A friend recently sent me photos of the Thaipusam 2015 celebrated by the Hindu community in February in Singapore.
This annual procession involves drum beating, music and devotees carrying the kavadi. I used to stay near Tank Road, which is the end point of the procession, but never had the occasion to witness a body piercing. You know that its that time of the year when the air is perfumed with the scent of jasmine. Amidst the festivity and beautiful colors of the occasion, devotees carry kavadis to fulfil a vow to an answered prayer.
In preparation for carrying a Kavadi, a devotee has to prepare himself spiritually. For a period of about a month, the devotee must live a life of abstinence whilst maintaining a strict vegetarian diet. http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/whats-on/festivals-and-events/thaipusam.html
Long before Anthony Robbins popularised the idea of walking over burning coal/ash, the Hindus have this ceremony where devotees carry out these mind-over-matter acts. I had a former boss who carried a kavadi. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to ask him for some insights. I wonder if there’re other methods of showing our gratitude to God. How do you show yours?
Because LY and his family stayed near Serangoon Road, the start point of the processions, they decided to witness the morning preparations of the 4km walk. LY witnessed a helper piercing the body of a devotee with a spear. Unfortunately, he missed. But the jerk reaction was strong enough to propel his body forward. The unsuspecting devotee, on the other hand, who was lying face down, merely turned his head, wondering whats up with the commotion and the gasps. There’s no shedding of blood. (LY filmed the process and showed us the video clip.)
Can Science explain what went through the minds of the devotees during the process? Surely none of them are hypnotised. They’re not actors. (My former boss was one of them. He’s a measured, well educated and respected person,). I believe that there’re many areas of the human mind that Science cannot explain. When my finger is pricked by a sharp object, blood flows out. How does one explain the piercing of the hooks in the carrying of the kavadis with no shedding of blood?
I hope someone can explain this to me. The human mind is possibly more capable than we imagine.
Photos taken by LY, used with permission. 2015