//US Hindu reform group condemns rituals by Bachchan

US Hindu reform group condemns rituals by Bachchan

IANS, February 12, 2007  

TROY/MICHIGAN: A US-based international Hindu reform organisation has expressed disapproval of the ritualistic ceremonies performed by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for his son Abhishek and fiancée Aishwarya Rai.

Aishwarya is a Manglik (astrologically Mars-bearing), which is believed to have negative consequences for her impending marriage. The actress is said to have married a peepal tree at Benaras, a banana tree at a Bangalore temple and a god's idol in Ayodhya.

The organisation Navya Shastra commends the Bachchans for their Hindu religiosity and charitable works but is extremely concerned about their actions, which will have an unhealthy impact on their fan base.

Before announcing their engagement, Abhishek and Aishwarya performed a series of poojas at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. After their engagement, the couple also sought the blessings of the deity at the Vindhyavasini Temple.

"What concerns us is that millions of people may rationalise their mistreatment of women based upon the Abhishek-Aishwarya example," said Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman, in a press statement.

"As it is, hundreds of thousands of women, and even some men, have difficulty marrying because of the alleged perniciousness of a random confluence of stars," added Gopal.

The organisation opines that astrology and similar unscientific practices should be renounced in marital matchmaking and other everyday activities in Hindu society.

It claims that much of the so-called Hindu astrology is an imported amalgamation of long-invalidated pseudo-sciences emerging from Babylon, Greece and Persia, and should be discarded as irrelevant to Hindu tradition.

Noting that the religious rationale for untouchability is also based upon an accidental birth, Navya Shastra urges the Bachchans and Aishwarya to renounce such actions.