The walled Gods

Temple at Manipal
Shoe rack at the temple

“Bai, me vikatgetle shaam” is a popular Marathi Bhajan, I always use this to express absurdity, at the end of the day how can one buy God?

It has been one of my biggest grouses about Tirupathi, and following its example Dharmasthala,kollur, and now Udupi. — the , system the token for darshana, and now the paid darshana.

In mid seventies Manipal came up with its own Krishna temple. An architectural novelty that combined the steeple of the church, the dome of the mosque and the rest of the requirements of the temple. The idol within was Krishna.

We Manipalites prided ourselves was that the temple was never closed. We could have the darshan of the God whenever we walked in irrespective of whether the priest was there or not.

One could sit in the cool precinct of the temple and there was so much of peace in the structure.

A fortnight ago when I went there to show off, our temple to a friend, imagine the horror, there is a wooden panel that shuts the vision of the idol. Then through the centre, neatly dividing the space are two stands, outside is the ticket counter!! The prosperity of the town is visible with the three new temples that have popped up. Of course the ganapati temple that was there even before, I was too put off to even check the other temples.

Its not just Manipal, this way of life that the  British called Hindu, seem to love imprisoning their objects of worship.

Last Friday morning as the bus reached Bangalore, I peered out of the window, to see a board

“Ashwata Devasthana.”

The temple the wall in line with the main road had another board that said,”Ashwatha Narayana… Vriksha Devata Devastana.”

This definitely is indicative of the nature worshiping culture of the early settlers of Bangalore. Particularly when co-related to Banashankari.  It’s not all this that intrigued me, but what I did find disturbing was on one hand we have a/ temple dedicated to one of the most benevolent trees, yet we have imprisoned it in a stone structure. The tree is appears like a lone warrior desperately trying to free itself from the confines of the cement wall. Attached to this wall begins the row of shops, and of course the public toilet which emits odour.

The walled God at Manipal temple
The walled God at Manipal temple

If this is the kind of value we put on a place of worship, which is compounded with revering nature is it a wonder that we are at the verge of environmental and spiritual bankruptcy. If we cannot respect our place of worship why blame others for building mosques or church’s over it.

Pity i could not photograph it.

Kanakadasa can you please inspire the next revolution. Or Bhrigu can you kindly kick Srivatsa once more so Sri loses her power at least for a while?

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