Something that’s got me thinking – and while it starts off (as it often does) Hindu, of broader relevancy to the wider Indo-European religious revival that’s going on at present.
This ongoing pandemic is leading to some interesting – and creative – developments in the religious sphere. I got a message from one of the guys I look in a religious sense asking if I was aware of any livestreams of Hindu religious functions.
He’s in the UK, which is presently going through a lockdown – so has understandable difficulty with the live-and-in-person original forms.
So as it turns out, I’ve wound up sending him a link to my own Mandir in New Zealand’s facebook page , where they’ve been posting live video of the regular Tuesday Sunderkand Path recitation. [I’ve also had a few more links to Temples in India livestreaming their events, presumably partially for this reason]
There’s something resonant about that – an ancient religion centered in India, and to facilitate it somebody in the UK is going to be watching via the internet and social media a broadcast of a liturgy, live, from Auckland New Zealand. The World being the size of a Mustard Seed, indeed, as the Shaivite proverb goes.
Now I said that there was a broader saliency to this than ‘just’ us Hindus – and there is.
We’re in an age wherein The Internet really does make some remarkable things possible. I don’t mean to suggest that watching a ceremony online can ever really replace being there in person (although there are some quite interesting developments by some Indian Pandits around carrying out rites via skype – the person on the other end from them carrying out the appropriate gestures and recitations and such).
But so often we hear from people that they don’t have or don’t know anybody in their immediately reachable area who are of their particular flavour of revivalist / reconstructionist IE faith. Maybe they have some groups nearby but it turns out that they’re improper in some way – or maybe they’re out in the middle of atheist-materialist spiritual wasteland nowhere. Or a deeply conservative Bible-Belt town where being a religious minority usually means being a sliiiightly differing form of Protestant or something. It happens.
What I think we’re remarkably blessed with via this technological paradigmatic era of ours is the chance to do something different than what was expected – and make use of the advancements in tech to actually head back in the other direction in some ways to resurrect forms of what came before.
Now it’s not perfect – and I maintain, as I said earlier, that watching a livestreamed religious rite online is really no substitute for actually physically being there for one. But I also maintain that there is a more than zero benefit to being able to this over simply having nothing at all.
And, perhaps more importantly – in the medium-to-long-run (which is, after all, what we’re focused upon – moving/growing mountains, here), these sorts of things provide something of a ‘scaffold’ for future engagement, enlightenment and development.
They’re something remarkably effective for giving people a portal for support in what they are seeking to do – and simply showing that another world, another way of carrying out religiosity rather than merely having the ‘mental’ dimension to the faith without tangible action, is possible.
In short – online broadcasts of religious proceedings SHOULD help the spread and uptake of the local carrying out of these same rites in person.
And also, not coincidentally, help to show that what is involved in the proper Indo-European religious revivalisms out there is not some sort of empty, content-less “oh, I am such-and-such on the internet” in twitter-bios – but an actual, meaningful set of religions with real, vital, valid, and viable religious performative and participationary elements thereto.
Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam via the tools that are given to us. Somewhat unconventional-looking though they may so happen to be.
And who knows – it may also help some people out there engaged in this or that particular form of Indo-European religion to take a bit of a broader look and see that what their cousins are doing is ‘not so different’ after all.
This isn’t ‘Globalism’. This is Heritage – building itself an interconnected network of fortresses across the globe.
We’re seriously lucky here in the Hindusphere (well, ‘Lucky’, ‘Blessed’ – ‘Shiva’ is certainly an apt translation …) , because we have all of this sort of thing already there and ready to go.
I look forward to the other Indo-European denominations being able to do much the same !