memories of family outings.....

Sunday

Samsara in Microcosm

The picture in recent newspapers,of priests entering the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal amidst a tight cordon of armed police made sad viewing. Is this any way for a worshiper to enter a House of God ? With guns ! Sign of the times.......

Many theories are floating around about the origin of the tradition of South Indian Priests in Pashupatinath. None actually substantiated. For all we know,the practice may have started as a practical solution for some predicament in the hazy past - a time, when the map of the world was completely different and equation between kingdoms completely different too. In today's changed scenario in a cartographically changed world, holding on to an unusual arrangement just to satisfy a "tradition" seems to me to be a sure way to invite repeated sociological snafus. After all, we , today, need visas to visit the holiest of our icons, Mt. Kailas, while our rishi-munis of yore could wander there at will without getting arrested for illegal immigration !

Pashupatinath Temple, situated in a valley near Deopatan, is a beautiful place of worship where the whole gamut of human existance plays out in micro format each and every day.
The hermit god is housed within gold and silver doors. All the superstar devatas of the pantheon have subsidiary shrines, while demonic figures stand sentinel around the courtyard. Sculptures depict lovely apsaras and gotesque gargoyles with equal attention to detail. Past kings, immortalised in stone and bronze sit atop tall coloumns adoring the lord, while the presently homeless clank their cans in hope of alms. Fearsome looking ascetics lounge under erotic art panels, lost in self inquiry and chillum smoke. Thieving monkeys make merry with the rice and fruit offerings left before the minor shrines. Babies are brought to be blessed with a prosperous life. Women in red keep vows for domestic bliss. Just beyond the portals, on the ghats along river Bagmathi, lie cremated bodies , smouldering slowly into ash. Ecstatic Bhajans and mournful dirges rise up to mingle with the clanging of bells and the rumble of the hoards. The Lord of all Pasus(living beings), as an august chaturmukha lingam, presides over everything in beatific serenity.






Only Hindus are allowed to enter the courtyard. Before entering , all leather articles are to be left behind. Non Hindus can have a seat on the balcony- like promontory on the river bank and watch the cremations. And have a fill of the gilded pagodas and golden pinnacles of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating from about the third century AD.

I wish dredging and desilting operations are undertaken frequently to release the emaciated Bagmati River from the thrall of effluents,plastics and abominable algae. Pitiable condition.

Three visuals retained, bright and clear, in memory :
1. The enormous golden Nandi
2. The thicket of tridents,lances and pennants standing massed in the courtyard.
3. The row of perfectly aligned pavilions - votive shrines with lingams commemorating deceased royalty - outside the courtyard. ( Called "Pandra Shivalay ")


8 comments:

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Nice post, I have never been there but have heard about the place and also about the current controversy on the Indian priests at the Temple. Lovely sketches of the place too. So much detail. Thanks for all the information provided.

YOSEE said...

Capt. Murthy : thanx for comment. The present controversy has turned from a IndianPriest-Nepalese Priest tug to a Maoist - Conservatives tug. Most unnecessary.Its a shame that the centuries old shrine was closed for 3days- unprecedented - while petty fights raged around it.What should matter is only that daily pooja be offered. Gods are not fussy about nationalities.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Very true Yosee. It is sad to see petty troubles like. They are talking about Nationalities with a God that is Universal and has no boundaries or limits! By the way, please address me as Anup, its too formal the other way round. Thanks.

Indrani said...

Very unfortunate events, politicians somehow manage to add a religious color to every issue that can be solved with tact and intelligence. I liked your sketches. Great post.

YOSEE said...

Indirani : THank you for visiting and for yr. cooment.

Lorraine said...

Thank you for commenting on my Blog! NEPA means North East Pennsylvania, which is the part of the state I live in, in the USA. A Fraktur is a Pennsylvania German form of documentation used for Birth and Baptism certificates and Marriage Certificates which were created by itinerant calligrapher/artists beginning in the late 1700's and 1800's, before the Government started recording births and marriages. Have a wonderful day! Thanks for the compliment! : )

avdi said...

Are these sketches yours? They look lovely. The write up is really great too !

YOSEE said...

Avdi : Thank you. Yes, sketches are mine.