It feels good to acknowledge the spiritual side. Look at yourself using a mirror of honesty and when the reflection is aided by deities of two of the most popular temples in India: Lord Ayyappa at Sabari Mala and Lord Krishna at Guruvayur, calmness of mind is taken to a different level.
I felt relieved after freeing remnants of disbelief to blindly consider the popular belief that multiple dips in River Pampa would wash away all my sins accumulated over the years. Yeah, right, I thought! On the other hand, I felt like shouting, Yippee!!! Even if I included good deeds getting deleted from my account along with all bad and ugly things (how wonderful if thoughts were included too!) – Whoosh! Gone!! Dissolved in the holy river and you are back to restart as if you were a just born! Too good to be true but sincerely hope it is indeed that simple! With that as the background, I wanted to share something else though 🙂
As I set out on an adventure trip (as wifey put it) to these temples with a small group, I had made out a list of things to ask God when I would get a chance to pray. The Darshan time, I knew, would be short because these are famous for their crowds. So I kept reminding myself to keep the list short, focus on the top 3 asks, an A category that I could quickly and silently communicate within 3-5 seconds, have another B category list with the next set of prioritized asks. Then followed the task of memorizing the order in which I would go about asking or demanding things from God. The A category was fairly straight-forward and prioritization was not difficult. A few rehearsals were conducted mentally during the journey. That gave me sufficient confidence that I would not screw up whenever my turn would happen. My asks were simple and did not need skills anywhere close to melodramatic scenes like Big B and countless other heroes / heroines who have asked Gods in infinite movies across India, ‘Mainey aaj tak tum se kuch nahi maanga Bhagwaan, magar aaj main tum se maangta hoon … ‘
I had the good fortune to get great darshans at both temples. But I screwed up. I forgot my lines completely and went blank. Forgot that I had gone there to ask something! AGAIN Forgot I had gone there to ask when I went on one more round!!! Forgot YET AGAIN when I was at Guruvayur!!!! Something was fundamentally wrong with me … Maybe!! Maybe not!!
I looked around and observed the expressions on the faces of the thousands of devotees and wondered what was going on in their minds when they closed their eyes. What could be their A, B and C category asks? Did they rehearse well enough? Do they stay so focused on asks that when they reach the temple they easily rattle off their demands? Do they think of the bribes, the give and take equations when they silently communicate with God? Or are they plain grateful with whoever they are? The flowers used in Pujas supposedly signify impermanence of things no matter how colourful and beautiful they are, the lights or Diyas show the light of knowledge and I don’t remember if I went blank or philosophical. I am not sure. The temples appoint people who are experts at pushing you away so others get an opportunity to get the darshan. I could not help thinking of them as bouncers of a different kind. A random thought like that might have crossed my mind.
Long back when exams were a regular feature of life, asking God for help was so common. To ensure that I got questions I knew answers to, or grant me the opportunity to sit with Akshay or Munnabhai (names changed for ethical reasons) who were good in studies, or asking him coyly to make Trisha or Shruti (obviously changed names for domestic harmony related reasons) at least look at me: Everything revolved around the philosophy of “Make sure this happens and I shall give you a coconut (smash it and then run away with it for mom to make chutneys), or a huge bribe of 5 rupees, or I shall ask Mom to make you some nice Vadas / Dosas (that I shall gobble up) or do a fixed number of rounds around your temple !! As time passed, this relationship had almost become non-existent. Therefore, it feels good that the trip reinforced my belief that you can feel good if you manage to stay distracted! Yes, stay distracted … from … distractions. Think about it.
Keeping things simple and staying calm always gives a lot of positive energy and focus to move on.
– By Baba Rangarajaswamy (one more avatar I see in the mirror)