Monday, May 31, 2010
'To see God you have to make an effort'
COLUMN: SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Shevlin Sebastian
Every day, at 5.30 a.m., A.V. Raghavendra Bhatt, the chief priest of the Hanuman Kovil at Kochi begins praying. “Like any true Brahmin, I begin with the Gayatri Mantra,” he says.
Here are the lines from the most revered hymn in Hinduism:
Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha,
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi,
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
(Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh! Creator of the Universe)
Following the Gayatri Mantra, which he repeats 24 times, Bhatt says the devotional hymn, ‘Om Namo Narayana’. This is followed by prayers to Lord Ram and his favourite, Lord Hanuman.
“There are 33 crore gods and goddesses,” says Bhatt. “But the one who does all the work is Lord Hanuman. If you ask Lord Hanuman for something, he fulfills your requests very quickly.”
Bhatt tells a story of how Lord Hanuman saved him. One day he was riding a bike in Palluruthy, near Kochi. He had to swerve suddenly to avoid a young girl. Bhatt fell from the bike and damaged his knee.
Taken to hospital, he was told that a surgery needed to be done. But he remembered the case of a devotee, who had a similar accident and after the surgery he was unable to bend his legs.
“I knew that if I could not fold my legs it would hamper my work as a melshanti (chief priest),” says Bhatt. “I felt very upset. I fervently prayed, ‘God, please show me the right way.’”
At that moment, a friend called up from Bangalore and mentioned the name of a famous naturopath in the city. Bhatt did not do the surgery. Instead, he went to Bangalore and met the doctor. He applied medicinal paste on the priest’s leg, told him to close his eyes, and straightened the limb with a swift jerk. Bhatt was healed.
“This showed that God cared for me,” says Bhatt. The grateful priest made a gold shield worth Rs 1 lakh and placed it on the idol of Lord Hanuman in Kochi.
When Bhatt closes his eyes, he sees a striking image of God, especially when he says the Gayatri Mantra. At the centre of the sun, Lord Vishnu, who is known as Savitrinarayana, is sitting cross-legged, with a slight smile on his lips.
“The body is enveloped in gold,” he says. Savitrinarayana wears gold earrings shaped like a crocodile. The lips are red as pomegranate and the teeth are covered with pomegranate seeds. At the corner of the eyes, it is light red in colour. The veins can be seen clearly. The shape of the eyes is like the stem of the lotus leaf.
Asked how man can get in touch with God, Bhatt says, “In the milk there is butter, but you cannot see it. To get butter you have to do various procedures. Similarly, to see God, you have to make a lot of effort. It is only then that God will allow you to have a glimpse of Him.”
(The New Indian Express, Kerala)
at May 31, 2010