Just like any other child of her age, Rene has a habit of asking questions to her father. The series is all about Rene’s curious mind and how she finds answers from her Papa.
The first part was when Rene wanted to gift East India Story the history of birthday cakes. Then her inquisitive mind delved into a conversation with her father about Afghanistan and how India won its independence. Rene continued her quest on Bhoot Chaturdasi in the 3rd part, and now in this story we come to know how Rene’s superstition of Saraswati Puja gets corrected with the actual reason for the rituals.
By Somashis Gupta
“Papa – Rene Series”
Starring: Triparni Das as Rene and Chayanchit Das as Papa
“Papa, Papa, come let’s go.” Rene comes barging in.
“Where?” I asked.
“Let’s go to get Saraswati Idol or else I will not pass my exam”, She looked concerned.
I was concerned too. Not for her exams, but for the myth revolving around Sarswati Puja. I asked “Did someone tell you that by performing the Puja you will pass your exams, or else not?”
“Yes Papa, everybody tells me the same thing.”
“Did you ask them the reason?” I always encourage her to ask questions.
“No Papa, I did not. Is it not true?”
“Your one day of performing the Puja rituals has no role to play in your exams.” I said.
“Then?” Rene looked surprised.
“Let me ask you a question. What do you do when you want to speak to Unnati, your friend in Pune?” I asked.
“I give her a call, simple.”
“Yes, but how do you know that you need to use the phone, dial the number and that way you can speak to her?”
“Come on Papa that is known to everyone. It is basic knowledge.” Rene giggled.
“What is the basic knowledge?” I insisted.
“If I dial her number I can speak to Unnati.”
“How did you learn this?” I probed further.
“Simple. I saw you, I saw Mama and others as well dialling numbers if they want to speak to someone.”
“That means you have seen us dialling numbers, and when you saw that this way we can speak and you understood it after analyzing this information by processing it and stored it in your brain.”
“Yes Papa, whatever”
“Not whatever, it is a process to observe, analyze, store and then again use that information for future action to call Unnati, which is enabled by neurons in the brain.”
“Okay but what has this got to do with religious rituals. This is all science.” Rene looked curious.
“Well religion is science my dear. Do not confuse religion and God with super natural elements like blessings and curse.” I wanted her to differentiate between actual essence of religion and superstitions. “You see all our day to day activity including your studies is governed by the brain. The Sarswati mantras help you to develop a healthier brain which in turn helps you to concentrate and retain whatever you are learning.”
“How Papa, how? I am all confused, all this sounds so silly.”
“Okay, let’s try something, why don’t you say the word Saa-raa-swaa-tii.”
“No not like this, say saaa-raaa-swaaa-tiii” I corrected.
“Do you see how your tongue, lip and jaw moved?”
“Yes Papa when I say ‘Saa’ it starts with a hissing sound and the tongue falls down as I come to the end.”
“And with Raa?” I asked.
“Again the tongue rolls up and falls back, and with ‘swa’ my lips spread and same with ‘tii’ but it spreads further. “
“Preciously, these are the basic movements required to speak any language. So by saying Saraswati you are exercising your muscles to speak with correct pronunciation.”
Rene looked interested in the subject now. I continued after sipping my Makaibari. “There are 12 different mantras of saraswati, each has its own benefits.”
“12 mantras? I just know Om Joyo Joyo Devi…”
“That is just the pushpanjali mantra. There is Beej Mantra,Vidya Mantra, Saraswati Vandana, Mahasaraswati Mantra, Gayana Mantra, Devya Mantra, Smarana mantra, Saraswati Gayatri Mantra, Daritramgayanam Mantra, Yasasvin Mantra, Dhi mantra and Pragya Mantra.”
“Wow Papa, so you mean all these we chant are meant for different functions?”
“Yes my dear each and every, beej mantra helps one to speak with correct pronunciation, vidya mantra helps the brain stem to improve concentration, the Saraswati Vandana helps by reducing the secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland so that it reduces lethargy, and so on.”
“Okay I get it. So by chanting the ‘Om joyo joyo devi chorachoro sare…’ on Saraswati Puja, I will be able to increase my brain strength?”
“Well chanting the Pushpanjali Mantra one day will just ensure you get the Bhoger Khichuri and nothing else.” I joked.
“So what should I do?” Rene was confused.
“See, if you really want to meditate to get effects than you need to chant all the mantras every day with proper breathing exercise.”
“So should I not go for the Puja?
“Why not? It is fun isn’t it? You can go to school wearing colourful clothes, enjoy with your friends, so why not? But don’t keep an impression that if you perform Puja rituals one day you get good marks or vice versa.”
“But papa there are other things also no? Besides the mantra we offer flowers etc.”
“Yes, just like when you eat noodle, you use chopsticks, but when you have kosha mangsho you use your fingers; similarly each ritual needs different environment which is created with flowers decoration etc to enhance the ambience.”
“Oh Papa Kosha mangsho, Mamaaaa kosha mangshooooo...” saying this Rene rushes to her mother….
She returns back quickly with another question, “Papa why does Nazia come for the Puja but not say the Saraswati Mantra?”
I was happy that she asked this question, I said “You friend Nazia performs the Namaz everyday, that too is a type of meditation which helps her in the same way, same with your other friend Christina who practices mindfulness, another form of meditation.”
“Oh! So each of us have different ways to perform Puja?”
“Right you are, just like for going to school you can take the school bus or I can drive you to school or you can walk down, but ultimately you reach school which is your destination. Similarly all of you have different roads but with same destination.”
“Hmm, now I understand”
Rene was more confident now, the fear of failing in her exam was gone. I knew she would be able to see the benefits of Saraswati Mantra instead of any farce now. So I told her “Good, now let us go to get the Saraswati Idol.”
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.