During our recent Thirupathi Visit (click here for our Thirupathi story), on seeing the crowd behaving wildly and madly just to get to see the glimpse of God (just for 2 seconds!), I stared wondering seriously about devotion. Not only in thirupathi! All the other temples are also crowded these days with lot of people. But anyways none of the other temples can match/beat Thirupathi crowd!
I like to visit temples for they are magnanimous and very majestic. The idols of the Gods inside are very divine and pleasant to see. I enjoy those wonderful moments inside the holy shrine (sannadhi) of a temple where my self just get melted in front of the exalted statues/idols and I can just simple forget the entire world near me and feel calmness and joy. Of course, I can feel like that even outside the temples but I guess temples are meant for that. And I can’t build such magnificent structures in my home.. Temples are vast and beautiful!
So, I visit such calm, magnificent temples with less crowd! However, I do see lot of people getting crowded in almost all temples these days! And and people don’t seem to mind standing in long queues to see God for just few seconds. Also, the temples encourage the crowd by constructing bigger bigger queue lines and also introduce ticket systems where in as you pay more you get the shortest route to see God. Again, people don’t mind paying more or waiting in long queues. Why is that?
I have never felt that desire or urge to wait for long hours in queues or rooms (as in Thirupathi). Though I prefer paying more and seeing God sooner, I don’t feel good about it either. So, I am wondering… “Is this the real Devotion? Waiting in long queues, fighting and rushing in crowd madly to such an extend that you can kill someone by mere stampede to get the darshan? Or is it just me who does not have enough devotion to forget myself and get mad rushing into crowd for getting to see the God at least for a second? “.
Maybe, I do not have that devotion at all. But, I don’t feel guilty either. I am more or less content with seeing God in photo frames at home or seeing the temple tombs. I am not really keen in seeing the idol unless and until it is not going to cost me a lot of time and energy.
I am seriously thinking – Will those people who actually built such temples and worshiped God few hundreds years ago like ‘Sri Ramanuja’ himself be happy seeing the current situation of devotees here? Will they be happy to see how we all madly compete with each other for getting a darshan? And what are these temple systems doing today? What kind of system is this? If you give 1000INR per head, then you wait less and see more. If you can’t give the money, then get locked up in some room and wait for lengthy hours to get a glimpse of God! (thats what happens in Thirupathi!) So, whats wrong with those people who don’t earn that much? Are they going to say that they have not done good ‘karma’ to even see and pray to God?
What are we doing? Are we trying to timeshare God based on money? Aren’t we all supposed to be equal in front of God? Isn’t it what every religion tries to preach?
But, before going to the timeshare and waiting rooms concepts, why such a system came into existence first of all? How come so many people are coming to temple these days? Few years back, temples were not this crowded. Why now? I don’t think all of those crowd coming to temple is coming there because of devotion! Had it been devotion, then there would be more peace in the society. There would be less crime in the society. There would be more happiness & acceptance among people.
First of all, what exactly is true devotion? Devotion is all about losing your ‘self’ or ‘ego’. Devotion is love!. You can choose to lose your ego to your lover or to your mother or father or Guru or anybody or even anything. But I guess, it is much more easy to lose your ego to an ultimate super-power (whom some people call ‘GOD’ and others call ‘Nature’) since it is lot more easy to accept your defeat there without any doubt and also you feel more safe and secure there. Hence, devotion to God was much preached and praised all through the time.
So, the crowd coming today to temples – are they all devoted? I sincerely doubt this! People today come to temples in large groups mainly for getting some quick fixes for their problems! People today do not have any patience or acceptance of their life. They are greedy and want everything! It is this attitude that the fraud horoscope readers and fake saints make use of. These frauds and fakes give some simple so-called remedies (remedies like doing some kind of workshop in temples) and people just blindly follow them to quickly fix their problems! Though these so-called remedies do not work, the hype and the false hopes, desire and expectation in people’s mind make them lose their brain and influence them do all illogical things. Ultimately it just increases their impatience and wildness. It is the people who have to be blamed!
This is not devotion. These are selfish desires at its peak! Devotion is not meant to satisfy selfish ego, desires and wants. It was meant to lose your self and realize your real nature. It was meant to prepare you for accepting whatever is put up on your way ahead in your life. It is not meant for changing your way ahead according to what you dream! It is all about going with the flow. Not trying to change the flow itself. It is about accepting that you are nothing in front of the super-power and just live the life as it comes. But, people are just trying futile to change their own ‘fate’ in the name of devotion. The worst thing is they don’t even realize it!
I am not saying that people should not visit temples. But, what I am saying is people should not visit temples unless and until they really feel like visiting. They should not visit temples because some one is asking them to do so for whatsoever reason that might be! People should understand that that because they do some kind of worship for some God, their fate is not going to change. This itself will reduce more than 70% of crowd coming to temples these days.
And, also the temples and media should stop making business out of people’s beliefs and God.