Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Our family worship tour - A deep dive into beliefs...

Date : 6th Sep 2005.

Beyond religions and cultures, one thing which is unianimously present in every person is 'belief'. Everyone has belief in some thing or other which guides the way they live. Most of us will agree that there is some Eternal power whose magnitute, physics, logic are beyond human logic and cognizance. Each religion and culture tries to give some physical dimentions to the Eternal power which is deeply tied to the beliefs of the sections of the people. Let me not try to get into the complexities of this huge theory... the crux is - every tradition and ritual/rites has a deep sense of belief under it which is giving them the ultimate meaning. (I'm recollecting the verse from the Tamil movie 'Anbe Sivam' - If you believe that you are the God, you are")

Our family also has one such belief,a strong current of which is flowing among us, - before each auspicious function (like marriages etc) we have a tradition of "getting utharavu (permission) from our family deity" for the same.
This time we went as a huge family, with most of our relatives joining for the worship, to Devikapuram Pachaivaazhiamman Thirukkovil, which is a remote village around 50 Kms from Vellore. Many devotees believe in the unmatched powers of this presiding deity,Pachaivaazhi amman.

We started at around 6am in the morning, in a 15 seater van and reached the temple at around 9. We had a nice breakfast in the middle of the journey and it is always enjoyable to have tasty food in journeys. My grandma, who is a staunch devotee of the deity, (for that matter she is a devotee of every God/Goddess of Hindu religion), started her preparations for maavu vilakku (lighting of a lamp made of flour and ghee). My uncles had their bath there and wore madi (pious) dhothis and towels. My uncle performed all the abhishegams and archana to the amman there. Now is the interesting part. The pujari of the temple, Arunagiri by name, is known was doing something called varunithal (praising the God and calling him to come and bless). Arunagiri along with my uncle went to a place nearby to perform a special puja and they brought the deity to the temple. After that he placed a lemon along with flowers on the deity's hand and started chanting some folk-verses. This is the utharavu stage and we all waited for the deity to push the lemon and the flowers on my uncles hands. All of us were waiting with eyes wide open and at the moment when the lemon fell down our emotions knew no bounds and nothing was in our mind at that moment except for belief in the eternal power.
One thing I can say for sure - If you have unflinching belief in something, the belief itself can do wonders.

One more interesting time of the day was the lunch we had midway in our return journey. It was total fun to have the food on the roads of a village. After all, it is this mother nature which feeds us with all the food we eat and having our meal sitting on the lap of mother nature is a blessing for us.