Once, a young boy came back from his school, kept his bag on his shelf and then went to the dining table to have his snacks. Before starting his food, his mom reminded him to wash his hands properly. Being busy with her work, she didn't notice whether her son followed her instruction or not. So, as a habit, she repeated her words aloud ‘wash your hands’.
The boy was irritated a bit and instantly said, ‘Mom, are you asking this because of your superstition or for my cleanliness?!’
His mom replied that her words as not for any superstition but for his health and hygiene. Her son nodded and retorted that he has common sense. After finishing his food, he went away for his own favourite games.
A few days later, a festival came. Early in the morning, his mom cleaned the rooms and arranged everything required for the pooja(festival). She asked her son to take his bath and get ready for the rituals. The young boy hesitated yet followed her requests. The rituals started in due time. All the family members performed the rituals with great devotion. But the young boy stood and casually bow down before the deity and disappeared from that place. When his mom requested him to pray with heart, he smiled and said, ‘Mom, you are doing that job for all of us daily. What more do you need?’ His mom kept silent for the time being.
After a while, his mom distributed the sweets that were offered to their deity to every single person except him. The boy waited for some time, then shouted aloud, ‘Mom, where is my sweet? You gave everyone but me?’ His mother answered from the kitchen that she had given it to his papa and hopefully he(the young boy) must have enjoyed the sweet. The boy came angrily and asked, ‘How is it possible to enjoy the sweet when I have not eaten, even a bit of it? Do you think that papa has eaten means I have eaten?’
His mom turned around from the gas stove, with chuckling said, ‘Oh dear! Have you remembered what you said when I requested you to bow down before the deity with your heart?’ You told me that since I was praying for you and others, it is all the same that you have done your prayer, didn't you?’ This is the same thing, papa had eaten means: you have eaten.
‘Oh, mom! Come on! Fine, I don't want any sweet.’ He stamped his feet and went away.
Mom could understand her son’s frustration. She knew her son very well. With one hand full of his favourite sweets, she went to him and offered it to him, saying, ‘I was kidding, dear! How can you imagine that without you, I would offer sweets to anyone! Take as much as you wish.’
After few days, the mom informed her son that they are going to attend one cultural program in a faraway place from their town. The boy showed his reluctance to attend the program. But his mom insisted he join in. Now, the boy vehemently argued that he didn't like or want to be a part of all these old fashioned get-togethers. His mom smiled and asked him to sit there and listen to her for five minutes. She said, ‘Son, I know that you belong to this modern society, modern generation. But that doesn't mean that you would not keep any value to the old traditional or cultural program. Those are our gone by day's history reminded by the participants to remind us about our past glory. If there would be no audience, to whom they would show? We should encourage them, appreciate their endeavour. Just imagine that you have done some excellent performance and nobody acknowledged that, how would you feel? Likewise, if there would be no audience, next time they would lose their zeal. So, please be a good boy and join with us.’
‘Ok, mom! Just tell me where it began? Who gave this concept of the cultural or traditional program?’
‘Fine, if you are serious about knowing these things, definitely I would like to answer you.
Take the example of good old Nature.
It has its own cultural and traditional programs. It has a tradition of changing the seasons in time. Different trees are blooming in different places. Whether they shed their leaves or bear the fruits, whatever, they follow the same time phase in a cycling order. Most importantly, nature has maintained discipline. The discipline of followings its traditions against all odds. However, there are interferences that are happening now. Caused and driven by the excesses of man and his new practices, his new desires. The disasters that are happening all over the world today, is nothing but the aftermath of such excessive interference. Whatever we learnt or rather, our ancestors learnt. it was mostly from observing nature and its myriad ways of keeping balance in the world. Our practices were created from such observations. And these practices ultimately became, over time, our cultural traditions. Hence, you can say that culture and tradition shaped our learnings and therefore , our future as well."
‘Ok, mom. I think I have an idea of what you're trying to say. And maybe, it does make some sense!’
They both gestured their thumbs up and moved away for respective works. His mom smiled to herself, knowing that the seeds of her analogy had been planted definitively in her son's analytical mind.