The Quote -

"Nope, I don't really have anything new to say. but then, I always have something amazing to tell about things that you already know!!"

-Muthu

Friday, August 22, 2008

The temple teachings:

“Will you do something for me? Don’t say no. I won’t ask you if I had any choice”


These were the exact words my mom said to me and since she never really goes for this approach, I can simply guess that she wants me to do something that I really hate. I was wondering what she might want me to do. That was when she said that she wanted me to go to a temple to attend a specific pooja* and bring back the prasadham*.

Now I hate going to temples. It’s not like I don’t believe in God. I am a theist. I believe in God. But I see him as someone who is not just bound to the temple, as someone who is in the essence of everything living and non living. I hate the customs that people do at temples and people paying to see the deities of the divine. With my mother it’s just the opposite, she is totally into it. She is regular in her prayers. Never misses her poojas*. Is a devoted hindu* to put it in simple terms. What makes peace between us in this aspect is that she never asks me to go to the temple and I never dissuade her from going.

And when she broke her deal when I was least expecting it, (of course she breaks the deal once in a year, on my birthday) I was not going to give in without a fight. And when she said that she will not be able to go temple because she had to be at another temple, it simply left me completely bewildered. But her approach gave me no space to refuse or fight back (Damn…. These women really know how to get things done by a guy). I simply asked the specifications of what I have to do at the temple and left for the same.

On reaching the temple, I gave the priest the specifications of the pooja* and waited for my prasadham*. A lot of women and a few men were there gossiping about as they were also waiting for the aarathi*. I was really feeing like the odd man out. It was so completely dull and boring that I was watching the ants that were laboriously doing whatever they were doing near my feet.

After a while the aarthi* was shown and people crowded up to see the view of the decorated deity. Then the prasadham* was distributed. It was then that I noticed the old man sitting by the side of the temple. He must have been about 65 – 70 years old. It could be easily seen from his torn clothes that he was too poor to even feed himself. But his clothes were washed and neat. After eating half of the prasadham*, he slowly looked around and after satisfying himself that no one was looking, kept the other half in his pocket. He must be saving it for later or may be for some one, I presumed.

I felt really bad for him. But his face showed no such emotion of pain or regret. In fact he started to play with a small kid nearby. I got up and went near him. When he saw me coming to him, he simply smiled and said “Isn’t the child a beauty” and smiled at me. I smiled back assuring myself that I am not going to defeat this man by showing sympathy or charity. He needed neither. He may not be the richest guy around but he was so happy that the happiness seamed to flow out him when he was playing with the child.

After a while, I bade him good bye and reached home. Thinking about it now - What I saw in him, completely over whelms me.

You need not be the richest or the cleverest or whatever superlative terminology you are going to add, to be immensely happy. You simply need to loss your self to something beautiful. It never matters what it is. It may be the playfulness of a small child to the calmness of the early morning dew. Also it never matters in what state you are. You will be happy and find peace within yourself.




Hindu - A religion that is predominant in India.
Pooja - A custom in which the deity is washed in milk and other auspicious things, then garlanded and decorated along with the chanting of the hymns. Each and every single deity has its own special day for pooja and each pooja has its own requirements.
Prasadham - The eatables and other things that are offered to the deity and then are consumed by the devotees as a token of the blessing received from the divine.
Aarathi - It’s the climax of the pooja, where along with ringing of the bells, a burning flame is shown to the deity(the flame is usually on a plate and burns from camphor or from oil lamp).

9 comments:

nan said...

Word Perfect!
One of your best yet :)
This is one perspective both o us have in common!
Kudos!

anoop erakkil said...

Perfect indeed! Well said thoughts Muthu...

muthu said...

@ nan - thanks nan.... I have always liked your strong perspectives.... though not the one about love and arranged marriage...... :P

@ anoop - thanks anoop, in a way, i am a bit of an agnostic.....

Anu said...

thanks for pointing out to this post.. woudnt have seen it otherwise....

in many ways, i agree with you.... i do believe in God, but I have been taught more to accept others ways, and over the years, have learnt to accept pujas and offerings as a part of life.... have also learnt to overlook the stuff i dont like in temples, such as the pujaris extortion and the peoples gossip.... and look beyond that to what made someone build the temple in the first place, and the divinity involved in the building of the temple itself... in many of the older temples, the beauty of the idols, the statues, all speak of talent of some artist.... and talent itself is divinity... at least the kind of divinity i look for these days...

next time you have to go to a temple, stand in front of the deity, close your eyes and filter out the sounds of the people... that way, you will enjoy the experience and your mom will be happy too...

sorry if tha sounded like a lecture, maybe that is the mom in me talking!!! but i really liked your post.....

muthu said...

wow.... it did sound like a lecture. but i have to give it to you anu..

you sounded kind a cool even in your lecture... :):)

and i love good temples like tanjore periaya kovil... a worthy piece of divine art....

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