Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Spiritual Diary: Chapter 20

I had spent most of the time during the long flight, praying to the Goddess Baala. Somehow, visiting Nemili was the foremost in my thoughts. I decided to make a trip to Shri Baala Peetam on the following Sunday. However, as it turned out, I was summoned to see her much earlier.

In fact, on the very evening of the day I arrived, I called up the Baala Peetam and asked them if the temple would be open for visitors the next day, i.e. Friday. Since the answer was positive, my daughter and I set off the following morning.

From the moment I entered the peetam a feeling of complete and utter peace came over me. It was as if all my problems and worries slipped off quite effortlessly. I prostrated this very tiny yet most powerful goddess and lapsed into a few minutes of meditation, while awaiting for the priest to come into the room.

I was seeking answers to many questions at this point in my life.

“ Could you please enlighten me about my role in life”, I beseeched Baala. “ Can you tell me why you appear in my dreams and tell me to go to various places and meet people?” “ Why are you playing games with me?”.

As hard as I tried, no answers were forthcoming. I slowly opened my eyes just as Nemili Ezhilmani came into the room. He remembered me instantly and as if answering my unspoken question said “ Oh, don’t search for that black and white drawing of our Baala that you gave us 3 years ago. I had initially placed it right beside her mandapam in this puja room, but my son who performs the daily puja and abhishekams wanted the painting to hang in his room. Do you know your drawing of Baala on a swing is the first image he sees in the morning before he comes down to perform the puja?”.

I was stunned. It was true, I had been quickly seeking out where this man had positioned my painting. Since I didn’t see it anywhere, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of inadequacy. Perhaps, my drawing wasn’t good enough to be displayed!

The priest’s answer filled me with joy. I should never have doubted myself ; this was merely Baala’s mischief at play.

As if to emphasise this last point further, the priest carried on “ If you had come just one hour later today, you would have found the peetam closed. We are all leaving the house for a few days and will not be here over the week end”.

I suddenly remembered my original plan of visiting the temple on Sunday. It was only a fleeting thought that had made me come earlier! That lightening suggestion in my mind was Baala. This was the first time she had spoken to me. Over the course of the coming year, many more similar episodes were to unfold!

After the ritual arathi and prayers were over, just as I was about to take leave, I approached Ezhilmani and told him about Baala’s command for me to meet up with “ Aiya” of Rochester, a person whom I had never met . “ I don’t understand why she has asked me to go there”, I looked at him questioningly.

The priest could hardly conceal his smile. “ Why, Amma, this Haran Aiya and Baala have a very strong connection.He comes here very often whenever he visits India and has in fact created a BAALA Peetam in Rochester”. However, I don’t know why she has asked you to meet him. All I can assure you is that Baala loves to play games. If she likes a person, she will take over their life completely and be in control”.

It was with mixed emotions that my daughter and I left Nemili. She too, had felt the overwhelmimg peace and calmness of the place and loved the fact that this house of worship was so completely different from the huge temples she had often visited with me. I think the simplicity and purity of the place combined with the love and humility of its occupants came as a pleasant surprise to her.

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