She woke up earlier than usual that morning. Pangs of excitement left no place for the slightest traces of slumber. Shower? Check. Saree ? Check. Hair braiding? Check. Breakfast? There was no time for that. She smoothed her hair into place and made sure her pleats were neat. As she adorned herself with bangles and earrings, flowers and perfume, she hummed a sweet song of joy. She would dress in nothing but the best to meet her beloved Lord, who after all, had given her everything that she called her own.
The mere sight of the Gopuram* induced waves of happiness and unsurprisingly so, the temple was deliberately built where the earth’s magnetic field gave off high positive energy in abundance. Discarding her slippers and worries at the door, she stepped into the temple. She loved the feel of the marble on the soles of her feet and with every step, she absorbed positive energy from vibrations bouncing off the temple floors. A large bell was struck, the sound ringing loud and clear, dispelling any negativity that might have been lingering in the environment.
She reveled in the sight of the Gods, bedecked in layers of silk and jewels. She adored the temple air that possessed the most heavenly smell one could dream of: an oddly satisfying combination of camphor, ghee, flowers, sandalwood and incense. The sonorous recitation of ancient Vedic texts amidst the strains of nadaswaram* made her soul so, so happy. She circumambulated the Ganesh idol first. The sound of the prayer she chanted fervently in her mind competed with the overt chanting of the priest in the inner sanctorum. With every arathi* and abhishekam* the priest conducted in there, vibrations of all things good increased. All she was doing by going around the idol again and again was sharing in the vibrations already created, free to anyone that cared to tap into it.
An elderly couple walked past, their faces resplendent with the light of wisdom. The experiences of decades were etched into fine lines that appeared at the corners of their eyes. In the background, peels of laughter emanated from a group of children who were engaged in playful banter. The melody of old Carnatic compositions could be heard as some middle-aged women sang their hearts out with much sincerity. People from every stage of life were at the temple, it seemed, reminding her of her past, hinting at her future.
She made her way to the Navagraha *and payed obeisance to the planets who had the potential to rule her destiny, if only she allowed it. Deep down inside though, she knew that with God’s Anugraha *, the Navagraha could do absolutely nothing to the course her life took. Her surrender to God’s grace was not absolutely perfect though, so she still circled the panel of planets, just to be safe 😛
Her rounds now all complete, she sat down quietly for a few moments to enjoy the glorious atmosphere. Fully satiated with her temple run, she rose to exit through the grand temple doors. Not without a handful of prasadam* though, which happened to be yoghurt rice on this particular day. She smiled to herself. It was God’s nature to give, no one visiting His home would be allowed to leave empty-handed. Her heart and stomach were both full. It was time to go home.
Do you have any cherished memories of temple visits? Leave a comment down below!
Glossary: Gopuram (a large pyramidal tower over the entrance gate to a temple precinct), nadaswaram (double reed wind instrument), arthi (ritual of worship in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to deities), abhishekam ( Hindu ritual of pouring water or other sacred substances on a statue of a deity while also chanting mantras), navagraha (nine ruling planets of astrology), anugraha (grace), prasadam (a devotional offering made to a god, typically consisting of food that is later shared among devotees).
I am a 22 year old tradition lover living in Australia. As I have never lived in India, I am no expert in Indian culture. However, my love affair with this beautiful culture has been running strong for many years and I hope to share my passion with everyone this blog reaches:) Parts of this blog are fictional, while others are based on my own experiences. Happy reading! – Divya