14 Jan 2015

South India Pilgrimage: Day 10. Temple to Temple.

Ooty, Tamil Nadu

December 18th started with a surprise. Gurudeva invited the whole pilgrimage group into his private room for an abishekam on the little Mirabai Krishna which he got as a gift from the priest of the Krishna temple in Nurpur, Himajal, where we "accidentally" stepped into during our last Pilgrimage of The Nine Devis earlier this year.

 The main deity there is the murti into which Meerabai herself submerged. It shrinks by itself every Krishna Janmashtami to about 1/3rd of its size and regrows afterwards. I once asked Guruji about this murti and he said that, "It is Krishna Himself. It is a cosmic portal."

Today Guruji said that he wanted to give us something to balance the lack of a very intense pilgrimage so far because we had not visited so many temples yet.

This very rare and special abishekam laid the foundation for an extraordinary day with other unexpected blessings. We were informed that we would visit one temple that day and that the second possible would be too far away. So we expected a calm afternoon. After lunch we went to town by bus and walked a distance to the Sri Mariamman Temple.

An incident is narrated related with the formation of this temple. According to the narration, every Tuesday, merchants from Coimabatore came to this region to trade with the local tribes people. On one of these days, two sisters traveled from the north and reached the market. They had a Divine look and manner. When they asked for a place to stay, they were told to stay under a nearby tree. The people did not know that the sisters were Goddesses. A bolt of lightning, or flash of light, appeared near the tree and the sisters disappeared. Then the people understood that the sisters were Divine forms and built a temple for Goddess Kaliamman and Mariamman together. It is the only place where both goddess are seen together.

Mariamman, the mother Goddess is widely considered to be a form of the goddess Kali. Mariamman is also referred to as Seethala Gowri or Mahamaayi.

All the deities in this temple are very calm and quiet, not furious as we know them usually. In the temple there is also Chamundi, the destroyer of enemies. She also appears serene and motherly. Guruji said that the meaning of Mariamma is: Mari means My, and Amma means Mother; My mother. Guruji also mentioned,"If one prays to Sheethala Mata when one has chicken pocks. She then removes it."

In this temple Guruji also spoke about the deities and their vahana (vehicle), like Shiva and Nandi, Ganesha and Mushika, Muruga and Mayur. These symbolise the Guru and the disciple. The disciple should be always willing to serve, and exclusively fully focused on the Guru. Nothing should be able to come in between the disciple and the Guru.

From there we we went further to reach the Murugan Temple. On our way however we passed by a most beautiful Jain Temple made from pure Marble.

Shri Shanti Vijay Guru is highly respected and venerated. Guruji and actually all of us were very much impressed by this manifestation.

Krishna Temple

Further on our path towards Murugan we passed by a small Krishna temple where we stepped in and discovered that an Abishekam on the main deities, Vittala, Rukmini and Sathyabama (Bhudevi) had just started and we were invited to stay. Following the ritual, Guruji started to sing bhajans in his most enchanting nature. The priest was a loving, open hearted and happy man, and in between one could witness Guruji being deeply touched when he wiped a tear from his eyes.

The very familiar atmosphere in the temple was then crowned with a very tasty prasadam that the family cooked during the abishekam and which was more a dinner than any other. And an endless photo shooting with Guruji! The people just did not want to let go him. When he finally seemed to have managed his "escape" it was only to find Himself caught in the continuation of the shootings on the other side of the temple.

Another incident was disclosed when Guruji looked at Dimitri in a very special way there and Dimitrius asked him, "What is this look? What do you see behind those eyes of yours?" Guruji said: "You can‘t imagine the things I see. Let me tell you...The Lord, Krishna, Himself was there at this temple, standing, smiling, with his hands on his waist...so was Shirdi Sai Baba and another Saint...(they did not remember the name)."

Finally, later that evening we reached the Murugan temple almost next door with a relaxed and blessed Darshan.

Back in the Hotel that night a birthday cake was presented to one of our groups, and Guruji was asked to please cut the cake. He said: "You should not cut a birthday cake with a knife. It is too violent, but people in the west would not aknowledge this. The cake should be broken with the hands." As it was a creamy cake, a spoon was chosen for the distribution, of which Guruji accepted the first portion.

This last highlight of the day appears very important to me. Isn't it that also marriages are a kind of birthday? So whoever reads this and takes it to heart and into action shall be blessed. Leave the knives off the "birthday" cakes and enjoy a more peaceful and loving relationships with yourself and others. Jai Gurudev.

-Muktananda, SPN