Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Its 2-0 even now

So, last Sunday I had some friends over at my place for lunch.. and we talked and talked and had dinner also !! Guess who cooked... this me.. yeah..

Puffs (yeah the Indian estyle), Ishtu, Chole, Payarupperi (for those who don't know Mallu, its essentially beans curry), pappadam, Mulaku (Fried Chilli), Idiappam, Porotta, .....

Neway, we talked and talked (eventhough not to beat my marathon 8 hrs on the phone with the same person the previous nite!!) .. and somewhere I mentioned about my strange experience during IIT temple Kumbhabhishekam and later on at our local temple Kumbhabhishekam .. I has sent an email regarding both these events - the first one on June 3, 2001 and second one on Jul 7, 2003 ... Here they are reproduced after minor editions ...

Mail about IIT experience

Namaste,This is not to elaborate on the proceedings of the Kumbhabhishekamat IIT Temple, but just to share a few incidents, especially about therain that came, which has struck me hard and has set me thinking. I hope uwill understand why I call it a wonder of the day(perahps of the yr), bythe time u finish reading this

First a bit of background, tho' in no way intented to be ascholarly description. This is about the so called "idol worship" . Thebelief is that after an idol is made(in stone or wood), there has to besome Yajna etc to instate the "Godhood" to the idol- givin it the power.There is this eg that Swami Dayananda Saraswathi of Arsha Vidya Gurukulamgives. A sculptor once made a beautiful idol for a temple and painted itbeautifully.Then it was installed.After yrs , the painting was wornout. Somebody asked him to paint it again and he replied" How can I paintthe Lord?" They asked him "Well, then how did u paint it at first?" Hisreply was "At that time it was not given the deityhood"

So now, over the yrs, it is believed that the deity loses power,(and also the idol will be worn out)and so once in while the power(and thestatue) are renovated. So then a small Yajna is conducted, a fewsmall, symbolic idols are kept outsude the temple, and by this Yajna, thepower of the deity is transfered from the idol inside to the oneoutside. Here after no more abhishaekam will b done on the idolinside, till its power is reinstalledThat also gives the freedom to do allrenowation work of the temple.So this much about the"traditional" belief. hope i've got it right

Now,to go the series of events at IIT this renewal started on May3 or so. Now once the work is done, the deity has to be reestablished. Forthat a bigger Yajna is done(4 infact), at the end of which the Theerthamis poured on the top of the temple Gopuram, directly above theMoolasthanam(ie where the idol is erected). Immediately after thisAbhishekam is done to the new idol and its deityhood is back with addedpowers. This is the belief.

Before I proceed, a bit about the rains in Chennai. Its been a hotsummer, hottest around May 12-13, and has been hot till May 26 or so, whenit rained a bit on 26 n 27(if my memory is right) to cool it down abit. Then it was again heating up, day aftr day, and Friday, the 1st Junesaw a very hot daytime

The first Yaga at IIT Temple was on Friday night, and by Saturdaymorning the sky was a bit cloudy, tho' it did not rain. Saturday morningthe second Yaga. Evening Kanchi Sankaracharyas came to the temple and gave"Anugraha Prabhashanam" . I was there, and this is were it allstarted. Before i go into that allow me to deviate . Just to mentionthe "genius of India" As Swami Vivekananda says, "In Western countries,people are proud tracing their ancestory back to a dacoit , a hunter or arich man, but here in India the richest King also will be proud to traceback his ancestory to an ascetic, a sannyasi in the forest" (not verbatim

The way people still respect great men like Sankaracharya is ademo of this great respect India has given for spirituality. Thre are IITProfs, people with degrees from the best of Univ in the world, and thereis this man, with no Univ education, and the former is only happy toprostrate before the latter. When I went to Kanchi in Jan 2000, I sawDr R Chidambaram- the Atomic Energy Commision Chairman, and one ofthe 3 BIG MEN behind Pokhran-2. He had come to offer Pranaams to theShankaracharyas.

Back to IIT Temple. Saturday evening when i went, I met a friendof mine there.One of the things that he ptd out in the course of our talkis "Its believd that after the Yaga when Kumbhabhishekam is performedit'll rain heavily. Its slightly cloudy now, don't know if it'll raintomorrow. In Kerala, twice they did Yaagas and both times it rainedafter it" I thought in my mind "Why are we still after these beliefs?What if it doesn't rain?Won't his belief get affected. We have thethe Jnana Kanda of the Vedas, the Upanishads,the Gita, systems of Yoga,all these unmatched in any other part of the world- very rationaland appealing. Shud we not project those things than talking about rainGods blessing during Kumbhabhishekam?"

Anyway, lets see, i thought. I saw the notice. The fourth and thefinal Yaga is supposed to b 4.30 am to 5.30 am on Sunday. Kumbhabhishekamfollowed by abhishekam to the deity from 6-6.30 am. I wanted to come, butthought, i don't b able to make it. For the last 2 weeks, due to heavywork in the lab, I have been sleeping late, and waking up not earlier than6.45 am. added to it my alarm is not working. But surprisingly, I woke upwell before 5.30, just in time to make it. Perhaps, the Lord woke me upto show a small "Thamaasha"

At 5.45 am when I got out of my hostel, i knew it had drizzled thelast night. It was quite cloudy also. By 6 I reached the temple, and bynow it has started raining tho' not so heavily. People were out in therain, nothing stops their enthu. The proceedings of the Abhishekam hasjust started. 6.03 (in my watch) they did the abhishekam. Not even half aminute has passed and the rain became heavy. In 2001, I have not seen thisheavy a fall in Chennai!People still waited for them to finih and comedown. while coming down they will sprinkle the theertha at the devotesbelow, and people waited for that,inspite of the heavy downpour. And nwall assembled infront of the shrine. When the abhishekam was beingperformed inside it was raining HEAVILY outside. At 6.20 it ended, and thewonder, within a minute rain too ended.! My friend was there, happy thatit went "ON DOT" how he expected. Not just him, the priest after thefunction said "We have the greatest blessings today. That it will rain isthe Sathyapramaana. If not anything else, the Yaaga has given rains toChennaites who wre struggling without water" True indeed!

