The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prototyping a Dharmometer

Sometimes I believe talking about god, mythologies, pilgrimage, Indian culture is easy, for one can talk in any way he is capable of and still find no dearth of listeners. It is at the same time risky too. One should not unwittingly tread a path that is seemingly offensive. I have taken special care not to sound critical. Humorous--oh yes, humour is after all the creation of god like the feeling of devotion. I just thought I can adopt the tone for this post.
Holy n Heavenly
All of us know that the function of a thermometer is to indicate the temperature of human body. So why can’t we invent another instrument called Dharmometer to measure the critical level of dharma to ascertain one’s need for a pilgrimage? Nowadays people crowd before gods just like that; bigger the crowd before a particular god more is His reputation. Isn’t it? A question just crops up: Does a big crowd gather before a god because He is famous or, conversely, does a big reputation accrue to a god because a big crowd gathers in front of Him? In this world of social networking, celebrities reinforce their celebrity-status by building up a follower base. But then how can we say that gods are like humans, working overtime to build up their following? Do they have to tweet snippets of blessing/prediction/assurance to their followers day in, day out? Be that as it may, the way crowd gathers before gods for a darshan proves that we badly need to restrict the inflow of pilgrims by using some out-of-the-box solution. Here nothing would be as effective as this wonder instrument called Dharmometer. In fact, we can control the crowd using this instrument even before it builds up. The idea is so very simple. The security officials, instead of frisking the devotees when they approach the place of pilgrimage, would only measure the level of dharma in one’s person. If they find the level critically low, they must allow him or her to go ahead and undertake pilgrimage to replenish it or else show him the return way. The security officials should be copiously trained and legitimately empowered to test that. It is high time we invented the machine. Necessity is the mother of all inventions—now or never. Because we have not invented this wonder instrument of Dharmometer so far, nowadays, irrespective of the need of dharma, any Tom, Dick and Harry head for the pilgrimage. Result: many of them just lose their lives in stampede. [Aha! You’ve guessed it right! I’m not one among those devotees that got injured (died ?) in a stampede in Tirupati last Saturday.]

Gold, God and Greatness
Writing something like this, don’t I sound mighty sanctimonious after I myself paid a visit to Tirupati last Saturday? I am sure a Dharmometer test would have disqualified me. Yet in this pre-Dharmometer era, I could pay a visit to Tirupati…and I’m happy about that. I saw a crowd that was nothing if not maddening. The steel barricades for enforcing queue-discipline had not dampened the enthusiasm of the devotees. Quitting their beds at those ungodly hours, those bleary-eyed devotees were standing in the queue and stealthily passing their filthy wind. They were not to blame for that, for sleeping little ever meant digesting less. Even the so-called VIP devotees who had purchased this favour of being a VIP by paying 500 rupees were also in thousands, each trying to prove their un-VIP status more funnily than the other, shoving, pushing, nudging and squirming as they lingered on in the serpentine queue. Many of us had come there without any real need to be there. Had there been a Dharmometere we would have failed in the dharma test very much like non-serious sports persons failing in their dope tests.

Lord Venkatesawar, the presiding deity of Tirumala hills, is struggling since time immemorial to repay his own loan that he took from the god of wealth, Kuber. Devotees help him to repay by offering money in his Hundi. Still the lord is indebted to Kuber, even to this day. There is a glass-enclosed verandah, just behind the sanctum sanctorum, where so many priests are busy in counting cash day in, day out. There is endless wealth, poor and rich alike pay the lord.

People believe that by paying the lord one becomes rich whereas I believe that by praying god one could be rich, not by paying him. But where was the time to pray before him? Despite my status of being a VIP [Rs 500/=], I had only 5 second of darshan. I had not gone mugging up a prayer to chant before him in 5 seconds, so I could not pray to become rich. So the only way left was to pay the lord and become rich. Did I actually end up paying Him? I would not disclose that much of personal dealing with my lord; even my poetic licence would not allow me to do that!

Serene n Striking
Truth be told, I could not see the lord with an observant eye of a writer. My mental image of Him continues to be the same two-dimensional calendar picture that I have seen of him in n number of places. Lord Balaji is everywhere--even on the windscreen of a car. That day I was just pushed and pulled and shoved and driven away from god by those mighty crowd controllers inside the sanctum sanctorum. I felt hurt, insulted, but there was nobody to blame. I calculated if I had got my share of darshan or not. Yes, I got 5 seconds whereas my share was just 2.88 seconds. Would you like me to work that out arithmetically? Well, here goes the calculation. A day has 24 hours X 3600 seconds = 86,400 seconds. There were at least 30 thousand people waiting to get darshan of the lord. So, my share of darshan should be 86, 400 / 30,000 = 2.88 seconds. Against this I managed to get 5 seconds of darshan. Didn’t I get more than my share? So I decided not to sulk, for sulking was too childish.

