Why do we go to temple?
Some go there to have a dialogue with God about what they want or to complain about why they haven’t got what they want. Few others go there to reduce their suffering and to feel a connection with God. As for me, it is to get some mental peace. I go there to sit quietly, away from the world and reflect on my deeds.
Temple is the least corrupted place where everyone is equal before God. It does not have any kind of discrimination. My last visit to Tirupati – the richest temple in the world changed my idea about visiting temples for mental peace. I actually came out thinking ‘Does God Favor The Rich?’
I had been to Tirupati lot of times and the idol of Lord Venkateshwara here makes my faith in God stronger every time I go there. I always felt some kind of divine presence there. I always felt that it is God himself who is standing there and not the idol.
Generally, when you come out of temple your mind is very content and peaceful. Even my mind was at peace but this time it was the satisfaction or happiness of coming out safely from the temple. It was a long weekend and the weather was also good so we thought it was a good time to walk from Tirupati to Tirumala.
It is approximately 9kms and 4000 steps to Tirumala from Tirupati. I had been to this place lot of times but this was the first time I decided to walk up. I was very impressed with the route. It was all covered to protect you from sun or rain. There were lots of facilities on the way to take rest for sometime or to eat. I took my time and made it in 4-5 hours. So far so good, but I did not know that having a glimpse of God will be more difficult than the walk up.
You struggle so hard to see God and at the end what you get is a 5-10 seconds glimpse of God and that too while being pushed from all the sides. Here it was pure business. The more you pay, the more time you get to spend with God. You have to be a special donor or a VVIP to get to see God peacefully. The temple is hardly closed for 2-3 hours. Each and every part of the temple is pure business; the security guys, the guys distributing prasadam, police men… everyone takes money and does as you want. If people cannot be honest in a temple, can they be honest outside?
It is very irritating to see people pushing each other to move ahead. I actually had to stop few of them and remind them that God is not running away. The idol is going to be the same irrespective of the time they look at it. When the authorities do not let God rest for even 3 hours why can’t they use some of the money earned to make things better for the people who visit the temple. Even if you want to spend money and buy the few Seva tickets (these tickets get sold out sooner than the time you take to blink your eyes) that are available, they can be obtained only through some recommendation.
You need a recommendation or donation to get accommodation, darshan and even some extra prasadam.
The worst plight was of the senior citizens and the disabled people. They have a direct entrance through the main gate of the temple and they have a different time too for darshan. So far so good but that is it. Once they enter through the main gate, their queue merges with the normal queue at the main entrance of the sanctum sanctorum. Even the old and disabled are pushed by the people in normal queue.
Will God be happy with us if we are not courteous to people around us?
On the other side are the families of the rich and famous or the so called VVIPs (including our honest politicians and actors) for whom the crowd is stopped and they get to see God personally. Of course they donate money in lakhs and we just spend few hundreds to see God.
How can God discriminate between a follower who pays 500 Rs to see him and a follower who pays 500000 Rs to see him? Doesn’t devotion matter more than money?
After all the pushing I was so tired and so eager to get out of the crowd that I forgot to thank God for whatever I have got. The purpose of visit to temple is lost in the efforts to get out of the Q.
Finally, when we had the darshan it was the prasadam Q. You quietly pass a 10-20rs note to the guy distributing prasadam you get prasadam enough for 4-5 people.
There is a Q even for putting money in the hundi and there too people are in a hurry to offer money to God before you.
They were in an equal hurry to get out of the temple and there was a mob pushing for that too. You spend so many hours in the journey and come so far just to push people and make a record of getting in and out for the temple in the least time? This visit taught me the art of self-defence. Passing through a crowd of thousands of people and coming out alive was a win in itself. I felt victorious.
But I really want to know why God favors the rich who donate enough money to spend some good time with him and people like me are meant to stand in crowd for long hours just to catch a glimpse of God.
I wish people could understand the real purpose of a visit to a temple. I wish God was given some more rest and we could actually get mental peace in the temple and not outside the temple.
Anyways, I came back home safely and vowed to go back to Tirupati only if I become a billionaire or if I have a BIG recommendation with me.
Image Credit: Dwimalu