1.16.2006

Wonder of wonders, Miracle of miracles

Thiruvannamallai - 3 hours from Chennai.

Its a full moon night, Poornima, and the moon beams its gentle rays down on earth and lights up small spot lights along Girivalam, a narrow but sacred road that leads around the main hill. Its that time of the month, when couple of lakhs of people throng the temple and this otherwise peaceful road to attain salvation of some sort, or at least gain a few brownie points with the Lord. Dad decided to join the crowd, while I sat back with a friend of mine and watched the world go by, quite literally!!

I reflected on how I had even made it in there. I had no idea, cars were not allowed, I had no idea that Poornima calls for a lakh people walking across your feet all in one evening... and worse still, trying to get my way through an army of policemen. To make matters worse, the two way lane had been made a one way with police barricades and highway traffic had been diverted elsewhere. I closed my eyes, wishing against all hope to be allowed without question.

While driving down along Ramanamaharshi's ashram, I figured, that this was going to be hell, yet I tugged at the accelerator. One reaching the entrance of Girivalam, I was stopped by three inspectors, all of whom said there was no way four wheelers would be allowed, and that I should park my car on some way-side road and join the masses walking. I had to meet my Guru, the man who had trusted me and shown me the way, I had to meet him. That was the reason given, that I had no plans of walking and I wished to take the car through the wall of people. But no, there was no chance, until the inspector saw my father... "Your father is old, and its good to see that he wants to go around the hill. We dont allow anyone, but we shall let you through madam. "

It was funny, dad got down and started to walk, while the inspector told me to take a side lane and get onto Girivalam. And so I did it, dissolving every ounce of sympathy the inspector showed towards my "aged" father who is quite actually fit as a fiddle, far more than me! Driving down a wall of people with no aim but to cross the massive hill that stands near us, was not a joke. Little did I want to call attention onto myself by pressing the horn, I slowly moved with the crowd. It was the slowest my car had ever done! When I reached, my Guru was amazed - How did they let your car in? They dont let any car in, not even VIPs, not even CMs!

With my baby parked on the side, and a cup of tea in my hand, I stared on, at the oil lamps that lit the temples, at the rising flames of fire as people dropped in their camphor in front of the various shrines, at the very shrines now bright as ever with tube lights, killing every shred of serenity and awe that would lure anyone to strange promises of enlightenment from dark chambers within these temple walls. The road was alive, with people selling anything from "Venga Saandhu"(the black paste used to put a dot on small children to ward off evil spirits ), to huge posters of the new light called the Art of Living! There was just about every marketing gimmick that sold faith out for a few bucks... It was business time, and all the small shrines minted money with collections taking place, for temple maintenance and God knows what else.

I looked up to my Guru, why has the Girivalam Trust put a light inside the Garbha Griha? Isn't that wrong? This was the only shrine left, and they had destroyed that too.. I saw deep sorrow in his eyes, and helplessness, he was speechless. I knew what had happened. Greed for money had made them light up the interiors of these once powerful temples, so that people come and dish out more money at the various shrines, they didnt care for the shrines anymore.. it was all Money... What could my Guru have done, but live with these atrocities while his immense knowledge just stayed back in his mind.

We laughed over small things, simple things in life, on and off taking Simran's trip... she made amazing tea. Yes small things, simple things.. while we watched the seriously big things getting destroyed silently.

It was a different Girivalam I saw that night, one that posed a world of problems, one that showed the collective hope of a million people as they walked by, scarcely caring for the slow silent destruction of the very shrines they worshipped...

I left at 10.30 that night, promising to come back the next day, as I waded through the river of people, slowly, till I finally managed to get to the hotel, right next to the main temple gate. I walked into the reception to see a bewildered old man, the hotel manager who stood gaping, and all he could say was, "How did you get here, they dont allow cars through to the temple gate this evening, in the history of this place, yours has been the first car I know of that managed to come through!"

The Lord works in strange ways to make His presence felt!

11 comments:

Third Eye Closed said...

Oh yeah!

