Saturday, August 27, 2011

Visiting Balaji

My thoughts today are about the impending hurricane and changing the weather by divine means or prayer or something.
When I first went to India, my Guru Swami Kaleshwar gave me an amulet on a chain for me to wear. A power object. It was a small casting of a God, but I didn't know which one. Later some long time students of Kaleshwar noticed what I was wearing and explained that it was "Lord Venkateswara" also known as Balaji, who is an incarnation of the God Vishnu (Brahma is the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer and Vishnu is the Maintainer).
It was mentioned that it was rare for Swami to give a power object of Lord Balaji and so they felt I should visit Tirupati, where a massive Temple complex dedicated to Balaji is located. I said I would think about it. But, truthfully I didn't have enough money for any more excursions, even in India.
Well that's what I thought. A few days later I found myself in Bangalore, almost broke and waiting for my flight back to New York and I got a call from a friend at the ashram. Tom wanted to know if I would like to make two hundred dollars delivering some paintings to someone in the States. Well, there was the money I would need to visit Balaji.
An hour later I had the paintings and the two hundred dollars and a taxi for the next twenty-four hours. I was on my way to Triupati to have darshan of the Lord. But first I needed to make it through seven hours in the taxi with a driver who was in danger of falling asleep at any moment. Miraculously he didn't and i arrived there whole.
Triupati, or more correctly, Tirumala, is the wealthiest pilgrimage site in the world, with hundreds of millions of dollars donated annually; and after the Vatican its the second most visited religious site.
After leaving my shoes and cell phone with the driver, I paid a one hundred rupee fee at some very complicated and typically Indian office, which involved a lot of rubber stamping of some papers, to move ahead in the line. Probably the best two dollars I have ever spent as it saved me ten hours in the line.
Still it was to be five more hours before I would have my darshan. Darshan is a little difficult to define, but kind of means to see the Divine and receive from the Divine a blessing or boon at that same moment.
In India, Lord Venkateswara is where people go for everything. If you need a husband, go to Him. If you want success in a new busineess, He's the one. A couple wants a child, and modern medicine is failing them, Balaji will grant their desire...grant a boon. As I got closer and closer, I began to think about what my wish or desire was. What would I do and ask for when I had the Darshan. What boon did I really want.
I noticed the people in front of me, the Indians, being given about two seconds each to stand at the statue of Balaji, and then they were roughly pushed along. I had better rehearse what I was going to ask Him for. My boon. When it was my turn, I closed my eyes and concentrated, said my wish to Him, then a guard grabbed my shoulder and said, very commanding, "open your eyes, look at the God with your two eyes", okay...I did, but then he held me there for what seemed like an eternity, looking at the Lord and receiving His Darshan. As I was held in place, the guards continued to push everyone else by me. And after a minute or so, it was my turn to move on.
I wondered what I received, and a few years later I am still waiting for my boon to manifest, but I don't doubt that it will. You see, earlier that same day, the Chief Minister - the Governor of the State of Andra Pradesh, had a private darshan with Lord Venkateswara to ask for rain. There had been another terrible drought in Andra Pradesh, with crops failing and it hadn't rained for over a month. The next day it rained and rained... ending the drought for that year. That is how they control the weather in India. Politicians make a pilgrimage to God. Perhaps we should try that today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment ... hope I can approve it soon. Evananda