The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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How to be Hindu: tips for Subhas
- Pandits prescribe purification process for a long-time communist

Mix equal proportions of milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cow dung and lace it with honey. Taken at sunrise after a bath, it is said to cleanse the body of past sins and bring one back into the Hindu fold

Calcutta, Sept. 17: After decades of chanting the Marxist mantra, if a communist, like transport minister Subhas Chakraborty (in picture), has a change of heart and wants to embrace Hinduism, there is a certain way they need to follow, say pandits and purohits.

The priests hold that since Chakraborty has been a communist for long and has probably eaten beef during the period, he should observe a purification ritual. The above-mentioned pancha gabya, the five products yielded by the cow, tops their list.

Those who find cow dung unpalatable can substitute pancha gabya with pancha amrita (food of gods) — a mix of milk, curd, sugar, honey, ghee and water from washing the Narayana. Tulsi leaves added to the mixture complete the blend.

According to Pandit Nitai Chakraborty, president of Vedic Pandit Purohit Mahamilan Kendra, pancha amrita works just as well as pancha gabya.

The step-by-step guide for communists wanting to return to Hinduism shows that Comrade Chakraborty has made some headway already. He has crossed the threshold by offering puja at the Tarapeeth temple on a Thursday (the day of the Goddess Tara).

According to Mahaprasad Panda, secretary of the Tarapeeth Sebait Samiti, the temple where the minister offered puja — along with Rs 501, a zari-lined sari and flowers — non-believers wanting to return to the fold should begin with a puja at the temple.

“When a non-believer begins to believe in God, it is ideal that he offer a puja to the Goddess Tara at the temple,” said Panda.

This, Chakraborty has already accomplished and that, too, on a Thursday.

Pandit Nitai Chakraborty, however, maintains that penitence should come mainly from the mind.“Past is past. No matter how many sins he has committed, if he decides that he wants to return to the fold, heartfelt penance is good enough.”

However, for those who would like to work it out, he prescribes other options like a bath in the Ganges before sunrise.

“After the bath, the subject should chant the Anga Prayaschitta (body purification) mantra throughout the day for cleansing oneself of sins committed consciously and sub-consciously. Following this, on Ekadashi (11th day) and on Trayodashi (13th day) one should feed grass, paddy and bananas to cows. Feeding Brahmins and giving them daan and dakshina is also an option,” said the priest.

The second step prescribed includes a yajna dedicated to the goddess in the subject’s house.

After nearly 50 years of Marxism — Chakraborty is one of the earlier communist leaders having dabbled in student politics since the early 1960s — the minister’s change of heart has enthused many.

Chakraborty may not find the rituals too difficult to perform. After all, he himself has said that in India he is seen everywhere “first as a Hindu and then a Brahmin”. He also boasts a good knowledge of Sanskrit and is known to launch into Sanskrit proverbs at the drop of a hat.

He claimed last week he can recite the 18th chapter of the Bhagwad Gita by heart.

At the end of the chapter (Perfection of renunciation), Krishna tells Arjuna: “…are your illusions and ignorance now dispelled'”

Arjuna replies: “ infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.”

Subhas Chakraborty now has to decide who this “You” with the capital Y is.

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