Its almost an impossible thing; to be in love with the invisible divine. Yet to experience it through the senses. I will try to show you how it manifests.
Sometime back, I had to travel to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh for some work. Its an overnight journey from Hyderabad, and it felt good to travel even if were be on official purpose. I reached early morning and checked into my hotel, where the rest of my office crew were also to reach later. I had breakfast and went through the day (there was a training at hand and I was to coordinate it). By evening I was exhausted and wanted to see the place a bit, vijayawada is one of the commercial hubs in Andhra Pradesh, extremely prosperous and well to do, and though the city looks a bit shabby, but overall it has the feel of one of the upcoming tier – I cities of India.
I asked one of my superiors where I could find something of value, of history and perhaps of religious or otherwise importance. he in turn told me about the famous ‘Kanaka Durga’ temple in the vicinity. It is supposedly extremely famous- so famous that after people do their yearly Sabarimala trip (for the wild forest god ayyappa), they return to this temple before reaching home.
I went in a bike with one of my sales people, an extremely quiet and kind guy called Sai; he took me at break neck speed (mainly cause he too was extremely tired from the day’s training and perhaps wanted to reach home to his wife fast- I kept insisting to leave me be, so that I may travel at my own pace, but he was adamant in showing his town to me!)
We reached the temple, and I had to admit, if it were upto me; I would never venture close to such a temple alone, for it was crowded and filled to the brim with devotees coming back or going forth to sabarimala. It was one of the quieter days for the temple as I learned later.
My guide/collegue took me right inside the sanctum sanctorum; it would be probably one of the firsts, when I did not endure the gruelling journey leading to the idol. I went straight in!
It was a magnificent sight, the goddess was clad in yellow sindhur. She was decked so beautifully. Unlike most other goddess temple, here the worship was done in an unusual manner (non-shakti related worship-> bhakti worship). I prayed sincerely and was very happy to see a stone idol exude such grace. I prayed sincerely for the entire universe, not just for myself. Extending boundaries, and capabilities. It was such a release! The priests kind of told me to move, cause I was taking space so close to the goddess and the myriad others outside looking probably couldn’t see her.
Before I made my move to go out, the priests take out a fresh garland from around the goddess’ neck and hand it over to me, The smell in magical. Its a garland made of many many flowers, smelling wild and calling me to join. I love the gift. Though it was through the hands of the priest, for me there was no difference, goddess gave me a garland as if to spread the joy of ever new flavor/smell and wed me in her love.
This was such a personal moment for me, that I was almost in tears by the time I came to my hotel room. Within minutes the entire room started smelling beautiful. Just like the mother. I brought the garland back to hyderabad as well and even 3 days later, it was smelling just as wild as the day I had first received it on my hands.
I felt humble and blessed. Felt as if some entity still bestowed me with a little love; That perhaps I was worthy of this love to some extent, and that; just maybe I could share and give it back to everyone around.
This beautiful exquisite embrace.
Peace and Love