Oh yes, while returning I met a person in the train who was returning from his pilgrimage of Tirumala hills like me but many times happier than me because he did a super VVVVIP darshan at 2 AM at night. An ungodly hour? Forget these English phrases—they are quite irreligious in their connotations!! What did the fellow actually do to be a bigger VVIP then me? He is a property dealer in Coimbatore with a smiling wife and two sleepy sons and then what is unknown to a property dealer these days? So he did the booking six months in advance, paid a fee of 1000 rupees to avail himself of that wonderfully exclusive privilege. He was happily recounting that only 300-400 people were allowed and he had a crowdless view of the lord between 2 AM and 4 AM of Saturday. Well, early bird catches the worm, and it should always be true.       
A N Nanda

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dharmometer is an ingenious device that could check one's status of purity. It is said to be kept in dharmalog presided by deity Yama. It should monitor the acts of sins and dharma done by a soul by means of some kind of central server. But we are not fortunate to get updates by internet. If known, one would naturally keep his status clean by doing more good things.

11:50 PM  
Blogger NS said...

I really enjoyed with the article “Prototyping a Dharmometer ”. Even though it is very humorous, some awakening inspirations will result in every reader/ viewer. Now a days pilgrimage is not done as prescribed by our forefathers, but like a tour/excursion and hence crowd is inevitable . Our Lord BALAJI will never overcome from HIS debts as he got high percentage of offerings from people of bad earnings.
I am so happy that you have passed in the Dharmometer test and our Lord Balaji blessed you of not being a victim of stampede there on the same date of your visit. I strongly believe that this type of humorous but thought provoking articles will definitely reach the concerned without hurting anybody and made a right change.
Sir , in the last lines the time that mentioned is “2 PM and 4 PM of Saturday”. I think it may be “AM”.
It is very true that a good writer and poet can teach a hard lesson in easy words.
“Dharmometer” is required for every walks of live to evaluate the fitness so that we can filter bad from entry.
All the three photos are nice to see. So many people are visiting to Tirumala for their gains only , but you shared your gains with us.
Thanking you sir , for such nice educative, innovative, mind catching and thought provoking humorous experience.
---- N.Subramanian Tirupur

7:25 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

As usual, NS, you haven't forgotten to reward me for the effort. Honestly I look forward to your visits these days as I post my snippets which are only few and far between. Thanks.
Oh yes, thank you again for pointing out the chronology slip in my post and I've substituted them by AM in place of PM.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Devaraj said...

Sir,Thank you for sharing your experience at Tirupati. I think Balaji Darshan should not be counted in Hours or seconds. Darshan may be for one second...You have visited the temple and had Balaji Darshan. Its a great job.... Its a very interesting and mind blowing part of life.


2:46 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Welcome back Devraj. As you've marked from the tone of the post, I've just confused a rope for an elephant. But in matters of religion there are many confused souls like me, all the time searching meaning of everything, their relevance, their legitimacy, their compatibility with experiential things in life. Sometimes such confusion leads to ambivalence, equivocation, verbosity and many such state of feeling. I cannot convince myself with an argument like--look if you believe in God no proof is necessary...and if you do not no proof is enough. I do not intend to advocate the fundamentalism of rationalism or any of its narrow manifestations, but then again I'm eager to experience before admitting. Like the saintly poet Kabir once said, if taking bath in holy waters of the Ganges can bring one salvation then frogs of the holy river can attain it. How true! Have we not spoilt such an excellent river just by bathing and bathing?
At Balaji's temple one has essentially two choices: to pray or to pay. If one has no time to pray because he is shoved out of the queue in a matter of less than three seconds, the only choice left is to pay.

12:32 PM  
Blogger NS said...

Dear sir
GOD IS NO WHERE? GOD IS NOW HERE? GOD I SNOW HERE? All the three arguments are based on their own wisdom. But on seeing the universe , nobody will have a second thought about the supremacy of the nature. Endless PRAPANJA and end of life (DEATH) tell us firmly that something is there beyond our thinking and purview that may be GOD. All other things, rituals and religions are manmade and will have their own defects. It is rightly said that at Balaji's temple one has essentially two choices: to pray or to pay. I wish to add that for normal pray of your normal turn ,then you need not pay. If you need a early pray to save your time, then you need to sacrifice your money to the extent of time you saved and comfortable you enjoyed. Here I can tell one thing “ To get one, you will lose one” . It is very interesting reply given to Shri . Devaraj . Kabir’s quote about the “HOLY DIP “ in the “GANGES” is laudable. Thanks for your quick response and apt reply .

5:33 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thank you NS. The concept of God, like the theory of divisibility in Maths, begins to get complicated after a certain depth. I manage to do all my division-related problems with my knowledge of divisibility tips up to 11 and once I tried to know if I could improve upon that knowledge, I found it incomprehensible and more so, impracticable. Like many unsolved mathematical problems, this spiritual concept tends to get willingly perorated than definitely concluded. Who can say when a^2 + b^2 = c^2 is possible, why is it impossible to get a result for a^3 + b^3 = c^3 ? There is some limit operating everywhere. It needs wise decision to respect the limits. And so, God's domain starts where human limit is evident. Well, that does not mean human efforts should not be there to push limits. That's where science comes in. Humans would continue to imagine, explain, invent, and push the limits but beyond the limit they would just take something exists. Like ending a long-winded sentence with et cetera which is gramatically correct too, we conveniently say God exists beyond human limit. Is it not true? Even heavenly bodies we worship obey mathematical rules. Does it mean that God exists somewhere as a mathematical equation? For me it is just a matter of human limit. When human limit is a reality, does it automatically mean that this should be the proof of God? Really I don't know.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous hariprasad said...

the information about the temples and their histories are helps in gaining of was a really good job by you....!!

3:23 AM  

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