Unbelievably serene place. Though you know the whole world is turning and it's so possible that you might be standing upside down, it really doesn't bother you. All you know is you are in a beautiful place watching the world go by with beautiful company (Guruji and Simran) with a hot/cold cup of tea.

Watching the flames dance in front of thier deities.
Watching the moon rise above the dark and magnificiant colossus.
Hmmm, :) Bliss is such a small word.

~fEelix

JC Joshi said...

Hi Kavitha,

I do not know who to congratulate – you or your vehicle, Shiva or Nandi! For, you - as well as your dad - could have anyway easily walked up - like all others did. But your car or rather any car couldn’t have made it, particularly that night!

I am reminded of the apparently rider less bull I encountered on the roadside at Gauhati over two decades ago!

For the benefit of Mr. Felix and anyone else interested, I am to record it once more:

... One day, I was walking on a footpath near the railway station,
absorbed in some petty thoughts...

I could never have expected that in a sleepy town something could hit me on a footpath and make my diary fall down! When I became conscious of my surroundings, I saw that a small but strongly built bull was standing on the road such that its head was projecting over the footpath. Its head was lowered with the rounded tips of the horns pointing towards me!

I was shocked, and for a few seconds I did not know what was expected of me...

For inspiration I tried to visualize what Amitabh Bachhan, or any other hero of an Indian film, would do on such an occasion!

I thought the first thing that he would do would be to catch its horns! So, I caught one horn each in my hands!

Now what?

I thought next thing he would do would be to twist its neck!

But, when I started doing so, immediately I realized it wouldn't be wise. I could feel it had a strong neck and it didn't seem to
appreciate my act, and looked annoyed.

Then, like a bolt from the blue, the thought of Nandi struck me! Immediately, I let go one of the horns first, and was encouraged to see that it had relaxed!

Now, getting bolder I touched its face with the other hand and I 'told'it that I had now realized how a bull could be Shiva's vehicle in the present!

It relaxed completely and the tension was released. Only then I noticed that in the meanwhile a big crowd had gathered to enjoy the free entertainment show!

Disappointed, it dispersed.

I picked up my diary from the footpath and continued with my petty thoughts, but with a changed
attitude!

abhilash warrier said...

Kavi,

Ahhh... Thiruvadira... and Thiruvannamalai!! Wow!! I can just imagine how it would have been...

Surprisingly, I too went to a Shiva temple (of sorts) here quite unexpectedly with a relative of mine!! I think it was the same day!

Watching the hill, the lord himself, in on a full moonlit night would have been a great experience naa?

Shits, I missed it. You and your car are blessed... Lord Shiva is with you. And so are his people and true devotees on earth... parading around as warriors of light...

Joshi uncle, your story was really good. I loved reading it. Why don't you start blogging? It would be wonderful to read your posts. You have a lot to say. And we are short of stories...

JC Joshi said...

Hi Abhi,

As I said earlier also, human brain is an analogous computer. When Kavitha narrated her visit to Shiva temple, I was reminded of the encounter with Nandi while it reminded you of your visit to a Shiva temple the very same day! On the other hand Felix saw it as an example of experience of ‘bliss’ despite the apparent turmoil all around one.

It would be generally noticed that when, say for example, a patient tells about some illness, each visitor has some story to narrate related with the particular condition that the patient finds himself in. They would tell him about their own or some one of their relative’s similar experience, and would also recommend him the ‘right’ doctor or treatment for it, varying from tantra/ mantra to Acupuncture and so on… Socrates said, “By the age of thirty, a man is either a doctor or a fool.”

Those days I had told some friends that as Shiva was popular all over India, He wouldn’t have been using a bull, a slow animal, as His vehicle! And within a few days that incident occurred. In retrospect, to me it was a realization of His mysterious style of functioning. Like a tree blooms at a designated time, inexplicably many such incidents happened during that period only. It’s not that such things hadn’t happened earlier. But, those used to happen once in a blue moon while these were like the ‘thousand channels’ a Yogi believably experiences when realization happens. It made me wonder why then my wife, and obviously the other members of the family also, continued to suffer when God apparently was so close!

