Rain has an important role in human life and prosperity. Recently a government in South India has allocated funds to conduct rituals and has asked all religions to pray for rain. Should a government go for performing such poojas?
There cannot be a negative opinion for the significant importance of rain in life, including plant and animal life. Rain water, stored in the ground, is the source of life for plants which their roots absorb for survival. Life cannot exist without rain. Rain water plays a key role in human existence.
An Indian government’s gesture to appease gods of rain
Karnataka government in South India has come forward to perform religious rituals to please gods for rain. Karnataka government, headed by a so-called atheist chief minister, is spending more than 175 million Indian Rupees to conduct rituals and to offer prayers in temples across the state to invoke gods for rains. It has asked special prayers to be conducted in mosques and churches. The state is facing a drought, worst in the past five decades.
Rain is the primary concern of a government
Thirukkural, written two thousand years ago, has given importance to rain next to god. It says that rain is the fundamental resource of all prosperity and that it is quite necessary in the country for a self-sufficiency in agriculture and for all other prosperity in life.
Thirukkural further says that the earth will become a hell if the skies do not pour rains.
“Alms to the needy and penance for spiritual uplift cannot be sustained, if the heavens will not give of their bounty.” (Thirukkural 19) This means that if there is no rain from the heavens family life will shatter, governments will fail and the the earth will turn into a hell.
Ancient Indian literatures praise kings and blessed them with three spells of rain every month (Mummari). Karubaru Sahityam of South India praises Lord Rama, an avatar of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu, to have been blessed with three spells of rain every month to make Ayodhya bountiful.
Praying for rain in history
In the history of religions, one can find many occasions praying for rain. There are many mythological stories about gods sending rain when there had been need for it.
The Holy Bible
There are many incidents narrated in the Holy Bible on praying for rain. The First Book of Kings narrates how the prophet Elijah prayed fervently for rain and got rain (1 Kings 18:30-46).
In the Chinese history, there are hints stating that praying for rain had been a common practice of emperors and officials. The Chinese mural of Emperor Suiwen (541-604A.D.) praying for rain depicts a magnificent scene of the royal duty of praying for rain for prosperity of the kingdom.
In the months of June-August, South India used to get the southwest monsoon and the rivers would be in spate. But this year it has failed, leading to the worst drought. When things go beyond human power, it is natural to raise hands up to heaven. The government should do everything possible to maintain the welfare of the people.