In this chaotic world
You have come to reside in my home
In this noisy jungle
You have brought silence to my mind
In this blind rush for wealth
You have given me the greatest gift of all
In this illusion of life
You light the fire of enlightenment.
I have often wondered what is it I am looking for when I visit a shrine. I have wondered what is it I feel when I come close to sacred altars. I have sat back to think, how does a person feel the presence of the Lord residing there?
The darkness within a shrine brings a mysterious world to light that is magical and exclusive. There are no words to describe what the heart and mind can feel when the sanctity of the shrine is preserved, and preservation is described such.
Darkness describes the void beyond this illusion of life, it is the darkness in the realm of nothingness. It is the space, the air where nothing exists. And in this darkness, there is a drop of light, that lights up the form of that who is formless. Fire, the beautiful path of enlightenment brings back to our real world a sacred truth that can only be imagined. The fire, is a path that illuminates the chamber inside, fire is the purity that enlightens one and blesses us with divine vision. Fire is so bright that it blinds the eye from all its illusion. Fire is the heat that reduces the ego to ash. Fire is the formless that gives us a glimpse of the form of the Lord. Fire can neither be created nor destroyed by us. That which is ever present, that which just appears and disappears, that which has the power to sustain us as well as destroy us, that which glows brighter than anything else within the chamber... isn't that the very Lord Himself giving us a small example of how vast and limitless he is, like the fire, he can be a drop of light or grow within seconds into a deadly forest fire? He can give warmth and scrotch us to death at the same time. Isn't this duality the very nature of the Lord Himself?
In these flames does one notice the silence deep within, the darkness now cut away as the light bathes the sacred shrine. The wet floor shimmers as the tiny waves of water come flowing down from the idol in mystical elegance. These are the waters of life, freely falling into the abyss of darkness below. These are the sacred drops that cover his form in purity as they drape his being as they flow down. Crystal clear waters form ripples of a thousand suns embedded in its various reflections. What a beautiful sight it is to see the Lord enveloped in such divinity. The formless, the shapeless, that takes the shape of anything its put into, like the atman that resides in any given body and gives it life, and yet it is so pure and crystal clear even if the container is flawed... Isn't this the very nature of the Lord we define in water?
The air is fragrant, the space is so pure. There is a rush of emotion as the eyes are set in a gaze to look up to this life beauty within these walls. The air is thick with the fragrance of flowers and incense. It is everywhere at the same time, all enveloping, and pure, unmoved and stable. It fills the space in this chamber, covers the ether with its presence and one can feel the gradual flowing waves of the sound that carries the rhythm of the sacred mantras spoken. It echoes within the shrine wall, and one syllable fades into the other rhythmically bringing alive the mystical presence of the Lord. How then cant the heart melt as such beauty overflows within the mind of the bhakta?
He is, He shall be, as he stands in the emblem of stone. He is the unshakable, He is that which has never changed. He is the definition of the eternal, that or equilibrium, that of silence and stability. He is and will always be there, through the world around may perish in its chaos. He stays there unmoved, untouched, unhurt...He is and will always be.
The shrine chamber presents to us the Lord, present in all the elements that adorn him, surround him in this miniature grandeur. This is pure life energy that empowers us to go back and face the world again. This is the power that is subtle and yet makes its presence felt if one has to reach its doors in complete humility. How then can we desecrate it with noise and corruption? How then can a priest have absolutely no faith while they utter the sacred verses? How can we tolerate this utter disrespect to the very shrine that protects our well being?
He is the formless, like the fire, He is bright and wonderful like its flame. He is pure as in its whiteness. He appears like the fire and He disappears all the same, but like the fire, he destroys all that has to die but doesnt perish in its flames. He shines in its glow, as the waters of offering reflect His being. He bathes in its pure light as the drops of water rhythmically wash his feet. He is like the water that takes the form of the vessel he resides within. He is always present like the unshaken stone alive and breathing within this chamber in small grandeur as the incense covers His little room. He is real, alive and silent watching the gradual decline of pure faith at his doorstep.