My last day in Glasgow dawned damp and iron grey, but my fellow Trading Tales writer Diana McCaulay and I were undaunted by the promise of rain. We set off for the riverside...
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Water in Worship
Hindus believe in the religious principle of the Avatar. The belief is that from time to time God manifests Himself to guide mankind to the path of righteous behaviour. The Ramayan is the favourite religious text of Hindu Trinidad. In it the manifestation of Lord Ram and his life on earth has guided Hindus from time immemorial. His appearance on earth in the form of an ordinary human being was to fulfil the wishes of the saintly, who were punished if they worshipped any other god except the king, Rawan.
The Ramayan storyline reads: “The saints and the holy ones, together with the good people petitioned Lord Vishnu to make manifestation on earth to save mankind and to re-establish the principles of good behaviour. The Almighty manifested Himself as Lord Ram.” But the Hindu phenomenon of the Avatar teaches that this principle is cyclic and that over the present cycle of creation, nine Avatars have made appearances on planet earth, with one more, Kalki, the space manifestation, still to appear.
This principle of the Avatar also preaches that there have been numerous cycles of creation, spanning tens of millions of years. The first manifestation in the present cycle was the Matsya Avatar, where Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a fish in the waters. Water is essential to life and Hindus travel to various watering sites to perform pujas (prayers). In fact, many of the pujas in Hinduism start with keeping a kalsa, a goblet filled with water and adorned with a coconut in the middle of mango and other leaves.