Monday, October 12, 2009

Suprabatham - Invocation of Lord Venkateshwara

The following is the excerpt taken from the book "It's Here Now" by Bhagavan Das, a disciple of the enlightened master Neem Karoli Baba. The excerpt signifies the importance of the Lord Venkateshwara Temple in Andhra Pradesh. The excerpt :-
One of the most famous temples I was told to see was Tirupati, at "The Seven Hills of Lord Vishnu". This is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, north of Madras. The seven hills were originally sacred to the seven sages and the Goddess. The statue there is of Venkateshwara (Lord Vishnu) appearing as the charming cow herder Govinda (Vishnu's incarnation of Krishna as a boy). I hiked up the seven hills and dropped into the vortex of devotion swirling around Krishna. It was like wading into a pool. I started to move with the pilgrims, and suddenly I was swirling in the frenzy of devotion.
Here I began kissing the ground as a spiritual practice. I would take a step, kiss the ground, murmur "Om Namo Bhagavatay Vasudevaya (I Bow to Lord Vishnu)", stand up, say "Om Namo Bhagavatay Vasudevaya," bend down, touch the ground, repeat the mantra, stand up. I did this for eight to ten hours, and it altered my conciousness. I went to the inner light of the heart of the deity by approaching the formless reality and projecting an image onto it and crying, "Out of your mercy please let me love you! Become a mirror for my devotion so I can see myself in you."
I didn't understand any of this philosiphically at the time. I was simply lost in the bhava, the divine mood. I was experiencing the truth of tantra: Only God can worship God; only Goddess can worship Goddess. You become what you worship, and then you worship yourself.
Thousands of pilgrims arrived every hour on the hour, asking for boons (spiritual gifts and blessings). They sacrificed their hair. Thousand of Barbers lined up in stalls, and freshly cut hair was lying everywhere in big heaps. The devotees offered their hair, and their prayers were answered.
Intention, commitment, sacrifice, faith, and devotion- together these produce real effects. Too often we underestimate the power of thought. Thoughts manifest. Your life is what you think it is. That's why meditating and disengaging from the thought process helps free the self. The devotees believe, "I will give my hair, my beauty, my good looks to Vishnu and he'll have compassion for me and help me out. " And he did.
The temple was so big that I was dwarfed. I stood under massive carved columns twenty-five feet tall, surrounded by thousand of pilgrims waiting in line to go through the giant doors.
The ceremony in front of the temple was intense. It was as though I had found the one place in the world where God really lives. The music, chanting, prayers, vast number of people--Oh, the enormity of all! I couldn't go to this place just once. There was too much to see and too much to feel.
I entered a turnstyle machine set up by the initiated priests who, with the power of mantra, keep the river of liquid shakti flowing. After many hours of repeating mantras in line, I was finally inside the doors. Everything got dark. The giant stone walls, dark with soot, reminded me less of a cathedral than a fortress. I couldn't see the end of the corridor. It was so long, with a cavern of blackness backlit with flickering torches. The ceiling had to be at least thirty feet high.
Devotees that we were, we all had little boats in our hands made of leaves, containing offerings of food and flowers. Around me clusters of family were waiting together, everyone chanting "Govinda, Govinda, Govinda, Govinda!." Thousands of people were chanting around me . "Sita Ram, Sita Ram" , "Radhe Shyam Radhe Shyam". Everyone was trying to drown out everyone else with their own favourite name of God.
It was musky and damp, and everyone was dripping with sweat. I was drenched, too, as I was pushed along in the line.
There was no way out. I was totally trapped in the enormous crowd. I was like a snake in the bamboo reed: there was no reverse gear; I could only go forward. I had no choice. i was being pushed toward God.
IT WAS GOING to happen. I was going to see God. As it got darker and darker and sweatier and sweatier, I could smell everyone's bodies and all the crushed flowers under my feet. Sonorous sounds of the sacred prayers being chanted by the Brahmins came from both side of the corridor. Imagine a hundred Brahmin on each side, chanting in unison- a really unearthly sound echoed in the chambers of this castle of God.
Finally I came out of darkness and into the golden light. God was tall, fifteen or twenty feet, and made of one solid black, carved, basalt stone. Vishnu was covered with Gold. The Brahmins have melted down everyone's jewelry and stuck it on the statue. Tirupati is the richest temple in India. Those who can afford it, give all their bracelets, necklaces, rings- all their gold- to God, and their desires are fulfilled.
The atmosphere was very intense within five feet of God. The chaos was part of the worship. Yet in the midst of the craziness was a deep sense of peace.
I was standing in front of God with my offering in a basket when one of the priests took it to the feet of the Lord. Then he picked up another offering and placed it in my basket. The priest kept the rupees from the basket as his salary.
Now I had shakti, the energy of God, in my basket. I had offered my devotion, and someone else's devotion was returned to me. All of us are linked in the eyes of God, and the love we offer him, flows back and forth among us all.
The line suddenly jagged, and right in front of God was an empty space. It was the first I'd seen in many hours - a genuine miracle! The statue of Vishnu was very big, scary and mysterious. Although it was black, it was really bright. And the intensity of light was all the greater because I'd spent hours in the long, dark halls. Now I could either go into the light or look away from it. I held that empty space as long as I could. How long could I hold the vision of God? As long as i wanted. Then I closed my eyes, bowed and said "Enough, God. Thank you." and shuffled out of his presence.

Blogger's Remark :

I was excited when I came accross this article. The only thing I could imagine was that someday I would shave my head to see that Sadhguru lives a long life. May Lord Venkateshwara adds my life of years to Sadhguru.

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