During post-colonial days in Guyana, South America, many East Indians retained their Hindu Culture. My dad, however, insisted that Hinduism was something we needed to stay far away from – clinging instead to the Old Rugged Cross – the Christian tradition.
Many East Indian Hindus would keep “pooja’s” and “jandis” which are all rituals done in honor of their various gods. Some of these involved the beating of drums. Others involved the shaving of the head and taking some food by the waters.
Whatever all of this signified, I have no idea, as I stayed as far away from the Hindu Culture as possible – not even touching it with a twenty-foot pole.
During my childhood days, we would plant cane in our front yard, and often times, the Hindus would come to purchase a cane from us to perform their various rituals. My dad said there was no harm in selling the cane to them – but that we should get no further involved than that.
So at times, when the Hindus came to purchase the cane, I would offer it to them free. But they explained to me that the “work” required them to “pay” for the cane with money.
I guess I had no option but to collect the money. But it was no secret in the community that our family wanted nothing further to do with Hindu rituals.
All of these rituals remained a deep mystery for me – and ones into which I would perhaps never dabble.
What was the meaning of these works? Do they hold any virtues? Do they really bring down any blessings from the almighty God? Or do they just serve to “appease demons” as my dad would say? The bible is vehement against the worshiping of idols and “strange golds.”
Interestingly, one day, as I reading the bible, I came across a verse in the book Isaiah, Chapter 43, verse 24. In the chapter, the God of Israel was talking to His chosen people, and lamenting to them over their sins and failures.
I was intrigued to read:
Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
“Bought me no sweet cane with money?” I was a bit perplexed. It made me remember how the Hindus would come and “buy the cane with money,” even insisting that payment was necessary.
What does the God of Israel have to do with the traditions of India? There is obviously some sort of similarly, although I’m not sure where it starts or stops.