Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shani in Shingnapur-Part II

Its had been in my mind to visit shirdi for a long time, I love babajis (sai nath's) grace. Shingnapur is around 20 kilometers from there, the roads now have become very travel friendly (which was not the case a decade back-when my mother had visited the place). We (my folks and I) set out morning in a cab to reach the place. The place was packed to some extent (shows a lot of people need shani's grace in this day/age), but we had no major hassles, to some extent it was on my mind that the lord will show me his leela, on that day. I was a bit cautious i guess because of this, i have associated shani to a large extent, with hassles-both mental and physical-from people around me and the settings. But it was not to be on that day. My father and i changed into dhoti, for it is only men who are allowed near the sanctum-shani has remained a brhamacharya-a astute sort of energy and I guess for that reason women are not allowed near that energy, for it might be that there might be some sort of consequence which we are not aware of. Men are to be strictly in traditional wear in this temple, no shirts etc and only dhotis. besides this, everyone who goes near the shani energy is to be bathed, and clean.
Shinginapur holds a rock, a power stone which is the shani consecrated form. There is no idol, or temple there per say, only a long winding sort of corridor which leads to this open air stone known as deva. The story goes that this stone came as the amsha form of shani in this place-which i guess was the backyard of some person. The energy here does not like to be bound inside a place- as in the rock has always been in open air. Whenever there is any attempts to build some sort of sanctum for the stone, it has always been brought down.
The interesting thing about this little village - shingnapur is that till date, there are no concepts of locks or doors here. No one bothers to lock away their shops or even their homes, there are no problems of leaving your property anywhere in this village, it will be untouched. For the fear of shanis retribution of commiting a crime where he is present is so so great that no one-not even from other religions-cultures takes this risk. It is the plain fact. In this town leave your worries aside, the lord is here.
My father and I stood in the queue in the baking hot maharashtian summer, pulling us down and scorching our feet completely, the temple management is kind enough to put cooling water in the open air area, where the sun beats down mercilessly i imagine for most of the year. As we come close to the stone, the energies within me are released and I feel almost benign, content and satisfied.
Shani likes metal- his element is metal and his favourite gift is either metal or oil. You cannot imagine the amount of oil which is poured on the stone day in and out for eons till date. I couldn't imagine it when it was staring at me! We also took some oil to put on the god, the priest who stands next to the stone idol pats my back with a lot of oil as a prasad from the lord, there is no ego status for the priest i see and i like that a lot-often remaining so close to power forms, kinda gives a false sense of power within people who are near it.
It is a small affair, but as I approach the stone idol, I am immensely happy, for a long time i have suffered the consequences of my actions through his sweet gaze, and there is a sort of culmination-a thank you from me to the swami for teaching me patience and hopefully wisdom in the process. perhaps the point of the whole exercise.
Shingnapur remains famous for people who are afllicted with shani, often many people from very different walks of life and even religions come to this place to seek blessing of this powerful deity.
The deity here is benign and in full power wisdom. He remains ever peaceful and loving towards his devotees- it might sound strange than anyone actually might pray to a astral planet for liberation- but that is the truth about this lover of life, he remains so we may suffer the world, and maybe in the process we might actually liberate ourselves of this selective perception which we see of who we are.
I got to visit some more awesome laid back temples in the villages around by. I always try to visit as many places-which are the part of the culture of the place- so that i may have the best, most non-biased, non-judgmental-complete picture of the life which is there.
My visit to shingnapur refreshed me immensely and it was only with the love and grace of sai-natha that I was able to see such power with my living body.

Peace to All.

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