Asia has customs which are special to the countries and the persons, who dwell there.
Ashthang Namaskara (I bow to the divinity in you) indicates a prostration in salutation or adoration, that involves touching the ground with eight principal parts of a person, which include knees, hands, feet, chest, eyes, head, words and mind. By performing it, one pays respect to the Gods, gurus and elders. It is also done to pay respect to Surya, the sun god. It is also regarded as a fundamental step towards one’s spiritual growth.
We have nine precious gems, NavRatnas, which bestow wellbeing and good fortune on us. They are pearl, ruby, topaz, diamond, emerald, lapis lazuli, coral, sapphire and hessonite garnet.
In Karnataka, in Tulu (dialect) pancamahapatak is the term for a set of five very specific sins. Murdering a Brahmin, stealing gold, drinking alcohol, seducing the wife of one’s spiritual mentor and associating with one who has committed such sins.
Nine items are considered essential for everyday living. They are rice, flour, eggs, salt, cooking oil, kerosene, dried fish and basic textiles.
There are ten vices (dahak) named after a mythical demon-king. He was notorious for ten defects, ugliness, short stature, excessive pride, indecency, gluttony, scurrility, cruelty, hastiness, falsehood and cowardice.
There are special colors for the seven planets. It is called Haft rang, black is for Saturn, brown is for Jupiter, red is for Mars, yellow is for Sun, white is for Venus, blue is for Mercury, and green is for the Moon.
A traditional Thai belief is that good luck comes to those who dress in the colors of the day. The code is yellow on Monday, pink on Tuesday, green on Wednesday, orange on Thursday, blue on Friday, purple on Saturday and red on Sunday.
In Sinhalese the Saptavidhiratnaya represent the seven gems of the king: Chariot wheels, wife, jewels, elephants, horses, sons, prime minister.
There is a trinity of fundamental societal bonds referred to as am-cuong: prince and minister, father and son, husband and wife. The country’s beliefs are dominated by a set of four supernatural creatures (tu-linh): dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix.
One’s closest relations traditionally number six and are called liuquin: father, mother, eldest brother, youngest brother, wife and children.
Do you see the correlation? Bonds are very important and values are vital for us to lead a spiritual life. Relationships between husband and wife, and familial connections must be maintained. Ties are sacred and work ethics must be followed. The practice of Atmabhava would enable us to put this into practice and dwell in harmony. We must not look at the customs as being trite, the superficiality is there to attract and encourage us to go deeper into the subject. Sometimes we are attracted to the materialistic aspect, like being overwhelmed by a necklace with nine gems. Yet the benign influence of the gems will influence us.
Reference: Adam Jacot de Boinod
Aim Hrim Klim
Photo by Alex Chambers on Unsplash