Yesterday being Ganesh Chaturthi, we decided to drive down to Gokarna.
I have no pictures of either temple or the surrounding, for I was lost in memories of the two which visited years ago.
The legend has it that Ravana the Lord of Lanka, carried the atma lingam of Shiva, fearing the consequences of this, the deva’s decided to take it back from him. When Shiva gave him the atmalinga the condition was it should not be placed on the earth, for the moment it was placed on the earth it would take root.
Enroute, Ravana needed to ease himself, but placing the Atmalinga on the earth was not an option. That was when Ganapati appeared as a young Brahmin boy and offered to hold the linga, just as Ravana began relieving himself, Ganapati called out him. The condition the boy Ganapati had placed was Ravana was to return by the time he called him thrice.
In quick succession Ganapati called out two more times, then placed the lingam down on the earth and vanished, Ravana tried his best, to uproot the linga, but his efforts were futile the only thing he achieved was distortion of the lingam to the shape of the ear of a cow. Hence Gokarna.
When we were working with Nagananda play, with dialogue ,”hey gokarnanatha” I placed my place geographically in southern peninsula, but interestingly Nepal has a town with the same name, on the banks of river Bagmati , the Gokarna Aunshi that falls on the new moon between August- September is the an important event when sons honour their father, and if the father is dead then the shraddha is performed.
Like I mentioned before my first visit to the town was years ago, it was a sleepy town, with the temple and the Kotitheerta pond at the center, people came down to perform the final rites of their departed ones. Particularly if the person who died was young.
One of the Brahmin houses would host the people till the rites were over.
This time round the time has changed with Goa getting flooded with tourists, the hippie and the Indian junkie crowd has moved down to Gokarna. Spiritual vendors have put up their spa’s with yoga, meditation, and massage thrown in. not to mention the availability of Marijuana and hemp.
The temple premises are still clean, unlike Udupi, or any temple up north. Most temples have the system where the money from the hundi goes to feed people, and for other social activities, while the sarvajanika annaprasada is handled by Venky’s—yes the chickenwallah.
Maybe we can now look at more relevant things to donate to the temple like that contraption that allows the recycle of plastic, or the contraption that uses bio-waste to create fuel. Those asbestos sheets used to keep the pradakshina path dry could be replaced by solar panels, though the very purpose of connecting to the nature is lost when we cover the walking path.
Anyway its interesting to see how we appease the gods on our terms without putting ourselves out of our comfort zone.