Since more than a year I had been told by an astrologer to go and worship Balaji at Tirumala (Tirupati) as some remedy to my problems. Being into spiritual healing, counselling and astrology as well I follow all these things very devotedly. Lord Balaji is known to be very kind to his devotees especially when it deals with money matters as its told. Well I didn’t need the astrologer to tell me to visit the pilgrimage, I myself had been wanting to go there since a long time. There is a strange thing about some temples which are really active in their powers. “You cannot go there till the God invites you”, they say. Well one cannot die and go to heavens also till God says according to me so temple is as difficult, simple logic. Saibaba at Shirdi, Tirupati and some more religious places are known for this kind of invitation. If you go uninvited, you somewhat never reach the temple for some or the other reason. I have experienced it myself many times. Hence one should also never leave an opportunity to go there when invited.
This time the invitation came unexpected when my sister, bro-in-law and their family were going and asked me to join them. The invitation was at the wrong time because it has been during my worst financial crisis ever, but then after all I am supposed to go to the God who is known to shower his devotees with good amount of wealth. With a bit of financial arrangements made I decided to go with a lot of hope in my heart and faith in Lord Venkateshwara who would surely help me out. Well one would wonder where was the invitation. Invitations are supposed to be hints like this. The plans of me wanting to go there for years didn’t ever materialize. Though this was my 3rd visit. Surprisingly I realized that I am going every 10 years. I went there the last time in 1990 and then in 2000, this is 2010!
Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji) is actually an incarnation / avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu is actually very hard to please. Lord Vishnu, since he is considered the creator of all universes, the supreme, THE ONE tests a devotee a lot, not in one but many lives. No wonder this incarnation of lord Vishnu known to answer prayers attracts thousands of pilgrims everyday throughout the year. I started wondering if lord Vishnu was gonna test me again in this form too. After all life has been in the worst phase and tests last 4-5 years and I had been through a gruelling session of trying to pass them, maybe not in high ranks. Unfortunately I was right.
The kanyakumari express which I boarded did leave Pune station on time but when it halted at Solapur at 1 o’ clock in night I heard some rumours of a train accident that happened ahead on the track. A bridge had collapsed taking a train down into the river and some of it straight into some corn fields. My fears came true when the staff told me at WADI station that the train would now be taken from another route via Hyderabad, Secundarabad, Vijaywada, Tenali and then would join the station - Renugunta which was just 10 minutes before our destination. The whole detour made a 12 hour delay in the whole journey. The water and food in the train exhausted and so did the patience of all the passengers.
I somewhat cannot sit in the train doing nothing I love standing at the door. It is very risky but almost everyone does it, but it taught me a lesson this time. After brushing my teeth at 8 at Secunderabad station I boarded the train, had some coffee and breakfast and was standing at the door when suddenly the door for some reason banged on my rear pushing me outside. Since I had held the bars on the sides firmly my legs flung out for some moments till they came back to a position that I could push myself in. I was lucky that my legs weren’t stretched out when there was the regular pole passing near the door. I would have been without legs by now if it was the case. The episode kinda scared me but still didn’t stop me from standing at the door. Finally I was going to the temple and God saved me from getting handicapped, surely sounds like blind faith or stupidity.
Standing at the doors for almost 8 of the 12 hours of the journey doesn’t sound comfortable but was a pleasure all the way. Whatever way we took ran through many parts of forest areas. I saw scenes that I had never seen in my life. The scenes resembled something that might be seen in some Hi-Definition nature documentary or stories only. We passed a huge expanse or marshes or maybe a lake which was totally covered with white lotuses and water lilies. It was buzzing with honeybees and other insects and the heavenly aroma actually filled the air, except for the stink that the diesel locomotive was leaving on its way. Some 200 kms later a similar situation replaces with countless butterflies in white, copper, green and light blue colors. There were so many that it appeared like some paper pieces flying due to wind from a distance. The scenery looked really beautiful but somewhat confused me. It had a diverse combination of vegetation from high altitude areas as well as coastal palms. A regular passenger told me that the area before and a bit after Vijaywada was a conserved forest belt. But Vijaywada was loaded with heavily polluting power plants, cement factories and other industries. Tenali station reminded me of Tenali Raman stories, I don’t know if the name really has to do with that man. Finally when the train reached Renugunta at 12.00 AM at night, we were happy as our station (Tirupati) was just 10 mins away. We got another shock when we came to know that since the train had reached back on its original track it was gonna wait here for 1 hour for refills. We also filled ourselves up with coffee only to reach our station at 1.30AM at night.
Tirupati station was loaded with rats n’ mice running around the sleeping passengers on the platform. It was anything but clean. Nothing had changed it in since 10 - 20 years since I had seen it except for the newly erected buildings around. The roads were still filthy though there were hardworking cleaners working even at that time of the night. We got a decent hotel and then the stay was smooth with expected crowds, pilgrims and the system which somewhat seems to work efficiently. There were 2 sad parts about the trip. First that I fell terribly ill with such a high fever that I couldn’t hear things properly and i was walking like a zombie, not knowing what I am doing. The 2nd thing was knowing that money speaks even at religious places like this. Of course I knew this from before but then experiencing it was more important.
Coming back I didn’t see any good effects around till last week. I was hoping for miracles to happen very soon like it did for others. I didn’t get good news about resurrection of my faltering finances until last week. Things are not good otherwise in terms of personal life. I wonder if there is any god to solve these problems. But I guess our spirit lives in a certain body to face these relations and survive through them. Well that was a joke. There are all kinds of gods for all kinds of purposes. You need to study a lot of religion for that, but then its better to study yourself more. I think everyone is busy today with matters of wealth and then enjoyment. I wonder how many people really give time to think about themselves or rather would they consider that important?
I think its high time we should think about ourselves. The spiritual site with my counseling and some more healers is coming up very soon. Also up is the new site of photography http://www.thefinalmiracle.com/photography and Updated site of Shammi Kapoor Fan Club - www.shammikapoor.net . My next blog which is coming up very soon will be on Alien Invasion or maybe Alienation. Cya till then!
P.S The photos used in this blog are not from Tirupati site.
Photo credits: Nikhil Gangavane.