So many religious reformers have talked about rituals and frowned upon the existing ones….. only to create new ones! Why are rituals part and parcel of any religion? Why is it so difficult to escape the trap of rituals in every walk of life? To understand this, one has to go to origin of a ritual.
What creates a ritual? Isn’t the genesis of a ritual in the creation of an “Identity”? “I am this”, one asserts. And from then on, to save this “This-ness” one creates an entire process of sustaining it. Soon it becomes – All who refer to or believe in “This-ness” DO THIS! Attributes of an Identity no longer remain analytical (as in result of an analysis) but become prescriptive [it is no longer “Only 4 types of jobs are prevalent in any society – Brahman, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras” – it now becomes “Only 4 types of castes can be there – ….”] The prescriptive avatar of an identity similarly creates a self sustaining mechanism.
The need to name oneself, the process and the permutations of names considered are all rituals! A name is also a ritual. Why Joseph and not Yusuf? Surname is another ritual. Some in India use their village name, some their Dad’s name, some their Gotra name, some actual castes, and some genuine modern ones.
So can you possibly get rid of rituals? And is any one ritual “superior” to another? Personally I don’t think so. What do you think?