Friday, December 10, 2010

Eklingji Temple near Udaipur, Rajasthan:

There was chill in the air as Srinivasan walked on the cold stone floor of this remote temple, near Udaipur. The north has a charm; the rural west is so quaint, undeniably simple and slow and laden with tranquility. It’s like a village, with not too many people, no shops selling the familiar chips and coke, just clean untouched natural beauty lying spotless all around him.

He had cut out the noise of the city, of a busy life to come here, and what lay around him was pure historical magnificence. He walked slowly, pillar to pillar of this small Nagara styled temple breathing in the chill as he progressed towards the dark interiors of the shrine chamber. Within the deep silent darkness lay the stone idol of the Lord, as vibrant as it was centuries ago when this temple was first built. A small lamp glowed, lighting up the bare interior as Srinivasan just transported himself to another world, breathing in this fresh air around him. He sat on the floor, the chill eating into his veins as he looked on to the Lord ahead.

The temple bell rang, a single ring resounding in the air, reverberating through the temple interiors almost bringing alive the dancers on the walls. This was Eklingji, the one and only Shiva who is unattainable and only surrender is the way towards Him. Srinivasan, closed his eyes, as his heart sank, and he shut his mind down to hear the sounds around him. Birds chirped, peacocks shrieked, and the sound of water slowly began to cover the air. He opened his eyes and saw rays of sunlight beaming into the temple, lighting up the stage along the temple walls as stone idols played their music and danced to a different tune, one that was so pure, so clear and almost lost that it was left within the imagination of the self to really live this moment of silence.

Srinivasan yearned to just leave his work, and come to settle here, live a simpler life with fewer desires and worship the Lord. He breathed a sigh, one that echoed the bondages in his life, those that he could not leave due to karmic entanglement though he just wished to break free. But wasn’t this all in the mind! Srinivasan got up to walk around the temple. As he walked out of the pillared hall the beauty of the land just sprawled itself out in front of him. He looked around to see a large lake behind the temple, circled by low hills, dotted with many more such small temples. It felt like heaven had opened its gates to make us feel the presence of all divinity, such brilliance meticulously carved out by men. A heavenly paradise of a different kind, of which he was a part. The wind blew among the hills, causing small ripples in the waters of the lake that made the sounds like that of a woman’s anklet as they splashed gently along the stony temple floor. A lake, covered with green, untouched in the lap of rocky hills. This was nature in its purest form, all its elements being felt so close without any distraction. His mind was so much at peace.

Srinivasan thought, the beauty of this land is so subtle, it needs to be felt. Peace is hard to find, but here it was very much in abundance. Spiritualism can be found only in the silence of the mind, and there seemed to be so much tranquility here, he felt he was so far away from the familiar world he knew so much. He watched a lady pass by, rural in appearance singing an ancient folklore as she walked by with a pot of water. Srinivasan walked down to the lake, touching the chilling water surface with his feet, feeling the sudden chill through his bones as he sat looking around. He was but a small speck in this large panoramic world of the Lord, surrounded by hills and silent villages, with no apparent rules, just pure freedom with the self.

As the clouds covered the sun, draping the world into sudden shade, Srinivasan turned to see the silhouette of this small temple housing the very symbolism of his existence and the meaning to his life. As he stared on the temple bell rang again, a resounding echo which rippled out of the temple scattering itself into the space around bathing life on its way. Eklingji temple, another world, another reality, but running right through his being in this little paradise.

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