Significance of Self Flagellation

+  Text   -   

Self Flagellation

Self Flagellation is a Ritual

Self flagellation is a ritual or the action of flogging oneself, especially as a form of religious discipline in certain parts of India. This ritual of self flagellation is followed by many religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Self flagellation is a kind of corporal punishment according to Judaism. There are certain laws in Judaism like the Torah and Rabbinic law in which whip lashes are given for the offenses that do not merit capital punishment and these lashes are usually given in sets of three so the total number cannot exceed 39.

Flagellation in Christianity

-Once the person is whipped and immediately he is judged if he or she can withstand the further flagellation, if yes it is continued and if not the number of whips are decreased. In Christianity at the time of historic Roman festival of Lupercalia young men ran through the roads with a narrow strip of leather cut from the hide of goats which had just been sacrificed, and women who wished to conceive put themselves in their way to receive blows, evidently mostly on the hands. During the annual festival of Dies sanguinis the castrated priests of the goddess Cybele, the galli, flagellate themselves until they bleed. Greco-Roman mystery religions also sometimes involved ritual flagellation, as famously depicted in the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii, apparently showing initiation into the Dionysian Mysteries.

Self Flagellation is also compared to the Flagellation of Christ

Mild Kind of Self Flagellation
-According to Christianity, Self Flagellation is also compared to the Flagellation of Christ, which is an episode in the Passion of Christ prior to Jesus' crucifixion. This kind of practice of subduing one's bodily desires of the body flesh for spiritual reasons was carried over by some Christians especially in Catholic monasteries and convents. This ritual of Self flagellation prevails even now in places like Philippines, Mexico, and in Peru.

A mild kind of self flagellation is been practiced with an instrument known as "discipline" by the members of monastic orders, and some members of the Catholic lay organization. The discipline is usually made of a Cattail whip with knotted cords and at the time of private prayers it is flung on the persons shoulder. Pope John Paul II took the discipline regularly.

According to Islam this is a kind of Punishment

- According to the Islamic people this is a kind of punishment under the Islamic Sharia law which is usually carried out in front of a huge crowd. Shi'ites in Pakistan and some parts of India flagellate themselves during the Moharram procession. This kind of punishment is given to those who commit mistakes like extramarital relations, use of drugs and alcohol and those who make false spoken statements against a person's reputation. However according to certain Islamic scholars this act of Self flagellation is against the Islamic teachings. In case of punishment for a woman it is usually done with Quran under one arm so that the whipping is minimized.