A continuation of sorts to my previous post, Realizing Divinity
This weekend, April 14 and 15, 2012, we headed off to Thiruchaanoor/Thiruchanur to attend a friend’s wedding. En route to Tirupati, Thiruchanoor is also known as ‘Alamelumangapuram’ – (Alar – Lotus Flower, Mel – On Top, Mangai – Lady) and is home to Goddess Padmavathi, divine consort of the supreme Lord Venkateshwara/Balaji (manifestations of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi).
After the wedding, we headed off to Padmavathi Thaayar’s temple for a darshan before leaving for Bangalore. While Guru and the boys were waiting in line, I went to buy some Thulasi maalai (Thulasi – holy basil, maalai – garland) but the lady selling the garland insisted that i should buy a rose garland for the Goddess. I was too exhausted to argue or haggle and I quietly gave her the money and bought both the garlands.
On the way to the shrine, we saw priests conducting thirukalyanotsavam of Goddess Padmavathi to Lord Balaji (a puja that re-enacts the divine marriage of the Goddess to the Lord). Since it is a rare and highly auspicious event, a lot of devotees including me stood outside the hall where the puja was being conducted (the hall and the walkway were divided by a grill gate) .
All of us have heard and read about the divine making their presence felt to you and at this precise moment when i was already thanking my stars for giving me the opportunity to observe this puja, the head priest walked towards the grill gate, towards me (and I thought that he was going to close the curtains/screens). Instead, he spoke to me in pure Tamil (Thiruchanoor is in Andhra Pradesh and I had just heard him speak in Telugu)….
எனக்கு உன் கையில வெச்சுண்டு இருக்கற மாலையை கொடுங்கோ, நா அத கல்யாண உத்சவதிருக்கு உபயோக படுத்திக்கிறேன். நீங்க துளசி மாலையை தாயாருக்கு கொடுத்திடுங்கோ!
Please give me the rose garland that you have in your hand, I will use it for the divine marriage rituals, you can offer the thulasi garland to the Goddess inside!
Imagine my state of mind in this precise moment, when there were devotees other than me standing there and this priest walked over to me and spoke to me in my mother tongue and asked for the garland to be used for the marriage proceedings. I was speechless and mostly in a trance-like state and in the shrine also, I was able to offer my prayers to the Goddess from up-close. When I got out of the shrine, I walked back to the hall and actually saw the entire kalyanotsavam from up close and front. By the time the wedding was complete, I was unable to control my tears of joy (ஆனந்த கண்ணீர்) and a state of complete bliss ( பரவச நிலை).
I am not a person who usually cries and the only other times I have shed tears of joy were when Vidyuth and Vishruth were born so Guru was really surprised to see me shedding tears uncontrollably.
The best part was when Vidyuth asked me to explain about this and just after the mangalyathaaram (tying of the mangalsutra around the bride’s neck) was done, he said, you are Lakshmi, Appa (Guruvayurappan) is a form of Lord Vishnu so you both are getting married again…Congratulations both of you! His innocent and a-matter-of-fact approach never fails to amaze me.
Yes, this can be called a coincidence or a fluke happening but how do you explain the priest asking me for the garland, when there were other devotees with similar offerings, how do you explain the hair raising experience or the uncontrollable tears or how your mind, heart and body suddenly feel rejuvenated, when just a couple of minutes back you were feeling totally exhausted? All I know is this
I am absolutely nothing before him and but for him, who would I be or where would I be?
“Whether we name divine presence synchronicity, serendipity, or graced moment matters little. What matters is the reality that our hearts have been understood. Nothing is as real as a healthy dose of magic which restores our spirits.” – Nancy Long
God is like an absolute awareness, the ‘Ahm Brahmasmi’, changeless and ever-perfect, that defines and depicts the meaning of life. – Baghavad Gita
Om Tat Sat (Thou art the Inexpressible Absolute Reality) – Gayathri Mantra