Along the stone walls Srinivasan walked, trying to listen to the sound reverberating within them. People busily rushed ahead of him, pushing him aside trying to catch that quick glimpse of the Lord. They walk out just as fast as they stepped in and he wondered whether they ever even cast an eye with reverence on this beautiful form of the Lord, for if they did that, they wouldnt even want to come out of this sacred earthly home.
Srinivasan now made his way towards Lord Shiva's shrine. The place, a mundane temple with a mundane idol with mundane people on a mundane day, there was nothing special about it and yet he felt something different. He had been here before, he knew every form of every God in here and yet the ambience within seemed to welcome him, a little different and yet special welcome that he seemed to have longed for.
He stepped in, catching the first glimpse of the Lord seated on his throne, his earthly peetha within the sanctum. His heart melted, and his eyes welled up with tears though he couldn't understand why he felt such emotion. The fire within the sanctum looked pure, the Lord looked simple yet divine in his attire and the air inside felt still.
He stared at the lamp lights dance graciously around the Lord, he thought hard looking at the fire...
The fire burns gentle as a lamp light for the Lord
The fire burns hard as it eats into flesh turning it to ash
The water, pure and crystal clear bathes the Lord
This same water consumes the ashes of man to deliver him to heaven
The air is here still and fragrant with floral offerings and incense
The same air is a grim reminder of death as the pyre burns
The earth holds the shakti of these earthly shrines
The same earth gives a bed for the burning departed soul
The ethereal presence of the Lord in his home here is felt so strong
The same ethereal state is so hard to achieve.
Srinivasan looked up as the priest held up the arti within. The flames lit up the glowing face of the Lord, among the flowers and vilva that decked his form. Srinivasan's heart was heavy with emotion, for he didnt know how to perceive the Lord anymore. This was strange love, love that made him suffer, love that made him ache to leave his earthly self and want to be ever present at the Lord's feet.
Srinivasan had had mixed emotions towards the Lord, he harboured various feelings towards the Lord and each expression of love made the Lord play various roles deep within his emotions. He felt Santa Bhava, where he was the eternal child, in the lap of the Lord who loved him and protected him as his very own. He felt he had been cursed to now live with this limited consciousness so far away from his divine father.
Srinivasan felt like a willing slave, the eternal servant who wished he could bathe and decorate all those present within the sanctum of the Lord. He wished he could live within, in the temple lighting the lamps, singing hymns to the Lord, bathing his various forms, the Trimurti, Kala Bhairava, Devi, Lingodhbhava, the 63 Nayanars, Ganesha, and the numerous Shiva Lingas that dotted the heavenly precinct. He craved to perform alankara, to drape the Lord in silks and flowers and sing to him in devotion as he decorated him. What enormous pleasure he would get to just clothe the Lord in his sacred garments and be his faithful servant. He felt a deep sense of Dasya Bhava as he humbly folded his hands in front of the Lord.
Srinivasan had felt Sakhya bhava, at rare moments when he had mentally demanded the Lord's attention as his closest friend whose help he needed. He had called His name to help him in his moments of distress. He called to the Lord, looking for him in desperation as he helplessly faced his circumstances. His heart was overwhelmed with the experience he had felt when the Lord listened and gave him the solution in the most unusual way possible. He whispered in his thoughts leaving Srinivasan awestruck that such experiences are even possible.
But most of all he felt love, pure love. The type of love that made him want to live every day with enthusiasm because he felt that Lord Shiva was always with him. He felt it in the events that unfolded in the day, he felt it in the way people reacted towards him, he felt it in the air that surrounded him, Lord Shiva was always there. His faith towards Lord Shiva was unshakable, his love for the lord was undying and his attitude towards the lord was one of protection and loving care. He felt the sweetness in the experience, he felt beauty in his presence and the thought of the Lord next to him made him divinely estatic. This was madhurya bhava. Eternal love, eternal bliss where the Lord occupied every thought in his mind.
Srinivasan walked around the shrine, circumambulating it and adouring every form of the Lord he crossed. He looked up with reverence and respect towards every saint present in there wondering whether he would ever reach that state.
He walked up to Nataraja, he had never seen someone so handsome, so charming, so graceful and yet so peaceful. His heart yarned for the Lord, Nataraja, Oh how he wished he could step onto that stage and dance with him, witness the grace of Ananda Tandava, be a part of the grand Shiva family that resides here within these walls.
Srinivasan's heart ached as he moved away from Nataraja, for he felt Nataraja looked straight at him, he felt the charm envelop him, he felt the presence awaken him like a dialog that seemed to rise within himself, between them as they stared at each other. He was numb with bliss, he was overwhelmed with love, he was sinking into a pool of ecstacy. Such love had never overpowered his emotions, such love had never made his feet weak, such love had never made him swoon so much. This was honey sweet, this was beyond words, this was paradise on earth, this was beyond the maya of mundane life... this was consciousness.
Flickr Photo stream: shrirang k