Thursday, April 14, 2011

Soul-melting Divine Pillayarpatti


My brother studied in ACCET Karaikudi and he used to say that this was the only temple, that let every devotee have a peaceful darshan and it indeed turned out to be so true. These days, many big temples have harassing poojaris, even thirupathi poojaris hardly give you more than 5 seconds of darshan unless you are some VVIP or politician. (constraints are understandable, yet... the blissful solace is snatched in a hurried environment) One of my friends used to say that there were special poojas that were booked in advance for 50+ years in Thirupathi.

The trip

Our qualis came sharp at 4:45 am, but we started from home only at 6:13 a.m. Our bhai driver lamented that he been sleepless for 3 continuous nights and my cognizant late night cab crash due to sleeplessness of the driver flashed in my mind. Thank god, bhai had several tricks like non-stop talking - the same nonsense to keep himself awake. (The second day, he stated the same thing more than five times over and over again – like AB’s cockroach episode in Hum) It just reminded me of Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger. When one peruses a newspaper, there is always a selective reading that takes place. The drivers invariably end up reading all gory carnal stuff, which they happily spew on everyone around. I was wondering, do I have to listen to all these while going on a pilgrimage. Anyway that’s fine, he needs his outlet.

But one lesson I learnt was about the highways. Those days, the kings built rows of huge shady trees on both the sides of the roads, but these days NHAI, builds highways and overbridges (which makes me wonder when it would collapse) and plants fragile flowers that have to constantly inhale the vehicle fumes and still bloom. It is always such a comfort travelling under refreshing tree shades especially in South India. How many of us own AC vehicles to beat the heat? And we are harping about climate change. I wish NHAI also planted trees on both the sides of the roads.
Pristine pure Karpaga Vinayagar
We washed our hands and feet by the tap near the kulam which had my favourite white-yellow flowers of perfection.

Fish in the water

Vedic hymns were being recited at the entrance, some poojas were going on.
By the western gopuram

I had done a quick search for the temple lore, but nothing came close to the actual imagery. Karpaga Vinayakar was exquisitely carved out of the mountain. The arrangement of lamps and flowers was so captivating. We were amongst the first to witness the 9 am abhishekam. The poojaris bid us to sit so that we could watch. This time, I did not mind about the curd, milk and other items being poured down. Somehow this time, god knows why, tears swelled up my eyes, though I had no reason for any sadness (could be the after effects of listening to newspaper stories) – there was something in the temple air, that just melted you. Vinayakar and the ambience was so blissful, that you almost have an out of the body experience sitting there.
By the north facing entrance

Northern Gopuram

We were told, walk as if you are doing a pradakshina, take bath as if you are doing an abhishekam, talk as if you are conversing with god, think about God every moment. So I was wondering, is this how we are supposed to bath? There was one scene in the movie ‘Agni Varsha’ where Raveena bathes with milk. I read somewhere that bathing in cow’s milk absolves one of all sins. And then images flash of women and children who die of starvation without a morsel of food. Sisters who starve for months without food.
After abhishekam, the poojaris quickly did the alankarams with such efficiency. The end result was simply dazzling, heavenly. Seeing a well nourished, prosperous, beautiful image always has some sort of soothing effect on the mind.
My learnings about Vinayakar
Thanks to this trip, I happened to read about Vinayak’s 8 incarnations and his various vehicles in addition to mouse, what the mooshika signified through the Mudgala and Ganesha Puranas. Vinayak is supposed to symbolize Om. All singers start with the geetham – Lambodhara lakumikara. Lam is supposed to be associated with the basic chakra – Mooladhara. But in the moola manthra of Mahaganapathy, Gam is also indicated in addition to the other 4 bheejas – indicating its association with the Manipura chakra if I consider Gam to be from the swara ‘Ga’. Whatever explanation or interpretation one gives to the mouse, the pot belly, the chopped tusk, it all points the same thing, tame the ahamkara, to overcome all internal 6 enemies and external obstacles through clear thinking, self realization etc.

Our teachers taught us that thopukaranam (similar to repeated uthkatasana pulling your ear lobes with crossed arms with the thumbs in the front) is very useful to stimulate learning in classrooms.
In one of my courses 'Self Transformation using Indian Approaches' my book review was on Vivekachudamani. I have been obsessed by Adi Shankaracharya ever since then. Here is a link that i was looking for: Ganesha Pancharathna

No comments: