Divine Quest – Step by Step

by Abinow Bhat

The designers, scientists, inventors and researchers etc. know fully well that they do not achieve their goal without, first, nurturing dreams/ perception about it, then conceiving/ devising, shaping/ imprinting from every angle, producing and making certain changes for gaining desired results. They are really visionaries. Similarly, the seeker of Truth has to do a lot of spade work with trials, tribulations and pit-falls.The track is not easy. There are many road blocks on the way. He may meet atheists, infidels/ pagans, theists and idolaters/ iconoclasts or even fetish worshipers on his way causing all sorts of confusions in his mind. Once he has come across the right erudite to show him the right path towards divinity all the stumbling blocks will automatically clear from his way. He may still be in conflicting notions about the existence of Supreme Power in formless or in specific configuration. At this juncture he has to bake himself, first, in spirituality, virtues and righteousness to understand and know the Absolute Reality.

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Once the novice is determined to reach his goal and is injected to purify himself by purging his inner dross he may start visiting holy places to chasten himself. Once entering His corridors and relishing divine thoughts there is no question of deviation of any kind. If a visit to a holy place (a place where God is realized) is for pleasure sake then the visitor is simply called a tourist but a visit for delving deeper for knowing and approaching Divine to achieve virtuous qualities to redeem oneself the same can be termed as a pilgrimage. To start Bhakti Yoga (yoking with God) one has to look within oneself after aligning with divine places and men.

During visits to temples and holy places and on contact with divine souls who prove as touch-stones one may again start thinking whether to believe in icons of gods and goddesses or in the unseen Supreme God whose marvels and bounties are freely available to us and scattered all over as a breath taking spectacle universe in the form of rivers, mountains, wind, Earth, sun, moon, flower and vegetables etc. He becomes a person of inquisitive nature with intention of churning Truth. Slowly and slowly his all doubts are cleared and he starts believing that visits to holy places which are sanctified are the “stepping stones” to know the Ultimate. It is now clear to him that the icon/ statue was hidden in the rock. The craftsman/ sculptor has simply brought it out by chipping off the extra material surrounding it. He has also understood about the presence of God everywhere when He in the form of Narsimah emanated from a pillar to rescue His arch devotee, Prahalada. He, now, believes that the temples are meant for sprouting Bhakti (service to God) in aspirants. Once an aspirant is imbued in Bhakti everything becomes crystal clear to him about the Creator and His mystical creation. He concludes that the temples are shelters for refreshing the minds of the weary souls imbibing deep faith, solace and reverence. They are also the symbols of truth, intellect and bliss. According to Hindu reckoning the importance of temples have become necessary from Yuga (era) to Yuga, especially in the present Kali Yuga (era of darkness) when the vices and degradation of lives are dominating very heavily. The temples are the dwellings of gods and faith where the icons are consecrated with sacred paraphernalia and by chanting Vedic mantras (mind freeing)/ hymns by the saints/ priests and installed in reverence with great pomp and show. People worship God/ deity and regular prayers take place as prayer heals our deep mental wounds.

The visitors to the temples might have often observed the installation of a tortoise in the form of an icon in front of a temple which shows that like tortoise we should shed ego, tread lowly and surrender to deity. It is to be reminded here that tortoise or “Kurma” was incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is a crustaceous (hard shelled) and plaston (lower soft abdomen) creature. It is capable to withdraw its senses from sense objects as it draws its limbs within the shell being flexible and is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness. We can learn a lot from it. Its mention is found in Gita–2.58.

The precincts of holy places are completely charged with Vedic mantras reverberating everywhere reverence and effect of visits of holy people with their sermons and religious fervour. The passers-by bow their head to the temple/ holy place and kow-tow before the deity’s altar. Our wishes are fulfilled and our life starts fructifying. One may also start communicating directly with Lord and place woes before Him for absolving. During pilgrimage on foot, like warkaris of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu , from place to place, in droves, sing, dance and spread the message of love, peace and harmony on the way. Frequent visits to holy places calm down our nervous system which is good for our well being. We have also heard the devotees singing devotional/ melodious songs and dancing skillfully while scintillating and thrilling on the jangling sound of cymbals and trinkets and pounding the ground with feet accompanied with sweet rhythmic tunes on musical instruments, all creating mania for those present and soothing/ rejuvenating their tiring nerves and muscles.

When we are face to face with Lord/ deity and our tears start rolling on face incessantly due to outpourings it is construed that our sins are singed in repentance and we may be granted boons. This is also a sign of humility and admittance of our guilt. We should remember that the soul has no rainbow without the tears in our eyes. At the same time tears shed in desperation can cause upheaval. Only the penitent’s sins can be washed away. Thus we start believing that whatever happens in our lives happens with His will only.

At later stage when more knowledge dawns on the devotee he starts thinking that there is another omnipresent, imperishable and assimilated in the whole world Supreme Power commanding and managing the day-to- day affairs of the world so efficiently. He also starts believing that anointing and reverence of the deities is beneficial. Also it is necessary to take help of the masterminds/ saints etc. who shed light instead of our groping in the darkness and remain in illusion. Now you are at higher level of spirituality and you need not search God in temples. Parmahansa Yogananda has rightly said, “I bow to myself within myself. When the consciousness of God comes, you realize that He is within yourself, not merely somewhere away in heaven or in nature or in temples. You find Him within your heart and within your soul.” Also God says in Gita : VII-2 & 7,”After knowing Me nothing else remains to be known. Also, nothing else exists except Me.” Once we surrender to Him completely He will never shoo off or boot us out. He will bless and transform us and we will bask in His glory. We are completely yoked with Lord and every thing looks mundane, myth and glossed. Besides, we believe that this world is only a tavern for us and we are simply trustees of every thing here. In this belief we remain unattached to every thing.

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