If Tapasvi Maharaj’s idea of ‘Online Aarti’ in the 2014-movie ‘PK’ made you wonder he was a little too ahead of time or too virtual with his faith, it turns out the godman was just being farsighted. At least, today’s Faiths around the world going online prove.
Be it India’s biggest and the richest of Hindu temples, or Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, monasteries, synagogues, and mosques around the world, all are resorting to the internet to keep the respective communities strong and put.
Just recently, as many as 30,000 temples in South India’s Karnataka, under the oversight of Muzrai – the State’s ministry that oversees temples, have come up with prospects of online poojas, News18 reports.
In a bid to help both the devotee and the priest, the ministry is reportedly mulling plans to digitize worshipping by the end of this month.
For the time being, only the most prominent temples will go online on Facebook and their respective websites.
Devotees will be able to book form a selection of 15 special pujas with a pre-paid amount, Muzrai minister Kota Srinivasa Poojary confirmed. There will be an option for bulk-booking as well.
Not too long ago, Uttarahand’s Badrinath temple also went online, allowing devotees to partake in aartis (a form of Hindu faith worshipping), offer Bhog (a kind of offering made to the deities) among other ‘activities.’
“Pilgrim cannot visit the temples due to Covid-19 lockdown guidelines. However, pilgrims can continue online booking for those puja/paath/aarti/bhog in which presence of pilgrim is not required at temple,” the Uttarakhand Char Dhaam Devasthanam Board’s online Puja booking website reads. This is an effort by the Government to ensure that pilgrims can stay connected to the spirits above even while practicing social distancing and staying locked indoors.
On 8th May, in the 2664th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha, Buddhists in Kolkata took part in the chants, hymns live-streamed by a number of monasteries or viharas in the City of Joy.
The head monk of the Dharmankur Sabha, one of Kolkata’s oldest Viharas, told in his online message that “in times such as these, Buddha should be invoked all the more,” he said, adding, Buddha, who was “the pallbearer of compassion teaches us how to find stability within and help bring stability without,” The Times of India reported.
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One of India’s most revered Hindu temples in Jammu and Kashmir, the Vaishno Devi also live-streamed their ceremonies online.
Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of the Jews’ holiest sites live-streamed the three daily Jewish prayers, Philadelphia Tribune reported.
The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis in March, urged God to not leave humankind “at the mercy of the storm,” as millions watched the event online. Churches in different parts of the world are following the suite to keep up the spirits and the sense of community.
The Pandemic has wreaked havoc in every possible domain of life, including religious activities. One of the World’s richest temples, India’s Tirupati is reportedly struggling to pay it’s employees, as the temple remains shut since the last two months.
Locals claim in the 1500-years-history such a prolonged closure never happened. The temple has even come up with discounted “prasadam laddu,” selling the same 50% cheaper than the original price.
(Cover image is a screenshot from the THErumahPapan via Youtube)