Last Saturday, me and my husband, his sister and his cousin bro – we 4 of us went to Thirupathi for darshan..
It was a sudden plan and we just immediately booked a hotel room at Bheemas in the “Keezh” Thirupathi for Friday night stay and we planned to start walking up the Thirumala early in the morning for darshan.
I anticipated the crowd and the waiting in long lengthy queues for house together and
was trying to convince others to return back after the “gopura darshan” itself. But, as you know, no one (was) is (will) ever ready to come down without seeing Lord Venkateshwara himself in person though it is for just one second or two! And that is why he has so much crowd all around the year and the temple is also all the time open to give darshan to people!
So, obviously other guys were also not ready to come down without seeing the perumal. They were all determined to see him personally no matter how long it is going to take and I could sense that I am not going to be happy at the end of the day..
We started our walking at around 4:30AM in the morning on Saturday. The non-AC room we booked on Friday did not help us at all! I somehow managed to get 4 hours of good sleep whereas others hardly slept! It was extremely sultry and stuffy in the room!
Walking in Thirumala is always a nice experience. I have always enjoyed it. The lime
sodas in between, feeding the spotted deers near Kaali Gopuram, keeping small small races among ourselves, seeing lot of people walking up with devotion, the divine atmosphere surrounded by mountains all sides : overall it was a great experience every moment of which is treasurable!
And, I was pleasantly surprised by the arrangements that TTD has made on the way for the pathayatras. Especially because, I was visiting Thirupathi after 3 long years! The pathayatra ticket system was nice. They have wisely made use of modern technology to issue tickets with camera. And the idea is also something to be appreciated that people who come by walk deserve a free special dharshan.
We reached Thirumala top by 8:30AM. We took almost 4 hours to reach on top including the time gaps we took in between for lime sodas, tea, coffee, sundal, etc., etc. Right after reaching on top, our stomach starting reeling and we had to first attend to our “Padmanaban” (It is believed that Lord Padmanabha resides in our stomach) before going for Venkateshan!
All iz well so far..
We all came up with no luggage except for our sandals which we carried.. So, we dropped that in a counter outside the temple and we were ready to get in for darshan by 9:20AM in the morning. We were confused about which ticket to choose: The free ticket for pathayatra or 300INR ticket. Many people on the way said that the pathayatra ticket is as much faster as the 300INR ticket and some said, it is even more faster than the 300INR ticket. So, our misery mind opted for the free ticket option!
Without realizing the major blunder just committed, we happily entered the queue for free pathayatra darshan. We were infact happy because we were moving in faster… In just few minutes.. BANG! Thats it! The happiness dint last for long. By 9:45 AM, we were forced into a big hall with hundreds of people. The waiting hall for free darshan! I felt as though London bridge is falling down on me!
I couldn’t digest the fact that people who came for darshan are just thrown into some rooms; locked up and made to wait like some wild animals waiting to get released. And the worst part is, people really behaved like such wild beasts only! As soon as the gates were opened, all those hundreds and hundreds of people started running really wild shouting aloud and crushing everyone else on their way so much that they could end up killing someone by mere stampede! But to my surprise not many (or probably none!) of them took notice of their own behavior! People were really mad and were ferocious in getting first to see Lord Vekateshawara.
Thats when I started thinking about devotion. I was wondering if I was the only one who does not have any devotion to forget myself and wait for endless hours to get a glimpse of God? But I was kind of content with walking through thirumala and seeing the tomb of the temple itself. I mean, I felt that I really need not strain myself to see God for just 2 seconds.
All these were the thoughts when we were forced into those waiting rooms! This happened thrice! We were just coming round and round the same set of rooms thrice and were made to wait for more than 2 hours in each of the room!
I was obviously getting tensed and just wanted to walk off! But helpless I was, just like others over there, waiting and hoping for the queue to make some move.
The tense moments came to an end after about 3.5 hours (same time that we took for walking up hill) when we were almost near the “sannadhi” of God. To my surprise, my
mind was more calm as and when we were nearing the sannadhi. Probably it is for this divinity that people were fighting madly! But still, I couldn’t agree with the idea that people could get mad to experience divinity! Then what kind of divinity is that? But anyways, I really felt calm as I was walking through the last few steps of the final line seeing the Lord Venkateshwara himself.
It was kinda bad luck that we were forced to turn back far away from the sannadhi actual entrance. We couldn’t get a close up view of God. And, as usual, it was hardly 2 seconds when those security people from all sides were pushing and pulling me out of the sannadhi. Phew! I was OUT. It was OVER!
And right after coming out, again those very same thoughts came rushing to my mind. Why everyone is mad for just these 2 seconds of darshan?
On one hand, my analytical brain keeps saying why waste energy and time when you can feel God within yourself even at your home. But on the other hand, my religious brought up makes me wonder maybe Thirupathi so powerful that even those 2 seconds of darshan can bring about change in people’s lives!
Does it really do? or is it just in our minds?