In The Presence Of Kamakshi Amman.

It was a bright Saturday morning and the crowd had begun to gather at the Kamakshi Amman temple, Kanchipuram. We waited patiently for our turn while I inquired about the best darshan possible. Once the negotiations were done we were moved to another queue behind the sacred shrine. 

Our turn soon came and we walked through the door that led to Her shrine. It was a good darshan for about fifteen minutes and we got a close(I should say very close) view of the Goddess. My mind just went blank, my thoughts ceased and I stared at Her, at Her shrine, at the peetham that cradled the Sri Chakra. I stared at it all and my eyes took in everything that my consciousness would allow. There was silence in my mind, no thought even dared to float by and none of the audience around me spoke. I appreciated the brilliance that silence can produce inside a packed garbha griha, oil lamps lit up Her beautiful face. There was peace between her brow, like She knew all and she had finally called me to visit her. It was the very same sacred spot from where the great Shankaracharya had given up His earthly existence. It was beyond time, the curtain of Maya hung thick between them and us, a curtain so heavy that it is not easy to remove. 

And then the spell broke, in the din a group of people were being moved out and the next batch had been readied. It was high on business as the priests ushered all of us out of the tiny room with no respect for the elderly folk. These were the blessed attendants of the Goddess and I would do anything to get their job, to be with Her and worship Her, like the great Shankaracharya did. It baffled me that this power center that I could see so clearly given its supreme effect on me, was completely lost on them. 

Here were two stark worlds, inter-spaced by noise and silence, by a thick invisible curtain of illusion that reflected the moment, when the brutal whip of Maya came striking down on us. How unfortunate we are that we carry the curse around our necks and dont want to let go towards that freedom, which is just a step away. The noise killed my ears, the people were as good as sheep being chased around by a group of ignorant shepherds who for some reason believed that they were the keepers of the faith. 

But I noticed one thing. Strangely, I had changed. I smiled at the Brahmin priest and thanked him for helping us get this darshan and he smiled back in acknowledgment. I felt no anger, no sorrow, no resignation towards the sad fate of Hindy temples, I felt at peace with myself as I carried Her smile in my mind. I was her temple and she had taken residence in my heart, in my mind, and transformed me. No brahmin priest belonged here, it was my temple and I was Her soul keeper. 

To the Goddess of love, who has taken residence in my heart, who has shown promise to raise this curtain of illusion, I am silent to the world but I carry your image, your smile, your love in my heart every day. 

What a brilliant Darshan that was!