The Specialist Gods
The other day while reading The Times of India, Bhubaneswar edition, dated 26/08/2006, I came across an interesting write-up. Its title ran something like this :
“When everything else fails, visit the ‘specialist Gods’”.
Mr Ketan Tanna, its contributor seems to have enjoyed writing this--at least as much as I enjoyed reading it. The report speaks of one Visa Balaji of Hyderabad who specializes in clearing all hurdles for the issuance of visa. Interesting!
Even yesterday there was a news item about US relaxing H1B visa for the Indians in a big way—by 25 percent from the current 80,000. I don’t know if the miracle can be traced to the blessings of Visa Balaji of Hyderabad.
The report goes further. Then it tells us about one more temple where special prasadam is offered to its goddess Jivantika. It is located near Rajkot in Gujarat and the special offerings are none but loads of pizzas and candies, chocolates and peppermint. Should be a lovely place for the children, and the teenagers!
The list does not end here. There is yet another interesting temple in Tamil Nadu as per the report. Seated at a distance of 220 Kilometer from Chennai, Sree Kulanjiappar, son of Lord Shiva receives written applications from his devotees to help them out of their litigations and marital disharmony. A bureaucratic formality, isn't it?
Now I am reminded of at least two such interesting religious spots of mundane import. One of them is located at Ryli of Amalapuram district in Andhra Pradesh and his area of specialization is transfer. Yes, he is known for helping government servants securing transfers to their places of choice!
The other one I’m reminded of is Parsanakadavu of Malabar coast where the devotees are treated as friends of the presiding deities. On arrival there, one is treated with a glass of tea and soaked gram. If you can linger over such introductory treat, you can take other meals of the day too. Usually people stay there for a darsan of gods at night. Lord Shiva and lord Vishnu, the two primeval gods from the holy trinity, appear bodily at night. Lord Siva is blindfolded and he is led by lord Vishnu. [They are human beings who acquire their godhood at night!] Both the gods bless their friendly devotees. Unlike other temples in India, dogs are allowed here, straight into inner circle, the sanctum sanctorum. You can even present a brass dog there.
Hold it a second—temples are not for gods alone; there are temples of film stars and politicians too. And they are mostly found in/reported from Tamil Nadu. So, the concept of living god is just not a figment of somebody’s imagination; it is real, as real as visa God or the god that receives written appeals!
A. N. Nanda