Saturday, April 16, 2005

Of Temples and Culture

On a visit to a temple here - i was reminded of the benefits as well as the pitfalls of modern development within a short span. I was standing in queue at the Mangadu Amman Temple (One of the key sakthi sites dedicated to the godess) when one of the cellphones of a very religious devotee starting ringing - in the middle of the temple, embarrasing him for the thoughtlessness. Made me wonder - why can't people develop cellphone etiquettes. I dont like cellphones and this incident goes further in my cause against this 'modern marvel'. Not to be pegged down with the incident, i saw a near fight erupting near the enterance of the main temple - some 15 yards from the diety. Wonder, if the devotees came to pray or pick up fights!

A few minutes later, after a good darshan - went to the neighbour Vishnu temple (where legend has it, that the lord bought dowry for his sister's wedding & when it got cancelled, he holds the ring till date, in that location). The temple is not more than 20 Kms off downtown chennai - but has a huge complex. After a long time, saw a temple that resembles the old days with the priest & his associated families were bringing up a herd of cows. Seen a lot of large temples have a couple of elephants, but with domestic animals, the lifes of the temple residents are entwied with these children of god. Reminded me of a temple in Tanjore that raised deers and peacocks some time back.
A couple of minutes later, in the main temple - as i was going in for the darshan - saw the priest's son - a boy of 10/11 years getting prepared for his yearend school exams. In his traditional clothes of a dhoti, upparayanam (upper cloth) and the sacred thread, he was reading lens and a few lessons on reflection & refraction & its associated properties - the scene potrayed the mixture of 2 cultures - the old & ancient hindu culture along with the modern educational system

A few scenes of modern India in the temple world - one that adds joy to the heart; the other, something i wish no one ever repeats.

No comments: