So the itch had been there. It was a while since I had a decent motorcycle ride. The wellness, a.k.a unwellness diagnosis recently, had put my heart away in a different direction at least for a while. While the time may not be ripe for a really long ride, I wanted to get out and do something. I was looking for a destination about 50 to 70 kms away so I could return home in the morning itself. My good friend, Sastry suggested the Ranganatha Swamy temple which is in the campus of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, about 50 kms away from my home. I cannot thank him enough for this as it turned out to be a wonderful location to visit that I would’ve otherwise missed. Two of my other bike colleagues, Raj and Rama too joined me canceling their bike ride plan to the Nagarjun Sagar Dam, a 400 km round trip.
The ride wasn’t anything particularly different to write about as much as it certainly was an enjoyable one. As earlier times, I did get to freak out over 100 kmph at times, few nice curvy sections, beautiful early morning weather from 5:30 am when I left home, and a little drizzle. Had a decent breakfast during return. Nothing exciting again. Had some pictures taken at the destination. Nothing unusual that I would want to bore you with.
But something about what man can think to do only to realize it’s not he who decides, but HE who decides. Some random thoughts came to my mind today morning, “how much donation would I give at this temple”. It’s not a well thought out or a thought to be thought, but just a random thought. I have a philosophy about giving money, such as in the temples. I feel it will be proper to give out bigger donations for poorer or smaller temples and charities. After all, even if the purohits fiddle away with part of this donations which we actually intend for the temple, I feel okay with that. Small temple. The purohits also have to make a living like all of us, in this high cost economy after all. I shouldn’t be overly bothered whether the money will be rightfully used. On the contrary, for richer or larger temples, they already have large funds flowing in. Both due to several donors and also through the rich. Sometimes by government too. So it’s okay to donate less in these cases. That’s how my philosophy of donations at temples worked mostly. In today’s case, I knew Sri Chinna Jeeyar’s Trust will be a rich one. And not that it really matters or I actually care about, but have to admit, my preferred devotion is towards Lord Shiva. Not that I am biassed or against other forms of God. I believe these are various forms of one singilar God and across the religions. So I thought I could do with smaller donation today.
But immediately another thought came. How much one donates should not be based on how much is required for the temple. Donation should be based on the capacity of the giver not receiver. Why am I bothered about how much I should donate? It should be based on my capability not that of the temple. For example, even if the temple is poor, I cannot donate very large sums anyway. It is not about cleansing of soul. It is not about abeyance. It is just about our duty towards society based on how much we are capable of contributing.
Again, these were not well analyzed or thought out thoughts. They just randomly came to me as I was getting ready in the Brahma Muhoorta time (3 to 6 am) wherein good thoughts could happen. And I guess it did for me today.
Anyway, when I was at the temple, surprisingly I had completely forgotten about making a donation, leave around how much. As we were to leave shortly, incidentally it so happened that we entered the main temple hall one more time, and I realized I had not put any donation. So I quickly walk up to the donation box, pull out my wallet not consciously thinking how much I would donate, noticed I had one Ten rupee note and rest were Five Hundred rupee notes!! So with no hesitation, I pick a 500 note and drop it in the box. As I do, I had a vision of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy naughtily smiling at me and saying, “Poor Soul, I know how much I am to draw from your pocket. I decide, not You!!”.
Here are some pictorial recollections of an aesthetically wonderful place, if I could make justice to them through my lens. I think you should definitely watch these even if I am not posting all of these directly here.
Some Side notes: thanks to the allopathic medicines I started recently, without notice sometimes I get an embarrassingly unstoppable hunger. So much so that I cannot think of anything else but food at that time. And it was a repeat during the darshan today. I was wondering what do I do now. It will be a long while before I could get out of the temple, hit the highway, find a restaurant, and eat. And here comes the pleasant surprise! They served a freshly made (and I am stingy about eating fresh food only) ultra delicious piping hot Prasadam, which I do not know what it is called. The quantity may not be large but the purohit ensured he filled with a heap my small leaf bowl. I stepped out of the main hall, thanked and realized that God does take care of us, when in dire need!
It did not matter that I couldn’t understand a single word from the two hour long Tamil verses being chanted (tiruppavai), despite me not being too bad in understanding a bit of Tamil here and there. But the tone and tune resonate in my ears all day, today!