Now before I go into some discussions, forguive me for deviatingagain. After this the rain stopped fully, and people started climbing upthe stairs to touch the top of the temple wre the abhishekam has beenperfortmed. Volunteers were aksed to prevent this, but none cud stop themad rush. Then the priest announced "It is not proper to climb up thetemple now. The deity has been reinstalled and one shud not climb abovethe Moolasthana." That was more than enough. For the Hindu that is the lawFull stop to the crowd. Those who were half way thro' did not put a stepfwd!

So now about the rain. Even while standing for Prasadam, I wastrying to explain it off. After all it was cloudy for two days, what isthe big deal in the rain. And then about the Athiraathra Homam(for rain)its a fact that it has been a success.But cud be because the smoke whenthe Yaagashaala is set to fire, goes up, forms condensation nuclei forwater vapour and it rains! So far I had tried to find a "scientific"explnation this way. But here ther was no burning of the Yaaga shaala.Also the timing of the rain has been too much accurate according to thetraditional beliefs.After that, 3 hrs have passed by now, not a singledrop has fallen. Is there anything really in it? I remembered SwamiJitatmanandaji's talk on Science and Vedanta where he says "Among thescientific circles, it is proved that 1 out of a large no:(some 10 exp 7orso)of instances, things happen without a cause, or are ratherinexplainable by science. May b this is one?

(Note: Full text of this talk that I transcribed is available at )

But then I remembered the talk of Prof NVC Swamy, Former Directorof IITM ." Till I came to Upanishads etc, I used to believe that religionneeds the validation of science , for it to b acceptable.But now I feel,Science,esp new theories shud be validated according to Vedanta before itis accepted" (For thsoe who feel it is an overstatement, I hopeJitatmanandaji's talk will soon come up). In a same way, why shud I lookfor a "scientific" explanation for this.after all as Prof Swamy says, whatwe see today is a "SUPERSITION OF SCIENCE" (Refer to his speech at theabove site, or the vsc site). Today it has happend n frnt of my very eys.Still, I may call it a "chance". No other hindu is going to come andcut my throat. That is the beauty of Hinduism. But then, I think why notfor a change atleast , believe it the other way. That the rain was indeedGoddess Nature's abhishekam

Before I leave u at it I must mention about a malayalam movie madewith this theme- "Paithrukam" by Director- Jayaraj, who has come up with aset of striking movies like "Karunam", "Shaantam", and my all timefavorite "Desaadanam"(which also has my alltime favorite songs- 2 of them)Ironically, he hardly gets the recognition fron the stete govt, because ofthe peculiar political sitn in Kerala, but gets a lot from people, and tosome extent from National and Intnl Circles.The story of the movie inbrief is this

There is a great priest, a scholar, and an adept at performing Yaagas etcHis very son revolts against his Fathers belief and is part of an atheist(Nireeshwaravaadhi) group(He is projectd as a modern/western educatedYouth. Due to lack of rain, the Father was called upon to do the"Athiraathra Yaaga". Son challenges Father that if he fails, he has togive up his beliefs. When the Yaaga is conducted, the son's grouyp takeout a procession outside, condemning it. But as the Yaagashaala goes toflames,the sky which was till then bright, suddenly becomes cloudy, and itrains heavily. But the Father, notwithstanding the son'e behaviour,commits suicide immediately after this. The son realising his Fathersgreatness, takes up his profession. (There are more intricacies, beautifulinstances etc in between, perhaps, if anyone is interested to know canmail me. Likewise, with the other great movie "Desaadanam").

At first , my reaction was the movie was biased. and pehaps,"taking us back" also. But then there are two ctr arguments. First, it issemi-based on a true story. IT DID HAPPEN IN KERALA, AND THE MAN WHO DIDIT DIED WITHOUT A FOLLOWER! Secondly, sth similar has happened today infront of my very eyes. So now, I am jsut left out with two options. Eitherbelieve it, or ignore it, but I surely cannot oppose it. And atleast forthe present, I choose the first one.send me ur commentsa


Experienceduring Kumbhabhishekam, at SSVT , Maryland

....... there was one thing I was curious about - rains afterKumbhabhishekam .. Given above is a looong mail I wrote after the oneI attended at IITM (for those interested only..) - ever since, I had decided to watch out for Kumbhabhishekams that I personally attend-and this is the first one after that..This time around the main function was about 9-11 am, and itdid not rain then.. But the last puja in connection with the eventwas to end at 5.30 or so , and then the yagashala was supposed to be dismantled . I looked up at 5.30 pm and there were no hints for anypossible rains, but I also heard that the puja was running almost an hr late.. Then as a surprise , without much cloud up there, all of asudden it started raining at 6.15 or so and went on almost heavilyfor quite sometime..Well, my series with the good Lord continues, I don't know if it will be a clean sweep for HER, but I know that at present its 2-0 in HER favour, eventhough SHE probably won the second game in extratime !

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