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Re: Crossing ocean and outmoded custom

skaushik_at_MIT.EDU
Date: Thu Mar 14 1996 - 13:38:11 PST

Re: outmoded custom

I have asked a scholar this very question. The reason why this was
considred unacceptable in the years past were the following:

1. Crossing the ocean (and it was an objection to ocean crossing) was
   that one desecrated the ocean. This desecration came in the form of
   execretion, urination, etc. In the old days, this was an issue. Today
   this is less of an issue.

2. One should not die away and not have Vedic rites performed.  In
   those days, when  travel took long, and ocean voyages were highly
   dangerous, it was    possible for one to die in the ocean and not
   have the Vedic rites  done properly. Again, this is less of an issue today.

Look, I am not advocating that one should take ones head and leave it at
office. clearly, we are thinkinng individuals. Being a PhD, it is very hard
for me to accept anything that is said to me without questioning. I
agree that such questioning should be extended to our religion as weell.

The basic point I make is that it should be done within the framework of
our religious establishment and tradition. Liberatarian views are fine
but there is a danger. Namely, it could lead to licentiousness.
After all, one could argue that God is merficul and why should it
matter what I do. All I need to do is Prapatti and all is well and He
will forgive all my transgression. This is true in spirit, but is this
what one wants to advocate for our society?

I instead feel that we should try as much as possible to keep within
the framework of our traditions. Approach our acharyas and learned
scholars and seek answers to questions that face us. I think we
should learn prayers from books, not philosophy and sampradya. 
Christianity spread far and wide on the account of the printing press.
It is not clear to me that our sampradaya will have a similar kind
history. Culturally, our traditions are different and our outlook is
different. Let's recognize that before we advocate revolution.

sk