Vow - Does God Ask For It?

At times when I see people doing things in the name of 'vow' to a 'God', I start wondering, 'does any God ask for a vow?' Some of the simple vows like fasting, or tonsuring is quite common, well, those things might not hurt much. This is like a small gesture of 'thanks giving' to whatever you believe in. But, when it comes to Kaavadi, where they pierce themselves with spears and hooks, I feel it is kind of violent, and looks like 'self-punishment' rather than a 'thanking gesture'

This time, when I visited my home-town, Madurai, India, I happened to see a procession, that was on its way to celebrate 'Veerakaliamman Kaavadi'. It was quite a disturbing experience and my heart was almost in my mouth, when I saw a motorized chariot, where two men were hooked up high on the poles which is usually meant for bullocks. The most scary part was, the hooked up men were dangling and the pole was moving constantly like a shadoof, meant for taking water from the well. Take a look at these collages:

Skywatch Friday
Never thought that hanging men on hooks could be real, even as a vow! It was a queasy experience...seen only in movies like Dasavadharam. 

The above picture shows people with several piercings on their cheek and tongue. 

Wondering, what would be the motivating factor for performing this kind of harsh vows! 
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