Is He/ She also is unhappy? What is the Creator searching in the grand variety of characters in the universe?

anil joshi said...

kavita,strangely I did not find the experience blissful at all.It reminded me of the Pandharpur during one of it's fairs.The car & the lights represent the attack of the so caleed modern day civilization

kavitha said...

Hi Anil,

I was there for 2 and a half days. it was a full moon night on both days, just that day 1 had a million people thrown in.

the second night was just fabulous. that was amar chitra katha relived. will make a seperate post on that.

regds
kavitha

Third Eye Closed said...

Hello Uncle, K,

Under Nandi...must be something really interesting...
Its too funny to imagine such an incident. I'm sure people at your place must have rolled laughing when you told them.
Any filmi hero wouldn't dare touch a bull. Lucky reality hit you before the bull charged and we have our dear uncle now blogging to us unscratched... I'm said bulls hate being neck-twisted, unless ofcourse you can completely topple him over.

Yes uncle the place surely is an unbelievable bliss...
As for the part of realisation... I believe it is what everything means..
I believe in something that says "Ignorance is the lack of realisation not the lack of knowledge."
I am yet to be disproved of it. If I am wrong please correct me.

~fEelix (Bull - symbol of the earth)
PS: I wonder what the people on the road were expecting. :D

JC Joshi said...

Hi Felix, K...

I believe that Hindu mythological stories, if read in the right
perspective, would burst one's ego.

That's the reason most of us 'born Hindus' today behave like the proverbial ostrich - if I can't see someone, he too won't be able to see me!

We take bacteria, earth, moon, water, air, fire, and so on for granted - as inferior objects meant for exploitation at will by the superior most 'life'!

One can realise easily - if one wants to or, rather, if allowed to do so - that
everything, and therefore everyone, is serving some useful purpose...

Given the above, now the 'Q' needing answer today, in my opinion, is to find God's purpose (not Quattrocchi's!) …

Gita has it that Krishna, an inferior 'reflection' of the formless Creator, the unending Supreme knowledge and so on, replied to Arjuna that His purpose - to continue to work, even when nothing remains for Him to be achieved - was to preserve what He has created, as 'He wouldn't like to become the cause of destruction of His own creation’... It also signifies Trinity’s, or the three-in-one God’s, believable 'function of sustenance' of the universe, which is ever changing to reflect the passage of apparent time, through ‘working models’... It is also recommended to live one's life like a spectator, unmoved by the ups and downs... Apparently a difficult task. As per mythology, not many can bring the mind to accept it... Of course, we know that happiness/ 'bliss' is a state of mind only!

shawnbencon2787 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gawain said...

great blog, guys, many thanks.
i am a great lover of India and the great Indian civilization (as seen both in India and in South East Asia) and I blog about these things (and a few other high brow topics) on http://heaventree.blogspot.com
i'll give you a link

JC Joshi said...

I went through Mr Gawain's blog on unutterable truths, and would like to say that the ancients appear to have gone into the 'Absolute truth' of creation, the essence of which I attempt here in as brief as possible:

Having being born and brought up in a ‘Hindu brahmin’ family - because of my expected ‘position value’ like that of ‘zero in unity position’ - I am aware that I could be Him, the only believably formless childlike Divine Person (the unborn, like characters in human dreams). Or, rather, one of His infinite ‘models’ or ‘images’ (as per Bible), which reflect His infinite aspects from His near true self, a dot, or near zero (micro-organism) to near infinity (supernova). All illusory, as per the statement carried forward through eons that the universe is a result of His ‘Maya’ or illusion, in so far as its illusory material component that encompasses the real zero or its ‘essence’ is concerned!

While man, one of the characters in His dreams, apparently is conscious of his superiority over other ‘inferior’ life forms, he is on the other hand made aware of his helplessness when various ‘elements of Nature’ are concerned.

Although the feeling of superiority bloats an average man’s ego, the modest person is aware that even the ‘most intelligent’ man utilizes only a negligible fraction of brain cells naturally made available to him, thus indicating his negligible intelligence today, compared to the infinite potential available to him… which as per 'Hindu Philosophy' believably becomes possible in human life at the ‘right’ apparent time only, for the real time and space believably is zero...