if she sleeps that way. The door cannot be closed then. The poor couple did not have a private night for themselves for years and years!!
 
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sangom

Well-known member
Let me a get a few points clarified here. What is the contention here, whether you feel that women are being suppressed by the men or were they in the past? If you think yes then I would beg to differ for the following reasons:

1. As I stated in my previous posts just because a woman was in a separate place during her periods we all jump the gun and ridicule. Have you ever thought what kinds of anushtanams the sastras has men to do? Many are not anyone followed over the last few decades but the theetu is for men as well. How may times we as children were told to stay from home or keep a certain distance when some important yajnam is going on?
Normally men (malefolk) would be asked to keep away from homam/pooja only if such men had not taken bath, were not wearing "madi" clothes and/or not done Sandhya; the other case is when a particular individual in a joint family has pollution due to death which affects him only.

One was in case of shaving/haircut...
Taking a bath after a haircut is purely a hygienic step so that the clipped hair pieces do not pollute food, water, etc. in the house. But our elders/saastra twisted it and said the barber is an untouchable so since he has touched you, you should take a bath.

and there was time every year for a mandalam (48 days) when I have seen a lot males undergoing Ayyapa vradham. I'm sure how much how of you have seen or heard of it but it starts with having a bath in cold water at Brahama Muhurtham (around 4.30 AM) with very strict rituals surrounding food, what you see, no footwear and wearing on the floor.
Ayyappa was a deity predominantly worshipped by the (so-called, I have to use this term though I don't subscribe to what it purports to denote) lower castes. Some 50 or sixty years ago it was not known much outside the then state of Travancore; even people from the adjacent Cochin state did not come. The main ascent to the hill was all on foot and took many days. In order to build up enough stamina to face the tough trek, the "vratam" for 41 days was observed. BTW, Malaria was endemic in the sabarimala area in those days and taking opium was also a part of the "vratam" of those days. Becasue of the preponderance of the low-castes, the TBs as well as Namboodiris did not consider it as very meritorious. The temple had a major fire accident sometime in 1950; it might have been arson or an accident, not yet known. The original idol which is, as per scholars and historians, a jaina one, was completely destroyed and a new one was made and installed. Since the time of that fire, there was less number of people going there. It was then that the Travancore Devaswom Board embarked on an ambitious "Yatra" in a motor van with the picture of Ayyappa prominently displayed, leaflets and books being distributed free and all that. Slowly, with the economic advancement of the country and the fact that there is no discrimination in Sabarimala on the basis of caste/creed, it has become a major pilgrimage centre. Once you reach this side of the Pampa river, you will find that you cannot follow even normal hygiene, let alone anything that your saastras prescribe. That is it about sabarimala.

The same happens during various rituals and Yagmans where men toil in front of agni (I'm sure you will agree with how hard it is to sit in front of an Agni Kundam for hours together). All these things were done for the welfare of the family and to an extent to the welfare of the world (even if one did not wish to, the mantras mean that).
Just for my enlightenment, can you cite some of the mantras for aahutis which pray for universal welfare?

'BAKTHI/DEVOTION WITHOUT DISCIPLINE IS OF NO USE' - These are not the words of mine but the words of various gurus and acharayas who have lived in the Karma Bhoomi (India).
We have several instances where bhakti is extolled without emphasizing discipline. One instance that comes to mibd immediately is Bhadrachala ramadas; another is Sabari. So, who are the gurus who said "BAKTHI/DEVOTION WITHOUT DISCIPLINE IS OF NO USE"?

Now one of the biggest disconnects I see my self with this group is when there is a conflict of ideas we need to refer back to scriptures/sastras or through a proper guru, who removes the darkness, but what I see is the opposite. With due respect to all our theories, ideas and rationale behind we rely on what we see for the past few decades and then go by a few what we see, few by what we hear and a few by what we read. It is indeed a pity we do that and do not refer to what the sastras/gurus say in the regard and form our own opinion. It is good have your own opinions but when it comes to sensistive issues like this I think it will be prudent for us to go back to our revered gurus and sastras and see what is in it. Of course, I'm not denying that there all exceptions and exaggeragations in every single doctrine and that is the precise reason my request to go and check our sastras.
There are two items here, Saastra and Guru. What exactly do you intend when you say "saastra"? As to gurus we have had whole threads analyzing the present day gurus and the guru cult. So it may be useful if you read those.

2. There is another argument/counter-argument that is floating around which I do not understand. The saying is if mind is clean then we should not worry about other things. Does that mean all the rishis, great avatars and revered sadhus who carried on all the anustanas and acharaas were not clear in mind and were trying to clean it the whole time and we are all born pretty clean and do not need it ? Just like practice makes a man perfect it is those anustanas/acharaas that makes the WANDERING MIND come to a certain degree of control and help us progress realize the self. I have to give my own example here, a few years ago I was thinking all the anustanas and acharas were exaggerated form of rituals but one revered guru made me understand the significance behind and I could see quite a of changes mentally. Again, it is we understanding the significance and rationale behind it, do it with sincerity and you will see results over a period of time. Again I do agree some misunderstand the concept behind and may over do it or misunderstand but in that case we need to find out the truth rather than condemning the ritual/practice and totally abolishing it. Let me give you an example, now I say my mind is clean, but sleep with many women, drink and pray to god without taking bath and keep telling every body that if the mind is clean there is no necessasity for even having a picture/idol of god and praying it.
If the mind is clean we need not be finicky about ritual purity; only if the mind says "I am unclean, my veshti is not "madi", someone came near me and so I have become polluted", etc., we have to look again and again into the ritual purity. As I have said elsewhere, the "madi" concept itself varies from region to region and hence it is a social conditioning of the mind; for example many old Kearlites used to take bath in the temple pond and then remove the water from their clothes by wringing and wear such wet clothes while doing darsan, since that alone ensured full "madi" for them, and this was followed by many TB women in Kerala too. Of course, according to another opinion among TBs wet clothes should not be used for any auspicious event according to saastras and they deride this.

The presumptions you make, about rishis, sleeping around with many women, etc., appear to me as outcome of your mental fixation with the outer paraphernalia of religion more than its central concepts. I cannot say about sleeping with many women, but even drinking, with a "pure/clear mind" won the day for Abhiraami Pattar.
 
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